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Toodledo is not for GTD



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ryssalee

Posted: Apr 20, 2009
Score: 0



spencer, I'm a bit confused - I'm able to enter multiple tags for a task (for example "buy, homedepot, kitchen remodel"). I can then use the tag view to see all tasks tagged "buy", or all those marked "homedepot", etc. To view tasks that have a combination of tags ("buy" and "homedepot", or "research" and "homedepot", or whatever) I can just create a search for it.

How are you setting up your tags / phrasing your searches? Perhaps your view is different, or we could help you find something.
bartlett.jason

Posted: Apr 20, 2009
Score: 0



Interesting discussion and many good points raised. I've been GTD devotee for several years. Most of those years I have been using MindManager (for mind maps, project planning and keeping track track of "stuff") and Results Manager and GyroQ, as well as the "official" GTD add-on for Outlook. For me this is the best combination of tools possible for a "single" computer work style. These are also very expensive - the whole package runs about $800.

MindJet lets you map out projects, tasks and subtasks easily without limitation of levels or nesting. Results Manager is the "killer" add-on that will search all of your maps and give you a GTD dashboard that shows only actionable tasks organized by due date and project and "Relationship Central" which shows who I Owe and Who Owes Me as well as contexts etc. GryroQ is your desktop instant capture device that feeds items into your maps along with project and context meta data.

I've been using Toodledo for the last few months, primarily because I'm frequently switching between computers and needed something that was "in the cloud".

No question that Toodledo is great tool and in my opinion the best compromise available today between a complete GTD implementation, in the "cloud" and integration with other apps (FF Sidebar and GCal for example).

Where I think Toodledo is lacking is the current limitations of projects, tasks and subtasks. There is least one level of hierarchy missing here. It really needs to have a Project, tasks and subordinate tasks structure that supports dependencies, parallel and subordinate tasks like MindJet or MS Project.

One of the key foundations of the GTD system is that for your to-do list to be useful it has only actionable items on it. If the Project is "Buy Milk" and the task is "Drive to Store" with subordinate tasks being "Get coat" and Get Keys" - I should only see "Get Keys" and "Get Coat" as actionable items. I find this is really hard to do easily with Toodledo because I can't easily make "Drive to Store" disappear from the list until the other two tasks have been completed.

Since Toodledo is limited to a three level hierarchy if my plan needs to change (drive to ATM before the store) I can't delineate this in any meaningful way without having to remember ATM BEFORE Milk Store. Which is contrary to the whole point of the GTD and being able to specify and an order or sequence of actions so you can separate the planning from the doing.

Toodledo is great product and I hope the dev team has a plan for adding levels to the Project/task/Subtask hierarchy.
arodsanch

Posted: Apr 30, 2009
Score: 0



An additional level of subtasks would be a great implementation for GTD.
thpope

Posted: Apr 30, 2009
Score: 0



Toodledo has incredible flexibility. I didn't read everything in this thread, because I do have to get things done also, but skimming through, I think Toodledo can do any of the suggestions right now (some might call it a work-around, but I call it using the program to fit your needs). They've put a lot things in it but it can be hard to figure out what you can do because of the terminology and because it doesn't fit your paradigm and because of the sheer volume of features.

I mean, you can organize with Folders, Goals, Tags, Tasks, Subtasks, Contexts, Notes, Saved Searches, Due Date and Time, Start Date and Time, Length, Priority, Stars, I'm sure I'm forgetting something. It can be daunting just to figure it all out. Soon, another level is going to be added (hush hush, but I think it will be called Projects).


This message was edited Apr 30, 2009.
Arthur Vanderbilt

Posted: May 05, 2009
Score: 0



A project is just something that requires more than one action to complete. Tasks with subtasks work great as projects for me. I use a context called Project to keep them together and find ones that don't have subtasks yet. I use folders for sort of focus areas, job, home, etc. I use tags to find things like "Bills to Pay" and "Medical" across all focus areas.

It would be kind of nice to not have to use the Project context to identify projects (and thus projects that have no subtasks) but since projects don't really have context, and that would require another field or checkbox or whatever, I don't mind doing it this way.
saskia.x

Posted: May 05, 2009
Score: 0



I use a system a lot like arthur's, and it works very well for me. IMHO subtasks work much better for projects than folders do, and it just sort of seemed obvious that folders should be areas of focus, but to each their own!

