I have a couple of questions on the process for you guys and would appreciate any comments and feedback you can give me. I have yet to integrate the higher levels of my GTD system as I am trying to capture all my projects and run them through the natural planning model to ensure they are as complete as possible. This is where I have hit a snag and am procrastinating like mad over it. For example, I have just looked at my personal development and taken this as a project with associated sub-projects that will be identified as a part of the planning model. I created a PDF document based around the five stages with a text box to allow me to put my thoughts onto it and this has proved ideal for the purpose and vision phases (I can drop this sheet in the project support file for future reference). The brainstorming box contains a short trigger list and all of my mind maps are created using Mind Manager (a truly fantastic tool) and this is where my process can often grind to a halt. In the past I have used mind manager to actually manage the projects and just kept updating the mind map as tasks were done or as new things appeared. This seemed to work and gave me visibility of all the actions I had but was very labour intensive and no doubt wasted more time than I saved although I did feel in control of the situation. I now understand that I should only use the mind map as a tool for taking the planning of the project one stage further (thanks to a re-read of the appropriate chapter of the book) and I’m keen to now ‘organise’ my project.
This is where I am stuck. I can see certain areas of the mind map that are related to each other such as CV (or resume for the USA), skills development and career research but what do I do with these areas? Have I pitched this project at the wrong altitude? A part of me feels that this is really a focus area and that I should treat each area I have identified as a project under this focus area. Should I restart the planning process taking each of these areas or ‘new projects’ in turn and see what comes out or is it acceptable to mind map the full focus area and see what drops out of it? I have noticed some things on the mind map that don’t really fit into any ‘new project’ so how do I capture any actions relating to these?
As I understand it I should just create an outline of each of these areas and then see what sequences and/or priorities appear. Form there I can work out my next actions (that’s the easy part for me) and get the project in motion. How you you stop yourselves trying to think out the whole sequence for a project in advance? Do you regularly go back and update the mind map or just the outline you created from it as part of your weekly review? I don’t appear to have this problem with minor projects but only with the larger areas, which have multiple responsibilities under them. Am I misinterpreting all of these larger areas as projects instead of focus areas?
Any hints and tips for the higher altitudes should I ever feel ready to implement them?
Sorry for all the questions but this is really holding me back and I have just spent the best part of the weekend trying to complete my personal development planning but in fact sat staring out of my home office window! I’m looking forward to getting past this, with all your help, and looking at my higher altitudes.