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Patching GTD for repeating actions

GTD seems to me to focus very much on helping with a certain kind of thing; it's the one-off project. Roughly;

- You figure out what you want to achieve
- You break it into actions
- You do the actions
- You're done.

But what about those things you never complete? 'Keep the house tidy' isn't something you do once and forget about it. Nor is 'Keep fit' or 'Keep my relationship great' or 'Maintain vehicle'.

So how do you fit the action these goals create into GTD? I don't think it's written into the system - I think it needs a patch.

Anyone got any ideas for how to do this? If you already do it, how are you doing it?

Thanks for any ideas,


two.olives's picture

I have not found a...

I have not found a perfect solution to this problem yet, and it is a real problem with GTD. The best I've found is this:

Each one of those ongoing projects gets to be just that, a project. The difference is, it will never be completed. You can still have a list of NAs though, and they can fit into your choice of contexts like any other NA. Obviously this will differ with any implementation of GTD - I personally use myLifeOrganized to track mine. It has wonderful recurring task options which I use extensively for this kind of maintenence. Some examples:

Goal: Keep house clean and comfortable
-Project: Keep kitchen clean
++Cleanup dishes and put in dishwasher
++Wash counters and stove
++Clean out frifge/freeze
-Project: Keep bedroom clean
++put away any clothes
-Project: Laundry

I even use it for maintenance on my vehicles:

Goal: Keep vehicles maintained
-Project: Truck Maint
++Check tire pressue and oil level
++Wash truck
++Is it time for an oil change? (if so, then I setup a sub-project for this to Buy Oil, Buy Filter, Change Oil, Take used oil to gas station)
-Project: Motorcycle Maint

I have only tried this using MLO, so I can't say exactly how well it would work in other implementations, but I have to imagine you could make something up. One important change I have made is to recur tasks x days after completion, rather than on a specific day. This allows me to fall behind. For example, if I didn't wash the truck for 25 days, instead of 14, then checked it off, under the old system I would have another wash due in 4 days - obviously not what I want. That's my little opinion anyways :)




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