Reading Mattew Cornell’s blog provides you with a lot of good tips, observations, ideas. I’ve been reading his blog for 2 years and absolutely enjoyed it.
Some time ago he posted his view on applying Pareto’s rule 80/20 rule to GTD he discusses possibility of removing most of the acton lists and putting them on the calendar.
I think this is great idea as it can increase your rate of completed actions especially if you take their importance and value into account. However I wouldn’t agree with this approach in case of project list.
I see the project list as most important list which helps making progress in our life. Next actions show the steps we need to take, projects show the direction we going to.
As Allen says project list is a list of outcomes that require more than one step to complete.
This is wide approach and can accommodate large spectrum of goals. It can range from replace tyres and fund new company. Obviously both bear different importance and value but both require more than two steps to complete.
In order to maintain progress on things you’re committed to you need to see them. Potentially list of project should be the most frequently reviewed list as it would tell us if we are on target or drifting away.
As much as putting things on a calendar helps to plan the doing and increases accountability it limits your options to view full situation. Looking at your weekly calendar may indicate that there is x amount of projects to be completed but you could miss the commitments that are due down the line or don’t have any specific end date.
Project list in my view should provide you answer to following question: "Can I commit to a new project or can I take on that new opportunity?"
This is critical in terms of moving current obligations forward. Without being able to refer to your project list as whole you won’t be able to correctly asses your situation and you might commit to something that you can’t complete. On the flip side you can spot and use upcoming opportunity because you will be able to see that it brings more value than any of your current projects.
If you’re looking for some additional read about projects here is a nice piece by Jason Womack How to work with in projects also a link to Matt’s post: Extreme GTD: How low can you go (or: Can we 80-20 GTD?).
Project list, how important is it for you? Please share in the comments section.