Legend

Forum

Unread topics or posts

Topic

Unread posts

Locked

Announcement

Forums > Getting Things Done®

Keeping it simple



AuthorMessage
PeterW 

Posted: Mar 30, 2012
Score: 1



This is my 1,000th post in the forums so I thought I'd contribute something positive to the community.

Keeping a personal productivity system as simple as you can make it will pay dividends in terms of productivity. There is a temptation to use every field and every bell and whistle in an app. It doesn't help.

Discuss.

p.s. I posted a very long message about my progress with personal productivity system but decided to keep it simple and edited it down to this!


This message was edited Mar 30, 2012.
samiandbaria

Posted: Mar 31, 2012
Score: 0



Agree 100%.
Keep it simple and attain success in baby steps. Too much fancy will not result in big wins necessarily.
Dave

Posted: Mar 31, 2012
Score: 2



Agreed. I have been thinking about this a lot lately with my system. Unfortunately there is no GTD app that will make you productive without setting time aside to think. Sorry. You can't set your contexts on auto pilot and your tech will handle it. People keep looking at the tool even that David Allen says in EVERY interview that the tool isn't that big of a deal. This is why reading the book is so important, and not just some blog entries. You need to figure out what works for you, but not trying to fill up the standard contexts. I think one of the best posts in the forums was from Lance a couple of years ago when he linked to a DA article in Wired. Highly recommend reading this post and bookmarking it. http://www.toodledo.com/forums/5/3797/-20391/getting-things-web-done.html
PeterW 

Posted: Apr 01, 2012
Score: 1



Thanks for the link Dave - I remember reading that post and it was good to revisit it.
cabbage

Posted: Apr 01, 2012
Score: 1



PeterW, I agree wholeheartedly. I started off using quite a lot of fields here on TD but I found it slowed down adding a task and maintaining the lists. I gradually reviewed what I got from each field and found there were other ways of doing most things.

I'd be interested to hear what fields you use in your simple system.
PeterW 

Posted: Apr 01, 2012
Score: 0



Posted by cabbage:
I'd be interested to hear what fields you use in your simple system.

Hi cabbage.

The fields I use are:
- Task name
- Due date
- Context
- Tag
- Note

I also use the Star & Repeat fields although don't really consider them data fields. And the Due Date and Note fields are only used when needed so typically most tasks only need a name, a context and a tag.

Folders:
- Next
- Waiting for
- Someday

Contexts:
- @anywhere
- @work
- @home
- @errands

Tags:
- business
- personal

I use the Tag field solely to give me a simple way to switch between my two areas of focus. I used to have contexts for @phone and @online but combined them into @anywhere because my iPhone is with me all the time.

BTW I'm using Appigo's Todo Online system now. I switched from Toodledo a month or two ago. I was already using their iPhone app to sync with Toodledo and found that their project handling is more robust and their interface simpler and easier to use.

Todo Online (thankfully) has a proper Inbox (better than using Toodledo's 'No Folder') and it's displayed in the main menu navigation. While this seems a small thing, it's so important in terms of GTD to have an always visible inbox with count indicator. Todo Online also has a 'Focus' list similar to Toodledo's Hotlist. I spend much of my 'doing' time working from this list.
cabbage

Posted: Apr 02, 2012
Score: -1



That's interesting. I use the same fields in almost the same way. I'm not happy about including tags but I use it mainly for organising my Out & About context. Some items I can buy only in ASDA, some only in Tesco, some in both. Tags allow me to express that nicely.

Oh, I also have a zzz tag for my braindead list.

I don't use folders. I used to use that for areas of responsibility but then I realised that my projects had folders and my actions had contexts. I combined them and annotated contexts like @ Calls @ and folders like | Work |. This puts contexts above areas of responsibility, - Inbox - above that and ~ Someday/Maybe ~ right at the bottom to keep it all organised.
Purveyor

Posted: Apr 02, 2012
Score: -1



Posted by PeterW:
Keeping a personal productivity system as simple as you can make it will pay dividends in terms of productivity.
Or, simpler is more productive. ;)

Jake (the developer of Toodledo) has used a "throw in everything but the kitchen sink" approach to attract many types of users, but he does not use GTD to track his own tasks. Features like "Next Action" and "Someday" in Status have a superficial resemblance to GTD concepts, but, in practice, they interfere with the process, as do additional fields like Goal and Length.

My approach is similar to that of PeterW and cabbage but I use Start Date to filter out future tasks that can't really become "overdue". i.e. something that I will do in the future, but not necessarily on a specific date. If it is something like a licence or membership renewal, then I add a Due Date.

BTW, last night I grabbed my copy of Getting Things Done and I reviewed some of the key concepts. Worth reading again. All of it.


This message was edited Apr 03, 2012.
cabbage

Posted: Apr 02, 2012
Score: 1



Oh yes, start date. I use that too!

Most of the time, it just takes the default of the task creation date. It's useful to see if I have been putting anything off for a long time.

For tickler tasks, it's the date I want to be reminded.

