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My Ideal System



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ccoleman

Posted: Mar 29, 2011
Score: -1



My Dream System

I've read lots of posts on this and other sites where people describe their system (all very helpful).  But I thought I would do something a little different and describe what my ideal task management system would look like, partly to clarify my own thinking in terms of what I am looking for in a program as well as how to best set up the elements of my existing program (toodledo and todo) to come closest to what i need. 

I feel like my needs are very simple, and yet surprisingly hard to satisfy with what is currently available.  I break it down as follows:

First, I need universal access on iPhone, iPad, home desktop (Mac) and work desktop (PC). As a practical matter, that means i need a web based system with painless cloud synching.  For now, at least, that rules out Things.

My other requirements all flow from the stages of GTD processing, and can be grouped nude the four modes that i interact with my system, as follows:

1.  Ubiquitous Capture.  My capture tool is my iphone, which i always have with me, so this boils down to the requirement that i be able to get stuff into my phone at a single tap.  In practical terms, that means that the system must have an iphone app (as opposed to just a mobile webpage, which is too slow and unreliable).  Fortunately most systems have this (but, curiously, not Nirvana, which rules that out).

2.  Easy Processing. I have to be able to quickly get things from the Inbox into my system, as well as move items around within the system (e.g., promote task to project, someday to active, etc.). Every system can do this on some level, so this just boils down to user interface - which system is easier, more elegant, more "fun" to work with. But truthfully, this isn't that important relative to other needs because I don't really do that much processing, and i can live with clunky processing if everything else is good.

3.  Reviewing.  I put this ahead of Doing because it is more important to me. Some people just want to "file and forget" and prefer a system that only shows them tasks when and where they can do them. But i am just the opposite.  I spend a lot of time with my lists and use them as a springboard to think "big thoughts" about my life. So i need lots of different views that let me see how my tasks fit together to make up the whole of my life. 

At a minimum, i want to be able to call up a complete list of projects, with the ability to show or collapse tasks within those projects, as well as partial project lists filtered by area of focus, again with collapsable task view.  I would also like a robust folder/subfolder system that I can use to organize my projects. I want to be able to order these lists manually. And i would love the ability to attach icons, colors, fonts, etc. To individual projects or tasks to help me make those lists come alive visually. In short, i want to be able to play with my lists and think about my life. 

4.  Finally, i also sometimes like to actually get things done.  Here, my needs are pretty simple. I need to filter all tasks (including subtasks) by context or tag.  It Is crucial, though, that the filtered lists include and show subtasks (an area where toodledo plus todo falls down).  When im Doing, i just want the bare list of things to do, not have to hunt around in projects, etc. To find the tasks.

In addition, i need the ability to quickly create hot lists of tasks - to do today, to do while running errands, to buy at the store, whatever. I can always make these using tags, but i really want to be able to do this quick and on the fly. The Star field is a great tool for this, but you only get one star. My ideal system would give me three or four "stars" to use however i want. 

As a bonus, id like a reasonable price, a responsive developer, and an active user forum 

And that's it for me. Toodledo with a ToDo front end for iPhone and iPad is the closest I've come so far, but it isn't perfect and i still have my eye out.   
PeterW 

Posted: Mar 29, 2011
Score: -1



Posted by ccoleman:
4. Finally, i also sometimes like to actually get things done. Here, my needs are pretty simple. I need to filter all tasks (including subtasks) by context or tag. It is crucial, though, that the filtered lists include and show subtasks (an area where toodledo plus todo falls down). When im doing, i just want the bare list of things to do, not have to hunt around in projects, etc. To find the tasks.

I'm using Toodledo + Todo and this part is working OK for me. Maybe I haven't understood what you need?
ccoleman

Posted: Mar 29, 2011
Score: 1



The problem is that ToDo will not show subtasks in a filtered list. Instead it shows the projects and you have to open the project to see the subtasks.

Fortunately there are two exceptions, Focus and Starred, which only show filtered subtasks. So as long as you have a system to get any next actions onto one of those two lists, which I do by giving all NAs a priority which bumps them to focus, then you can at least filter those NAs by subtask. That's a lot better than nothing and is a workable work around.

But you can't, for example, generate a list of all subtasks that are in your someday folder that are tagged Financial, or whatever. Instead you'll get a list of projects that have matching subtasks and have to open each project to see the subtasks. Not ideal but I can live with it for now.
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