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TD Setup, Process System and Tips
I have been using TD for several months and invested numerous hours into creating an optimal setup and task process system. My suggestions are divided into three sections:
III. Tips and Tricks.
The following is copied and pasted from a 12 page "Quick Start" guide that I created for my colleagues and friends so the formatting isn't that great. I would be happy to email the formatted document to you if you are interested (firstname.lastname@example.org).I welcome your feedback and ideas.
A. How I Define and Use Various Features
Folders – areas of focus; areas of responsibility; big projects
Contexts - A context is a particular location, situation or time of day that relates to which tasks can be completed.
• Due by – shows up in Hotlist if within 4 wks; shows up as Future task if > 2 months away (both of these time frames are adjustable in Settings)
• Due after – shows up as Future task if > 1 week away
• Start Date – shows up as Future task if < 1 day away; Use in conjunction with Due Date if you want the task showing up < 2 months before the Due Date
• Start Date - Use for all Repeating Tasks (they will only show up starting the day before the Start Date)
• Due Date – Use if the Task needs to be done by a certain date
• Repeat From
o Use From Due date if you want the Task to show up at the same time each week, month or year
o Use From Completion Date if you want the time interval from completion to showing up again to be the same
• Star - Assign to all Repeating Tasks except ones that take > 30 min and don’t need to be completed within 2 wks of the Due date (no Star items will show up in weekly review of Hotlist due to Next Action Status; there is no need for Starred items to show up in weekly or monthly review as they are done as they show up)
• Status - if no Star, set Status to Next Action (so it will show up in weekly review); if a Star, set Status to Action (so it won’t clutter up your weekly review list)
Priority (-1 to 3)
• Priority (- 1) – Use for maybe but < 6/12 (use Status Someday if to do in > 6/12); +/- Due Date
• Priority 0 – low importance (ie could do)
• Priority 1 – mod importance (ie should do)
• Priority 2 – high importance (ie must do)
• Priority 3 – high importance and urgent (ie must do soon)
Tags – To facilitate searching across folders and contexts; use abbreviations to facilitate display of multiple Tags
• Names of people (use initials for easy to remember people)
• Roles – eg Parent, Spouse, Director, etc.
• Type of activity – eg Book, Movie, Declutter, Travel, Focus, etc.
• Type of Meeting
• Repeat (Rpt) for all Repeating Tasks – so you can View all Repeating tasks (View by Tags and select Rpt)
• Permanent (Perm*) – use for tasks that you want to always show up in your Daily View so you can readily add items to the Note field (eg items to discuss with a person you meet with weekly; items you want to buy at a store that you frequently go to)
Status (Unable to customize)
• Next Action (this month)
• Active (> 1 month)
• Planning (the task of think and deciding about what to do and prioritizing it)
• Delegated (when the whole task has been delegated but you what to oversee its completion; +/- Due Date)
• Waiting (pending - when you need others to do things before taking further action on the task; +/- Due Date)
• Hold (by a decision to delay; < 6/12; +/- Due Date)
• Postponed (later - ie > 6/12; +/- Due Date)
• Someday (maybe or maybe not but future – ie > 6 months; use Priority -1 for maybe but < 6/12; no Due Date)
• Canceled (but time was still spent on it)
Length – Enter how long you think the task will take.
• This can be used for specific contexts where you want to match available hours with estimated length of task time (eg Office and Den contexts) – see section III. Process > Weekly Planning for more details.
Star – Use for tasks due in the next 3 or 7 days (depending on if you are doing weekly or biweekly planning)
• Assign when doing weekly +/- mid-week planning or adding Tasks to be done this week
Hotlist – Tasks which are Next Action or Priority 3 or Due Date (by or after) is within 30 Days.
Login Email: email@example.com
Don't get daily email reminders of important tasks edit
Alias: xxxxxxx_xxxxxxxxxx edit
Password: (not displayed) edit
Regional Settings: Mar 18, 2012 5:12 pm.
Week starts on Sunday.
Distances measured in kilometers. edit
OpenID: Learn More
Unique ID: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx edit
Subscription: Pro Subscription(expires Mar 12, 2013)
Keyboard Shortcuts: Keyboard Shortcuts Enabled edit
Encryption: No edit
Display Preferences: Top is fixed and tasks scroll.
Left sidebar can hide.
Grid (One line with columns)
Show note icon on the left.
Tags are sorted alphabetically. edit
Fields/Functions Used: Folder, Context, Start Date, Due Date, Repeat, Length, Priority, Tag, Status, Star, Assignor edit
Row Style: Title is styled by duedate
Completed tasks are dimmed edit
Default View: Main edit
New Task Defaults: Priority: Medium (ie 1)
Start Date: Today
Also applied to tasks added via email or twitter.
Subtasks: Subtasks Enabled with Automatic sorting
New subtasks assume attributes of parent task.
