Top o’ the marnin’ to ya!
We have reached GTD Day 23: Chapter 10 – Getting Projects Under Control. Getting down to the last part. Finally! Argh.
Chapters 4 through 9 have given all the tricks and methods to getting all the stuff out of our heads and how to manage choices on what to do and when. That’s the horizontal level — “what needs your attention/action across the horizontal landscape of your life.” The other is the vertical level — “the digging deep, pie-in-the-sky thinking that can leverage your creative brainpower. That gets us back to refining and energizing our project planning.”
Some of the items on your “Projects” list won’t need any front-end planning, but there are two types of projects that will: (1) the ones that are still in your head even after you’ve decided next actions; and (2) those ideas and details that pop into your head at any given moment.
For the first type, you’ll need to resort to an earlier stage of the process – one or more of the other four phases of the natural planning model: purpose and principles, vision/outcome, brainstorming, and/or organizing.
For the second type, for those out-of-the-blue moments when you are in your car or the grocery store, you need a way of recording these ideas before you lose them forever, and you can put those into a more organized system later.
I use one of two different methods. I keep a handheld recorder in my purse, with fresh batteries and mini-cassette. This is especially handy in my car, where most of my ideas come to me, for some reason. I also have a small pad of paper and a pen for those times in public where I can jot down the info and people won’t think I’m loony for talking to my tape recorder. I have an app on my iPhone that’s called Voice Memos and I have used this from time-to-time, but I’m a creature of habit and have used the handheld recorder since my college days (many moons ago) and it’s just comfortable for me. You need to find what’s comfortable for you. And like balancing my checkbook at the end of each day, I download the info from my recorder or pad of paper into my Projects or Project Notes or Next Actions.
Actually, I have those different headings in my “Projects” list, but I’ve only gotten so far as to record everything under the “Projects” heading, right now. It’s easier for me to see everything on one list with different subheadings – easier to find info when it’s all right in front of me. I’ll get better organized after I’ve finished wearing down my Processing phase. 😉
Now, we’ve gone through the various planning steps and actions of brainstorming and organizing, setting up meetings, and gathering info, so I don’t feel the need to go over all that again, but if you need a refresher, you can find all of that on pages 213 through 215.
We also covered Random Project Thinking in earlier chapters, as well as above, so no need to discuss that in any more detail as it’s, again, listed on page 215.
Mr. Allen goes over the Thinking Tools, Writing Instruments, Paper and Pads, Easels and Whiteboards, the Computer, and Support Structures, we (again), discussed in earlier chapters and he’s trying to drill into our heads. Again, if you need a refresher, refer to pages 216 through 221. Not sure why the same things keep being discussed over and over, but there ya go.
How Do I Apply All This in My World?
Keep your “Next Actions” list up-to-date, as well as your “Projects” list. Block off time, say – one to three hours, to handle as much of the “vertical” thinking about each project as you have time for. At least, do most of your thinking, collecting and organizing on the most important projects – the ones you can’t seem to fully get off of your mind. Let’s get those open loops under control and light a fire under some of those “Next Actions.”
Tomorrow? We begin Part 3: The Power of the Key Principles and we’ll review all of Chapter 11: The Power of the Collection Habit. Part 3 includes the last three chapters and the Conclusion of Getting Things Done.
Make it a most productive, glorious Monday, even if that is a curse word for the majority of us. Monday! Blegh! I’ve never liked Mondays much, either, but we can make it great if we choose to. Love you guys! *hug*