Have you ever wondered whether something was a goal or a project? The difference between projects and goals is the timeframe. Projects are the intermediate step between goals and daily actions. The process of planning them is the same. For the majority of projects and goals, knowing the next step (or next action in GTD) is sufficient.
Recently, I have begun using a free online mindmaping website called mindmup to map out my projects. Then I make an image of the mindmap and make it the screensaver on my laptop. I also add it to Google Drive to access it anywhere.
I do use yellow legal pads a lot for thinking and planning. You can simply list the name of the project on the left side, and the next step on the right side. These do tend to get a little messy.
You can use a printable Project Master List (pdf).
Some projects have what I think of as dependencies. (I believe David Allen would call these waiting for!) For example, my garage project depends on good weather, and has therefore shifted to the back burner. Sometimes we may not be able to proceed until someone else has accomplished something, or we get a reply to an email. The key question becomes: “When should I look at this project again?” and then making a reminder entry in your calendar.
Other important skills
- Recognizing a project that is one of the 20% that require planning beyond the next action.
- Recognizing a task that is too vague, and knowing how to make it specific.
- Recognizing an incoming task, and knowing where to put it in your system.
- Deciding what tools to use to capture ideas and manage projects.
It takes thought
- To make decisions regarding email, paper, information.
- To set priorities
- To plan projects and determine action steps
20% of projects require further planning
Project plans can be simple, and a sheet of paper, a page in a planner or a 4×5 index card may be sufficient. Whatever format you use should allow enough room to think in as much detail as you need. A folder to gather materials in may be needed for larger projects. Vertex42 offers a free Project Schedule Template for more complex projects.
- How to meet deadlines at ehow.com
- Productivity501 – Behance’s Action Method Process
- Stop Shuffling and Start Creating from Productive Flourishing
Delicious Links about Projects