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I killed my planning mode hierarchy, and it is good Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I had a complex project hierarchy ó lots oí folders and subfolders. Last week I flattened that hierarchy almost completely, and Iím rather happy with the results.

I have about two dozen active projects from every part of my life, and they are all visible in the sidebar at once at the root level of the library.

Another 3 or 4 dozen on-hold and pending projects inhabit the root as well.

Then thereís a rather heavily populated ďsomeday, maybeĒ folder.

And thatís pretty much it. A nearly folderless arrangement!

Personal projects are snuggled right up to worky projects, and itís not bothering me. I thought it would mess with my head, but itís not. It turns out that being able to see all my active projects is so pleasingly easy to absorb at a glance that the organizational melting pot doesnít bother me.

This partially came from the insight that I should not really have any more active projects than I can see at once. Any more than that is probably delusional ó many of them probably arenít really ďactive,Ē just wishful thinking. But if I only have a relatively small number of active projects at any given time, I thought, why bury them in a hierarchy?

Probably not for everyone. I didnít think it was for me, until I tried it. So I thought Iíd share the experience.
Thanks for sharing, bigcloits. I find that kind of bold simplification both liberating and strangely exhilarating, although sometimes it still leaves me with butterflies in my gut. I might just try your approach on my system. ;-)

Originally Posted by Toadling View Post
I find that kind of bold simplification both liberating and strangely exhilarating ...
Yes, thatís still how it feels!

A couple days on, Iím finding some mild hunger for hierarchy is developing. Nothing compared to the hardcore hierarchy I had before, but some craving. Itís still not bothering me to have a melty mess of different types of projects right beside each other ... but it is bothering me a little to complex, long-term projects mixed in with several minor ones. Iím not sure why, but it does.

So Iím thinking of adding just ONE more folder, for minor stuff, for a total of two folders ó still pretty simple! And there is a certain symmetry to that... my larger active projects bookended by a folder of trivial short-term projects at the top, and a folder of someday-maybe projects at the bottom.

Yeah, I like that. Iím a-gonna do it!
Originally Posted by bigcloits View Post
Yeah, I like that. Iím a-gonna do it!
LOL! Sounds like a good plan. ;-D

Usually I'm pretty courageous (foolish?) with these sorts of bold decisions. But in this case I'm finding myself slightly resistant to dropping my hierarchy. I've had it for so long that I'm not sure I should change it.

I must admit, however, that sometimes it seems pointless having everything tucked away in arbitrary folders. I guess I originally did it to have some control over the huge number of projects appearing in my sidebar. I liked the ability to collapse folders out of the way. It's also nice to be able to select a folder and focus on it - but I rarely do that, opting instead to focus on one or more individual projects. So are all these folders really necessary?

Maybe I've just gotten too lax in putting projects on hold. I've got 51 active projects at the moment (and that's after a quick scrubbing of the list). Can I really be working on all these things at once? Maybe I should be more aggressive in putting projects on hold and then trust my reviews to keep them in my field of view?

Originally Posted by Toadling View Post
Can I really be working on all these things at once?
If you are, man, you are seriously getting things done. :-)

Maybe I should be more aggressive in putting projects on hold and then trust my reviews to keep them in my field of view?
The exercise of being a bit brutal with the pruning of the active projects list has proven to be valuable to me in itself. It is definitely keeping me more honest. And pausing more projects that I would once have kept active also has had the unplanned benefit of making reviews more important and interesting.

itís like this: if I only pause stuff that is on the backest of back burners, then the on hold status starts to turn into a pile of pipe dreams with virtually no chance of even raising my eyebrows in a review, and simultaneously front-burner status is cheapened when every project and itís dog is on the front burner.

Iím really starting to like that active can mean active, dammit, and reviews are for re-evaluating lots of non-trivial on hold stuff to decide if indeed it should still be on hold. Usually it should, of course, but the GTD junkie in me just lives for those moments when I get to promote a much-anticipated project to active status ...

Oh, dear, Iíve really got this bug, donít I?

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