PARA Part 5: The Project List Mindsweep - Forte Labs(已完成)

Welcome to the Project List Mindsweep, a step-by-step exercise to help you properly identify every project in your work and life.

欢迎来到 "项目清单大扫除",这是一个循序渐进的练习,帮助你正确识别工作和生活中的每一个项目。

Your Project List is a list of the outcomes or goals you are currently committed to, all in one place. It serves as a dashboard of your current workload, helping you grasp the current progress of your projects with just a glance.


Most people couldn’t give you a full inventory of their projects if their life depended on it. Yet they also tell you that they have too much on their plate. Creating an accurate Project List gives you the confidence to say yes OR no to new commitments. Once you know how much capacity you actually have, the decision of what to fill it with can be intentional and strategic, instead of reactive.


There is often a resistance to writing down all our projects, because we fear that seeing them all in one place will be overwhelming. But non-judgmentally collecting the full inventory is the first step to gaining control. You committed to these projects – we’re just creating a tool to support you in managing them.

我们经常会有一种抵触情绪,因为我们担心看到所有的项目都在一个地方,会让人不知所措。但是,不假思索地将所有事情收录进清单是获得控制权的第一步。你本来就要做这些项目 —— 我们只是创造了一个工具来支持你管理这些项目。

Follow the instructions below to create your Project List. Click here for an Evernote template to help you follow along.


The definition of a “project” | "项目 "的定义

The key distinction to understand as you begin this process is that we aren’t using the word “project” in the usual vague sense. That word is used to refer to everything from a bathroom remodel to a multi-billion dollar construction project.

当你开始这个过程的时候,需要了解的关键区别是,我们并不是在模糊意义上使用 "项目 "这个词。这个词是用来指从浴室改造到数十亿美元的建筑项目的一切事情。

We are using the following definition of a project: “Any outcome you’re committed to that requires more than one work session to complete.”

我们对项目的定义如下: "需要不止一步的工作步骤才能完成的、任何你要达成的结果。"

This definition forces us to acknowledge the reality that even the simplest outcomes — like “buy headphones” or “prepare an agenda” — usually require numerous steps. Instead of tracking all these steps in our heads, we want to track them in an external tool. Your Project List remembers all these steps for you, so you can focus only on the next action.

这个定义迫使我们不得不承认一个现实,那就是即使是最简单的结果 —— 比如 "买耳机 "或 "准备议程" —— 通常也需要无数个步骤。我们想要通过一个外部工具来追踪这些步骤,而不是凭借人脑来记忆。你的项目清单会帮你记住所有这些步骤,所以你可以全神贯注于接下来的行动。

Most people find that sticking to this definition produces a list of around 20–40 projects. This is why we want to use an external tool — not our brains!

大多数人发现,坚持这个定义会产生一个20-40个左右的项目清单。这就是为什么我们要使用外部工具 —— 而不是我们的大脑!

Step 1: Do a brain dump of everything you think could be a project | 将你认为可能是一个项目的所有东西都从脑海中导出来

Here’s some things to consider and places to look:


Your mind | 你的想法

What’s worrying you that you haven’t taken the time to identify as a project? What’s taking more mental bandwidth than it deserves? What needs to happen that you’re not making consistent progress on, that could benefit from a project structure?


Example: “My back is hurting” => Schedule doctor’s appointment 例如: "我的背很痛" => 预约医生

Calendar | 日历

Look a few weeks into the past: what do you need to follow up on? What needs wrapping up? What projects do you want to create out of events that already happened?


Look a few weeks into the future: what needs planning and preparation? What requires some goal-setting? Who do you need to catch up with?


Example: “I need to figure out what we’ll do at that team off-site” => Plan team off-site agenda 举例:"我需要想一想,我们在那个外出的团队活动的会议上要做什么?"我需要弄清楚我们在那个团队外的会议上要做什么" => 计划团队外的会议议程

To Do list

What actions are you already taking, that are actually part of a bigger project you’ve not yet identified?


Example: “I need to follow up with that house cleaner” => Find cleaner and schedule weekly cleaning time 例子:"我需要跟进家政清洁工"=>找个清洁工,安排每周的清洁时间

Agendas | 议程

What communication or followup actions you’ve scheduled with people are actually part of a bigger project?


