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Projects: do you use "Folders" or "Goals" for projects?



AuthorMessage
myriade

Posted: Dec 11, 2011
Score: 1



Hi

I'm completely new to Toodledo, but not to GTD. I want to set up my GTD system today, but I'm not sure whether to use "Folders" or "Goals" for my projects.

Which of the two do *you* use for your projects? : )
PHH

Posted: Dec 11, 2011
Score: 0



Hi

I used to use folders for projects, but I have switched to goals. Pro : you can have some hierarchy (shrter term goals can depend on longer terms goals), allowing to build "super rojects". Con : so far, no way to manually arrange the list of goals as can be done for folders (only alphabetical order is allowed for goals in the left bar).

Hope it will help...
Folke X

Posted: Dec 11, 2011
Score: 1



I use Goals.
myriade

Posted: Dec 17, 2011
Score: 1



@ PHH and Folke X

Do you think that the majority here uses "Goals" for projects?
Folke X

Posted: Dec 17, 2011
Score: 1



No idea. Sorry. But I have got the impression that many use tasks and subtasks - tasks then being the "project".
PHH

Posted: Dec 17, 2011
Score: -1



No idea either.

I use tasks and subtasks as described by Folke X, which is probably the main driver to subscribe to pro accounts. I have seen some posts about using goals in the same way as I describe ("super projects", or collection of tasks+subtasks). Many of them also discuss of workarounds to sort the goals (using A,B,C or 1,2,3 prefixes for instance).
myriade

Posted: Dec 17, 2011
Score: 0



Oh, I see.

@PHH, so you got a Pro Account and changed from Goals to Tasks/Subtasks in the last couple of days?
PHH

Posted: Dec 17, 2011
Score: 0



No. I have been using TD for several months now (Pro Account).

TD is very flexible, and I have experimented several ways to implement a GTD-like system. My current setup uses tasks/subtasks and goals.

Tasks/subtasks are used as projects/actions in D. Allen's semantics. If I had to express how I use goals in GTD terms, I would say they correspond to responsibilities and areas of interest (I call them "super projects" : big projects of the year, for instance).

I should add that I now use folders to mark status of each action (next action, waiting, someday/maybe,...) because I was not completely satisfied with the built-in status function.

I hope this makes things clearer and will be useful.
Folke X

Posted: Dec 18, 2011
Score: 2



My line of thinking concurs with PPH's.

Maybe (or maybe not) there is a small difference in that I use Tags to distinguish between permanent Areas of Responsibility (say, different "jobs within the job" - Areas are very useful for long-term planning.)

Like PHH, I have used the Status function for Next etc, but agree with PHH that it is probably better to build your own structure (using Folders, for example).

And myriade; if you do not already do so, I would advise you to build your own menu (complete set of views aka lists aka searches) under Search.


This message was edited Dec 18, 2011.
PeterW 

Posted: Dec 18, 2011
Score: 1



Posted by Folke X:
And myriade; if you do not already do so, I would advise you to build your own menu (complete set of views aka lists aka searches) under Search.

Yes, although I WISH Toodledo would get task counts on the Search page. I hate not having them there.
simonjk

Posted: Dec 20, 2011
Score: 1



I've played with many ways of making it work and I am still tweaking but here is where I am at the moment

The status field is used to track the status.
Folders to track projects, this is purely because I use "Due Today" on the android and that is the best way to sync it. I tried goals and it could work but the sync issue put me off.
Most of my projects have no defined end (I know thats bad) so they are made of task/sub tasks, next actions and somedays.
I use tags for people or meetings
There is a folder for recurring tasks
I also configure a number of custom searches inbox, sub projects etc

Still playing but it works ok.
wardrobe

Posted: Dec 26, 2011
Score: 5



I use neither "Goals" nor "Folders" for projects. I rejected "Folders" for projects mostly because having more folders bogged down my GTD daily review.

Here is what I do:

Step 1- CONTEXTS: I create twelve contexts with letter prefixes: a. ..., b. ..., through l.... Each corresponds to my twelve ongoing project areas; the letter prefix enables me to order the appearance of the project names.

Step 2 - TASK ENTRY: All project tasks I enter into ONE project folder without fussing with multiple folders. This is convenient, since I often enter tasks on the fly.

Step 3 - FIRST REVIEW: I look at all "no contexts" items in the "Projects" folder. I assign contexts to all of them (which takes no more than a few minutes).

Step 4 - SORT: Here is the first payoff: Using collapsed view, sorting by context gives you a marvelously convenient view of all your projects in the correct order (as imposed by the prefix lettering of contexts). This saves time for me, as compared with the cumbersome use of multiple project folders.

Step 5 - SUBTASK REVIEW: Here is the second payoff: quick outline software for ordering "next actions." I put my settings to allow reordering subtasks by dragging. Then I organize items WITHIN a context into tasks, each with ordered subtasks. In effect, using contexts gives me three-level outlining of tasks (=contexts), subtasks (=tasks), and sub-sub-tasks (=subtasks).

