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Proximo's GTD Setup



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Linden

Posted: Aug 25, 2009
Score: 2



Posted by stephenmford:

I'm missing one thing. If items under projects are just projects, and the subtasks are really subprojects, and items under actions are just actions, I don't see a way to do a search that will show me actions on one project. It looks like ALL your actions are dumped and mixed into one folder.


I struggled with the same thing at first. The videos helped me, but I needed to watch them a couple of times.

The projects' subtasks are the actions linked to each project, also assigned to the "Projects" folder. They don't get put in the "Actions" folder, so they are always linked explicitly with the project.

If you have a giant project that has multi-step sub-projects, it might work as a context of it's own, e.g. @BigProject. The sub-projects would be parent tasks in the Projects folder, and the tasks to get them to completion would be subtasks also in the Projects folder. If you had a standalone task belonging to @BigProject, you would set it to that context but in the Actions folder. That way you know it isn't linked to anything.

I find this especially useful when I'm defining projects but haven't yet identified their subtasks. If a standalone task is in the Actions folder, I know it is intended to be completed in one step. If the standalone task is in the Projects folder, I know I need to sit down and think about what steps are required to get it to completion -- specifically, what do I do next?


This message was edited Aug 25, 2009.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 25, 2009
Score: -1



Posted by Linden:
Posted by stephenmford:

I'm missing one thing. If items under projects are just projects, and the subtasks are really subprojects, and items under actions are just actions, I don't see a way to do a search that will show me actions on one project. It looks like ALL your actions are dumped and mixed into one folder.


I struggled with the same thing at first. The videos helped me, but I needed to watch them a couple of times.

The projects' subtasks are the actions linked to each project, also assigned to the "Projects" folder. They don't get put in the "Actions" folder, so they are always linked explicitly with the project.

If you have a giant project that has multi-step sub-projects, it might work as a context of it's own, e.g. @BigProject. The sub-projects would be parent tasks in the Projects folder, and the tasks to get them to completion would be subtasks also in the Projects folder. If you had a standalone task belonging to @BigProject, you would set it to that context but in the Actions folder. That way you know it isn't linked to anything.

I find this especially useful when I'm defining projects but haven't yet identified their subtasks. If a standalone task is in the Actions folder, I know it is intended to be completed in one step. If the standalone task is in the Projects folder, I know I need to sit down and think about what steps are required to get it to completion -- specifically, what do I do next?


Linden answered this perfectly. I rarely have Project that have sub project, but I I need a sub-task to give me more steps, I use the notes field at this time until Toodledo allows additional sub-task.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 25, 2009
Score: 1



Posted by Robert:
I just started using Toodledo and am also completely new to GTD principles, so perhaps I am missing something simple here. Proximo, I was wondering why you decided to track the Status of the tasks by using the custom defined FOLDERS...

1. Inbox
2. Actions
3. Projects
4. Waiting For
5. Someday/Maybe
6. Ticklers

...if there is already a STATUS field offering these pre-defined choices:

None
Next action
Active
Planning
Delegated
Waiting
Hold
Postponed
Someday
Cancelled
Reference

Well, there seem to be some non-standard GTD choices in this list which may annoy the GTD-purists, but by using the built-in STATUS function one could free the Folders function to be used for something else, e.g. for Project names as some users seem to do, or for "Work"/"Private" etc.

Before I start building my GTD system using Toodledo - initially perhaps simply by following proximo's set-up :), I would really appreciate some thoughts on my "custom FOLDERS vs. built-in STATUS" dilemma.


The easy answer is preference, but I will try to explain.

GTD teaches these areas to be different list or sections of your system. I used other GTD specific software and Web Services before and they used the same concept found in David Allen's book.

I started using Toodledo with Status field but then realized the individual list are more specific to the GTD workflow and I liked it much better.

Using the context, I can see work vs. personal related things. Using the folders along with the context I can see my individual list the way I want. Using custom search, I can see all my Individual Actions along with Project related sub-task in a clear way.

