In an earlier blog post, I illustrated how I create ‘project files’ in Evernote using notebooks.
I have since received a few questions about what I do when the project is completed.
Do I just keep adding notebooks?
Do I move everything to one notebook and lose the project structure?
In this blog post I illustrate what happens when I finish – either complete or cancel – a project.
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Step by Step Guide to Finishing Projects in Evernote
Let’s walk through this guide with an example project.
Here is the ‘Enyo’s Sample Project’ that has a variety of next actions and a number of different project support type documents.
It’s clearly a project that is still in progress.
And below is a screen shot of the Project Information Sheet, or PIS for short.
This PIS happens to be blank, but there could be a nice description of this project outcome in the Outcome section. This could even be a picture or drawing of what the outcome should look like. There could be one or more links to other reference systems in Asana, or Google Drive, or some other type of repository in the Reference Locations section.
There could be some brainstormed future actions coming up that are listed in the Next Actions section.
As the next actions in the project are completed, I do not delete the Evernote note for that next action. The main reason is that it’s helpful reference in the project file to track what was done. Instead, I remove the context tag (e.g. @Anywhere) and replace it with an action completed tag (#Action-Completed).
Here is the same project with all the next actions completed.
If there are no more next actions to be completed or created because the project outcome has been reached, then the project is ready to be completed and removed from the active portion of my Evernote GTD system.
To do this, I use the copy link feature to reference each completed action and project support document in the PIS … the project index.
I also replace the #Project tag in the PIS with the #Project-Completed tag.
I can then move all the project file contents to my Project Archive notebook, and delete the ‘Enyo’s Sample Project’ notebook from my Evernote.
This way, if I ever need to reference the project again, I simply have to locate the PIS and all the content related to that project is easily referenced from one or more of these sections.
And, all the completed projects and next actions are still available for any metrics I may want to run.
If an action is cancelled, or a project is cancelled, the steps remain the same. The only difference is that I use the tags #Action-Cancelled and #Project-Cancelled instead of the completed tags. This at least differentiates where I did work on an action versus where I did not, and where a project outcome was achieved versus where it was not.
What hurdles or benefits do you see to closing your projects in this manner?