I've been struggling a little with GTD recently and I have been considering dropping my implementation but I'm sure that given the answers to my questions I can come back to this better than ever before. I've been a partial implementer for many years but have never quite been able to get fully on board. I think I now know why.
I want to try and explain using the example of Gracie's Gardens from the Making It All Work book. Essentially for those not in the know, you've just inherited a run-down garden centre from a deceased aunt. First you know is a letter in the mail.
I understand that this is one large project and my outcome is to have the business sold or being run effectively as on ongoing business. Fine. I can create the project and outcome on paper, in word, MS OneNote whatever...
I can easily create my first next action of call ABC legal team to discuss further. I can add their details to my contact database and maybe even scan in the letter for my reference files. Great but that's where things start to get complicated.
I will create dozens of sub-projects as I go along, all with next actions in various lists by context. Many of these sub-projects will have sub-sub-projects.
For example, I need to review the accounts. That's going to mean poring over whatever files I can find. I may need to hire an accountant. Oh I need a yellow pages. Or maybe local advice? Left a message with that one as they're at lunch. The second one seems expensive. Let's call a third. They want to meet next week. I'm out of town on business. I need to schedule a visit back here in 2 weeks. Need to call travel agent. etc etc
Meanwhile I'm meeting with staff, generally tidying up, paying bills, collecting invoices etc etc
How do I grapple with all of that to do a weekly review to make sure nothing falls through the cracks. How do I make sure each of my projects and sub-projects and sub-sub projects are being progressed so that the whole thing can come to a conclusion. How do I see this project's big picture. I know the weekly review is the answer but how do I see all of the issues that make up this project in order to do the review?
I feel quite able to deal with the individual inputs as they occur but over time I feel as though I'm losing the big picture and could end up having the best accounts for any garden centre in the world but still have "Buy plants from wholesaler" on my context list and so have no stock. How do I make sure the "whole" project is managed?
When you throw in other large projects too from elsewhere in my life, I feel swamped with projects and sub projects and sub sub projects and next actions and can't really see the clarity that I'm craving. I'm capturing, I'm processing into next actions, but its the review and the clarity that I'm missing.
Does this resonate with anyone else or am I barking up the wrong tree totally? I think I'm being clear but I'm not sure if I am.
FWIW, my current implementation is via Outlook and my iPhone but I am going to give OneNote a run to see if that can help. I prefer to be paperless if possible but I just NEED a system that will enable me to see both detail and larger picture stuff.
Any help / guidance would be very much appreciated.