The project (someday/maybe) list

We all have long lists of stuff we could do. We don’t want to forget these things, but we aren’t ready to assign them a time — so they can’t go on a daily to-do list. Or at least they shouldn’t. A daily to-do list is about what you intend to do today, and no one is going to tackle all the things on one day.

So, where do they go?

Fans of David Allen (Getting Things Done) are familiar with the “someday/maybe” list, which I think is a brilliant concept. You can keep a running list of things you’d like to do someday, or that sound cool to do, maybe, but you don’t want to commit to them yet.

All sorts of things can go on this list, such as buying that second book shelf for your son’s room, scheduling the wallpaper installer to fix the peeling paper in the dining room, ordering extra “Melon bud” patterned silverware (where did all my spoons go??), buying a series of future plane tickets, renewing your 4-year-old’s passport, getting the cars cleaned, figuring out Christmas 2024 plans, etc.

All those things have, in fact, wound up on what I’ve been calling my “Projects List.” I have a page in a notebook where I park these things and continually add to the list.

I know a long list of stuff can feel daunting, but it really doesn’t need to be. This isn’t a to-do list…it’s a someday/maybe list! Or at least a “needs to be done but in the nebulous future” list. By getting this stuff out of my head I won’t forget it. By keeping it accessible, I have sometimes been inspired to pull something off the list and put it on my weekly priority list, so it can then migrate to a daily to-do list, where it does get done.

So I have been making progress. The new bookshelf has arrived and is, indeed, covered in books. The wallpaper person will be here in early April. I bought plane tickets for something in May.

Have I figured out Christmas 2024? No, I have not. But someday — hopefully before December.

Do you keep a someday/maybe list?

In other news: Longtime readers know that I have been tracking my time on weekly spreadsheets since 2015. My current computer has logs from some point in 2016. At the corresponding point in 2022, when I would go to save log names with the Monday start date, my computer would try to overwrite the 2016 ones, because the dates matched up (so I began adding years to distinguish them).

With that little bit of knowledge about the calendar, I decided to start looking back to these logs from 6 years ago during the corresponding week. I did that through 2022 (post Leap Day 2016), 2023 (2017), and the beginning of 2024 (2018)…BUT then Leap Day 2024 happened. I was very curious to see what that would mean. I opened the March 4 log and discovered it was from… 2019. So now I’m looking back on that year.

So when do I get back to the rest of 2018? I haven’t quite figured that out…

(Actually, printing up all the time logs is on the someday/maybe list, so maybe I’ll look through all my time logs together someday.)

Photo: Contemplating possibilities…

18 thoughts on “The project (someday/maybe) list

  1. I love the idea of a someay/maybe list but my problem is actually implementing things on the list! Maybe I need to prioritise looking at the list and at least thinking about actioning…someday.

    1. @Humaira – totally! I try to view it as something to pull an item or two off a week – nothing overwhelming!

    2. I think that’s the benefit of a someday/maybe list, is that you don’t do it right away. Sometimes, by letting it sit on a list for a few weeks, you realize that it’s something you don’t really want to do, and then you can let it go, instead of always feeling like you “should” do that thing. I think it can make us more creative, because then you aren’t censoring at the same time that you’re dreaming; you save the evaluating for later. My someday/maybe list is mostly work projects, articles that might be interesting to write or projects I might like to do in the future after one project is finished. It’s more like a freewrite than a list. And I often lose it or forget where I saved it. So I need to work on that.

  2. Loved reading about your “Projects List” and the concept of a someday/maybe list. It’s such a fantastic way to capture those ideas and plans that aren’t quite ready for the daily to-do list but still need a home. The progress you’ve made on ticking things off is impressive—new bookshelf, wallpaper plans, and May plane tickets sound like exciting achievements!

    The time logs journey is intriguing, especially with the leap year twist. Navigating through past years’ logs must be quite a trip down memory lane. And printing them up for a comprehensive look sounds like a great someday/maybe project. Who knows what interesting insights and reflections await in those time capsules!

    1. @Natalie- it is a trip down memory lane. The upside of the time logs’ detail (I mean, every hour of the week!) is that I often *can* remember the week, which would not be the case if you just told me to tell you what I was doing on, say, March 6th 2019. Because I have the record, I can look at it, and it’s somewhat like pulling something out of a filing cabinet. A lot of it is still there.

  3. Curious how you manage a Someday/Maybe list alongside your 100 Dreams list? My Someday/Maybe list has mostly functioned as fun long-term things (go to Hawaii for a milestone anniversary in a few years, trips I want to do with my kids when they get older, etc.) but I’m wondering if those deserve a different kind of list. I have a list I’ve called “If Time” that functions similar to how you manage your Someday/Maybe.

    1. @Erin G – so for me the 100 Dreams list is more of the aspirational/fun/desirable stuff. Whereas the someday/maybe list is more for tasks that might or might not be fun but would be helpful to have happen. There is overlap. I do need to think about Christmas 2024 but it could be a spot where we could visit a country on my List of 100 Dreams. They’re not totally mutually exclusive.

  4. I love the idea of a someday/maybe list but never had a good place to put it. However I’ve recently gotten into Trello for both work and home task management, and that would make a great list in my personal Trello. So you’ve inspired me to make one (then it’s easy to move a task to the weekly list when I’m ready).

    1. @Sophie – yes, Trello could be a great place for such a list to live. Or anything like Apple Notes… some catch all type spot.

  5. I’m also thinking about that, Ms. Laura Vanderkam. I actually do have a list of things that I know that I will definitely need to do in the future. I don’t have specific completion dates for this list of things. But, that is not the same as the someday/maybe list that you are referring to, is it?

    1. @Yukun – I think of the someday/maybe list as a list of things that either do need to get done (but I don’t have a firm date) or that I’d possibly like to do but life would continue if I didn’t (order replacement silverware…we can always just wash the spoons we have more often…)

      1. That is great.
        Now, I have just added 3 new items to my list. These are items that I’d possibly like to do but life would continue even if I don’t. It’s just that I have hand-written down all items in this list on paper. To view the now-updated list of mine, Ms. Laura Vanderkam, we will need to be able to either exchange emails or connect on LinkedIn.

  6. About the time logs: I save mine a little differently. I make one spreadsheet for each month, and then a tab on the spreadsheet for each week (containing the 7 days of thr week). So the “file” saved is the whole sheet including an entire month. It will be a little harder then to look back on one single day from a previous year though. I decided I wanted to make this easier, since it really is nice to look back on previous entries. So what I have done is make another spreadsheet for each month, titled creatively “Extended Journal (Month Name)”. 😆 Then I made a tab for each day, no year along the bottom. (1/1, 1/2, etc.) When I’m done filling out my entry on my regular tracking sheet, I quickly copy and paste the whole column from the previous (completed) time log into the Extended Journal for the corresponding day. This way I will have all of my time records from each day lined up next to the previous year’s entry. In time, I can have several years’ worth! Basically like a 5 year journal! Not sure if this makes sense here but it’s very simple and I think is a fun and easy way to each day be able to skim back over the previous entries.

    1. @Grateful Kae – I like that you’re are logging with the memory keeping aspect in mind – I wasn’t thinking about that in the beginning (I was more interested in the #s) but then over time I realized that I cared less about the numbers and more about the memories!

  7. Hello! I’m not sure what your relationship to AI is – but that could be a great way to draw out information from your cumulitive time logs.

    1. @Malika – an interesting idea…I’m not sure if it would be able to process it or not! I don’t always use the same categories so it’s not like just processing regular excel data…

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