Indented mode shows loose subtasks. edit
Hotlist Settings: A task with any of these criteria will appear on the hotlist:
Has a priority of '3 Top' or higher.
Has a Due Date in the next 30 days.
Has a status of 'Next Action' edit
Hide Future Tasks: More than 2 months in the future edit
Show List Counts: Show the number of tasks inside each list edit
Delete Completed Tasks: After 2 years edit
C. Organize Tab
To Create, go to Organize>Folders or Contexts
• Keep titles short (7-8 characters max)
• After entering, tick the box at the bottom to sort alphabetically (in the iPhone App, they sort automatically)
Folders – areas of focus; areas of responsibility; big projects
Categories: 1 = personal
2 = work
3 = family, home, social
1 PD (ie Personal Development)
2 Work Folders - create a different folder for each major role/responsibility you have)
2 (Work Project) - add major projects here and rename; one folder per major project
3 Fin (ie Finance)
3 (Home Project) - add major projects here and rename; one folder per major project
Contexts - A context is a particular location, situation or time of day that relates to which tasks can be completed
Income Earner – order and some items have changed
4 Out (ie Out and about; Errands; etc)
3 Out (ie Out and about; Errands; etc)
D. Column Settings
• To resize and arrange, click on the tab and the far right end of the column header
• Minimize column width for all columns except make Tag (to display multiple Tags) and Repeat (to display advanced Repeats) columns a little wider. Make the Task name column as wide as possible without creating a scroll bar at the bottom.
o Due Date
o Start Date
A. Tasks Tab
1. SHOW (ie Filters):
• Always select ‘Negative Priority Tasks’ and deselect ‘Recently Completed Tasks’
• Always select Indent Subtasks, and all Contexts and Tags unless instructed otherwise (see Process)
2. SORT: See section on Processes for specific setup instructions regarding this feature (FYI -Toodledo remembers your sort and filter settings for each view, and retains them for the next time that you visit the website).
3. Entering Tasks
• Initial Entry – see Help section reentering “multiple tasks” (ie group tasks with similar field settings and enter them together) and “duplicate a task” (ie create a template for similar tasks)
• Naming Protocol – Go from general to specific; for example start the task description with a prefix to denote subcategories within folders (eg name of a role, person, type of work, etc)
• Subtasks – when there are several action steps to a given task, enter them as subtasks
• Start Date – defaults to date of entry; change to later date if don’t want it to show up until then
• Due Date – use in conjunction with Start date to indicate degree of urgency
• Priority – use to indicate importance
• Star – use if to be done within 1 week of Start date; set Status to Action (so doesn’t show in Weekly review)
• Status – Use Next Action if to be done within 1 month of Start date but not within 1 week (ie no Star)
Tip – Invest the time to enter EVERYTHING. Once it is ALL entered, you will have a system you can trust
1. Semiannually- Views all tasks with the Postponed or Someday status (ie Future Tasks)
- VIEW BY: Status – select Postponed and Someday
- SHOW: select Deferred (ie - has a status of Delegated, Waiting, Hold, Postponed, Someday, Canceled, or Reference)
- SORT: Folder>Alphabetically>Priority
*Action – For tasks to be done within the next 6 months, change Status to ‘Active’ and update other fields
2. Quarterly– Set goals and add tasks related to them
- VIEW BY: Folders – All Tasks
- SHOW: deselect Deferred and select Future tasks (ie Due Date > 2 months); Tags – deselect Rpt
- SORT: Folder>Alphabetically>Priority
o Review your purpose, mission, vision, values and strategic objectives.
o Set quarterly goals and embed them in Toodledo and other systems.
o Review existing items by Folder and Name; Add new tasks related to your projects and goals
o Also go to Tools>Import/Export>Backup/Restore to do a Backup of your Toodledo Account
3. Monthly - Views all (a) Deferred Tasks and (b) Active tasks
a) Review Deferred Tasks
- VIEW BY: Status – view by each of the following categories: Delegated, Waiting and Hold
- SHOW: select Deferred
- SORT: Importance>Folder >Priority
*Action – Change Status to ‘Next Action’ for tasks to be done within the next month (‘no Star’ items only)
b) Review Active Tasks (ie to be done within 6 months, or if Due Date set, Due within 2 months) to determine if they should be make Next Action (ie to be done this month)
- VIEW BY: Status – view by each of the following categories: Active and Planning
- SHOW: deselect Deferred and Future tasks (ie Due Date > 2 months); Tags - deselect Rpt
- SORT: Importance>Folder >Priority
*Action – Change Status to ‘Next Action’ for tasks to be done within the next month
4. Weekly or Biweekly - Processes ‘Inbox’ and views all tasks Due within 1 month or Next Action. Decide on whether or not you want to do weekly or biweekly planning.
