How I set up a new project

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In sprucing up my Evernote account, I used the new “template” feature to create a new “Project Master Note” template. It helps me flesh out the bones of a new project.

For my first go at this, I used tables and color and channeled my inner designer to make it look pretty. Unfortunately, my inner designer died years ago and it was a hot mess. I went back to my “plain text” roots and now the template is lean (and boring) but functional.

The first line of the template says PROJECT. I give each project a name or title and sometimes a sub-title.

The second line says PURPOSE/OUTCOME. I describe what I want to accomplish and why it’s important.

Knowing the OUTCOME clarifies what I want to do. Knowing the PURPOSE helps me wade through all of my active or planned projects and prioritize what I want to work on today or this week.

The third line is for the due date. I usually leave this blank or write n/a, but sometimes there is a due date or at least a target date.

The fourth line heading is STATUS. This is followed by checkboxes for Idea, Planned, Active, On Hold, Cancelled and Completed.

Next is DESCRIPTION. I write a one or two sentence summary of what I plan to do.

Then, NOTES/BRAINSTORMING. I use bullet points to record ideas, problems, features, benefits, and other thoughts about the project.

The next line says NEXT ACTIONS. Under this heading, I use checkboxes to indicate what to do first, what to do after that, and so on.

Finally, RESOURCES. Here I put links to websites, other notes in Evernote, shortcuts to files and documents on my hard drive, and so on.

Between each of these sections is a horizontal rule to visually separate things.

Unlike my first go at this, my template takes up very little room and allows me to see everything with minimal scrolling.

I’ve used this for a couple of months and I’m happy with it. But like most things, it is a work in progress and will likely change.

Anyway, that’s what I’m doing (and why). How about you?

Do you use a new project template or master note? What do you include (and why)?

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