Saturday, October 17, 2015

Organizing My Project Queue Part 3

Thanks for hanging in there with me.  If you've made it this far you've done a lot of  work.  This post is about keeping the system going and maintaining the flow of projects.  At this point, you've used Excel to list most, if not all of your projects that are in progress or that you want to start in the future.  You've set up what you intend to do for this week and what you might do in the coming weeks.  You've started to color-code tasks as you work on them.

Take stock at the end of the week.  Let's look at what did and did not get done.

I'll use my list as an example.  I finished two projects, and changed them to blue (yay!).  I worked on My "Autumn Harvest Festival" so I changed that to green.  I didn't get to my Jolly Halloween quilt so it's still white, and I didn't finish my Country Cottages block for May, so that deadline was not met.  Life happens.  This is all okay.

In the WIP column, I can now remove the "1" for each of the finished projects.  This makes my total at the bottom of the page lower. (yay!).  You can see that I've done that for the monster movie runner but not yet for the granny afghan.

Shift any boxes that need to be moved to next week.
My Jolly Halloween and Country Cottage projects need to be moved out now.  Here is where the excel program does its magic.  On this week, I click on the box of the task that I want to move and click "insert." Excel brings up a dialog box with some options.

The default is "shift cells down" but what you need to click instead is the first option "shift cells right."  Look what happens when I do that:

It moves both the task and the target finish date out a week.  This is great if you have a whole long set of tasks for your project.  Everything gets moved at once.

Now I have a new finish date for this project which is the week of October 25.  Still before Halloween, so that's fine with me. There's a pileup of too many tasks for the week of October 18th though, and I'll get to that in a minute.  First, how to handle that column for the week that is finished.

Keep a separate Excel sheet for your finished projects.
Down at the bottom of the excel spreadsheet is a little tab with: a + sign to add another sheet.  Open a new sheet and paste in the top few projects and the first week's column. Be sure you use COPY and not CUT or you'll lose the original data from your worksheet.

This big copy and paste only works for the first week.  Each subsequent week you'll need to manually enter a column for the week and enter what got finished.  I put the newest column to the left.  Here is what mine looks like before adding the October 11 data:

This makes me happy.  All those blue finished projects.  I can see the green squares that showed me the weeks I worked on each.  Projects that didn't get finished or worked on get an asterisk, to help me keep track of them.

Go Back to your original spreadsheet and plan this week.
After moving my finished projects to my finished sheet, I could delete the old week and I've got the upcoming week to deal with.  It looks like this.

 That's too many things for me to do in one week.  Some will get deadlines pushed out.  Some might get put off until next year.  I'll shift things around and re-prioritize until I have a reasonable number of things to work on for the coming week.  I might also look ahead to the coming season and decide to start some Christmas projects.

I know these posts are long and may seem complicated, but once you have the system set up it's a lot of fun to manage it.  I feel that I have more control over my UFOs and WIPs than I ever have before.  I'm getting a lot of things done because they're receiving the attention they deserve.  I don't feel guilt about projects that are waiting because they're all on the list and ready to move up to the top as space clears for them.

I'm sure you have questions.  Ask me in the comments or contact me by email.  The link is in my sidebar.  Are you planning to implement all or part of this plan?  I'd really love to hear from you.

2 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Laura Chaney said...

Definitely like the idea of moving the finished projects to an additional sheet.

Rosemary said...

Thank you for this series of explanations of how you organise your projects. I'm going to sit and study it closely then get to work on making my own spreadsheet. Stand by for questions. :)

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