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Toodledo on iPhone: Like it, but lacking



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Proximo

Posted: Nov 09, 2009
Score: 0



I have been using my iPhone and Toodledo for at least a week now and here are my thoughts.

First Impression: Love it. I think this is true for anything I am doing on my iPhone because I am still fairly new to the experience of having one.

Impressions after a week: Lacking. Once I got done with the excitement of having my iPhone and spending many hours downloading and testing apps. I finally realize that the Toodledo App. is lacking in many areas.

I won't mention them here because this is mentioned all over the forums in many sections.

I will say that not having the ability to see Sub-task that have a Star in my "Star View" in the main screen has caused me some serious issues. In fact, I failed to meet a deadline on something important because I relied on the information from the iPhone app. not realizing that Starred Sub-task don't show up in the Star view.

I must find a Project, Drill down into it, click on the sub-task button to see if any have Starts.

The complexity and the number of clicks required to do many things in the iPhone app. are also disappointing.

Too much side scrolling to get to things and then side scroll back. Having sub-task hidden inside so deep is not good.

Anyway. I will continue to monitor what features are being improved on the iPhone app. but I will have a hard time trusting it until it can do everything the site does.
andy

Posted: Nov 09, 2009
Score: 0



One way to deal with the sub task limitation is to change the way you document projects: instead of using subtasks to capture the various depth of a project, use a single task or that with the title of the task indicating the current step and the note documenting future and completed steps.

So, for example, a task could be titled "Project - next step" and then renamed as you move on to the next step. In the note field, you could first list all the sub-tasks that you care to document (and in the order that you wish, overcoming another Toodledo limitation) and also include a dated list of the steps you have completed (just copy and paste from when you change the end of the project title).

This system works well, and has the benefits of having fewer total tasks and allowing you to do away with folders or the like to separate single-step actions and multi-step projects. You do need to do more editing of notes, but I find this is simpler than managing separate sub-tasks and it does overcome the iPhone app limitation as well as the limitation about ordering project steps.

I'm not sure my description is clear enough to follow, but I've experienced the same issue you have and find that this alternative practice works well for me both on the main website and on the iPhone App (and on the Informant PIM app, which integrates Toodledo and calendar data in a wonderfully powerful way).
Proximo

Posted: Nov 09, 2009
Score: 1



@andy,

Your description is crystal clear. I want to thank you for sharing and I do see the value.

My only problem is that I am always finding a hack or work around with Toodledo to do things that should be simple. I am getting tired of it already and would not want to change the setup I have now.

I want to focus on actually getting things done and not configuring my system on a daily basis for ever.

I will continue to use my setup on the site and use the iPhone app. in a limited fashion for certain things like capturing a new thought when I am away from my computer.

As a GTDer, I just don't see how Toodledo would ever cater to the simplicity of the GTD setup with it's open nature.

I understand that Toodledo is not a GTD solution and that we have configured it in hundreds of ways to mimic GTD, but in the end what makes GTD so powerful and affective is the simplicity of the system, how it works and how you use it.

Toodledo is simply too complicated and needs to many workarounds for GTD.

Inbox
Today
Next
Scheduled (Calendar Items)
Someday
Projects
Areas (Areas of Focus)

A proper use of Tags for Context, Priority, Energy, etc.

THAT IS IT.

This is GTD.

Very simple.

Very productive.

Very Popular for these reasons.

sorry if I sound like I am getting frustrated........

Inbox: to capture everything in your head quickly and from different sources

Today: A list of any Task you are going to finish today. No matter if it's in your "Next" list or a sub-task in a "Project". It shows up where you need it. If it's a "Scheduled" task, it will show up in "Today" automatically when it's due that day.

Next: Is a list of all your single task that you determined are important and need to get done as soon as possible.

Scheduled: Is a list of all task with a specific date requirement. No need to hunt them down, they are here.

