ForumsGetting Things Done®I guess I'll post my GTD system
I guess I'll post my GTD system
I've done much research reading David's books, blogs, and forums like these to build my GTD system from the ground up. I have settled on Toodledo because I found it to be the most feature rich, customizable and universally accessible (mobile apps, desktop plugins, syncing, browser extentions, etc). Toodledo is by far the most integral part to my entire GTD system. I also have an android phone which I use the DGT GTD app with the Toodledo plugin which I would recommend and the developer is great at responding to suggestions. I try to keep it "as simple as possible but not simpler". I try to use Toodledo to its full potential by using status, tags, custom searches, etc because I find it easier to manage tasks and change my system around in the future to fit my needs. I got most of my ideas from proximo. So I'm just throwing it out there to see if it helps anyone!
I mainly use folders to organize my lists and they include:
Actions on Hold
Inbox is where I "collect" everything. Anything that pops in my head goes here until I have time to process and organize.
"Actions" are next actions I have assigned. All next actions I also assign the "next action" status
"Actions on Hold" are next action items but I cannot do them now, usually because they belong to a project and there is a next action (in the Actions folder) that needs to be done first. I also store long term tasks here as a sort of tickler file that when the time comes I will move to my Actions folder. This keeps my Actions folder from getting too cluttered.
"Waiting For" is for tasks that I cannot do because I am waiting on some external source to move it forward.
"Someday/Maybe" I use as a big parking lot to park items that I may want to look at in the future.
"Projects" folder is an inventory of all my tasks that require more than 1 next action. I signify each project with a + in the title so I can identify it easier. When working in this list I can assign sub tasks to projects and review them as needed.
Context is very important in GTD and my system as well. They help me go from an overwhelming list of actions to a much smaller and manageable list related to the context I am in at the moment. Mine include:
@anywhere - things i can do just about anywhere
@errands - things when I am out and about
@home office - things I can only do from my desktop pc or home office area
@phone/calls - this includes calls and android items
@Read&Review - I can use this for material on my kindle or for items in my "read&review" desktop basket
@weekly review - items i want to look at specifically when I am doing my weekly review
I use status but it is not integral. I mostly use it for my custom searches and mobile apps. I assigned a meaning to each status. I am still tweaking this part and might even completely abandon it in the future for the sake of simplicity.
Next Action - Next actions
Active - Needs next actions more clearly defined
Planning - Contributes to a projects or other next actions
--Not Actionable Now--
Delegated - delegated to someone else and tracked in "waiting for" folder
Waiting - External action required, tracked in"waiting for" folder
Hold - Internal action required (ie on hold for previous project step/action), tracked in "actions on hold"
Postponed - Tickled tasks, "Actions on Hold" folder
Someday - "Someday/Maybe" folder
All others I don't use.
I use due dates and start dates. I will put a start date in the future if I do not want to look at it until that time. I cant decide if I want to park these in I do not use specific due times or start times.
~low - low energy tasks
~high - high energy tasks
R/D - research and develop
R/R - Read and Review
I have a few other various discretionary tags which I use to help identify tasks.
I use priorities just to help in sorting on lists and I use Stars to bring certain tasks to my focus for whatever reason
I try to use length because it is important in GTD but it isn't quite implemented.
I sort by: Priority, Due Date, then Status but these are not set in stone. I mostly work from the folder view.
I also like using custom searches to work from and to find certain tasks. I also put a number prefix in front of my search titles to sort them (ie 1 Hotlist, 2 To Process, etc.). Some of my searches are:
To Process - items with missing info like context if it is in next action folder, or
Hotlist (my own, not toodledo's)
Planning - Items that can use some more mental work to define actions
Stale Tasks - items that I may have not looked at in a while that I review from time to time to prevent things from slipping through the cracks and clearing old and irrelevant tasks.
As a side note, I also use springpad quite frequently to store my project support material or reference material that is related to a toodledo task or project. I use the specific URL for my sringpad note and copy it into the toodledo note so I can access it easily when working on the task in toodledo.
So there it is! I really hope it helps some people and I will be more than happy to hear suggestions, comments or questions.
Thanks for reading!
This message was edited Mar 14, 2012.
Thanks for posting! :)
A bit complicated, isn't it?
Are you actually using Context, Folder, and Status for all your tasks? (And, sometimes Tags.) Seems that there is quite a bit of overlap, e.g. Folder "Someday/Maybe" and Status "Someday", Context "@Read&Review" and Tag "R/R". Isn't it difficult to update all those fields?
Also, would you please explain your Searches? How do you identify "Weekend" tasks? What missing info, besides context, do you search for in "To Process"? (You know you can have default values for new tasks?) What is in your Hotlist? What is in your Tickler/Future? How do you identify your "Stale Tasks"?
