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Proximo's GTD Setup



AuthorMessage
garroteman

Posted: Oct 10, 2009
Score: 1



I do really like Proximo's setup. He has the GTD contex part NAILED down.

People often (myself guilty as charged) break contex into phone, computer, etc. but David Allen wrote that contex is all about the place and the tools at hand. If you work in an office then guess what: you have phones, computers, printers all around you.
Jrod

Posted: Oct 13, 2009
Score: -1



I have been playing around with Proximo's setup lately, and found a slight variation that some people may find helpful.

I changed the "Actions" folder to "Next Actions" (it sounds picky but you'll see why in a second).

I did that so when I do my weekly review, I can change go through my subtasks under each project and change the next physical action to "Next Action." I think of this as a commitment to do it sometime in the next week.

My custom searches for Work and Home focuses on anything in those contexts that is labeled next action. At the end of the day, I review the custom searches and 'star' the actions that are especially hot or that I will commit to finishing the next day.

With the tasks/subtask setup for projects, I can always click on a task to see the parent project task and all surrounding tasks that are collected. If the next physical action after that needs to be done that week, I check off the completed task and change the new next action to the "Next Action" folder.

What I like about this variation is:
1) It fits with my way of doing weekly reviews, which is to ask myself "What am I willing to commit myself to over the next week?"
2) It allows me to collect any additional actions as they occur to me and assign them easily to their project. (Assign them to the "Projects" folder without a context, and they show up at the bottom of the Projects screen. Next time you're viewing all your projects, drag them up to the appropriate parent task.)
garroteman

Posted: Oct 14, 2009
Score: 2



Proximo's setup is the greatest implementation of GTD that I have came across

thanks for sharing this with us
Proximo

Posted: Oct 14, 2009
Score: 1



Thanks again for the nice comments.

@Jrod

The important thing is that it works best for you. This is why GTD is considered great and flawed at the same time. It's flexible to the user but some people want something more strict that does not deviate at all.

I think flexibility is always better.

I had a long discussion with Claudio on "Actions" vs. "Next Actions".

I use the "Star" to label the task that are "Next Actions". This is simple to recognize in a project because it's the very next sub-task.

When looking at your Actions list, by definition they are all "Next Actions" because they are not part of a Project, but I don't see them that way.

To me they are all Actionable items that don't require multiple steps, but I still choose which one of them I will work on next and add the "Star" to the task.

Now I have a list of Actionable Task but I still identified which ones are my "Next Actions" within that list so that I can focus on them.

Don't get caught up in the wording as much as the importance of knowing what is a "Next Action" and what does that mean to you.


This message was edited Oct 14, 2009.
Steve

Posted: Oct 14, 2009
Score: 1



I'm new to GTD, and part-way through "the book". I'm interested in the way you and garroteman use contexts. Garroteman said to not fall into the trap of breaking context into phone, computer etc, but they are specific examples that appear in the book. What's so bad about using them? I see you, Proximo, have added these as sort of sub-contexts through the use of tags. Why not have them as main contexts?

Loving these threads! For years (decades?) I've used a Franklin method of having due dates and priorities for everything, and planning each day pretty much the night before, based on how long each task should take, how much time I have, etc, plus an "interrupt factor". I actually don't think this is as far removed from GTD as some might think, but I'm interested in trying the GTD approach of just having lists with next actions etc.

I have been confused by next action as it applies to one-off tasks, but the Proximo approach makes some sense to me. I too have many one-off tasks, and looking at a big list every time I want the next thing to do seems daunting and doesn't seem to fit the de-stressing idea. That's why the Franklin method has been good for me - every task has its day, and I don't worry about it until it pops up.

Speaking of popping up, how do you handle tasks that DO have a specific day? Does your search include those tasks due today (or are overdue), or do you just use the due-date tab to look at these tasks first?

