View Full Version : Is a 2- or 3-action project a project?
09-04-2006, 07:13 AM
When I write an article, I have 2 or 3 actions to do (test new software, write article, send article to editor).
What do you do with these smell projects, do you really create a project for this? In Microsoft Entourage it takes a lot of time to create a project, which is fine for a big project, but not for these small steps.
09-04-2006, 08:12 AM
A project is any outcome requiring more than one step. If your tool has too much overhead for small projects, use a different tool.
In my experience, even small projects are subject to disruptions and delays that add more actions. "Test new software" can turn out to include things like "call customer support to figure out why software won't install," and "convert test data to new software format." "Write review" can easily include several drafts, fact-checking, and so forth. Having a "real" project makes it easy to figure out what to do with these items as they come up.
09-04-2006, 09:30 AM
Sometimes big projects seem to be small and visa versa. It's hard to predict as Katherina mentioned. My system (Outlook) takes only 10 seconds or less to put new project in (Ctrl+K "Project Name" + the same for Next Action). Now I try to put everything to the system that doesn't look like a Next Action as a Project.
09-04-2006, 11:30 AM
Thanks for all your tips, Katherine. I think I'll try it in Entourage, because all components work all so well with each other. Otherwise I'll use different software for only the projects.
09-05-2006, 08:02 AM
Sometimes Next Actions are so obvious that I find it a waste of time to create a Project. I just record the Next Action and as soon as it's done I immediately write down the next one (in its appropriate context). I should stress that I only practice this method rarely. I usually prefer to create a Project.
09-05-2006, 08:32 AM
Look at the time-line: if it is likely that there will be a period of time between the start and the finish, then make it a project. The idea of GTD is to keep an index of all the things you are involved in. Your index is like a cross section of all the time-lines to which you are committed.
09-05-2006, 10:52 AM
I like the phrase "open loops" to describe projects. Even if it will take only a few steps, its important to keep track of open loops so you can pursue them until their closed. Defining a "desired outcome" ensures that you keep moving forward with next actions for a project until it is done.
Not to get goofy here, but I sometimes think of this whole process as a chase or hunt. I keep chasing my open loops until their closed. This makes the whole business of projects a lot more fun and gives purpose to my work during the day. There are few more satisfying things in GTD than crossing off a project!
09-06-2006, 12:59 PM
On small projects like that, I don't have an actual project set up. I just have the NA listed with the project in front of it. Generally, the only projects I set up are the ones where I can be doing more than one NA associated with the project or where I am motivated by the outcome more than the process and thus it is important to me to see a list of what has been done and what I still need to do.