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An idea for 2006: Track completed GTD projects (plus some "greatest hits" for 2005)

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin - real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, or a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. -- Fr. Alfred D'Souza
In Creating your own "productivity guidelines" for 2005, Sally McGhee et. al. suggest we review accomplishments in the previous year, reflect on lessons learned and successes (hopefully WILD), and apply them to the coming year.

I thought it would be useful to do something similar for 2005 in GTD fashion by looking at completed projects. Sadly I haven't been tracking finished projects (I've simply checked them off and moved on), so one of my projects for 2006 is to record completed projects. I hope that this will help me re-focus on those small "stealth" projects that I find sometimes slip by, in spite of my discipline.

However, in the spirit of openness and experimentation, I present my partial GTD Projects "Greatest Hits" for 2005. In no particular order:
  • Adopted GTD "100%"
  • Got unpleasant dental scaling done (more to come - ugh!)
  • Started this blog
  • Got picked up by the OfficeZealot.com Getting Things Done Zone (thanks, Marc!)
  • Started exploring GTD consulting, and coached 1/2 dozen practice clients.
  • Committed to designing and delivering a GTD seminar at work
  • Got our research lab to try "Boss blogs" (see Applying 'Boss' Blogging to a Research Lab)
  • Lost 15 pounds (and it's running around the neighborhood, so don't be alarmed if you see it. Repeat after me: "Fat has no teeth. Fat has no teeth...")
  • Attended GTD | The Roadmap seminar
  • Sold my mountain bike, and started Tae Kwon Do (after a 20 year break)
  • Cured my insomnia
  • Made major mental perspective shift in a back problem, and got some serious pain under control
I'd love to hear some of your greatest hits for 2005, and goals for 2006.

  • In Planning for the Future, LJ has some insights gained by reviewing completed projects. I particularly like this idea:
    I went over my project list and examined the motivation behind each one. I found that many of the projects had been placed there by other people in the form of "shoulds". I decided which ones were important to me and did a massive culling of my someday/maybe list.

  • In Getting Things Done: the Roadmap, terrie passes this along from David Allen:
    It might be useful to keep a list of completed projects, but don't bother with a list of completed next actions. It's not worth it.

Reader Comments (6)

I keep all of my Next actions in my big list of stuff in Excel. I search the list for "Next Action" when I want to look at my next action list. When I complete a Next Action, I edit the item, changing "Next Action" to "Done" and append the date of completion. A quick search provides a list of completed NA without much extra work.


December 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Thanks for the info, Tom. Do you also track projects this way?

December 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

I was afraid that you would ask that question.

Not really, other than the fact that many of my projects consist of just one action item.

I think that tracking projects this way would be a good habit to develop but I'm not there yet.


December 15, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterTom

Matt: I'm curious how you were able to get your back pain "under control". I suffer from it as well ... any thoughts or hints are appreciated!



December 16, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

I love saving my completed Next Actions. I have found a method using Outlook that gives me a bit of a mental boost: During my weekly review, I move completed Next Actions into an archive PST file. This way, they don't show up in my active Next Actions list. However, because I use Outlook Tasks to track Next Actions, I can look at my archives and see how many Next Actions I've completed on a given day, week, month, etc. It gives a great sense of accomplishment!

December 21, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterGadgetComa

I hadn't thought about saving NAs; thanks, GadgetComa. I can see that the positive reinforcement would be a nice motivator. You reminded me that I heard David Allen say that tracking Waiting For items could be useful when evaluating relationships. I think he was speaking in the context of supervisory ones. Thanks for the comment.

December 21, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

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