ADVANCED TUTORIALS

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Project Management

In GTD, the word project has a slightly different meaning than the one you are probably used to. Here, a project is any result that requires more than one action.

Whenever you must do something that requires several actions, it is advisable to create a project. The project is just a reminder that you still have things to do in order to achieve that result.

Create a new project

The Projects section allows you to create and edit your projects as well as to add and organize the needed actions to accomplish them.

To create a new project, click the Add Project button at the bottom of the project list on the left:

create a project

When you create a new project, you must give it a name and a tag. The tag is a project identifier that exists for historical reasons and will disappear in future versions, so do not worry too much about it; just choose something similar to the name of the project and try to make it not so generic as to be confused with a context tag.

Optionally, you can give it a more detailed description and assign a due date, an Area of ​​Responsibility and a Goal. The actions of a project will inherit the Area of Responsibility and Goal of the project, although the AR of any action may be modified later.

If you use Evernote as a personal repository of information, you can associate an Evernote notebook to each FacileThings project. This way you will be able to view all notes of that notebook on the project’s Reference Material list.

Define a sequence of actions

Most of your projects will be a sequence of actions to perform one after another until you achieve the final result. In these cases, select the Sequential type of project (1) and add the necessary steps to start the project using the Add action button (2). All new actions will go by default to the Next Actions list.

project example

You can set the order of the actions in a project by dragging and dropping them in the position you want. As on tablets and mobile devices you cannot “drag and drop”, you have the option to Show sort icons (3), which will allow you to easily move any action up and down, and to the beginning and end of the project:

project example

You can edit or delete the entire project with the options you have in the project header (4). When you delete a project, all its Next Actions and the Support material will be moved to the Trash.

Important! In the general list of Next Actions, only the first action of every sequential project appears, so future actions don’t distract you from your current work. When you set an action as done, the next action will automatically appear… and so on until you complete the project.

Subprojects

Sequential projects can have subprojects. Probably some of your projects will be made up of groups of tasks that, though related, could be managed as side projects. The Subprojects feature will let you organize properly this type of components.

project with subprojects

To create a subproject, you just need to give it a name, since the subproject inherits the rest of the main-project characteristics.

When you add a subproject to a project it is as if you had another list of Next Actions working at the same time. The first action from both the main project and the subproject will be shown in the general Next Actions list, therefore you can work on the different parts of the project simultaneously.

The Add Action button allows you to add a new action to the main project or to any of its subprojects. You’ll see a dropdown list with all the subprojects that exists (if they do).

adding action to a subproject

You can drag and drop actions from one subproject to another. When using a tablet, you won’t be able to move graphically one action to another subproject. In this case, you’ll need to edit the action and change the subproject in the “Project” field of the Perspective section.

You can send one task directly to a subproject while you are processing it, since subprojects also appear in the project lists, with the format project > subproject.

processing subproject actions

To delete a subproject there should be no actions related to the subproject in any of the lists (not even in the Trash).

Manage more complex projects with Kanban

Personal Kanban is a visual tool for project management, very simple to use, and flexible enough to have several actions running simultaneously.

kanban-style project

You have three columns where you can place your actions, named To Do, Doing and Done. When you add a new action to the project, it is placed by default in the To Do column.

Actions placed in the Doing column (3) will appear in the general lists of your system, while actions placed in the To Do column (2) will not appear in any general list, only in the project.

You decide what actions can be done at all times, moving them onto the Doing column. You can drag and drop the cards containing actions, both to move them to other column and to change the order within a column.

The Actions tab (1) contains the active actions of the project, that is, those in the Next Actions, Calendar and Waiting For lists, in addition to the already Done actions. These actions still are in their GTD lists, although they are displayed differently here.

In long projects, when the Done column is growing non-stop, it ends up been unuseful. Now you have the option to work with two to three columns, to taste. You can set each project to have the Done list be shown within the Kanban or outside the Kanban, as another list:

two-column kanban

Note: When you change the way you manage a project, you lose the previous setup. When changing from Sequential to Kanban management, all the items in Next Actions, Calendar and Waiting For, are placed in the To Do column of the kanban. When changing from Kanban to Sequential management, each task is placed in its GTD list and, in the Next Actions list, tasks that were in the Doing column are placed before the ones that were in the To Do column, with no particular order.

If a Sequential project has subprojects, you cannot turn it into Kanban.

Organize your Project List

It is a common scenario to have a list with a lot of active projects, but only need to pay attention to some of them each week. Use the focus (1) option to indicate which projects require your attention now. These projects will be marked with a full-star icon and shown at the top of the list, and their actions will also appear at the top of your Next Actions list.

project list

Use the waiting (2) option when, temporarily, you cannot continue doing a project for whatever reason. The actions of a waiting project do not appear in the general lists, so you do not get distracted from your current activity. Use the complete (3) option to save the projects you have finished.

If you have a lot of projects in different stages, you’ll probably struggle when you need to find one particular project between all your lists and it will probably take you too much time. The searching tool that you’ll find in the lower part of the project list will allow you to find any project in a matter of seconds. You just need to type in a few letters and all the projects that contain them will show up.

projects search

You can choose one project from the list using either the mouse, or the up, down and enter keys. Once you’ve selected a project, the Project List will open up automatically in the place the project is.

Likewise, when you create a new project, this will be added to the In progress list and it will be automatically selected.

Focus on goals and areas of responsibility

The Focus on tool found in the upper part will allow you to focus just in one goal and/or area of responsibility.

focus-on tool

Once you’ve selected one goal and/or one area of responsibility, the project list will be reduced only to show those projects related to the selection.

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