Project Planning | Giftie Etcetera: Project Planning

Monday, May 21, 2012

Project Planning

When I worked for a paycheck, I had projects to plan and complete all the time.  I usually created a folder to hold all the information about the project, put deadlines on the front inside cover of the folder, put tasks on my weekly task list, and kept notes on everything that I did.  Because each project was so distinct from each other project and because they were all on deadlines (to bosses or external deadlines), it was easy to keep track of things.  For example, if the project was to hire interns, I would have an interns folder where I kept all the advertisements for resumes and actual resumes.  I would have tasks on my to do list.  I would have appointments to interview the interns and to send letters hiring or thanking them.  If I had to edit a journal article, it got its own folder, list of deadlines, tasks, and scheduled events.

As a stay-at-home mom, though, I never thought of planning "projects" since I rarely have anything due to anyone, other than one time things, like returning library books or doing the taxes.  But my sister is getting married next month, and suddenly, I was faced with planning a wedding shower.  My list of responsibilities was long and spanned over a long time period.  For example, early in the process, we had to prepare a guest list, created and proof invitations, order invitations, send out invitations, and select a venue.  Later, there was a menu to make and food to be bought and cooked.  The party needed decorations and drinks.  The list was long.  I could (and did) put items on my weekly tasks lists and calendar, but I couldn't keep track of what I had done or what I still needed to do without going through many pages of notes in my planner.  The problem, as David Covey of Getting Things Done fame would surely say, was that the wedding shower was a project, that needed to be scheduled and broken down into specific actions or tasks.  It needed to be treated like a project.

So I created this:

The front side of the planner page includes the name of the project and the due date or event date across the top.  Then there are four columns: DUE, Cat/@, Task, and Details.  For Cat/@, I either categorize by context/where I have to do the task, just like I do with my task lists (No context/can do anywhere, Errands, Home, or Computer) or I write the @ symbol.  @ means to me that it is pending either a certain date, other action, or a person.  @05/15 would mean, for example, not until after May 15.  @JD means my task occurs after Jane Doe does her part.

The back side of each page has a place for notes and other contacts.

In order to remember to check the project lists weekly and add any tasks or events to my task list or calendar, I put a recurring task on each Monday (it's written on Monday's task list and circled, to indicate to me that once it is done, I carry forward the task to NEXT Monday).  When  I check the list, I add any tasks or event that need to be dealt with this week on the appropriate task list or calendar.  (Of course, the due date or event date is on my main calendar the whole time.)

Right now, I have several project lists going.  Fortunately, the shower was yesterday, but I still have a list for the wedding.  I also have a project set up for an out-of-town trip (with packing lists right behind it) that required a lot of pre-planning, a wreck that I got into that requires claims and repairs and rental cars (and what a nice record for my files of everything that was done), a volunteer event that I am co-chairing, and Back-to-School tasks that need to be done over the summer.

Here is the volunteer event project list, in progress:

I store the project sheets in a dedicated place in the front of my planner, right after my Daily Checklist and Master Task List.

What are some projects you are currently planning and how do you handle them?



Anonymous said...

oh. my. god.

were we separated at birth?

RobbieKay said...

@Anonymous--I know! I posted a link to Kristy's blog on my Facebook timeline with a comment that the more I read it the more I am convinced that she and I were separated at birth!

Debra said...

did you stop using your compact?

Giftie Etcetera said...

No. This post is from years ago. :)