Quarterly Projects

A friend wrote…

Joschua

Unrelated: I’d love to read about your Things project setup at some point! Looks like they are more time-bound 12WY-ish areas. I’m curious.

Me

I could have sworn I wrote something about it, but it appears to be gone. Consider me prompted.

Projects are defined as outcomes that will require more than one action step to complete and that you can mark off as finished in the next 12 months.1 That makes sense and most of our work falls into this category: Write this blog post, fix the cabinets, file our taxes. In a traditional GTD2 sense we can group our Projects into the Areas of our life… traditionally location or role bound constraints where we partition our focus depending on where we are standing.

Where then does "working on our house" go? As my system has grown there's been a couple "everlasting" projects that require more than one action step. Progress is possible… but they are never "done." Examples: Date Nights. Yardwork. House Chores. Financial Stewardship. Important stuff!

Things.app works better when your tasks are in Projects (Sections, searching, etc.) so I tended to have "everlasting" projects that were just buckets of tasks on a project that never ended.

As the years wore on, Projects were moving and celebrated but the Everlasting Projects felt immovable. It felt like no progress was being made. No accomplishments to celebrate, no moments to reconsider assumptions… they ballooned and swelled to an unhealthy size.

Sometime in early 2020 I decided to change this practice.

For three years now have been constraining my "everlasting" projects into 12WY style quarters. On my quarterly planning I close each out, creating the next iteration. (House Q1 -> House Q2). The migration of tasks and chores between them is quite like the "bullet journal migration" practice, affording the moment to ask "do I want to keep this?" I also look back on three months of accomplished chores and tasks and celebrate that while it's never done, it was stewarded appropriately.

If you are bullet journaling, you are doing this already. If you have a digital project that will never go away and feels Sisyphean, give this a try.


  1. Definition from gettingthingsdone.com 

  2. I still haven't read that book. 🤦 


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