Overloaded with projects

I did it to myself, really, but does anyone else ever overload themselves with projects? How do you keep track of where you’re at on each project? How do you choose which project to work on when?

Right now I have the following active projects in my queue:

  • add hardware to kitchen cabinets
  • dust collection automation using pi zero and esp32
  • building a coat rack using walnut
  • building a spice rack
  • building a storage box for my BBQ temp probe
  • building a plastic model with my son
  • building big letters for the Sister in Law
  • building miter saw stand
  • finish repairing the rc truck
Now... this isn't a to-do list... this is a list of projects I am actively working on already. The to-do list is ridiculously long. For the to-do list, I keep a list running in keep.google.com. I'm pretty good at managing the tasks for each project, but occasionally I go to work on something and go, "Hum... where was I on this."

For the electronics projects, I’ve found putting the code into github and using the features there to work really well. Wooden projects seem to do ok if I have a drawing sketched out of where I’m heading and I keep the parts labeled in pencil.

How about you? What do you like to use?

Oh yes, I have this problem. Like a ton. The thing that gets me is when I’m basically starting a project to organize my projects, and especially organize parts for projects. I keep wanting to have something like a max number of bins for project stuff, so if I want to buy that part for a new project, I have to kill one of the existing ones.

I have been using trello to organize my project stuff, and it’s working pretty well. I basically follow this example, and there’s an app for my phone to let me put things in, and if I have just 15 minutes to work on something, I can quickly glance at the list and find something that will only take 15 mins (although it’s often 20 mins and I just am late to the next thing).

I’m interested in this dust collection system. I’m also wondering why it needs a pi zero if it has an esp32.

MQTT :slight_smile:

The Pi Zero is going to run a MQTT server. The ESP32’s that are monitoring the tools will send messages to MQTT. The esp32’s controlling the dust ports will subscribe to the messages.

The Pi Zero will also have a python script subscribed to all the messages to turn on the dust collector through a SSR.

I’m thinking the dust ports will be opened/closed via a small stepper motor. I’m wondering if I can make it pie shaped so it hinges on a point instead of the more typical rectangle sliding ports.

I’m hoping if I do it this way, then my esp32s controlling the dust ports can use switches to verify if the port is opened or closed. In the event it’s supposed to be closed and it’s opened, it can fix itself.

I also want a manual on/off switch on the main control box going to a floor suction for sweeping up debris.

We’ll see if this all plays out. Right now I’ve collected the electronic parts I need to create one sensor and one dust port as well as the main controller, but I haven’t started wiring anything up or writing any code. I do have existing python container and a docker-compose for the MQTT/python part. I don’t know if the python running in docker can trigger the GPIO… haven’t gone that far yet.

Trello Looks pretty cool. I’ll give it a try.

Ah, a federation of processors. That makes more sense. I was thinking more like just a single esp32 for the shop. That makes perfect sense.

Yeah. I got the idea from someone else who used wires to run the signals all over the shop… Who runs wires anymore???

I guess I am old school, I keep lists near where I get stuck doing nothing. So near each screen. I have tasks that need to be done nearest to that screen. I cross them off when I finish one (nice feeling). If I do something that wasn’t on a list I swear I will put it on there just to cross it off. To me it feels good to see that something was done even if the list keeps growing. If I get to the bottom of a list I will start a new page and transfer old non-complete to the top of the list.

But what if you’re watching the your kids at the park and you need to write down a few tasks you just came up with?

Hmmmm. you got me there. I did install google notes on my phone a few days ago just in case.

I have a ton of ephemeral ideas that evaporate, and a smaller, but still large number that stick around and bug me. It makes it harder focus on what I’m supposed to be doing when these ideas are bugging me, but if I write them down then it allows me to let go and stop thinking about it.

A while ago I started using Trello for these ideas and it has helped organize and prioritize.

I used to use Trello when I was a one man operation, but as it grew to a few more people involved, I used Asana since it sort of has a nice slack-like group dynamic and having separate boards is easier to jump back and forth from.



I have to say… I created a Trello account yesterday and played with it a bit. It does work very well for what I’m trying to keep up with. I took some notes from our Jira setup at work and used similar state names. I also took some time to quickly pull my notes from keep over to the app. I’m thinking a small Pi4 with a monitor and bluetooth keyboard/mouse would work great in the shop for running this as well.

Thanks for the recommendation!

We use some cheapo all in one pc for the trello/Asana station, Trello works really well with a touchscreen pc, and those are really coming down in price nowadays. Pi is a great option too.

OMG I have been doing it all wrong. That actually does look easier. Even just adding a need to order / have ordered would save me from wearing through my whiteboard.

Having one of these as a screensaver or something would be pretty slick

I have only been using trello for a little while, but it seems to have all these features mentioned in the video (collaboration, assigning to people, etc.). They really look identical to me. Is there something I’m missing?

I also watched a few videos on managing families in trello (I think that’s actually where I saw it first). We have a planning board that’s just for things we need to plan. So we might have ideas like “go camping with so and so” or “schedule kid #2’s dentist appointment” and then we move it to the right as it gets more completed, including the last column, which is “recap” where we are reminded to share photos back to the other people in the events (like the dentist :D, they love that). I already have a home slack system set up that me and my wife share, so it’s not a huge stretch. It’s still not natural for us to use it though.

Just from watching the two videos you highly organized people put up. I see asana seems to have a left most menu that has links to other boards. So say I had a biz board and a personal or something does trello have that? I can also see in that example the two (for me) overlap so having more than one board might actually be a bad thing. Not sure. I am really linking this idea as my notes and lists are everywhere and could be an issue soon.

Yeah, if you look at one of the trello screenshots, there is a button “Boards” and it opens a little menu. If you want it always open, there is a link “Always keep this menu open” near the bottom.

If you ever got another person to help out, it would be a huge deal.


One thing I was discussing with a coworker today about Trello.

What I’ll probably end up doing is keeping this dashboard for ‘all tasks’. Then the really big tasks can get their own dashboard where I can break that task down into all the sub-tasks. It looks like you can archive a dashboard when you don’t need it anymore, so when I finish that project, I can archive it’s dashboard at the same time I move the main task to complete on the primary board.