Galvin and Associates

Clean Out Your Projects List



I carry a list of 10K Active Projects with me. (This is the 10,000 foot level in Getting Things Done terminology.) I usually print out a new list when I do my weekly review. Currently, I have 36 projects on my list. When I have some time waiting for an appointment, I list next actions for as many of the projects as possible.

Lately, I’ve been noticing that some of the projects aren’t moving forward. They’re stuck. A friend of mine and I brainstormed categories of stuckness.
1. Lack of knowledge or skill: “I don’t know how to do the next step.”
2. Unclear purpose/goal/benefit/outcome: “How valuable is this anyway?”
3. Defective strategy/approach/plan: “I’m afraid I’ve been going about this the wrong way.”
4. High cost in time/money: “I can’t afford to do this now.”
5. Dependency on others: “I can’t get the permission/help that I need to do this.”
6. Situational barriers: “I’m just going to have to wait for better conditions/weather/resources.”

Think of your 10K Projects list as a refrigerator, keeping your projects in one place ready to work on. But every once in a while, you need to clean out the fridge. Projects are perishable.

Don’t let yourself get discouraged when projects get stuck and your list gets too long. Give yourself a fresh start. Reassess your priorities, current conditions, and resources, and then clean out the fridge.

  • Dump projects that no longer make sense or have gone stale.
  • Postpone those that must wait and put them in the freezer (your 20K categories).
  • Add fresh projects that have recently emerged.
  • Reprint your list of 10K Projects.
  • List next actions for all of them and keep moving forward. Life is too short to work on stale projects.

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