That’s not a project

It only takes a single sentence to peturb. Last night, while listening to Episode 70: Anatomy of a Project List (, one of those sentences came out of the blue and has had me thinking every since.

Rosemary Orchard at one point said something like, "That’s not a project. That’s a goal." Immediately gears started turning in my head and I realised that many of my projects are in fact goals. It explains a lot why nothing ever happens on them. My focus and attention is wrong. I’m trying to go from goal to next action (task) and it’s too big a leap.

Here’s an example project title. "Update photo library". Granted, it is one of those on-going "projects" that never ends. Under it I know I need to:

  • curate the photos of the last 6-9 months
  • add the most recent photos taken by family members
  • add metadata to those photos
  • review all existing photos not yet marked "Final" for metadata, events and people
  • scan the remaining photo albums

It all boils down to "work on some of that stuff when I have the inclination to"

Now I’m thinking a little differently. My role is Curator of family memories with the goal to Add metadata to all family photos. Why that goal is important to me, I’ve not yet parsed.

From there, and as I review my role and goal, I’ll come up with projects. They will be something like:

  • Scan album 15
  • Review metadata on photos from 1985
  • Import January 2022’s photos from Dropbox

Smaller, more focussed, and more likely to provide a sense of achievement.

I’m looking forward to seeing where I end up.

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