Cheers!
garroteman

Posted: Oct 15, 2009
Score: 0



The micro-contex thing imo is overdoing, atleast in my case

my typical work day is:

1. home
2. go to work
3. shop
4. home

I believe many peoples lifes are similar

I don't wait at the airports for my planes, I am not stuck in traffic jams for several hours in the middle of the day

so my contex are home, office and shop

when I am at home - do I really need @Phone contex to understand "call Jim about the trip"? No, our brain knows exacly what call means
Can I execute that task at home? Sure thing, my phone is next to me. So in that case adding "tool contex" to "place contex" that has all the tools is overdoing.

Remember how diffrent mr. Allen's lifestyle is from other people - he is constantly on the move.

When he is on the plane it is understandable that he has "@computer" contex because:
1. he has his laptop with him,
2. there is no internet on the plane

Is he going to be in his office tomorrow? Perhaps, but he could be waiting in other state for a meeting that is going to be late 2 hours.

now look at my life:
1. I have computer both at work and home
2. I have internet both at work and home

I am not going to browse my ebay auctions at work, and I am sure as hell not going to do my work at home. So where I am going to see my ebay? The answer is at home because I have both computer and the internet there and that internet search falls into my private home life.
Am I going to be on a plane tomorrow? No.

That is exactly why I like what Proximo did: he knows what the stuff is, turned it into a next action task and then he has put it in a contex of "when should I do it" (work related) and "can do it" (tools necessary at office).
Not to mention that Proximo's contex are SOOOOOOOOOOOO easy to filter out. Really, I have no words to describe how he nailed it


This message was edited Oct 15, 2009.
Steve

Posted: Oct 15, 2009
Score: -1



Thanks very much for clarifying, garroteman. I followed you right up until the last paragraph! Are you here saying that you like Proximo's new methodology of adding a second level of context in tags, but that you yourself don't generally need this?

I see so many examples of people having a phone or calls context so they can just quickly grab a list of all calls to make in one go. I think I'd find this useful. Proximo would need another saved search to do this effectively I think, although he has said he just uses the tags view (which would show all actions, not just starred next actions so might be confusing if you have a lot).

Thanks again for helping me get a handle on all this!
garroteman

Posted: Oct 15, 2009
Score: -1



No, I don't use tags

If I have 10 next actions like

print document
call X
draft an agreement
anwser e-mail
call B
check the prices on the internet
e-mail Z

I could have
@internet
@e-mail
@phone calls
@computer

but
I am at @office and don't have to move an inch to get all that tasks done - every tool is at my desk

and even if I had 30 next actions - you can easy fillter out the e-mails with simply looking at the list, but then again - does it really matter if you do

e-mail
e-mail
phonecall
phonecall

or
e-mail
phonecall
e-mail
phonecall?

I don't even have to move so it doesn't inconvenience me in ANYWAY. But imagine that you have 30 "stuff" in your inbox and you have to @contex every one of them - thats a lot of extra work just to do 5 phonecalls in a row
IceHeartX

Posted: Oct 15, 2009
Score: 1



Posted by garroteman:
No, I don't use tags

If I have 10 next actions like

print document
call X
draft an agreement
anwser e-mail
call B
check the prices on the internet
e-mail Z

I could have
@internet
@e-mail
@phone calls
@computer

but
I am at @office and don't have to move an inch to get all that tasks done - every tool is at my desk

and even if I had 30 next actions - you can easy fillter out the e-mails with simply looking at the list, but then again - does it really matter if you do

e-mail
e-mail
phonecall
phonecall

or
e-mail
phonecall
e-mail
phonecall?

I don't even have to move so it doesn't inconvenience me in ANYWAY. But imagine that you have 30 "stuff" in your inbox and you have to @contex every one of them - thats a lot of extra work just to do 5 phonecalls in a row


ok, I can see wanting to have a single context for @office as you say.

personally, I have my iphone with me at all times, which means that I can seperate @bandwidth from @work so that I don't have to wade through all my @office items when I'm standing in line at Wendys and just have time to make that 5 minute call to person X.

it's a small thing, but for me yes, it makes sense to break out @bandwidth because I *could* have bandwidth while not @office.

I consider the time that I spend @contexting items to be part of my daily review process. And since I'm following the 2 minute guidline I know that the three seconds it takes to @context something is tiny in comparison to the time that the task would take, and therefore worth doing.

