How to build your perfect planner system? Week 12: Start to thinking in projects!

Until now, we written only tasks to our lists - in fortunet case. But tasks aren't separate things. They are connected with each other. Sometimes is hard to finish something, because you don't know, what to do. "Organize the vacation" - what the hack is that? Such "task" can sit in your planner for a long time, because it is not doable. What is it then if it is not a task? I would call it a Project.

Why to thinking in projects?

If you think on something like a project, it is easier to organize. A project can have a deadline. It has tasks. It needs material. There is also informations connected to this. Organizing a trip is a project. I will explain the whole thing with this fictive project (not really fictive - we are organizing a trip to Paris in October...)

Paris trip project page

How to organize a project?

1. What steps or parts has this project?

Decide: when and where.
How we get there? Buy tickets if necessary.
Where to sleep?  Book hotel.
What to do? Only relax? Sightseeing? What to visit?
What to bring with you?

2. Deadline(s)

Deadlines can be artificial too. Define a deadline for all parts of your project, if you don't have one from outside.

3. Informations

Collect all necessary informations on the same place. Catalogs about hotels, interesting places. Your notes about these. Booking numbers, etc.

Notes about the train - we didn't chosen this
Hotels in Paris. A very messy note page :)

4. "Things"

I didn't found a better word on this. Things you need. For a skiing you need ski. If you flight first time somewhere you might need to buy suitcases. You might need a valid passport.

5. Tasks

The trickiest part. We tend to think on things like tasks, also if they aren't tasks. You cannot only buy flight tickets. Yes, it is a task. But what have you do first time? (David Allen calls it next action.) You have to discuss with your family, when will be the trip. You have to decide you will flight. That can you go and search flight tickets, that can you buy that ticket. You have to analyze your project: ask yourself "what can I do next to achieve this part of my project?" Don't be afraid, you don't have to write all tasks for the whole project at the same time. You can do it step by step.

How it comes together with other planning things we talked before?

Handling 10 projects in monthly/weekly planning is more simpler, as handling 100 tasks. Have a list of your running projects and take a look on it every week.

My current Projects List
Plan projects, or part of the projects in your monthly/weekly planning. Than take out your tasks in the daily planning.

On my monthly planning page:

On my weekly planning page is a little chaotic: sometimes I wrote tasks (buy Disneyland tickets), sometimes stuff (finish bookkeeping).
On my current weekly planner page

Homework for the next week

Take a look on your goals, your tasks from the last week, and try to find out, on what projects are you working on? Write a list!
Take for all a piece of paper and start to organize the projects as written above. As you practise to thinking on things like projects, you will be better in finishing and track things. Let me share a project. My daughter has to go to dentist. It is an appointment. I write it to my planner. Then the doctor tells me, when to come back, how to clean her dent etc, and then I think on it: cannot be "going to dentist with D" a project? It might be an extreme example... If I have for it a project page, I can keep dentist contact, next visit date, gotten informations etc at the same place. Next time I have that all by hand.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask in comment! Share your experiments in our Facebook group, and get more help!  

Find here the whole series.

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