Galvin and Associates

Sort Your Projects List by Time



It is hard to overemphasize the usefulness of having a list or all of your projects on one sheet of paper. Some people, like me, like having all of the projects in life I’m committed to completing on the same list. Others like to have one list for work and another one for personal and home life.

I recently did some training with the staff of a nonprofit organization on personal effectiveness and I was surprised at how many times during the day I held up a list of projects and urged them to do the same.

In the terminology of Getting Things Done, a project is anything that will require more than one step to complete. Because they are each bigger than a task, they do not work well on your to regular do list. You need a separate list to help you keep track of them all. You need more than a calendar entry because they take more than one day to complete.

Some people resist tracking their projects because it makes them feel overwhelmed. I just had that happen to me a few weeks ago. I had over 40 projects on my list and simply looking at it felt draining. I realized that about 10 of these projects needed to be done in December, so I clumped these together. Everything suddenly felt more doable.

My project list now has three categories: Active Projects, December Projects, and Inactive Projects. Active or Current projects are the ones already in motion. December projects are the ones intended to activate in a particular month or season. Inactive projects (some would prefer the GTD term someday/maybe projects) are the ones that you are committed to launch at some point, but not right now. You won’t forget these because they are on your projects list, but you also won’t feel guilty that you have not started them yet. These three categories can help you breathe easier when you look at your list.

Here is all you have to do:
1. Compile a list of all of your projects (if are not currently doing so).
2. Organize your project list by time (as shown above).
3. Review your list of projects weekly to see what you can do on each current or active project.

Do this and you will be more likely to keep up on everything you have to do, no matter how many plates you have spinning, and you can look at your project list without feeling overwhelmed.

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