One thing that is happening is that you have too many “active” projects. Whenever I get new projects or ideas, I create a project and immediately set the status to “On Hold.” I am not working on these new ideas/projects because i have to take care of my currently active projects.
The only lists/projects that I have active are Single Action Lists that have routine tasks (mostly administrative stuff) and another Single Actions List for each Area of Responsibility (Work Single Actions, Home Single Actions, Personal Single Actions). These are one-off tasks that don’t need a project (get a new light bulb at the hardware store).
Then I have up to 3 Big Rock projects in different folders in each folder. I have 3 Big Rock projects with an “Active” project status in my Home folder (big projects I want to work on at home). I have 3 Big Rock projects with an “Active” project status in my work folder (big projects that I want to work on at home). And so on. I’ll have 1-3 Active projects in each of my different folders. All of the other projects are set to “On Hold.”
Here is a sample of my Home folder.
As you can see, the only active items are my Home Actions, Home Routine, and two Big Rock projects - a Decluttering project, and a Pool House Renovation project. Other projects such as tiling the living room stairs, renovating the master bathroom, and securing house entry points are set to “On Hold.”
The decluttering project and poolhouse renovation project are big enough for me. I don’t need to activate any more projects because I already have my hands full with these two active projects. I won’t work on the other projects because I want to finish these two active projects before going to another project. I know that my capacity is limited. Having more than 3 Big Rock projects just dilutes my focus. I know my wife would kill me if I was spreading my efforts on different parts of the house and taking longer to complete anything. She would want me to finish the pool house renovations and the decluttering projects first before even thinking about the other Home Someday/Maybe projects that are set to “On Hold.”
I’m not worried about an “on hold” project getting lost. The secret is in the review process. For projects that I will work far into the future, I set the review cycle to once a month, two months, or three months. I know that I will see them eventually. I can set the review cycle to weekly if I am worried that I might miss an “opportunity.”
Don’t jump at every shiny object or shiny new project that comes your way. Just record it, put it on hold and it will be safely recorded and waiting for your next review date.
A lot of single actions don’t have to be worked on. I can just save those single tasks into my Home Someday/Maybe single action list, I might put “dream” stuff such as a new barbecue grill pit or a fancy new spa in there. I am not going to work on these dream tasks but I know it is entered into my Home Someday/Maybe list. At next week’s review, I’ll see those someday/maybe items and I’ll consider whether to work on it this week. Otherwise, I click “Mark as Reviewed” and forget about it until the next weekly review. It will show up at the next appointed review date.
Seriously, if you have 300 projects, how many projects are you really working on? Wouldn’t it be more efficient to complete 3 projects successfully in a week rather than have 300 projects that have been half-started or in various states of incompletion for months or years?
I would suggest choosing 3 Big Rock projects, focus your energy and time into completing them before moving on to the next 3 projects.
We can also tackle the next big question: out of the 300 projects, which ones are really important to you? Which ones can you delegate to someone else who has more time, more energy, more skill level, and better tools to accomplish a certain project? Which projects are still important to you? Start deleting projects that were once important but is no longer relevant to your life. Delete projects that will have little bang-for-the-buck. I’ll give an example of a project I recently deleted:
I was thinking of creating a project that would get lyrics to all of my favourite songs in my iTunes library. It sounded great to have song lyrics on my iPhone whenever i wanted it. I kept this project in Someday/Maybe for a whole year. But then I realised that whenever I listened to a song, I rarely cared to look at the lyrics. I just deleted the project. There was little reward for my efforts.
When I first started GTD. I felt great capturing all of these crazy ideas and projects. But I eventually overloaded myself with too many projects and went crazy under the burden of seeing a long, endless list of projects and tasks. After I learned about how to do a review, I started curating my content. I put everything on hold, deleted projects that have lost value, delegated projects to others who were better equipped to finish them, and choose 3 Big Rocks to work on.
Learning how to use project status (Active, On Hold, Completed, Dropped) will boost your results.
Life is about choosing to do what’s important to you.