And for a very few other tasks, it's the first day I could possibly start doing it, if that is not today.
PeterW 

Posted: Apr 02, 2012
Score: -1



@Purveyor - I did the very same thing last week, i.e. grabbed my copy of GTD to flick through and decided I'd read the whole book again.

@cabbage - I was also using the start date field in Toodledo occasionally to stop some tasks from appearing until I wanted to see them. Appigo doesn't have this field but I haven't missed having it.
cabbage

Posted: Apr 02, 2012
Score: 1



Yup, I agree there too. I always pick up on another aspect of GTD when rereading. Something I know I have to get a better hold on is the models for planning.
Purveyor

Posted: Apr 03, 2012
Score: -1



One more thing: Pay attention to what has your attention.

This message was edited Apr 03, 2012.
Dave

Posted: Apr 04, 2012
Score: 1



Best way to keep things simple is to understand that GTD is a methodology and way of thinking. David Allen always talks about it being a mental martial art. When you take that approach you can adjust your system by getting rid of the necessary. It is crucial to the longevity of your system and mental clarity. It is waaaaay to easy to get wrapped up on how to use the tool after you have chosen "the one"

One mental switch that has made my life much easier is that you don't need to use every available field for each task. Many tasks that are in projects that aren't next actions have nothing identified within them (context, status, etc.). I figure that once I finish what is next I will identify that. For a long time when I would drop in a task I would force myself to add it to a folder, status, and context. It can stressful to have to do that for each one if it isn't the next action. I use Toodledo to keep checklists in certain folders too. There I might use the start date and due date for ticklers or items like that. I brew Kombucha tea at home and use the start date for when I start a new batch so I can remember. I don't use start dates for my GTD tasks though. An easy way to ignore fields you don't use is to move the "note" icon to the left right next to the checkbox. Now I don't have to scan to the right much in order to classify tasks or add notes.
ben

Posted: Apr 04, 2012
Score: 1



I like the idea about the note column, how do you move it? Mine is at the very end and there is no way that I have found to move it?

Thanks
-Ben
JPR

Posted: Apr 04, 2012
Score: 2



Posted by ben:
I like the idea about the note column, how do you move it? Mine is at the very end and there is no way that I have found to move it?


Settings > Tasks > Display Preferences:
PeterW 

Posted: Apr 04, 2012
Score: -1



Posted by Dave:
For a long time when I would drop in a task I would force myself to add it to a folder, status, and context. It can stressful to have to do that for each one if it isn't the next action.

I was doing the same and also found it stressful & annoying.

One reason I did it was because Toodledo has no Inbox. I mostly worked out of the Main view (using the Hotlist) so these new tasks without a folder/context/tag weren't visible unless I remembered to switch to the Folder view periodically and look in 'No Folder'. It was easy to overlook this and it wasn't good to constantly have to remind myself about it.

I tried using the Search tab where I could define my own Hotlist and Inbox and thereby have what I needed in one place, but there are no task counts on the search tab so I still had to click on the inbox to see if anything was in it. While this doesn't seem like a big deal, it felt like a constant roadblock that prevented me from feeling that I was in control.

Thankfully Todo Online solves this with a permanently visible inbox with a task count. I can now just mind dump into it whenever I want (or email to it) and know that it won't be hidden so I can get to it when I'm ready.


This message was edited Apr 04, 2012.
Dave

Posted: Apr 04, 2012
Score: -1



I just have a search for tasks without a folder, context, or status and name it inbox. Works for me.
Purveyor

Posted: Apr 05, 2012
Score: -3



This post has been hidden because of negative votes. Click to reveal
PeterW 

Posted: Apr 05, 2012
Score: 1



Posted by Purveyor:
Two things:
1. How did these "tasks without folder/context/tag" get into Toodledo? You use Todo on your iPhone, right? You can set defaults in that app and in Toodledo.

I was talking about when I was using Toodledo, which was until recently. I prefer to not set defaults for new tasks - I want to process them later from the Inbox. I either enter them myself with just a task name or I email them in.

And, why is it "so important in terms of GTD to have an always visible inbox with count indicator"?

I probably should have said "important for me in terms of GTD". I don't want to lose visibility of what I need to get done, so having a visual reminder that I don't have to dig for is important for me.

2. You are no longer using Toodledo. Why are you still posting here and promoting another website?

I'm still a current Toodledo subscriber, and still have data on the website, so I think it's ok for me to continue participating here. Appigo doesn't have user forums at present and I enjoy discussion about GTD. I'm not promoting another website - I'm talking about what I am using but that doesn't equate with 'promotion'.

Why do you ask? Is this a problem for you?
Purveyor

Posted: Apr 05, 2012
Score: -3



This post has been hidden because of negative votes. Click to reveal
You cannot reply yet
Skip to Page:  1   2      Next


To participate in these forums, you must be signed in.



Toodledo Forums > Getting Things Done®

Contact Us | Blog | API | Jobs | Press | Documentation | Forums Privacy | Terms | Copyright © 2004-2014