(and the idea of having 30 items in my inbox is.. not unlikely at all. I generate a lot of todos as I work through my day. toodledo almost gets a monitor to itself in my current work setup.)
Steve

Posted: Oct 15, 2009
Score: -1



Yeh, horses for courses. We can all choose what's best for us. Nice to discuss what people use though.

Anyone care to comment on how they handle/filter tasks that must be done on a particular day?
Jrod

Posted: Oct 16, 2009
Score: 1



@Steve:
For tasks that MUST be done on certain date, I put them on my calendar (I'm using Outlook at work). Since I review my calendar first thing each morning, that's where the reminder needs to be.

Once I knock out anything required on that day and take note of my scheduled meetings, I move over to the tasks in Toodledo.
Steve

Posted: Oct 16, 2009
Score: -1



OK, thanks. I'm trying to keep all tasks in Toodledo, so input on how people handle this in conjunction with next actions would be helpful.
Steve

Posted: Oct 16, 2009
Score: 1



@Jrod:

I'm interested in your approach of mainly using the Next Actions folder. Your said:

"I can always click on a task to see the parent project task and all surrounding tasks that are collected. If the next physical action after that needs to be done that week, I check off the completed task and change the new next action to the "Next Action" folder."

Can you do all this from your custom searches? I find that if a search finds a subtask, you can click on the parent icon to display the parent, but this doesn't result in all the subtasks being displayed - just the parent and the subtasks that match the search. So I have to go to the Projects folder to find the next task to mark as Next Action. Is that what you do? I'm not sure what you mean by "all surrounding tasks that are collected."

Thanks.
Jrod

Posted: Oct 16, 2009
Score: 1



@Steve:
When you do that in a custom search, you have an option on the right to turn off the filters on that group of subtasks.
Jrod

Posted: Oct 16, 2009
Score: 1



@garroteman:
You make a pretty good case for weeding down the number of contexts. I'm generally at home, work or an an errand somewhere between the two. And I have the same tools at work that I do at home as well.

I have been moving in this direction anyway, but today I made it official and combined all my "@computer", "@email", etc. contexts into a general Work or Home group. I think this will help simplify things some more.

The only tool-based context I kept was @Phone, because I think phone conversations are very inefficient actions. So, I prefer to group all the phone calls I have to make, then knock them all out in one sitting.
Proximo

Posted: Oct 16, 2009
Score: -1



Great information here.

First let me explain why and how I started to use Tags for Context along with my "Context" column.

This can be confusing, so I will try to explain it as clear as mud. :-)

The Context Column I reserve for "Areas of Focus" or basically location specific. David Allen calls these context. Such as @Work, @Personal, @Business.

David Allen also says that context can be the resource we require to complete a task. So context can also be things like @Phone, @Email, @Internet, etc.

So here are the Context that I list under my "Context" Column which are my Areas of Focus or Location.

@Work, @Personal and @CINT

@Work is my day job
@Personal is my personal life
@CINT is my own business

These are my Areas of Focus and how I choose to separate the things I need to do in my life.

I am using Tags because you can't have multiple context in Toodledo. That's basically the only reason for me doing this.

I want all my tasks to be linked to an Area of Focus but I would also like to list a particular resource that may be needed. I have no option but to use Tags or at least Tags makes sense for me to use in this case.

Now here are the Tags I use, which are basically context related to resources.

@Home, @Internet and @Errand

That's it.

You see, I did not go crazy with these because I only use what makes sense and may not be clear if I only listed my Area of Focus or Location.

Here is an example.

1. Wash my Car.

This is a "Personal" task but it also requires me to visit a Car Wash. So I tag it as @Errand.

2. Trim front lawn bushes.

This is also a "Personal" task but it requires me to be at home, so I tag it with @Home.

3. Research "How to repair a fence".

This is also a "Personal" task but it requires Internet access. I tag it with @Internet because I could do this while at Work, Home or at a friends house.

I am using the second level of context for those things that could be done outside of my current location.

For my work related task, I don't have to add a context regardless if the task involves a @Call, @Internet, @Meeting or @Phone. I have access to all these things where I sit, so I don't waste my time with any additional context.