a) Review ‘Inbox’
a. VIEW BY: Folders or Status and select ‘No Folder’ or ‘No Status’ respectively
b. *Action – Assign Folder and Status and other fields as indicated
b) Identify Tasks to be done in the next 3 or 7 days
a. VIEW BY: Main and select Hotlist – all items due within 4 wks or Status Next Action (ie to be done within a month)
b. SHOW: deselect Deferred and Future tasks (ie Due Date > 2 months); All Contexts and Tags
c. SORT: Importance>Priority>Folder
d. *Action – add a Star to any item you want to do in the next 3 or 7 days; you can also add a number at the front of the task name if you want to indicate the order in which you want to do certain tasks.
c) Be realistic
o Identify how many hour you have available you have in the next 3 or 7 days
o In Toodledo, look at the Total Estimated Lengths (bottom left corner)
o If you cannot realistically accomplish everything, apply “D1” protocol* (can be done at any stage)
iii. Diminish (do part of it or do it less ‘perfectly’ – eg for perfectionists, 80% may be good enough)
iv. Delay (eg – put something on hold)
*Important Note - If you are removing a Star from a Task whose Status is Active, change the Status to Next Action so it will show in the Weekly Planning view the following week
o If you are feeling overwhelmed by a backlog of Tasks, apply the “D2” protocol
i. Defuse – talking about your feelings with someone can help you gain perspective and release pent up emotions that distort your thinking
ii. Difficult – doing the ‘difficult’ tasks first makes everything else easier while avoiding a difficult tasks makes everything else seem more overwhelming (flag these items with an asterisk)
iii. Design – structure your life so you are playing more to your strengths (ie doing things you look forward to, enjoy doing and feel energized after doing)
iv. Delight – enjoy the journey, not just the destination
v. Dance – celebrate each step and milestone along the way
5. Daily View – Only shows tasks that are to be done within the next 3 or 7 days
o VIEW BY: Main and select Starred
o SHOW: deselect Deferred and Future tasks (ie Due Date > 2 months)
o SORT: Context>Importance>Alphabetical
*Action – During the day, when in a new context, you only need to view the tasks of that context.
III. Tips and Tricks
• If you want the person to whom you assigned the task to notify you when it is completed, add “Reply” to the end of the description line.
Sharing Tasks (See Help section on Sharing to set up permissions)
• When tasks are shared between two or more Toodledo accounts, the identical tasks show up in each account. Changing it in one changes it in another. In particular, the Folder and Context remain the same (unlike Assigning a task where the Folder and Context are removed when it is assigned to someone else. It is therefore essential that the different Toodledo accounts have matching Folder and Context names.
• If one or more people are most responsible for completing the task, decide on a convention for indicating this. One suggestion is to add the name or initials of the person(s) as a Tag. If two or more people are responsible, put the most responsible person’s tag first.
Difficult Tasks (#)
• These are Tasks that tend to be avoided due to any of the following reasons:
o Not a strength
o Emotional barriers
o Require a high amount of energy, concentration or focus.
• Flag these Tasks by adding a “#” to the front of the description line to remind you that there may be some subconscious reasons why you may tend to avoid the task. Try to get these out of the way ASAP or delegate them to someone else.
• These are Tasks that you want to be sure to get done for any of the following reasons:
o High importance
• If your you have a lot of Starred Tasks showing up in your daily view and you want to easily see which Tasks you are to do next, add a “!” to the front of the description line. This can be done at any point but is particularly effective when done as part of your weekly planning.
Pending Tasks (P)
• If a Starred task in your Daily view is pending some other action or event before it can be done, indicate this by adding a “P” at the front of the description line.
Assigning a Task to be done on a Particular Day
• Sometimes one may want to do particular tasks on certain days. This can be indicated by putting a number at the front of the description line that corresponds to the day of week (eg 1= Mon, 2=Tues, etc)
o Weekly or frequent meetings where you meet on a certain day of the week
o Tasks that can only be done on certain days
o There are a lot of tasks for the week within a given context and you want to pre-assign them to certain days of the week during your weekly planning
• These are Tasks that you want to be able to readily add notes to. Examples would be as follows:
o People that you meet with regularly (eg work colleagues, spouse, children, etc) – discussion topics can be added to Notes as you think of them
o Gift Ideas, Reading List, etc.
• Indicate by adding a Tag called “Perm*”.
o Optional - You can further identify them by adding an asterisk to the front of the task description line. That way you are reminded not to complete it. Also, in the Daily view (see Processes) it causes these Tasks (which may be accessed frequently to add items in the note field) to show up at the ¬top of each Context so they are easy to find
• See separate attachment for a sample list of Repeating Tasks. These can be entered manually or imported as a CSV file. The CSV file can also be viewed in Excel and modified first before importing.
Projects – If a task requires more than 1 step, it is a project
• Large projects - make a separate Folder
• Medium projects - use Subtasks
• Small projects - use Notes.
Great Reference. As a GTD fan and a brand new user to TD, great place to start!
To better view the above Toodledo Quick Start Guide, click on the Dropbox link below:
Great Reference, thanks for sharing :)
Thanks for sharing. Love the tool
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