A Longer Master Project List Is Not A Better Master Project List

A staple of Getting Things Done is the Master Project List, that compilation of everything you’re working on that requires multiple steps to complete. Planning the junior high lock-in belongs on the Master Project List, because it requires multiple tasks: designing the flyer, recruiting volunteers, building the schedule, and so on.

I’ve maintained a Master Project List for about five years. Every time I start a new Bullet Journal, I port my Master Project List from my old one, leaving off all the projects that are checked off as complete, of course. And every time I perform that little ritual I panic at the small size of the ported list relative to the size of the one I’m leaving behind. It always makes me feel like I’m not doing enough, that I need to expand my project list.

That’s dumb for a couple of reasons. First, projects find you. Literally minutes after migrating my list yesterday I had somebody in my office pitching me on a new project to work on.

Second (and more obviously), more is not better. Effectiveness and impact can’t be measured in plates held aloft and kept spinning. Projects represent core objectives in your work, things like making connections with parents and training volunteers and curating teens’ engagement with scripture. Too many of those and you’re looking at a diluted set of strategies and objectives that has little chance of making an impact.

Less is more, I think.

 

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