I would, however, LOVE to see some kind of basic task dependencies; just something where I could tell Toodledo that one task has to be done before I can start the next one, so that I don't get unactionable tasks popping up in my task list all the time.

I used to use MyLifeOrganised a couple of years back and I seem to remember that it had a feature like this; I think there was an option you could set on a task by task basis that said the subtasks should be completed in the order in which they were displayed. I think there was also a choice about whether the parent task should be hidden until the subtasks are complete or not. It'd be great to have something like that in Toodledo.
cat1987000 Post deleted
Anders

Posted: May 14, 2009
Score: 2



Where's The Pope when you need him.
Visit BlahBlahBlah.com

Oh, and thanks. I was planning on visiting Shanghai, but had no idea how I was going to find an escort once there. So I thought I'd check the Getting Things Done forum, and viola, problem solved.


This message was edited May 14, 2009.
Jonathan

Posted: Jun 01, 2009
Score: 0



Toodledo has its downfalls when it comes to GTD, and for the short time I have used it I don't think that it was created 100% around the GTD system, which is great if thats not currently the way you organize yourself. It seems like everyone is having to make adjustments specially in Folder=Projects topic area, which I believe is a basic GTD fundamental that if Toodledo was built for GTD it would have been part of its quick functions. Its great having a customized system as long as long as your "getting things done" (which is the bottom line) but I have seen so many bits and pieces of GTD in peoples workflow and system that to me it no longer follows GTD. Bottom line Toodledo is great, but not for someone looking for GTD the way David Allen sees it due to its lack of Project handling.
Big KC

Posted: Jun 01, 2009
Score: 2



I have to admit to some confusion here. I've been using GTD for years. I read Getting Things Done several times; and I've read "Ready for Anything" as well. I find Toodledo project handling (using folders for projects) perfectly in line with what David Allen writes.

I understand if people want to see added project planning capabilities (eg. more hierarchy or the ability to set dependencies, etc). But I don't think it's true to say that it's necessary for "GTD the way David Allen sees it". When he wrote GTD, he managed his project plans using outlines in Microsoft Word, then (presumably manually) copying tasks to his next action lists during his weekly reviews. (re: project outlines, he wrote: "It doesn't really matter where you put this kind of thinking, so long as it's easily accessible so you can input and review as needed." GTD p.220)

It would be great if you could do this kind of outlining in TD, and then easily move items from the outline to the active to-do list as necessary. Subtasks enable this in a very limited way. Simple outlining capability would be much better, and would allow me to plan 95% of my projects right in TD. I hope Toodledo gets there some day (just like I hope it integrates with something like Evernote for better implementation of the "collection" phase of GTD). But in the meantime, the fact that I have to manage my more complex project outlines outside of Toodledo does not make it inconsistent with GTD. It just means it doesn't cover the full scope of GTD.

Maybe the issue is that many people are moving to Toodledo from other apps that go farther towards integrating the different parts? I've never really had that luxury, so maybe that's why I'm confused.
TheGriff

Posted: Jun 01, 2009
Score: 1



Big KC hit the nail on the head in terms of how David Allen sees GTD.

The real problem with GTD is it's an idea and methodology. It is NOT a system nor does it prescribe the perfect system. Sure the book and later GTD blog posts give ideas for how to set up a system but there are no cut and dry rules.

That's both good and bad for the same reason. It allows the individual to customize a system for their liking. The downside is that it takes people time to set up their "perfect" system. Most people left to their own devices most people will complicate the system with unneeded features including those that detract from GTD.

People who flat out say "This app is not for GTD" are flat out wrong. Sure it may not be ideal for how you want to GTD but since there is no prescribed system your statements are merely opinion.

A simple GTD system (for task management) can be had with a few sheets of paper. One for next actions, a few for projects, one for an inbox and one each for Waiting/Someday items. That's it. How you choose to use those project sheets is entirely up to you as long as they contain steps needed to complete the project. You also must commit to reviewing those sheets regularly and moving tasks from them to the next actions list.

