Basic GTD: How to manage your projects
In GTD, a project is quite a different concept from what we are used to in the business world. Put simply, a project is anything we want to do that requires more than one action step. It’s therefore a mechanism to remember that, when we finish that first action step, there will still be something more to do.
You don’t actually do projects, you can only do the actions related to them. Thus, the “Projects” list is nothing else than an index, in no particular order, of all your open loops.
If you’re processing a new stuff and you realize it’ll require several actions to get done, then define at least the first next action step and add a new project to your “Projects” list.
When you organize your system, identify the components of each project, their sequence and priorities. To keep a project in movement, you must decide what the next action steps are for each of its moving components. It’s not necessary to plan the entire project from the beginning.
When you review your system—in the weekly review—check that every project has at least one next action defined. If that action step is in hands of someone else, make sure it’s not stuck.
You need a place or system (folders, files, software…) where you can accumulate all the information relevant to a project. This system should allow you to classify the support materials by project, and access them quickly and easily.
It doesn’t matter too much if you divide a large project into subprojects or simply define each subproject as a whole project. What matters is that you review all project components as often as necessary to keep them going. If in doubt, start by defining a single project and if any part becomes important, you can split it into another project.