Categories | Best Practices of GTD | David Allen | Getting Started | Getting Things Done | GTD Toolbox | Implementation | Inspiration
Most people have between 30 and 100 current, active projects (combining personal and professional), given our broad definition of a project. And most people resist creating their Projects list like the plague. The visionary folks have trouble nailing their Big Ideas down to a component that concrete. And the busy people don’t like having to define what they’re actually trying to accomplish with all their activity. Yet this is the most functional and important list to have, to keep from being overwhelmed by the nitty-gritty operational realities of your life.
So how do we define projects? A “project” is any outcome you’re committed to complete that requires more than one action step, that can reasonably be completed within a year. That can encompass quite a range of things, from “Replace tires on the car” to “Reorganize marketing division.”
The reason to define a project as something that requires more than one action step is simple and practical. If you finish one action step you’ve had on an action list, you would mark that off as done. But if your commitment is not fulfilled, and there’s no reminder about it in your system, your head will have to take back the job of remembering and reminding that you’ve still got an open loop out there. And that is what you want to prevent, because it undermines the whole purpose of the Getting Things Done® method—anything left in your head creates unproductive stress.
This excerpt is from David Allen’s “Food for Thought” in a recent issue of the free Productive Living Newsletter. The next issue comes out the week of August 26.