Someday: Everything that sounds interesting and you would like to do Someday but can't commit to it right now.

Projects: An actual Projects Manager, to list all your Projects as they should, with any sub-task or multiple steps required. When you mark your Next Action with a Star, it shows up in "Today" where it's easy to see and focus.

Areas: Areas of focus, so that your system can be changed according to any area of focus and everything is in order. Work, Personal, Blog, Website, etc. I don't have to filter and fight my list to show what I am looking for. It's managed easily.

That's it. GTD in a nutshell. It's simple which is why it's the most popular productivity system in the world.

Am I asking for too much?

P.S.

I am not saying this is Toodledo's fault, because it's not specifically designed for GTD. I choose to use it and make it work as best I can. It's just frustrating looking for something that can take the simplicity and power of GTD and put it on a Web Application that has all the great options found in Toodledo such as email forward, attachments, import/export, iCal, Extensions, iPhone, File Storage, etc.

How about a new site and service. "Toodledo GTD"

The two best GTD Applications are on the Mac.

They are also not Web Applications which is a big feature for me. But Omni Focus and Things do GTD right. I just wished either one of them developed a Web Application version so that I can have a more Productive Life.


This message was edited Nov 09, 2009.
andy

Posted: Nov 09, 2009
Score: 0



You are definitely right that too much tweaking with productivity systems is a big time trap -- but so, alas, is changing systems frequently in the hopes of finding one that is perfect.

I'm at a point where I want one that is "good enough" to use for the long term, and whose limitations I can live with.

So far, Toodledo is working well for me in a "simplified" form using no folders, no sub-tasks, and only two priority levels (low/-1).

With respect to the iPhone app vs. full web app, I think it is inevitable that the iPhone app will be secondary -- it is likely to have fewer feautures, and in any case the smaller screen and keyboard make it less efficient to use. So, I'm fine with doing the "heavy lifting" using the full web app and using the iPhone app for targeted purposes.

(One thing I really like, however, is having the iPhone app as a way to access and work on tasks offline. Since there is no gears support or the like, that part of the iPhone/Web app combo is a real strength.)

Good luck in your quest, and THANK YOU for posting all your GTD expertise here!

Andy.
Proximo

Posted: Nov 10, 2009
Score: 0



@andy,

I am not going anywhere just yet. :-)

I still use Toodledo and got my system setup for GTD as best I can. I no longer mess with my system setup once I found something I can live with.

I just don't want to change it now that I got the iPhone App and realize that many things can't be done with it.

So I won't and will just deal with it.

Thanks for your input and letting me vent there for a bit. :-)
wjlynch

Posted: Nov 10, 2009
Score: 0



I share the same frustration Proximo. I refuse to change the structure I have set up on Toodledo Web to accommodate my needs on Toodledo iphone app. I have both Toodledo iphone app and Appigo ToDo iphone app installed. I find myself using the Appigo app much more often. My only gripes with it is lack of star support and lack of setting due dates as "optionally on". I do find it more visually appealing and much easier on the eyes in terms of organization. I also appreciate the multiple layers of filtering that it offers.
pontus.klang

Posted: Nov 10, 2009
Score: 0



Hey,

I strongly recommend Pocket Informant for the iPhone, and I have purchased and tried toodledo, appigo todo and action lists.

I use a setup similar to proximo (sub tasks) for projects and stars for next actions. The only problem today is that Pocket Informant can only do "good" filter on tag, so I set tag to the same value as context.

The setup combined with google calendar (synced with Lotus Notes at work using companionlink) allows me to see everything relevant and filter next actions based on context (ie @Work, @Downtown, @Home).

Pocket informant is still adding functions so it will be interesting to see what will happen, unfortunately it's a bit expensive. I'm still trying things, PIM also support the status attribute but filtering is tricky.


This message was edited Nov 10, 2009.
Proximo

Posted: Nov 11, 2009
Score: 0



@itreq

Tried Pocket Informant Lite and it does not work for my setup.

