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I am just starting on adopting GTD and while this might be a very naive question, I did not see it get answered on the forum.

The question essentially is, how frequently would you create projects to track sub-tasks. While I started collecting actionable items for my open-loops, I could see that nearly every open-loop required two or more actions to be performed before it could be completed. I therefore started to wonder if it was really possible to have atomic actions that need not also figure in one of the projects?

As an example, if I intended to set up a face-to-face meeting with a colleague, this would essentially translate to

  1. Email XYZ to schedule a meeting
  2. Book the conference room to meet with XYZ
  3. Discuss the meeting's agenda with XYZ

Even simpler things like preparing a status report (which lets assume I myself prepare) will have to be done in multiple steps

  1. Write the project weekly report
  2. Email project weekly report to XYZ

For now I am defining a project to track each of the above two open loops. My concern though is that my next actions start to appear both in the next action context list and in the project list.

My questions [x] Would you broadly agree with my approach above? [x] Would you review the project lists only during weekly or with whatever frequency you review your next action list? [x] Would you also define projects to track each of the two open-loops mentioned above?

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How frequently would you create projects to track sub-tasks?

Never. The task is actionable by itself thus shouldn't be split up further and converted into a project. Multiple tasks would form a project, but something that you can describe as a single task does not.

... nearly every open-loop required two or more actions to be performed before it could be completed. ... was it really possible to have atomic actions that need not also figure in one of the projects?

Two or more actions don't necessarily form a project; compare cleaning up your room to building a house, preparing for christmas or making a world trip. In the first case you do need to do more than a corner; however, it's so trivial that listing the other three corners would be a procrastination by itself.

If I intended to set up a face-to-face meeting with a colleague.

Your task should be Set up a meeting with X to discuss Y. and just that, next time you meet this task you will contact X and move the task to the Waiting list. Once the appointment has been made, you can tick off the task from your Waiting list, as the task has been completed and there is now an event on your calender. There is no need to have three separate tasks to do just that...

Even simpler things like preparing a status report (which lets assume I myself prepare) will have to be done in multiple steps

Upon reading Send a weekly project report to Y., you will automatically think about writing the report if you haven't already done so. You don't really need a project or a task dependency for this.

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Alright thanks. Appreciate the help. I think I get the gist. I also re-read how "Projects" are defined from the book. I think I shall get a better hang of it as I put my setup in place and play with it for a few days. –  Arvind Raman Sep 25 '11 at 8:26
    
@ArvindRaman: Good luck! Grasping back to the book is never a bad idea... :) –  Tom Wijsman Sep 25 '11 at 8:31
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