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How much detail to your project steps Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
How much detailed steps do you take the time to enter in OF?

For example, if you where waiting on a contract to have someone sign and return would you enter in OF:

Receive contract - waiting
Send contract to Joe for signature - email
Receive signed contract - waiting
Send contract to vendor - errand

Do you enter each step of a project in advance? Or do you enter steps as they occur just to keep track?

How much detail do you enter?

Depends on how predictable the project is. It's a waste of time to enter too many steps if there's a good chance that you're going to have a change of plan before they are done. The level of detail you use for breaking down the project also depends on how likely you are to be interrupted at any given point; ideally, you want to capture exactly as much state as you need to resume after your interruption without forgetting to do something, or repeating something unnecessarily, even if the interruption is a lengthy one. You're trying to free your mind of the need to remember all of these details, after all. If Joe is someone who works in your office and is readily available to sign contracts, you might not need to break that down beyond "Get contract signed by Joe". If Joe is a flake and needs to be hounded regularly to get something signed, it's probably good to have some more detail in there to keep the pressure on Joe (and maybe to document your efforts at getting the contract signed!)

I try to keep a couple of future steps sketched out so that I can always know what to do on a project right away. It's too easy to let something bog down otherwise. I'll put together a longer collection if it is apparent that more thought will be required to determine the right course of action. When I do reviews, I try to make sure that all projects have a next action, and preferably they have enough steps planned out to cover the amount of effort they are likely to get before the next review. When I get into one of those rare times when everything clicks and there are few interruptions, I want to be able to get as much done as possible, not stop and fool around with my lists!
At one point I realized I was trying to list too many detailed actions for each project. Then I came up with this simple guideline:

Each task should be a complete action that advances the project when done no matter how much time passes between it and other tasks. If a delay between two tasks means the first one would need to be redone then the two tasks should probably be combined. The only caveat is if you're intentionally trying to capture a tedious list of steps to make sure nothing is missed or done out of sequence.

For example...
Project - Wash car
Task - Find keys
Task - Pull car into driveway
Task - Carry hose to front yard
Task - Wash car
Task - Put car away
Task - Put hose away

If I do the first task of finding the keys and then I get distracted and work an a different project for the rest of the weekend I'll have to redo the first task again as if it had never been done in the first place when I come back to this project.
It sounds about like the way I do it now.

I pretty much keep track of the last step I did. Maybe a next step, but not much more. I usually put a date in the description field as well so I know when it was done, or when I asked someone else for something.

Seems to work for me.

A lot of my work requires info or responses from others so I have to track that I'm waiting.

If I do have more of the duties myself, I'll put in a few steps, but never the entire project.

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