Consider Toodledo a tool that aims to replace those pieces of paper. I doubt anyone would argue that it's not superior for inbox, next action, waiting and someday list management. What's at issue here is how people CHOOSE to manage projects.

I'm of the opinion that those complaining about TD's lack of project management features are making the process too complicated. In fact I'd wager David would be appalled by their systems' complexity were he to sit with them for a day.

David preaches simplicity of system. The more complex you make the system the more time it takes to maintain and the less motivation you'll have to use it as intended. Keep it simple and you will keep coming back, too complex and you'll avoid at all costs.

That said there are features I'd like to see in Toddledo and I'll even admit to having some thought of switching to the folder project technique rather than the subtask approach I use now. Those features I see as lacking do not cause TD to be an invalid tool for GTD for me let alone everyone. They would however make it a nice tool for me.

I realize my post is opinonated just as the others in this thread have been. I urge people to take a step back and re-think how complex they want their systems to be as complexity is the enemy of GTD.
Claudio

Posted: Jun 02, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by TheGriff:
I'm of the opinion that those complaining about TD's lack of project management features are making the process too complicated. In fact I'd wager David would be appalled by their systems' complexity were he to sit with them for a day.
I'll take you up on that wager. :)

It doesn't matter whether David Allen would be appalled or not -- who cares?!
What's relevant is: Can Toodledo handle the projects that I need to complete? If not, then should I use another tool, or should I recommend additional functions for Toodledo. If I need another tool, is there a way that I can integrate that tool with Toodledo, since I use Toodledo for my other "more basic" projects and it would be nice if I could have an overview of all of my projets in one place, and it would even nicer if I didn't have to duplicate a lot of information to do so.

If Toodledo can handle the projects, could it do it more efficiently and more elegantly if it had additional functionality? And, if yes, then what additional functionality does it need?

It's clear to me that Toodledo is inadequate for handling complex projects. But, some of us are responsible for projects that are too complex to be tracked effectively in Toodledo, and not complex enough to require full-blown project management software. It seems that if Toodledo had some additional features (such as entity called Project, and some free-form fields) then it could strike a perfect balance between inadequate and too complex.

Call it the Goldilocks solution: It's just right. ;)
Big KC

Posted: Jun 02, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Claudio:
Posted by TheGriff:
What's relevant is: Can Toodledo handle the projects that I need to complete? If not, then should I use another tool, or should I recommend additional functions for Toodledo. If I need another tool, is there a way that I can integrate that tool with Toodledo, since I use Toodledo for my other "more basic" projects and it would be nice if I could have an overview of all of my projets in one place, and it would even nicer if I didn't have to duplicate a lot of information to do so.

If Toodledo can handle the projects, could it do it more efficiently and more elegantly if it had additional functionality? And, if yes, then what additional functionality does it need?

I think you got to the gist of it. GTD has several components. There are the task lists (including Next Actions by context, Waiting, Someday/Maybe, and appointments). Toodledo handles those fine. Then there are the project plans, which generate many of the tasks. In my experience, Toodledo can handle the majority of projects (probably 80%). But it can't handle the more complex projects, which are fewer in number but may drive a significant number of tasks. Then there are the GTD processes like collecting data (which I do in Evernote), organizing reference materials (which Toodledo supports somewhat in the Notebook, but it's weak--I use Evernote for that too), processing data into next actions (which Toodledo handles fine, once you get the data in there),etc.

It's perfectly valid to discuss what other elements of GTD could be covered within Toodledo; or, how can we can better link other GTD tools (like Evernote or project planning apps) into Toodledo (since they are clearly a source of tasks on the task list). Personally, I don't mind managing my complex projects outside of TD; but I'd love a way to move the tasks into TD more efficiently. I'm trying to find an outliner tool that allows you to email individual elements, so that I can send my next actions into TD more efficiently. But I haven't found one yet. I'm also looking for a good way to cross reference between TD and Evernote. That would make for a pretty slick GTD setup.

In other words, I have no problem at all with what you've said, Claudio. I just take issue with the claims in this string that "TD is not for GTD". It just confuses the real issue.

A much more helpful discussion would be: what characteristics would that intermediate project planning tool have? To me, it would be fairly simple outlining capability, seperate from the task lists, but with a simple way to move any item from the outline to the task list.