My current setup will mimic most GTD specific systems out there and I just like it better.
stephenmford

Posted: Aug 25, 2009
Score: 1



Linden/Proximo,

Thanks very much. The light bulb is starting to glow orange :-)

Stephen
jquark

Posted: Aug 25, 2009
Score: 2



Posted by Linden:

If you have a giant project that has multi-step sub-projects, it might work as a context of it's own, e.g. @BigProject. The sub-projects would be parent tasks in the Projects folder, and the tasks to get them to completion would be subtasks also in the Projects folder. If you had a standalone task belonging to @BigProject, you would set it to that context but in the Actions folder. That way you know it isn't linked to anything.


Hello all! Great thread and I have incorporated much of Proximo's system into my own. I have one final question in regards to what Linden and others have touched on. I am in academia and have several large research projects that make up 90% of my "work" context. Within these large projects there are subprojects and single tasks. Many days, I want to focus on ONE of these major projects and thus want a view that can show all subprojects/tasks for a given major project. I have thought of three different ways:

1) Context- as Linden pointed out above, I could have separate contexts for each major project (I juggle no more than 3-4 at a time. I am a graduate student now but I see this number increasing in the future).

2) Tag- Label all actions/projects within a given major project with the same tag. I could then search for all tasks with a given tag.

3) Goal- I could have goals of "Complete Project X" or "Submit Paper X" and assign all actions and projects this goal. I could then search by goal.


I am relatively new to GTD and have not decided on which of these three approaches to take. Does anyone have any pros/cons for the three tactics. Which of the three most closely resembles the GTD system? Thanks in advance!
Proximo

Posted: Aug 25, 2009
Score: -1



@jquark,

I think all 3 are very good ideas. Why don't you set up a mock project and try it out with each idea and see what works best for you.

I have to be honest and say that I am not really using Goals with Toodledo and probably need to start.

Your idea of using Goals is actually a very good one. The Goal can be the Large Project and you link the Parent Task and sub-task to it. Nice.

I think someone who may be working with very large Projects should answer this and see how they handle them. My current projects are fairly simple or at least I keep them that way to prevent me from going crazy. :-)
Linden

Posted: Aug 26, 2009
Score: -1



Glad I could be helpful in those earlier posts, everyone! It's kind of funny, since I was feeling VERY skeptical when I read Proximo's first post on his new setup.

I use goals to handle a lot of the "responsibilities" portion of GTD, although it will need refining at some point. My job has a few major areas of responsibility, so I've assigned a short-term goal to each one. If a task belongs to one of those areas, I assign it to that goal. If I've set aside a block of time for one area, or just want to review that level, I can use the goals tab or sort one of the other views by goal.

An added bonus to using goals for big projects is that you can use the chains to see if you're taking some sort of action on a regular basis and whether there's an area that's being neglected compared to others.

That said, I agree with Proximo. All three of the approaches you mentioned would work for managing major projects. Experimenting is likely the best way to figure out which solution fits your workflow.
wjlynch

Posted: Aug 29, 2009
Score: 0



How are you guys handling routine tasks in your system? Things like working out, laundry, etc. Specifically things that happen every day or every few days. I have been putting them in my tickler folder with a due date for the next occurrence then transitioning them over to my actions folder with a star when that due date hits. When the task is completed, it goes back into the tickler folder with a new due date. Not the most elegant way of handling it.

Anyone have a better method? For repeating tasks that take place every month, 6 months, year, I have kept those in my tickler folder as well with due dates. The due dates are usually not definite enough dates to make it on my calendar, pretty much just reminders to get that particular thing done sometime soon.

Any advice or other suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
jquark

Posted: Aug 30, 2009
Score: 2



@wjlynch: I am also interested in your question; just bumping up the topic so a few more people may see this.

Also, Thanks all for your input in this thread. As for my earlier question I have so far used "goals" to connect large projects (projects with sub projects and actions). This has been great so far. With the multi-tiered goal system in place with toodledo, I can also see how everything fits together.
Rory

Posted: Aug 31, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by wjlynch:
How are you guys handling routine tasks in your system? Things like working out, laundry, etc.


