David Allen says a "list" can be a pile of papers with one item on each page. I don't remember whether he generalizes further, but I figure a "list" can be a pile of folders, so a list of projects can be folders with the name of a project as the label of each folder. To read the list of projects, you just read the labels. The folders can also contain project support material. I don't do it that way, but might in future.
I have a "projects" folder containing one page per project, which functions as my list of projects. Each project page has the name of the project at the top, so I can read my list of projects by just reading the top of each page. Each page also has a list of steps for that project. When I review them, I can (in theory at least) just check off the steps that are done and get a feeling for how far along I am in the project, and see what still needs to be done. I also have a pile of project support folders, which doesn't have to exactly match my list of projects. Some projects might not have project support folders because everything I need for them is on the computer or in my head or something. There may be project support folders for projects I'm no longer working on in the pile, or for things that aren't exactly projects or are parts of other projects. The most often used folders tend to be near the top of the pile. I usually only use these folders when I've already decided to work on a project and feel I need something from its folder.
Almost Done, when you talk about getting your set of project folders to match your project list, I'm wondering what the purpose of that is. Isn't that a form of duplication? During the week, how do you decide what to work on -- are you prompted by your projects list (or, equivalently, by next-action lists that were based on it), or are you prompted by the existence of the ASAP folders? I figure one or the other should be primary.
What is the purpose of having a list of projects? What good does it do to read a list of just names of projects? Pretty much the only purpose I see is to check whether I'm trying to do too much.
To answer your question, Almost Done, I figure a project support folder can contain any material that's useful in getting the project done: drafts of manuscripts, receipts, forms, lists of actions, mind-maps, notes, whatever.
I believe Almost Done is talking about the question "What is a project support folder"?
Originally Posted by shane_k