Thanks for the feedback!! I completely agree it does seem complicated at times, especially compared to some other setups posted. There is also a little overlap like you said with a @read & review context and the tags. Personally, what attracted me to Toodledo was how powerful it was with a ton of possibilities so I am ok, for now, if it is a little complex because I am confident it was solidity over the next few months.
What I am really going for is flexibility. What works for me is to try to fill in as many columns as possible when I process my tasks from inbox that way I dont have to touch it again, usually. I have found that by using all the columns I listed(status, context, tags, etc.) it allows me to play around with my tasks more in some mobile apps and windows software.
For example, I play around with different android apps for my Toodledo tasks and each app is a little different. One app can filter or sort by tags really well (hence the R/D tags) while other work well with contexts (@read and review). Some apps let you filter/sort by selecting multiple tags, not contexts like the Toodledo website does. Also, you can view by status in Toodledo do which is nice to use.
Just in my limited experience (a few months) with this setup I found it easiest to assign as much info I can during processing. It probably is over kill but it allows me to change and adapt my system in the future. Hope this makes sense.
I dont use ALL the fields for ALL my tasks. Good question. Let me explain.
Actions - Use context, status, priority, start date. The rest are optional
Actions on hold - Same as above
Waiting for - Use status and priority, the rest are optional or as needed
Someday/Maybe - Use status and priority, the rest are optional or as needed
Projects - Use priority, rest are optional or as needed
As far as updating the fields; the ones I find myself updating are the folder and status. Status can become a pain, but its not super important unless I am managing a big project. If a task is a subtask, after I complete it, I always refer back the the main project task. At that point I review the project, change status and/or folder, decide next actions, etc. However, I might end up doing away with status for the sake of simplicity.
I have to admit my searches are a work in process and are far from 100% functional. I hope in the future to use them more, but they get me in the ball park of what I'm looking for.
For all my searches I use Match ANY of the criteria.
I use for checking for "landmines" as David Allen describes
- Priority is: high, folder is not: waiting for
- Priority is: Top
- Due due is: today
- Due due is: before - today
- Star: has star
---2 To Process ---
Use as a pseudo-inbox to made sure everything is completely processed and/or organized appropriately
- Folder is: Inbox
- Folder is: No Folder
- Folder is: Actions, context is: no context
- Folder is: Actions, status is: none
- Status is: no status, Folder is not: Projects
---3 Define Next Actions---
Use to make sure I have next actions for what is important
- Status is: Planning
- Folder is: Projects, Has subtasks - no
- Is subtask - yes, status is not: next action, folder is not: Actions on Hold, folder is not: Someday/Maybe, folder is not: Waiting for
- Folder is: Actions, Status is not: Next Actions
- Status is not: Next action, priority is: Top
- Status is not: Next action, due date: is before - today
- Status is not: Next action, due date: is in the next - 3 days
- Start date: is after - today
- Status is: Postponed
- Status is: Deferred
---5 Stale Tasks---
Experimental - use to find neglected tasks and clear some old stuff to "negotiate agreements" with my self - a concept from David Allen's books.
- Start date: was not in the last - 30 days, Folder is: Actions
- Date added: was not in the last - 90 days, Folder is not Someday/Maybe
I had at one point to help identify stuff I might want to tackle on the weekends;but got rid of it. I think I got the idea from reading someone's post on this blog. It was setup to look at actionable (actions folder and next action status) items giving attention to contexts like errands and home. I thought it was a good idea but it never really worked out well for me.
I should probably look into new task defaults. Thanks for the comment!
This message was edited Mar 15, 2012.
Thanks for the detailed response. Your explanations make sense to me.
Posted by dmcgurk:
Just in my limited experience (a few months) with this setup I found it easiest to assign as much info I can during processing. It probably is over kill but it allows me to change and adapt my system in the future. Hope this makes sense.It is common to start with everything that is available and then remove those parts that eventually end up being unnecessary. I suggest, though, that you do the opposite: Start with the bare minimum and then add what you need when it becomes really clear that you need the additional components.
For example, for Contexts, try just Home, Office, Errands, and Someday. Add a Start Date on those tasks that actually need a date; and Star those tasks that have a higher priority (or use three levels of priority, with only the top two levels showing up in your daily list.) And eliminate all the other fields. This minimalist approach might seem disorienting at first but the intent is to get things done rather than spend a lot of time rearranging the data.
We all have an intuitive sense of what is important and what is not, what needs to be done now (or can be done now) and what can wait. If we can capture everything that potentially needs to be done, organize those things in lists that can be easily accessed, review the lists regularly, and explicitly identify the next action, then the task is much more likely to get done.
BTW, have you taken a look at Zen to Done, Master Your Now, and Get Everything Done?
This message was edited Mar 15, 2012.
Thanks for the reply, good suggestions. I have not looked into zen to done, master your now or get everything done, yet, but I will now for sure! Thanks
This message was edited Mar 19, 2012.
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