If you follow ‘Getting Things Done’ as a productivity methodology then anything that you need to do that requires two or more steps/actions is a project. Therefore, you will be sitting with anywhere between 50 and 100 project on the go at any one point. Therefore, understanding how to plan a basic project is pretty essential to actually being productive and ‘getting things done’. Suppose that, like me & Carl Pullein, you have decided that this definition of a project is not tight enough and you have despaired at the prospect of creating dozens of new projects every single week for simple and basic things that really do not require it. You therefore have fewer projects on the go. Because of this, understanding how to plan a basic project is again pretty key to actually making progress and completing the project.
The humble checklist is the powerhouse behind effective planning and effective planning is the powerhouse behind actually getting things done. Every project is different but having a process in your tool kit for when new projects come your way is what is going to prevent you from staring at a blank page with no idea what to do or how to even start this new project.
For now, let’s say that that there are two types of project that you might encounter, however you define them. Some projects are quick and simple, others are a bit more involved. I want to say that the process for planning out a project, should be pretty much the same, though it will look different in how it actually plays out.
The first thing that you need to do get set up to start on the project. For me, this involves creating a project notebook in UpNote and then 3 notes in the notebook. A Project Master Note, a project planning note and an actions note. This could involve creating a project or folder in your task manager, or a new page in a projects database in Notion or whatever. For me, I like to start it in my notes app, and only there, as until I have given it some basic thinking time, I do not know what I am dealing with and I do not know what I will need. If it is a short and simple project, I may just need one note to map out a short list of tasks to complete the project.