Another helpful discussion would be what to do in the meantime, since TD doesn't have that capability right now. Is there an online outlining tool or other project planning tool that can be integrated with TD using the email task creation (for example)?


This message was edited Jun 02, 2009.
TheGriff

Posted: Jun 02, 2009
Score: 1



Posted by Claudio
It doesn't matter whether David Allen would be appalled or not -- who cares?!


Well you should care when you say a system is not meant for GTD. I would think DA to be the best judge of what systems work so whether he'd be appalled at your system is relevant.

Posted by Big KC:
In other words, I have no problem at all with what you've said, Claudio. I just take issue with the claims in this string that "TD is not for GTD". It just confuses the real issue.

A much more helpful discussion would be: what characteristics would that intermediate project planning tool have? To me, it would be fairly simple outlining capability, seperate from the task lists, but with a simple way to move any item from the outline to the task list.

Another helpful discussion would be what to do in the meantime, since TD doesn't have that capability right now. Is there an online outlining tool or other project planning tool that can be integrated with TD using the email task creation (for example)?


You got across exactly what I was trying to say in my post. I have no issues with a lively discussion on how TD can get better. I do take issue with anyone who says TD is not for GTD.

Then there are the GTD processes like collecting data (which I do in Evernote), organizing reference materials (which Toodledo supports somewhat in the Notebook, but it's weak--I use Evernote for that too), processing data into next actions (which Toodledo handles fine, once you get the data in there),etc.


Would you be willing to share the ways in which you use Evernote to do capture and processing...specifically as it relates to TD? I think a new thread would be needed.
lite1

Posted: Jun 02, 2009
Score: 0



I'd also be interested in how you are using Evernote. It seems that many here are using Evernote and are looking forward to better integration with TD. I checked out EN last night but have yet to get how it might be of real value to me. Some hints from those who are using it would be very welcome.
Thanks, Edward
Anders

Posted: Jun 02, 2009
Score: 1



I use Evernote a lot myself. I basically got started with it because I need to gather a lot of information online. I do a lot of online research, and get a lot of ideas for things I want to do. The webclipper makes that very easy to do, and then organize them all in one place. Now I use Evernote for all kinds of things. I have it on my WM phone, and can take pictures with Evernote, and make text notes. I use the iPhone app, and another one called Paint for Evernote for quickly scribbling notes. I would love for more direct integration with Toodledo. Here is BigKC's recent thread about using Evernote with Toodledo: http://www.toodledo.com/forums/3/2110/0/evernote-integration-using-tarpipecom.html
I have not tried it yet, but it looks pretty cool.
Here is where you should request Evernote integration if you have not already: http://www.toodledo.com/forums/2/300/0/what-new-connections-do-you-want-to-see.html

~Anders


This message was edited Jun 02, 2009.
TheGriff

Posted: Jun 02, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Anders:

Here is where you should request Evernote integration if you have not already: http://www.toodledo.com/forums/2/300/0/what-new-connections-do-you-want-to-see.html


As an aside...I think the integration sticking point would be Evernote. I looked through their export options the other night and there really aren't any. I'm sure the TD devs would be happy to add the import but I think Evernote is interested in keeping your information to themselves.
Big KC

Posted: Jun 02, 2009
Score: 0



As an aside...I think the integration sticking point would be Evernote. I looked through their export options the other night and there really aren't any. I'm sure the TD devs would be happy to add the import but I think Evernote is interested in keeping your information to themselves.


I'm keeping my fingers crossed that's not true. In a podcast, they talk about how they recently discovered that GTD fans love Evernote. They say they've attended GTD conferences and plan to make it even more GTD friendly. They see it as a complement to other GTD tools, which is also how I see it.
http://blog.evernote.com/2009/04/02/evernote-podcast-2/

In another podcast, they hinted that there may be an integration with Remember the Milk in the very near future (I hope it's not an exclusive arrangement). They seem to have opened up their API, so I'm sure a clever developer at TD could figure out something!
http://blog.evernote.com/2009/05/19/evernote-podcast-4/

But maybe you're right. The integration that interests me is the ability to create tasks in TD from Evernote, with links back to Evernote notes or folders. I think Evernote would have to do something from their end to make that happen. I think it's frustrating that they make it so hard to even get a URL that links back to the note. I know the URL exists, because Tarpipe has access to it. But I haven't been able to find it for my notes.