Example: “I need to call Linda back” => Develop sales campaign with Linda 例如:"我需要给 Linda 回电话"=>与 Linda 一起策划销售活动。

Briefcase/bag/wallet/purse | 公文包/包/皮包/钱包/皮包

What objects or papers have you saved because they remind you to take an action? What have you not gotten rid of because it’s needed for a project?


Example: Business card in purse => Follow up with potential contractor from conference 例子。皮包里的名片 => 与会议上的潜在承包商进行后续跟进。

Physical environment | 物理环境

Look around your office, home, car, or desk: what physical objects represent projects you haven’t identified as projects?Document on desk => Package up and mail document to business partner

环顾你的办公室、家里、车上或桌子:哪些东西代表着你还没有确定为项目的项目? 桌上的文件 => 将文件打包后邮寄给业务伙伴

Computer | 计算机

Look at your computer desktop, downloads folder, documents folder, bookmarks, emails, open browser tabs: what are you keeping around because it is part of a project?


Example: PDF article => Read draft article and give feedback to co-author 例子。PDF文章 => 阅读文章草稿并反馈给合著者

Processes or procedures | 流程或程序

Which processes in your work or life could be more efficient, streamlined, or purposeful? What do you do regularly that takes too long, is too difficult, or hasn’t been thought through?


Example: Grocery shopping => Collect list of staple food supplies and set up recurring deliveries 例如:去食品杂货店购物 => 收集主食用品清单,并建立经常性的送货服务。

Creative opportunities | 创造性的机会

What would you like to learn, develop, build, put on, pursue, start, explore, or play with as a project?


Example: Flyer for improv class => Look up and schedule improve class 例子。兴趣班的传单 => 查询并安排改进班的课程。

Competence building | 能力建设

Which skills would you like to learn? Which hobbies would you like to start? What kind of project could advance your career, or make your life more fun or interesting?


Example: Email confirmation for online course purchase => Complete online course on coding 例子。在线课程购买的电子邮件确认 => 完成在线编码课程的确认

Don’t worry about the exact definition of a project at this stage. In the next step, we’ll decide what to do with this initial brainstorm.


Step 2: Organize and refine your list | 整理和完善你的清单

Some options to consider:


Delete anything that is obviously not a projectSometimes you just need to write something down to realize it’s not something you’re committed to.


Combine projects that are tied to the same outcome“Wipe old computer” and “Research new computers” could be part of the same project “Buy new computer.”

合并同类项:将 "清理旧电脑 "和 "研究新电脑 "这两个项目结合起来,可以成为 "购买新电脑 "项目的一部分。

If a project can be substituted by a calendar entry, add it to your calendar insteadFor example, “Pick up sister from airport” doesn’t really need to be actively tracked over time. Seeing it on the appropriate day will trigger all the necessary actions.


Move “someday/maybe” projects to the bottom of the list:Keep track of these future projects, but don’t let them clutter your current list.

将 "某天/可能 "项目移到列表的底部 :保持对这些未来项目的跟踪,但不要让它们让你的当前清单变得杂乱无章。

Step 3: Define the desired outcome of each project | 确定每个项目的预期成果

Look at each project on your list and ask yourself: what is my desired outcome for this project? What would need to happen for this project to be considered an outstanding success?


I suggest writing these desired outcomes in the present tense, to help project yourself forward in time to when the outcome you are describing has come true:


  • Project: Schedule doctor’s appointment => Outcome: Back pain is resolved and I can sleep through the night without discomfort 项目:预约看病=>成果:腰痛已经解决,我可以彻夜安眠,再无不适感了
  • Project: Plan team off-site agenda => Outcome: Team is clear about what needs to be accomplished and next actions are identified and assigned 项目:计划小组的场外议程 => 成果:团队明确了需要完成的任务,并确定和分配了下一步行动。
  • Project: Develop sales campaign with Linda => Outcome: Sales campaign is approved by exec team, budget is allocated, and team is briefed on it 项目:与Linda共同策划销售活动 => 成果: 销售活动得到执行团队的批准,分配到了预算,并向团队介绍了销售活动的情况

Add a date | 添加一个日期

Part of defining the desired outcome is deciding “by when.” Every single project on your list needs to have a specific deadline or timeframe that leaves no room for confusion (such as “by June 30, 2017,” “by the end of 2017,” or “by the end of Q3 2017.”).