I use start dates for this. I create a task, star it, set the start date to whenever I'd like to first see that task, and then set it to repeat from the completion date (not the due date). I hit the 'Hide Future Tasks' filter to make sure I don't see them in my lists. The iPhone app also supports this filter, so this method works there too.

This works out well for me, since I don't worry about tasks in the future because I don't see them, and I know that they will appear in the correct list at the correct time.

I initially tried using the tickler for things like this, but it was a bit of a burden to transfer them around all of the time, and it was easy to make a mistake. Now I just use the tickler for items I don't necessarily know I'm going to act on.

One interesting benefit is that having the start date present on a task is a good reminder of how long that task has been waiting to be done. Since it's not a due date, it doesn't show up on the calendar or anything, so in most respects its like a normal task.
Proximo

Posted: Aug 31, 2009
Score: 1



Posted by Rory:
Posted by wjlynch:
How are you guys handling routine tasks in your system? Things like working out, laundry, etc.


I use start dates for this. I create a task, star it, set the start date to whenever I'd like to first see that task, and then set it to repeat from the completion date (not the due date). I hit the 'Hide Future Tasks' filter to make sure I don't see them in my lists. The iPhone app also supports this filter, so this method works there too.

This works out well for me, since I don't worry about tasks in the future because I don't see them, and I know that they will appear in the correct list at the correct time.

I initially tried using the tickler for things like this, but it was a bit of a burden to transfer them around all of the time, and it was easy to make a mistake. Now I just use the tickler for items I don't necessarily know I'm going to act on.

One interesting benefit is that having the start date present on a task is a good reminder of how long that task has been waiting to be done. Since it's not a due date, it doesn't show up on the calendar or anything, so in most respects its like a normal task.


Great answer Rory,

I would start using this myself, but I don't have many task that require it. One of my complaints with Toodledo is that every time you add a field, it adds it to the main GUI. I don't want to see a "Start Date" column for something I won't use much.

I really wish that task contained all the options that Toodledo offers and they where not added as columns all the time.
throwerbev

Posted: Aug 31, 2009
Score: -1



Posted by Proximo:


I would start using this myself, but I don't have many task that require it. One of my complaints with Toodledo is that every time you add a field, it adds it to the main GUI. I don't want to see a "Start Date" column for something I won't use much.

I really wish that task contained all the options that Toodledo offers and they where not added as columns all the time.


I get around this by changing the column widths of the fields so that the fields that I don't want to show are past my "normal" screen view, it's still there if needed by scrolling to the right and still there as a choice when adding a new task, just doesn't show on my monitor.
Rory

Posted: Aug 31, 2009
Score: 1



Posted by Proximo:
One of my complaints with Toodledo is that every time you add a field, it adds it to the main GUI. I don't want to see a "Start Date" column for something I won't use much.


I totally agree with you here - that does bother me a bit. It would be nice if the layout were smart and filled the available space with any data that has been set. I appreciate that this could be a bit of a tricky thing to implement though.
Linden

Posted: Aug 31, 2009
Score: 1



In answer to wjlynch and jquark, I have a context that I call "chores" for most of my routine tasks. I use the start date column and set them to repeat by completion date.

They're in my "actions" folder instead of "ticklers" for the same reason Rory mentioned -- too much effort shifting them in and out.

Routine tasks that don't really fit into "chores" stay in whatever context they belong to and are otherwise treated the same way (actions folder, start date, repeat by completion date).
Claudio

Posted: Aug 31, 2009
Score: 1



What is the purpose of the Tickler folder?

I have tasks with dates and tasks without dates, and I filter out future tasks. Repeating tasks, of course, have dates and they automatically show up on my list when I need them to show up.

Is there something that I'm missing about the value of a separate Tickler?

Edited to add:
I see that Rory posted this: "Now I just use the tickler for items I don't necessarily know I'm going to act on."