As soon as Toodledo allows us to use Multiple Context, I will quit using Tags. I don't use them for all my task, but for those task that could be accomplished with a particular resource no matter where my current location may be. It gives me the ability to filter by the Tag and get things done.

One example is when I am visiting my Wife's parents. While am there I can sneak off into the office which has Internet access, Open Toodledo, Look at my Tags and filter by Internet. I can get these particular task done with that resource. The location alone would not have been sufficient.

Hope that makes sense. I believe too many people use context incorrectly just because they read it in David Allen's book or saw a list of examples. This does not mean you should use these, but use the ones that make sense.

Using so many context did not contribute to my productivity. I don't think I was so dumb that I needed to list a context of every resource possible when I had access to most of them anyway.

It's not like I won't know to pick up the phone if I did not SPECIFICALLY mention that it requires one.

Here is a great link to an Article on this very subject. When I first read this, I thought I should have written it because I was already thinking just like the author was about context. I do admit that at first I also followed what the book said or what I saw as examples. It did not take very long for me to realize that this was not very smart and I believe there is a thread on these forums when I first came to that realization.

Here is the article. I think you all will enjoy it.

http://bit.ly/1BoxDK

Thank you all for sharing
Steve

Posted: Oct 16, 2009
Score: -1



@Jrod:

Ah, thanks, of course! That makes it very easy to complete one action, pick the next and move it to the Next Actions folder.

There's still one thing that bothers me about the way Toodledo works. If you have subtasks in your Next Actions folder, when you go to the Next Actions folder you have to make sure that subtasks are flattened, otherwise you don't see them. But then you want to look at your Projects folder and there you want subtasks nested. So you have to continually manually change the way subtasks are displayed because whatever you choose applies to all the folders under the Folder view. Do you find this frustrating too, or have you found a way around it? I wish Toodledo remembered these sort of options for each tab!

@Proximo:

Thanks again for taking the time to expand on the way you do things. Every little bit helps!
Proximo

Posted: Oct 19, 2009
Score: -1



Posted by Steve:
@Jrod:

Ah, thanks, of course! That makes it very easy to complete one action, pick the next and move it to the Next Actions folder.

There's still one thing that bothers me about the way Toodledo works. If you have subtasks in your Next Actions folder, when you go to the Next Actions folder you have to make sure that subtasks are flattened, otherwise you don't see them. But then you want to look at your Projects folder and there you want subtasks nested. So you have to continually manually change the way subtasks are displayed because whatever you choose applies to all the folders under the Folder view. Do you find this frustrating too, or have you found a way around it? I wish Toodledo remembered these sort of options for each tab!

@Proximo:

Thanks again for taking the time to expand on the way you do things. Every little bit helps!


Steve,

I don't ever have Task with Sub-task in my "Next Actions" folder. Only my "Project" folder contains Parent Task with their sub-task.

I set the folder on all my sub-task to "Project" to make sure they all appear in the same view as their parent.

My "Next Actions" folder only contains task that have 1 step and are not projects.

Here is a short video to better explain:
http://screencast.com/t/FHg9KZw1tqM


This message was edited Oct 19, 2009.
Jrod

Posted: Oct 21, 2009
Score: 1



@Steve:
My solution to that is I run Toodledo in two tabs.

At my office, one tab is one my custom search for "Next Actions - Work" (tasks in the "Next Actions" folder, with context "@Work", sorted by starred items at top). The other tab is open to the folder "Projects."

Probably 90% of what I do in Toodledo is within those two views.

I've never had a problem with mismatched data between views. If I've made a lot of changes on one tab, I just refresh the next time I switch tabs and all changes are reflected there.

Proximo prefers a harder edge between Project actions and individual actions. I prefer assigning the "Next Actions" folder to the next actions within my project list.

For me, this is a visual clue within my projects about which task is my next action. It also tells me at a glance if I don't have a next action assigned in a project.
Steve

Posted: Oct 21, 2009
Score: -1



Thanks, Proximo and Jrod. So many ways to accomplish things!
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