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PawnMower's GTD Setup



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PawnMower

Posted: Oct 31, 2009
Score: 5



PawnMower's GTD
The following is my GTD setup and I think that I've captured what David Allen has explained in his book. I give credit to Proximo in helping me get started on this. This setup works well with the iPhone app, iCal, and Google Cal.

FOLDERS:
1. INBOX
2. Calendar
3. Next Actions
4. Waiting For
5. Ticklers
6. Someday/Maybe
7. Reference

CONTEXTS:
@Anywhere
@Calls
@Computer
@Errands
@Home
@Meeting/Agendas
@Reading/Review
@Work

COLUMNS:
Folder, Context, Goal, Start Date, Start Time, Due Date, Due Time, Repeat, Priority, Tag, Status, Star, Subtasks, Trashcan

TAGS:
T+ Lots of Time required
T- Little Time required
E+ Lots of Energy required
E- Low Energy required

COLLECTION:
Inbox

PROCESSING and ORGANIZING:
1. Non-actionable go into Trash, Reference, Tickler or Someday Maybe.

2. Actionable items < 2min I do it. Actionable items > 2min either go to Calendar, Next action, project, and waiting for.

3. Calendar Items have a start date/time and due date/time for appointments. Non-appointment stuff that simply must be done that day will not have a specific start or due time. All this syncs with iCal and Google Cal for my "hard edges" of the "horizontal landscape." These items don't have a status, context, or tags. They just have to be done that day. If I don't think I can't do it that day then it must not be on the calendar, but in next actions to do when you can.

4. Next Actions are single items that do not have a start date or "due On" date. (you are allowed to have something "due by" a date however). Status is "Next Action" if it's something I'm working on currently. Status can be "hold" if you want to do it after you finish the others stuff. Folders are next action. Tags are T+,T-, E+,E-. Context based on where I'll be working. Usually nothing but a due by date (rare). Prioritize based on urgency (top=vital, high=important, medium=optional).

Filtering: Putting status on "hold" will help filter deferred items. Having a start date will help filter "future" items >24 hours

5. Projects Like Proximo, I use a + for the parent item.

Subtasks have similar processing as next actions above. It is critical you assign as much detail here for status, context, tags, etc similar to next actions above. It is also critical that you make the status of 'next actions' for subtasks at the top of your project. All the other subtasks should be a status of 'hold' until you are ready to do them later.

The Parent (or title) of project does not have a context, tags, status, etc. so it won't show up later when you are 'doing.' and trying to filter. You want to focus on the 'next action' subtasks later when you are doing.

6. Waiting For Usually don't much tagging, context, etc here. But I do use the status of "waiting" or "delegated" as necessary. Folder is obviously waiting for.

7. Someday/Maybe Usually don't tag, use context, etc. here. Folder is "Someday/Maybe"and status is "someday."

8. Ticklers I do put specific times/dates starting and due with alarms. No contexts, tags, etc. Folder is tickler, Status= postponed.

9. Reference Self-explanatory. Folder= reference. Status=Reference.

DOING:

David Allen recommends to start with your calendar and then after everything is done on your calendar or between appointments go to Next actions in your next action folders/projects.

Calendar: Look under calendar tab or iCal. Check off stuff as you do it!

Next actions: The decision making process (per Allen GTD) includes:
1. Context
2. Time available
3. Energy available
4. Priority

Tab: Context --Choose the context you are currently in. For example when I'm home, I can choose @anywhere, @computer, @home.

Sorting: Status, then by Tag, then by Priority

Filters: Hide Future Tasks, Hide Deferred Tasks

At this point, you will see both single-item next actions in the next action folder as well as next action items that are sub-tasks in your projects.

Tags of time and energy will sort with + at the top and - at the bottom. Using other items such as # will sort differently (i.e. T0,E3)

-------------

I have found this method of using status to be quite effective for filtering and getting rid of clutter. In addition, I found this method helpful in helping you make the right decision about what next to do when considering context, time available, energy available, and priority.