Seems that this is different from Someday/Maybe, but it's not clear to me how it is different.


This message was edited Aug 31, 2009.
Rory

Posted: Aug 31, 2009
Score: -1



The tickler is supposed to be for reminders, not really for tasks per se.

For example, I might drop something in there that a video game I'm interested in is released on a certain day. I may or may not want to act on that reminder when I get it (or maybe I want to decide at the time how to act on it), but at least I'll get reminded of it. I use it for a whole variety of things, like reminders for birthdays, anniversaries, books, games etc.

I have a custom search set up for my inbox which incorporates tasks in the 'No Folder' folder, and also tickler items that have a start date before and including today. This way, tickler items just show up in my inbox on the correct day, as if I'd just added them, and then I decide what to do with them at that point. I did this based on the idea I read in the GTD book of dumping a physical tickler folder into your physical inbox.

My Someday/Maybe items are things I don't really need to start thinking about on a particular date. They also tend to be larger concepts.


This message was edited Aug 31, 2009.
mmladousa

Posted: Aug 31, 2009
Score: -1



@Rory

Can you post the parameters for that inbox/tickler search? I have it setup how I think it should be but it isn't working correctly.

Edit: I got it to work but would still like to see your search to see how you add the tickler items in. I may have some questions after I see it.

Thanks!


This message was edited Aug 31, 2009.
Rory

Posted: Aug 31, 2009
Score: -1



Posted by mmladousa:
Can you post the parameters for that inbox/tickler search?


Yes, I have this:

Match Any of the following criteria:

- Checked off 'No' AND folder is 'No Folder'
OR
- Checked off 'No' AND folder is 'Tickler' AND Start Date is in the last 1000 days

I tried larger numbers than 1000 days, but for some reason I didn't get back the correct results. I figure that if I haven't completed a task after 3+ years then I'm doing something wrong. In the last 1000 days matches today as well.
Ian

Posted: Aug 31, 2009
Score: 0



Thanks to Proximo for sharing this setup. I have implemented it more-or-less as described, and I like it.

I have just a general worry that this is not how Toodledo (TD) imagine GTD being implemented. As they have said in their help pages, TD advise using folders for concrete projects, whereas Proximo's setup uses folders for meta-categories 'Projects', 'Actions' etc.

This tension shows up in a few places. For example the 'Statistics' page shows pie charts over folders which end up being meaningless for Proximo's setup. In the booklet printing (nice feature) appending each task with [{folder name}] has little value when folder name is e.g. "Actions".

So I worry about a divergence of design intent which might get more problematic in the future.
Anders

Posted: Aug 31, 2009
Score: 0



I wouldn't worry too much about the intended functions of Toodledo. The real intention seems to me to be ultimate flexibility. Toodledo doesn't really seem to say anywhere that Folders should be Projects. I realize it is implied to a degree in some documentation, but it is just as often contradicted. Toodledo actually uses Parent Tasks as Projects, but also uses Folders for megaprojects (like the website): http://www.toodledo.com/forums/4/2117/0/read.html

However, Proximo's use of Folders is one thing that I have not adopted here. I use Status, and find that it works quite well for me (Next Action=Standalone task or Next action subtask/ Active=projects with actionable(sub)tasks/ Planning=Project not yet actionable/Someday, Waiting, etc. are straightforward). In fact, Status has become one of my major views (along with Main), and I do find that using Status instead of Folder is better for working with different interfaces to my tasks such as the iPhone, gadgets, etc. Focusing on Status has really made me feel completely unrestricted. I only wish I could have an inbox status that would be hidden by the deferred filter. I can see why Proximo went with Folder, and I don't see any problem with it becoming "unsupported". I mean, the worst that could happen is some new feature would be added that you could not take advantage of. I don't think things will ever change in such a way that this simply wouldn't work.

BTW, you guys are killin' me with this thread. It's good stuff, but I can't keep up. I think I just have to give up trying, and bookmark it to read when I have an afternoon free :)


This message was edited Aug 31, 2009.
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