Evernote notebooks lend themselves perfectly to organising one’s GTD projects and actions.
In this post I write about how to archive one of these projects once it has been completed, or cancelled.
By archiving the project, I am able to store all the content for future reference.
And I’m also able to get interesting statistics such as number of project completed per month, average number of parked next actions per project, and so forth.
And, if I ever need to duplicate and leverage an old project, the entire project file is available for my reference in a single Evernote note.
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Step 1: Mark all next actions complete
No-brainer here. If your project is complete then all the next actions are either complete or no longer relevant … what I call cancelled.
So in this step, I review any next actions that may still be in the project and mark them complete or cancelled.
To do this, I simply replace all the tags for that next action with either a “#05k – Completed” or a “#05k – Cancelled” tag.
The “#” is just a symbol I use to sort my tags, and the “05k” is in reference to my Horizons of Focus where next actions are tagged at 5k.
A project that may start out like this:
… would then look like this:
Step 2: Confirm Outcome has been achieved
I have a Project Information Sheet OR PIS for each project, and in this project information sheet I will sometimes document an outcome in the >=OUTCOME=< section, especially if the project name itself is not clear enough.
During this step, I do a quick double-check to make sure I have indeed achieved everything I needed to for this project.
If I have not, I brainstorm ‘what’s the next action?’ and the project stays open.
If the project is indeed complete, I move to the next step.
Step 3: Index notes and history
This is possibly the most important step for archiving projects because it is the step that allows me to easily pick up the PIS of an archived project and easily find what I’m looking for.
The first thing I do in this step is copy the links of all completed and cancelled actions into the >=HISTORY=< section of the PIS. I may sort the completed actions by created date, or updated date, to ensure I have a chronology of the tasks.
The second thing I do in this step is copy links of all the other project file documents – file notes, email history, links, meeting notes, and so forth – and paste those links in the >=NOTES=< section of the PIS. I may use sub-headers for these notes if I think it it makes referring to the PIS easier.
I should also mention, that I do not always wait for the project to be completed to do this step. Particularly for large projects, I may do intermediate archiving of completed actions and file documents when doing a project review, or even when working on the project.
Step 4: Mark Project Information Sheet as completed
I then mark the PIS as complete by replaced the “#10k – Active” tag with a “#10k – Completed” or “10k – Cancelled” tag.
In the >=REFERENCE=< section I may also have a tie-in to my horizons of focus mindmap if this project was drilled down from one of my higher horizons. If that is the case, I may also go into the mindmap and mark the project as complete there. I typically only do this if there is some higher level purpose or goal that I have been trying to reach that may still require me to create another project to complete.
This way, I quickly spin off the next project to keep me moving towards that goal.
Step 5: Archive project notebook
Now that the project has been completely marked complete and the PIS organised, I move all the documents to an archive folder.
I keep one archive folder for each year.
For 2013, I currently have 6,822 Evernote notes in the archive folder.
And finally, I delete the now empty project notebook.
Do you use Evernote notebooks for managing a single project OR outcome?