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Hiding from Work!
I'm not sure if this is a question about GTD or a question of how to map GTD to TD. Quick background…
I've been using GTD for a couple years and have found it extremely valuable. My own GTD / TD system relies primarily on:
* Folders - categories of tasks like Work, Family, Household, Finances, etc.
* Context - the essential attribute, IMHO -- limits my view of tasks to where, when, or with whom I can get them done
* Due Dates - also essential (sometimes) as deadlines do exist
* Priority - I'm not strict about this one as it can change based on external circumstances and passage of time. I do use Top or High to flag items that are or are approaching critical though.
I don't use:
* Status - For a while I used "Waiting" to indicate delegated or external follow ups. But now I just put that into a Context "Agenda" with a subject like "Tom: install fiber". Next time I see Tom I can quickly filter (by Context = Agenda, Search = "Tom:") all of the items I'm waiting on Tom for. And as I'm using Due Date and a little bit of Priority, I can choose to contact Tom to expedite as necessary.
* Star - Seems a duplicate of priority to me
* Tag - starting to rethink this one, see below.
Finally, many of my tasks stem from emails. (Not using my email Inbox as a task manager is one of the most important insights I gained from GTD!) I frequently forward emails setting the @Context, *Folder, #Due fields. The speed of dispatching actions and waitings from email to the "external system" is probably my most loved aspect about TD.
The challenge I have relates to my use of Folders. For responsibilities related to my employment, I have just one folder named <company_name>. I also have a number of other folders for non-work activity such as Family, Household, Finances, etc. The problem comes up on weekends or whenever I need to take a break from my work. When I am in this situation, I still want to leverage Contexts, Due Dates, and Priorities. But I don't want to see any tasks related to work -- even if its due NOW and I'm standing next to Tom! So with my current system, to see the tasks which are relevant outside of work I need a view that shows tasks in all folders except those in the <company_name> folder.
The Contexts property has a very nice filtering widget with "Invert" where I can view, for example, all Agenda tasks *or* all non-Agenda tasks. I wish I had the same kind of filtering ability for Folders. Except for custom searches though, which are not so streamlined to use, I cannot get this view.
I'm starting to think that I should have fewer folders, possibly just two: Work & Personal or something like that. I could then supplement the loss of the other Folder names with Tags. So Family, Household, Finances, etc. would become Tag names and those tasks would move to my Personal Folder. Before I make this jump though, I wanted to see what others are doing or might suggest.
How do you partition / hide work tasks from your personal life?
What I do is this: I have a pair of tags - .W and .P - that I can use both in searches and in the quick filter to easily separate work and personal.
Just like you, I keep things in Folders. I have half a dozen personal and half a dozen work related folders. And just like you I have observed that I probably could do without the folders, but I still keep them, just in case. They are good sometimes.
You have some interesting ideas about "keep your eyes open for" type tasks (such as your example with Tom). This is something I have not yet implemented, but I have had some thoughts about it.
I set TD up using Proximo's framework (see thread this forum) and use context to filter personal, work, and several other "high level" contexts that are meaningful to me. My folders are then context filtered to flip between work, personal, etc.
For people I have them in my action folder with a P- at the beginning of the entry to keep them blocked. For each item that I need to talk to someone about I add a subtask.
Unfortunately I have to carry 2 phones, one for work and one personal. Fortunately, both are Android and I am running a TD client on each with preset filters for Work and Personal.
Posted by Folke_1293790322:
... I have a pair of tags - .W and .P ...
...Just like you, I keep things in Folders...
Thanks for the feedback. As our systems seem to be somewhat similar, this is something I could easily do. Using tags to separate personal and work would be straightforward.
The question I am mulling over is whether tags or folders would be better for this partitioning. And I'm starting to lean towards folders rather than tags.
I am beginning to realize that many of my folder names are categorical (accounting?) descriptions that actually have very little to do with how I process them (which is driven by Context, Date, and Priority.) Folders such as Household, Vehicles, Finances, etc. could easily be converted to tags. Probably, I could even loose these descriptions and I wouldn't loose much if anything from my process. But if I were to delete these folders (tagging them first) then I could get down to just a few folders thereby gaining easy partitioning. This would also allow me to retain the categorical description though it's not clear this is really necessary in my GTD system. Tags might be a way to wean me off of tracking information that ultimately isn't that important.
In some ways, partitioning by folder or tag is 6 of one, half a dozen of another. But TD UI (as well as DGT GTD, my Android app) provide more direct filtering by folder. As I need to partition by work / personal more often than by categories, I'm leaning towards using tags for categories and folders for partitions. That is, I would do something like the inverse of what you are doing, swapping folders for tags and tags for folders. Make sense?
I'm still mulling but this is the direction I'm heading.
Posted by ben:
I set TD up using Proximo's framework...
... and use context to filter personal, work, and several other "high level" contexts...
Thanks for the reply.
I have read Proximo's framework and it may work for some (apparently it works for many!) but it would break an essential aspect of my work flow. I use Contexts as places, people, or types of activities to me reminded when, where or with whom I can get a task completed. Some of my Contexts:
I see there are other ways of using Context, such as you are doing. And this might help me partition too. But then I would have to find another field in which to store the... um, er "contexts" above. :-)
As with my previous post, which TD field is used to store which type of GTD attribute is variable. I think it comes down to which are more important to the individual for filtering and sorting.
I had that same issue so, whilst it cost more, I actually got a second pro subscription of TD. I then use the sharing functionality and can easily skip between my work and home lists. The issue is then on portable devices, so for these I use the TD iPhone/iPad app and the 2Do app pointing to the different lists. It works and allows me to have slight different set-up for work and home.
I simply filter by location with Home and Work, so I can see everything related to a specific location
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