PI calles Folders Projects and this messes up my entire structure.

I also don't like how it moves task based on any information you add to it. For example, I had a task in the Inbox and just because I added the context of "Work" to the task, it moved it from the Inbox (Which it calls a Project for some reason) into the Context list.

So now I did not know where my task went and I found it in the context list. Then I added the "Next Action" status to it and it moved it again to Next Action list.

It's confusing and does not work the way I setup my Toodledo on the website.

I honestly don't see anything working the way I want for GTD on the Web and iPhone.

Well, There are other options, but I must decide on what I will do long term. For now I don't have time for that so I will keep trucking along.
manuelhe

Posted: Dec 28, 2009
Score: 1



Ive been very happy with Toodledo and I just got my iPhone. Toodledo's iPhone app is ok but not great. One thing I do not see right now on the iphone though are contexts. Am I missing something?

I look under settings: Fields & Details and see Fields Used and Unused fields. Status, context, goals are some unused fields. What does this mean? Does it mean I am not using them or does it mean toodledo is not using them?

I will try the lite versions of Pocket Informant and Todo. anyone know what their limitations are when compared to the full versions. I'd hate to vote one down because it was missing something that I could have had inthe full version. In the end I will probably end up with both lol.


This message was edited Dec 28, 2009.
mike

Posted: Dec 28, 2009
Score: 0



@Proximo. First off I want to thank you for your in-depth walkthru of your GTD setup. I'm currently using your system for myself, though it's getting a bit funky and may need some tweaking to fit my life (salesman).

I'm not sure if you're already aware of this, but there's a filter on the iPhone app where you can change subtasks from "nested" (hidden) to "in-line". The filter is persistent through all the views, i.e. tags, contexts, folders, etc, so it's a set-it-and-forget-it feature.

So if I want to see all the NA's I can accomplish with only my iPhone available, I go to "Tags" then "iPhone" and voila, the NA subtasks show up sorted by "Star'd" status. You can then tap on the subtaks and scroll to the bottom to view the parent task/project the subtask is associated with.

All that said, I can't see two inches beyond my nose so something may come up that totally blows this setup to pieces. If you or anyone else catches it, please let me know!
Proximo

Posted: Dec 28, 2009
Score: 0



Posted by mike:
@Proximo. First off I want to thank you for your in-depth walkthru of your GTD setup. I'm currently using your system for myself, though it's getting a bit funky and may need some tweaking to fit my life (salesman).

I'm not sure if you're already aware of this, but there's a filter on the iPhone app where you can change subtasks from "nested" (hidden) to "in-line". The filter is persistent through all the views, i.e. tags, contexts, folders, etc, so it's a set-it-and-forget-it feature.

So if I want to see all the NA's I can accomplish with only my iPhone available, I go to "Tags" then "iPhone" and voila, the NA subtasks show up sorted by "Star'd" status. You can then tap on the subtaks and scroll to the bottom to view the parent task/project the subtask is associated with.

All that said, I can't see two inches beyond my nose so something may come up that totally blows this setup to pieces. If you or anyone else catches it, please let me know!


Thanks for the tip. This does help and I can manage my Starred list better on the iPhone app this way. I don't like the fact that all the sub-task appear to be single task with this filter, but it's better than nothing at this point.

Still think the iPhone app needs a lot of work in simplicity.
glenn956

Posted: Dec 31, 2009
Score: 0



I'm excited about 2010 and getting my "stuff" together using GTD in the New Year. I also have an iPhone (Appigo ToDo and Notebook) and just upgraded my Toodledo to Pro.

I'm seeing things like this, where the devil is in the details. The nice clean GTD write-up for Toodledo doesn't pan out so well when you actually go to use it all together with your physical files, Toodledo, and iPhone.