This is the true test of whether it is actually a project. Even if the deadline seems arbitrary, it serves as a reminder for you to check on your progress and reevaluate your approach.

Add a target completion date for each project on your list.

评估结果是否理想的部分标准由 "何时截止"决定。你清单上的每一个项目都需要有一个具体的截止日期或时间框架,不能有任何模糊的地方。



Use action verbs | 使用动词

We’re looking for a verb that describes DONE: finalize, submit, deliver, complete, send, clarify, organize, update, implement, resolve, submit, reorganize, design, roll out, install, set up, publish, or complete.


If you find yourself using verbs such as manage, oversee, ensure, or maximize, it is probably an ongoing Area of Responsibility, not a Project. Something must be able to happen in the near term so that you can mark the project as “done.”

如果你发现自己使用了管理、监督、确保或最大化等动词,那很可能是一个还在活跃的的责任领域,而不是项目。项目必须是可以在近期内发生的事情,这样你才可以把这个项目标记为 "完成"。

If you see any projects that don’t include clear action verbs, add them now.


Step 4: Prioritize your list by project | 第4步:按项目排列清单的优先次序

Most people prioritize their work at the level of individual tasks.

Here’s the problem with this approach: it takes only one phone call, one email, or one new piece of information to completely change your priorities. Priorities are constantly shifting throughout your day and week. Why spend a lot of time to sit down and identify your priorities when they’ll probably change within minutes?

But it’s a very different story when it comes to prioritizing projects.

Projects move much more slowly, and don’t change their priority even if there’s an emergency. It’s worth spending the time to clearly identify which projects are the top priority, because that is unlikely to change much during the course of a week.

Rearrange your Project List from most to least important for the current week. Reprioritizing this list is as simple as moving projects up or down on the list. By doing this at the beginning of each week, you can focus your attention the rest of the week on those top priority projects, and not get distracted by the rest.

Make an intuitive judgment of how much of your mental bandwidth each project should be taking up this week, and sort your list accordingly.







Step 5: Evaluate your Project List | 第五步:评估你的项目清单

Does this include all the outcomes you’re committed to?


Look over the whole list from a bird’s eye view: does it accurately represent your current priorities, interests, values, and long-term goals? In which area do you have too many projects? Not enough? Which outcomes or goals you say are important to you don’t have any projects targeted at them? Where are you spending time or attention that has no clear outcome or goal?

For any that are simply unclear, take a step back and ask “What am I really trying to accomplish here?” or “What bigger goal is this connected to?”

With this whole inventory in front of you, which projects should you cancel, postpone, renegotiate, or clarify?


对于那些根本不明确的项目,退一步问:"我到底想要什么?"或 "这和哪个更大的目标有关?"


In conclusion | 小结

With a clear and complete Project List in hand, you are now ready to execute on your tasks without having to remember which balls you have in the air. You can focus most of your attention on the top priority projects, while keeping an eye on the rest.

Consider this exercise just the “first pass” on creating a Project List. Any time you feel you are lacking clarity and don’t know where to focus, you can run through this checklist to gather up and prioritize all your commitments.

Even better, you can make this exercise into a “Weekly Review” – a standing appointment with yourself to reflect on the week and update your Project List. If you do this review from a more calm and balanced perspective, away from the chaos of the workweek, you’ll find it easier to maintain balance throughout the week.


把这个练习看成是创建项目清单的 "第一关"。任何时候,当你觉得自己的思路不够清晰,不知道该把重点放在哪里的时候,你可以通过这个检查表来整理所有的任务,确定优先级。

甚至还可以做得更好,你可以把这个练习变成一个 "每周回顾" —— 和自己做一个长期的约定,每周进行回顾,并更新你的项目清单。如果你从一个更冷静和稳健的角度来做这个回顾,远离了工作周的混乱,你会发现更容易保持整个星期的有条不紊。

PARA Part 5: The Project List Mindsweep - Forte Labs(EN)