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Three Tips for Streamlined Toodedo Usage



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clason

Posted: Jul 29, 2011
Score: 10



Hi everyone -

I've been using Toodledo for about two years now, and have tried just about every feature and every way of doing things. Here are my top three take-always for how to make toodle-do more supple and transparent:

1) Sorting: priority, reverse length
I sort by only two fields, Priority (high to low), and length (longest to shortest). I religiously estimate length every time I enter a new task. So the top of my list every morning are the most important tasks that I expect will take the longest. If I'm crunched for time, i just look down towards the bottom of the list. I typcally break any task over 30 minutes into smaller sub tasks.

Tracking Projects as Goals, not Sub-tasks
I started by using Toodledo's suggestion of using Master tasks for projects, and sub-tasks as the individual tasks for that project. Cool in concept, clunky and difficult to manage in reality. Instead, against advice, I switched to making every goal a project. Advantages: easy sorting by project, a separate screen that shows a list of all projects with a list for notes and inter-relationship, a designated field to fill in for project name whenever I enter a new task. Much better than tasks and sub-tasks. I no longer use sub-tasks.

Start date for waiting tasks
After flirting around with a lot of different options, including using status, context, and tag fields, I decided on a much simpler system for tracking tasks where I'm waiting on someone else. For these, I add "w:[date I started waiting] [person I'm waiting on]-" at the start of the task name, and then I set the start date to the date when the person needs to have replied or the task needs to have been done. The tasks then only show up on my list on the date when I need to ping the person, and I can easily see when I requested, and who I requested from. A simple saved search (tasks that begin with "w:") allows me to see all tasks where I'm waiting for someone else. this is much much easier than messing with statuses or tags or contexts.
rfo

Posted: Jul 29, 2011
Score: 0



These are good. I don't use Length, but might look at starting. Seems like a good practice.

I like the idea of using Goals as Projects. Question -- do you use Folders?

I too am trying a simplified approach. I think I will only use two priorities and a Star. I tend not to have a lot of due dates, but do have things that must be done urgently (thus the star).

Any other simplification tips?

Thanks,
Rob.
Mark.M

Posted: Jul 30, 2011
Score: 0



Good ideas. I tend to use Folders for major projects (especially projects that have a unique time tracking/billing requirement). I especially like the enhanced Notebook, because now I feel better able to switch back and forth between tasks assigned to a project (folder) and project notes that I now can easily (and more visually) assign to that same project (folder).

This is one scenario when using folders for projects might work better than goals.
rfo

Posted: Jul 30, 2011
Score: 0



I don't use the notebook as I use Evernote.
Salgud

Posted: Jul 30, 2011
Score: 0



Posted by rfo:
I don't use the notebook as I use Evernote.


Same here, until now. But now the TD notes are easier to get to and have a few more features. So I've started using the TD notes for certain kinds of notes.

I have a weekly meeting with my boss. During the week, I keep a note listing the items I want to discuss. I used to keep it in a task called "Prep for 1:1", but it was hard to find that task until I created a special search just to find it. Which seemed a little kludgy to me. Now, I keep a note in TD, and just add to it as I go. Since TD is always on my screen, it's easy to get to. Of course, EN is only a click away, but then I have to go get that note, or create a link to it in my launcher. This just seems simpler that all that.

My boss recently asked me for a list of duties, and for the same reasons, I'm creating it in TD rather than EN.

So, for now, I'm keeping long term notes and notes that need the power of EN in EN, and some short term notes in TD. And, of course, I can always easily copy a note from one to the other.
Mark.M

Posted: Jul 30, 2011
Score: 0



I have tended to use Evernote as well in the past. I still like to store general info on Evernote for quick retrieval. But with the new format of the TD Notebook, I can see myself relying upon it more for Project specific info.
clason

Posted: Aug 25, 2011
Score: 1



Posted by rfo:

I like the idea of using Goals as Projects. Question -- do you use Folders?

Any other simplification tips?

Thanks,
Rob.


I use folders for broad categories of projects. Thus I have a folder called "Revenue" one called "Health", one called "family" etc. I'm actually considering dropping this. I get nearly nothing from this on a practical day-to-day use of toodledo, and it's only somewhat useful when I review work or do more strategic planning. It's just one more field of metadata to fill out for every task. Simplify!

I don't use Notes, either in Toodledo or in Evernote. Instead, I simply use dropbox, and have a single filing system for everything. I tried Evernote for a while, but it was at least as much effort to maintain as it saved effort by easy retrieval. In the end, it was just one more system to maintain. Dropbox has the advantage of simply being extension of the filing systems that I've already been using for years on my PC/Mac.

My big generic advice:

1) Toodledo doesn't make coffee. If it's a task or a project, it goes into Toodledo. Everything else goes in some other system.

2) Shun bells and whistles. Use as little task metadata as you can get away with.

3) Aim for transparency. You know toodledo is working for you if you don't have to think about toodledo, and instead you're just thinking of the task at hand.
PeterW 

Posted: Aug 30, 2011
Score: 0



Posted by clason:
Tracking Projects as Goals, not Sub-tasks
I started by using Toodledo's suggestion of using Master tasks for projects, and sub-tasks as the individual tasks for that project. Cool in concept, clunky and difficult to manage in reality. Instead, against advice, I switched to making every goal a project. Advantages: easy sorting by project, a separate screen that shows a list of all projects with a list for notes and inter-relationship, a designated field to fill in for project name whenever I enter a new task. Much better than tasks and sub-tasks. I no longer use sub-tasks.

Interesting idea... I'm using Appigo Todo on the iPhone because it's much more intuitive that Toodledo's app and it handles subtasks nicely. But it doesn't support goals.

Toodledo's iPhone app handles subtasks poorly IMhO but I might give it a try and replace my project parent tasks with goals.
Folke X

Posted: Aug 30, 2011
Score: 0



I also use Goals for projects. It has worked very well for me so far. It seems to give me "total control" of how I select and display tasks (i.e search and sort tasks), just as you say.

Also, I am a bit scared of sub-tasks for many different reasons. One reason is the fact that there is always (at least in other systems, e.g. Todoist) additional separate fiddling required for whether you want the tasks collapsed or expanded, indented or not indented, etc. I prefer to set it all up as a saved search.

As for waiting: What I do is I set the Status to Waiting or Delegated and set a due date for when I need to check up with them. I have had no problems with this setup. I suppose the difference is that I make use of the Status field generally - for pipelining, sorting and "everything" - whereas you don't. This means that for me the Waiting Status fits well into the overall picture, whereas for you it is an awkward oddity sticking out just for handling this particular kind of case.
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