I hope someone will find this helpful if they have read "Getting Things Done" and are looking to go "by the book" in the doing process (context, time/energy available, priority).

Kind regards,
PawnMower


This message was edited Nov 01, 2009.
stephenmford

Posted: Nov 01, 2009
Score: 0



Thanks for setup and the reminder about energy levels. I really need to add a brain dead level for the end of long days/weeks.

I'm pretty sure just getting something accomplished during those times would bring my energy level up enough to either do another brain dead action or something that requires a little more focus.

Stephen
Proximo

Posted: Nov 01, 2009
Score: 0



@PawnMower,

I think your setup is fantastic.

Energy level is such an important part of GTD and most people fail to use it to their advantage.

Good job PawnMower.
PawnMower

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
Score: 1



Thanks stephen and Proximo!

Proximo, You helped me get started with Toodledo with your video and forum thread. I particularly like the Weekly Review element and finding those next actions you would like to accomplish for that week. Stars are one the best things about Toodledo.

Yes, a big idea in the book that I enjoyed reading is that we should always have low time/low energy tasks on our lists. Getting those checked off is really encouraging to us during low energy times! For example, if I'm short on time before my next appointment, why not make a quick call (@Calls)(T-) while I'm feeling energetic! (E+).

In addition, I liked when Allen mentioned that the reason we procrastinate on big projects is because we have NOT made the next physical action broken down into smaller steps. So many times I may have tons of energy and time, but don't want to even start!

A great test of GTD success for me recently was hanging a 25 lb. wedding picture collage in one of our rooms. That task has been in my task list for 2 years as "Hang Wedding Picture." It got so bad that it became a joke for people coming over seeing the picture still on the floor...

...so finally I broke "Hang Wedding Pic" into small step such as: 1. wife stopping by Home Depot for special hanging hooks (volunteered delegation! :) 2. measure the distance between hooks, 3. marking where the hooks would go, etc. When I saw one part of the project was delegated, I began to feel better about this project-- even wanting to do it! Then one day at a low energy moment, looking in @Home context I made the decision to measure the distance between hooks-- easy, low energy task. My wife mentioned she had the hooks. Then we both started measuring the wall. We got so into the small subtasks we finished the project that night!

Yes, making low time, low energy tags for my subtasks has been very helpful in GTD for me!

Thanks for the feedback on my setup and thanks Proximo in helping me understand Toodledo!

PawnMower
J

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
Score: 0



Hey dear masters of GTD,

What are the pro/cons of choosing to use Stars or Status? Just preference or is there one that would make certain things easier?

Thanks!
Proximo

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
Score: 1



Posted by johnnywheels:
Hey dear masters of GTD,

What are the pro/cons of choosing to use Stars or Status? Just preference or is there one that would make certain things easier?

Thanks!


Just about everything in Toodledo boils down to preference.

The reason I use Stars is due to the way I use Folders for my GTD List. This means I already have a folder called "Next Actions" and did not want to use the Status "Next Action" but a Star instead. I also did not use many of the items in the Status menu, so I did not add it to my setup.

What ever works for you is what's important.

Here recently I have been looking at other GTD Services and the list are similar in all of them. Just look at things. When you are looking at something with a GTD Focus, you will always see the list displayed in a similar fashion.

When looking at these GTD Specific services or software, you will find the "Today" list. These are the Next Actions that you will tackle that day per GTD and this is why I use stars. To allow me to view them easily as the task I will do today.

Things and many other systems use the Today and Tomorrow list which I think are great.

In the end it's all about what helps you be productive. So there is no right or wrong way.
Proximo

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
Score: 0



@PawnMower,

Using Energy level is vital. There are many cases where I just don't have the Energy to tackle a task that takes a lot of mental power.

So I revert to my low energy task, Get them done, get motivated about progress, My brain finally wakes up again and I am now ready to continue with my other task.