Still, my hopes are high after hearing the podcasts.


This message was edited Jun 02, 2009.
Big KC

Posted: Jun 02, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Anders:
I use Evernote a lot myself. I basically got started with it because I need to gather a lot of information online. I do a lot of online research, and get a lot of ideas for things I want to do. The webclipper makes that very easy to do, and then organize them all in one place. Now I use Evernote for all kinds of things. I have it on my WM phone, and can take pictures with Evernote, and make text notes. I use the iPhone app, and another one called Paint for Evernote for quickly scribbling notes.

That's how I use it, too. To capture thoughts on the fly. There are so many ways to capture thoughts...photographs (which become searchable if they have words in them that evernote can recognize), text notes, audio notes, scribbles, clips from web pages. I also have it on my iPod touch and my WM phone, like Anders. If I have a thought, I capture it in Evernote to process later. If I see a web page I want to read, but don't have the time, I clip it right to my "read/review" folder in Evernote for later. I also use it as a normal notebook to organize reference info for my projects. But that's the boring part.

As for using it in a TD context, since I'm capturing so many thoughts in Evernote, I then need to process those thoughts and convert them to projects and tasks. Right now, it means manually typing the task in Toodledo. It's not hard, really. In fact, it's quite easy. But it's not slick, you know? Also, it would be great if my TD tasks and projects could refer back to the source notes in Evernote. That could be as simple as placing a URL into the notes field of the task. But I have trouble finding the URLs in Evernote.

Anders, does the Paint for Evernote create an ink note that Evernote can recognize, like in the Evernote app on WM? I thought of buying it; but couldn't tell if it works that way.
lite1

Posted: Jun 03, 2009
Score: 0



Anders and Big KC thax for sharing/responding but perhaps you can elaborate or get more concrete as I am still missing the power of EN. I do not use TD in a mobile arena; I do have a Blackberry but rarely use it to take photos. I do a great deal of research online, primarily text oriented stuff, although a diagram or photo/graphic/image might also be part of it. Typically I have two web browser windows open (one for work related things for when a customer might call on the phone; the other for my web research) both with several tabs open with TD in one of those tabs. My approach might be:
1) Article I wish to read later - type N to create a task Read ... cut/paste the url into note with some sense of why I think the article/info might be of value and to what. Done, onto next thing.

2) Read reviews to make a decision about purchase of new equipment: Depending on the importance and monetary expense I'd typically have a word doc open into which I'd cut and paste web items including screen captures. Read things in word doc so that I can both use highlighter and make my own annotations. Create task in TD to read/complete analysis and write report with recommendation to boss.

3) If my web based research is more extensive/elaborate and depending on its purpose and audience, my initial word doc might then become a PDF that I can work with in Acrobat Pro. WIth it not only can I highlight in different colors, but I can place collapsible notes as kind of a layer so that I can meta-comment on some aspect of the content. I haven't played much with EN, but not sure I could really do those things.

4) In learning TD, I cut/paste into word doc entire forum threads or portions thereof that I find to be useful tips of how people are using things. Again I don't see where EN would be an advantage.

Big KC writes about capturing audio notes, and I guess this might be useful to me when I am driving.

But bottom line is that either I am missing the power of EN, OR perhaps since I am not wanting/needing to be productive in a mobile situation that EN is not necessarily a tool of value for me. I always have 3 x 5 cards with me (been carrying them for a couple of decades - not the same ones) and still find that writing something rather than typing because of the different kinesthetic input triggers different parts of my thinking. The developer of EN refers to it as "your external brain" or something like that. My judgment, by it seems that some of the video clips on EN of people using it to remind them of where they parked seem slightly absurd to me - seems like using the memory that one has built in as a human OR some low tech solution like jotting it on a parking slip or 3x5 might work as well.

So any elaboration is welcome and perhaps a light will go off for me, or I'll realize it is not a particularly useful tool for me. I hope that on EN I am just dense, as I love finding new tools that are worthwhile and the helpful people on this forum seem to have some good arrows in their quivers.
Thx, Edward
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