Any advice on working to a deadline?


Any advice on working to a deadline?

e.g. Suppose you have a single Project involving say 10 Sub-Projects and Actions that MUST be completed within say 1.5 days. It’s no use just doing everything “as fast as possible” because to complete everything properly might take a 3 days or even a week(!)

So one needs to find a way to squeeze all the Actions into the time available - in this case 1.5 days.

GTDNext doesn’t seem to have any way of entering how much time each task is likely to take (nor how much ‘squeezing’ on each task will be needed).

What I have had to do so far copy and paste all the task/sub-task names out into an Excel spreadsheet. (And this is a distinct pain because all the names start with “-” which Excel therefore tries to turn into a formula, btw and so one is forced to do a string change to correct this).

I then entering the likely times for each task and then adjust them so that they are all squeezed into the lapse time available. Is there a better way of doing this? Should I be doing it within the GTD tool somehow?
In fact would as a simple project management tool of some sort be more appropriate?

Any thoughts?

Personally I am very reluctant to plan my stuff like that. If it is tight, and if the project is important enough, I will simply focus on that particular project almost entirely, at least until it is well under control. And that would be my #1 recommendation for you as well (not knowing your personality, though, so I could be totally wrong).

It is also a fact that time planning is not part of GTD itself. Core GTD is actually quite simplistic (but wise and useful), designed and described for users with average needs, and needs to be complemented with a variety of things for those who want more detailed control or have lots of complicated projects or tasks. I do not think you will find a GTD tool that has all this built in. And I doubt that it will be worth it to learn another tool just for 1.5 days of hard work. Just set aside the time you need and get on with it, I’d say. YMMV.

We have considered offering both a “time estimate” and an “effort” estimate to fully round out the options DA talks about when considering priority. I’d love to see a vote of how many people would use this feature. (Just “heart” this post if you read it and would use those features)

Today, I do this somewhat intuitively. If I know I have a deadline and way too much work to do on the project to just “naturally” work on it here and there I will schedule an appointment with myself. I actually schedule the time to work on the project on my calendar. I don’t find planning it out in any more detail then what I do in GTDNext to be all that helpful. No need for MS Project or Mind Maps or Excel. Just review the projec, then create an overall time estimate and commit to doing it. Schedule out times on your calendar if needed and get to work! Anyway, that’s what works for me.