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Help with Action vs Project vs Folder Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
I have been struggling with the big picture issue of whether I want my actions organized in projects or folders and whether some of my actions should be projects or vice versa. there are some interesting questions, for example: If I make a folder I can only put projects in it not individual actions, etc. I need help!

Background: I am a professor and one of the things I need is to compile an annual report at the end of each year recalling all the classes I've taught, grants and projects I've worked on, manuscripts I've produced, students I've mentored, national service I've done, committees I've served on etc. some things have many sub parts, such as interviewing and hiring several research assistants, others are isolated such as responding to a particular students aout a problem with a test. For my annual report things need to be organized by categories and subcategories, as in Teaching/Dissertation Committees. A couple of concrete scenario might help.

Scenarios:

1. an email arrives requesting whether i would be willing to be a peer reviewer for a manuscript submitted to the Journal of Big Ideas. I am. I bump the email into the inbox for processing later. It's is due on a specific date and there is really no need to for sub actions. My annual report considers this Service/National. I'm inclined to have a folder called Service with a subfolder called National and a further subfolder called Peer Reviews. At a glance i could see the peer reviews i have outstanding and at the end of the year i'd have a record of all the reviews i did.

But I cannot file this review in Service/National/Peer Reviews because the inbox will only add actions to projects. Seems silly to make a single item a project (or is it). How could I handle this?

2. Another type of Service/National I might do is organize a national meeting on Grasshopper politics. My annual report considers this Administrative national service. Should I make another Service/National subfolder called Administrative and place a project in it called Grasshopper Conference? This makes sense because there are many actions such as selecting deciding the theme and keynote speakers. Many of these actions have sub actions, such as corresponding with, sending contracts to, and scheduling Speaker A, Speaker B, and Speaker C. If I make each speaker a project, they can't be nested within the project of Selecting a Keynote. I could just define each speaker as a project and skip the Selecting a Keynote superodinate project, but single actions can't appear alongside projects so the theme action would have to be embedded somewhere. or I could make each speaker an action and each element of the negotiation with the speaker a subsection, but then I could't put a speaker on Hold. how to handle this?

3. I'm teaching a course on the History of the Toaster. This is Teaching/Courses in my annual report. I need a textbook, I have to make syllabus that has several related actions, each week I have to collect a written assignment, and I have to set up a field trip to the local toaster factory that has several steps such as calling the owner, arranging transportation, taking Attendance, and submitting for reimbursement. If the field trip doesn't happen I want to be able to mark it as dropped. Plus, I meet each week with the teaching assistant and I always have a bunch of tasks for him to do before next weeks class. And if i receive an email from a specific student asking about her grade I want to be able to remember to respond to it and have a record that I did. how could I set this up?

Thanks!
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jgparker View Post

1. an email arrives requesting whether i would be willing to be a peer reviewer for a manuscript submitted to the Journal of Big Ideas. I am. I bump the email into the inbox for processing later. It's is due on a specific date and there is really no need to for sub actions. My annual report considers this Service/National. I'm inclined to have a folder called Service with a subfolder called National and a further subfolder called Peer Reviews. At a glance i could see the peer reviews i have outstanding and at the end of the year i'd have a record of all the reviews i did.

But I cannot file this review in Service/National/Peer Reviews because the inbox will only add actions to projects. Seems silly to make a single item a project (or is it). How could I handle this?
It is no accident that the icon for the single action list type is a shoe box or file box. Make one for each folder to hold all the miscellaneous things that aren't projects.
Quote:
2. Another type of Service/National I might do is organize a national meeting on Grasshopper politics. My annual report considers this Administrative national service. Should I make another Service/National subfolder called Administrative and place a project in it called Grasshopper Conference? This makes sense because there are many actions such as selecting deciding the theme and keynote speakers. Many of these actions have sub actions, such as corresponding with, sending contracts to, and scheduling Speaker A, Speaker B, and Speaker C. If I make each speaker a project, they can't be nested within the project of Selecting a Keynote. I could just define each speaker as a project and skip the Selecting a Keynote superodinate project, but single actions can't appear alongside projects so the theme action would have to be embedded somewhere. or I could make each speaker an action and each element of the negotiation with the speaker a subsection, but then I could't put a speaker on Hold. how to handle this?
Sometimes you have to decide which aspect of the representation is most important. If you need to be able to use all of the project tools, such as reviewing or putting things on hold, you need to go with projects. In other cases, the sequencing may be more important, in which case you make action groups in a big project or single action list container. You could also take a hybrid approach, using placeholders in one project to remind you of actions in other projects. You might have the overall project with a section listing the speakers you want to recruit, with separate projects for the tasks involved in actually recruiting each one.
Quote:
3. I'm teaching a course on the History of the Toaster. This is Teaching/Courses in my annual report. I need a textbook, I have to make syllabus that has several related actions, each week I have to collect a written assignment, and I have to set up a field trip to the local toaster factory that has several steps such as calling the owner, arranging transportation, taking Attendance, and submitting for reimbursement. If the field trip doesn't happen I want to be able to mark it as dropped. Plus, I meet each week with the teaching assistant and I always have a bunch of tasks for him to do before next weeks class. And if i receive an email from a specific student asking about her grade I want to be able to remember to respond to it and have a record that I did. how could I set this up?
Sounds like a folder for the course, with projects for the various chunks that need independence, and maybe a single action list or two to keep the assorted random bits, correspondence, etc.
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jgparker View Post
Background: I am a professor and one of the things I need is to compile an annual report at the end of each year ...
Only faculty members can truly appreciate the tedium of doing a FAR. Here is an example of my layout in OF.

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Some answers to your specific Scenarios follow below.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jgparker View Post
1. an email arrives .... My annual report considers this Service/National. ...

2. Another type of Service/National I might do is organize a national meeting on Grasshopper politics.

.... How could I handle this?
Service (folder)
- Peer Reviews (folder)
-- 2012.01 J Big Ideas (project)
--> accept request (action / email)
--> review article (action / desk)
--> finalize comments (action / computer)
--> submit review (action / email)
-- 2012.05 J Big Ideas (project)
...
-- 2012.05 J Small Ideas (project)
...
- Conferences (folder)
-- 2012 - Grasshopper Politics (folder)
--- Attendance (project)
--- Food (project)
--- Conference Proceedings (folder)
---- Feeders versus Breeders (project)
---- Sub-Sahara versus Americas (project)
....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jgparker View Post
3. I'm teaching a course on the History of the Toaster. ... how could I set this up?
Teaching (folder)
- S12 : HYS 2033 - Toaster History (folder)
-- Course Startup (project)
---> Syllabus Prepared (action / action group)
---> Web Page Prepared (action / action group)
---> Gradebook Initialized (action / action group)
---> Roster Collected (action / action group)
...
-- Course Administration (project ... single action for "chores")
-- Teaching Assistant (folder)
--- Week 1 (project)
--- Week 2 (project)
...
-- Assignments (folder)
--- Homework 1 (project)
--- Homework 2 (project)
...
--- Capstone 1 (project)
...
-- Exams (folder)
...
-- Field Trips (folder)
...

I track email responses in email via flags rather than bothering to use OF.

*********

FWIW, I have just started using Goalscape as an additional tool to track the bigger picture. This was based on a recommendation from one of the OF forums.

Feel free to contact me off-line for further discussion.

Hope this helps.

--
JJW
 
 


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