Breaking down the Next Actions properly is very important as you mentioned.

I learned a lot on this from Claudio. At one point I was not breaking down my Next Actions into smaller, workable task that would motivate me to get going. Had a great discussion on this with Claudio and he pointed out some examples that really helped me out.
PawnMower

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Proximo:
Posted by johnnywheels:
Hey dear masters of GTD,

What are the pro/cons of choosing to use Stars or Status? Just preference or is there one that would make certain things easier?

Thanks!


Just about everything in Toodledo boils down to preference.

The reason I use Stars is due to the way I use Folders for my GTD List. This means I already have a folder called "Next Actions" and did not want to use the Status "Next Action" but a Star instead. I also did not use many of the items in the Status menu, so I did not add it to my setup.

What ever works for you is what's important.

Here recently I have been looking at other GTD Services and the list are similar in all of them. Just look at things. When you are looking at something with a GTD Focus, you will always see the list displayed in a similar fashion.

When looking at these GTD Specific services or software, you will find the "Today" list. These are the Next Actions that you will tackle that day per GTD and this is why I use stars. To allow me to view them easily as the task I will do today.

Things and many other systems use the Today and Tomorrow list which I think are great.

In the end it's all about what helps you be productive. So there is no right or wrong way.


I'm no master of GTD. I'm just trying apply the book as best I can to Toodledo.

On stars vs. status, I agree with Proximo here. It's a matter of preference. Personally, I would start out the with the "Proximonian Star-Method" :) and experiment from there. IMHO, I think that most people will find his method giving rewarding and the quickest results. Mine is an alternative you may consider but I would only consider doing this only if you have read Allen's book cover to cover. Do not interpret what I'm saying as better than the Proximonian method, it's just another approach with similar results. My best friend is using Proximo's methods and is getting great results...and isn't that the goal!? We both "trained" under the Proximo's video. If you have not seen that video you MUST begin there.
PawnMower


This message was edited Nov 02, 2009.
J

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
Score: 0



Proximian Method, I love the name. I think I will follow your plan, PawnMower. Start with the Proximo setup and re-read the GTD book again and again to refine my system. However, whose to say there are not advancements to Allen's book that can be made using Toodledo. On Amazon, his other books are getting mediocre reviews. Do either of you have them?
PawnMower

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by johnnywheels:
Proximian Method, I love the name. I think I will follow your plan, PawnMower. Start with the Proximo setup and re-read the GTD book again and again to refine my system. However, whose to say there are not advancements to Allen's book that can be made using Toodledo. On Amazon, his other books are getting mediocre reviews. Do either of you have them?


I've not read any other books by Allen. GTD is his magnum opus and that's probably the only book I read by him for now...


This message was edited Nov 02, 2009.
Proximo

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
Score: 1



I have read "Getting Things Done" by David Allen but not his new book.

I think I will eventually get it or buy it as an audio book.

I tend to use the KISS Method (Keep It Simple Stupid) and find that too many people over complicate GTD. I think GTD is simple and the philosophy can be used in different ways.

Everyone is trying to find the "Holly Grail" of GTD, but I don't think it exist. So they spend all their time looking, refining, digging into simple concepts and over complicate them in an attempt to reach a destination that does not exist. That in itself is not productive.

The destination you seek is where you are being creative, productive and enjoying yourself.

KISS and move on.
PawnMower

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by Proximo:
I have read "Getting Things Done" by David Allen but not his new book.

I think I will eventually get it or buy it as an audio book.

I tend to use the KISS Method (Keep It Simple Stupid) and find that too many people over complicate GTD. I think GTD is simple and the philosophy can be used in different ways.

Everyone is trying to find the "Holly Grail" of GTD, but I don't think it exist. So they spend all their time looking, refining, digging into simple concepts and over complicate them in an attempt to reach a destination that does not exist. That in itself is not productive.

The destination you seek is where you are being creative, productive and enjoying yourself.

KISS and move on.


I agree. Wise words.
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