Third payoff: I do not need to bother with adding priority labels since dragging sub-sub-tasks gives me a fine-grained priority and task-dependency order.

Step 6 - FAST DAILY REVIEW: Having the additional level of sub-sub-tasks is the fourth, and biggest payoff. Sub-sub-tasks, the way I do them, are worded as "next actions." In the daily review, I simply skim a dozen or so of the most important sub-sub-tasks, and reassign them to my "Next Actions" folder. This takes almost no time or struggle. This method has greatly reduced the time of my daily review.

Step 7 - SPECIAL PROJECTS: In addition to my twelve standing projects (which I label via contexts), I tend to have only have one or two special projects at any given time. For each of these one or two special projects I simply make a separate folder which I delete at the project's conclusion.

OVERVIEW: Using contexts instead of separate folders permits an additional level of outlining in which Toodledo subtasks are, in effect, GTD sub-sub-tasks, that is: next actions. Taking a few morning minutes to reassign to the "Next Actions" folder a reasonable number of most important sub-sub-tasks from a single "Project" folder greatly simplifies daily review.

The pinch point is doing the hard thinking of moving from subtasks to sub-sub-tasks (= next actions). But this thinking cannot be escaped, so there it is. But the rest of it is mostly no-brainer processing requiring little energy or stress.

Other notes: I dedicate the tickler folder to items with alarms.

Star and priority categories are reserved for rare items, instead of turning into a mass of ambiguous data from overuse.
wardrobe

Posted: Dec 26, 2011
Score: 1



P. S. I wrote at length already about preferring contexts to folders for labeling projects, but forgot to add that I prefer "contexts" to "goals" since for project identification I do not need all the fussy detail of goals's threefold "short-long-lifetime" distinctions.

I do use "goals" a bit, however. I use "short-term" to identify non-ongoing projects due within a month. At present, I have 3 short-term goals.

I may start using the long and lifetime categories under "goals," but have not done so yet; at present I simply have a list of long and lifetime goals in a notebook page that I review and revise weekly.

Any tips people have on setting up long and lifetime goals would be most welcome!
Canyon Russell

Posted: Dec 29, 2011
Score: 9



I think this thread and many others like it show the basic problem in Toodledo's decision to not support projects as a data type. Their answer "we have folders and subtasks." is just not an acceptable answer. I can say that I've tried all three (Folders, Goals, and Subtasks) as a stand in for Projects and they all fall short. The important component of a Project that the other options lack is a project status. Projects can be Active, Complete, or "on Hold" (Someday in GTD). This could be accomplished if they added an aditional status option to Folders or Goals but only if this status affected all the tasks under that Folder. A Project 'on Hold' or set to 'Someday' should be able to have tasks but those tasks shouldn't be visible outside of that project until it's status it changed to Active.
PeterW 

Posted: Dec 29, 2011
Score: 3



Posted by Canyon Russell:
I think this thread and many others like it show the basic problem in Toodledo's decision to not support projects as a data type.

I wholeheartedly agree. This is (in my opinion) the biggest weakness in Toodledo.
mco

Posted: Dec 31, 2011
Score: -1



Posted by Canyon Russell:
I think this thread and many others like it show the basic problem in Toodledo's decision to not support projects as a data type. Their answer "we have folders and subtasks." is just not an acceptable answer. I can say that I've tried all three (Folders, Goals, and Subtasks) as a stand in for Projects and they all fall short.


I've used OmniFocus pretty extensively, which does what you want; it's good but not great. There's always some trade-off between speed and flexibility on the one hand, and powerful project-management features.
Canyon Russell

Posted: Jan 04, 2012
Score: 0



Posted by mco:

I've used OmniFocus pretty extensively, which does what you want; it's good but not great. There's always some trade-off between speed and flexibility on the one hand, and powerful project-management features.


Yes, I'm aware of OmniFocus and understand it to be a great program. Since I'm a PC user (at home and work) with an android phone it isn't an option for me. That's why I try to focus on web based apps with android companion apps. And that's why, if not for this one feature, Toodledo would be perfect for me.
davidt_certified

Posted: Jan 06, 2012
Score: -1



I use folders as areas of focus. I am not using goals because it only gives me three choices unlike the horizons. I do not need Toodledo to tell me that a project is on hold. I only need the hotlist to know the next action. During review I will reassess.

This message was edited Jan 06, 2012.
grimfarmer

Posted: Jan 08, 2012
Score: 2



Hi Everyone,
I know you're not writing this stuff specifically for me, but as a BRAND NEW GTD and TD user, all the things discussed here are like gold nuggets. Cheers and, to be honest, I have no idea right now what my final (first) implementation of GTD using TD will look like! If anything :-D
dg

Posted: Jan 08, 2012
Score: -1



Posted by PeterW:
Posted by Canyon Russell:
I think this thread and many others like it show the basic problem in Toodledo's decision to not support projects as a data type.

I wholeheartedly agree. This is (in my opinion) the biggest weakness in Toodledo.


+1 on this assessment. Toodledo is very flexible, but avoiding this critical GTD concept is the only reason I have left for using another product.
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