Is there a "Best Practices" guide somewhere that boils this all down so that everyone doesn't keep re-inventing their own wheel? If someone's already got this dialed into GTD, I'd rather start with what they're doing than re-invent my own. You know, how to treat Next Actions, where to put Project Lists, and all that.
glenn956

Posted: Jan 04, 2010
Score: 0



Over the last few days, I'm seeing that the only "best practice" out there that I could find is from what Proximo posted and it's been a big help the last couple of days in getting my "stuff" together, so I'm using this as my starting point.

I'm wondering if anyone has a suggestion on an iPhone app? I've been using ToDo, which I really like, BUT it doesn't support the "Star" field, which in Proximo's system, is used for "Next Actions."

ToDo had several advantages over the Toodledo iPhone app, but the lack of the "Star" field support may negate all of those in the sake of GTD. Any thoughts out there? Thanks!
David

Posted: Jan 04, 2010
Score: 0



Pocket Informant uses "star" and syncs with TD (and GCal). That's what I use (but I also use the TD app for now).

David
glenn956

Posted: Jan 04, 2010
Score: 0



At this point, I'm considering Proximo to be the Toodledo/GTD guru since he really has this process dialed for himself.

If you see his post above, Pocket Informant didn't work.

I really don't want to do this by trial & error. I'd like to get the best advice out there for which app works best for GTD on the iPhone. Again, I DON'T want to re-invent the wheel.
clang1

Posted: Jan 05, 2010
Score: 0



Posted by manuelhe:
Ive been very happy with Toodledo and I just got my iPhone. Toodledo's iPhone app is ok but not great. One thing I do not see right now on the iphone though are contexts. Am I missing something?

I look under settings: Fields & Details and see Fields Used and Unused fields. Status, context, goals are some unused fields. What does this mean? Does it mean I am not using them or does it mean toodledo is not using them?


I didn't see a reply to your question, so in case you haven't gotten an answer, it means that the iPhone app is not configured to display (or let you enter) those fields. The list of fields the iPhone app is using may be different from the fields you use on the web app.

If you click 'Reorder' you can drag 'context' from 'Unused Fields' to 'Fields Used'. Then, not only will it show up as a field within your tasks, but 'Contexts' will show up as a first-level item on your Home screen, just like Folders, etc.

The fact that Contexts wasn't immediately available on the Home screen confused me for a while until I realized you had to enable it within Settings like this. Although it is a shame that saved searches are not supported on the iPhone app yet, I have a pretty workable view of Next Actions by using the Contexts view, sorting by Star, and setting my Filters to Hide Completed Tasks, Show All Future Tasks, and In-line Subtasks.

I use Proximo's setup, more or less, so Sort by Star and In-line Subtasks are the two most important settings to make a usable iPhone Next Action list, in my opinion.

Hope this helps.


This message was edited Jan 05, 2010.
clang1 Post deleted
glenn956

Posted: Jan 05, 2010
Score: 0



Posted by manuelhe:
I will try the lite versions of Pocket Informant and Todo. anyone know what their limitations are when compared to the full versions. I'd hate to vote one down because it was missing something that I could have had inthe full version. In the end I will probably end up with both lol.

I think I'm going to be in the process of transitioning OUT of ToDo to Toodledo. The main thing, for me at least, is that ToDo does NOT support the Star field and have no imminent plans on doing so.
Proximo

Posted: Jan 05, 2010
Score: 0



I just want to thank everyone for the nice comments but the fact is that all of you guys/girls are the Gurus. Working together we have come up with many great ideas that work.

You take all these great ideas and use the ones that work best for your particular situation.

The GTD Structure I created was simply an attempt to setup Toodledo like David Allen describes in his book and in his GTD Flowchart. It's very close to the setup of other GTD specific applications and a good starting point for many.

It's not the only way to set Toodledo up for GTD but one that many have found useful.

Many have taken this template if you will and tweaked it for themselves. In the end, we can all find what works for us.

I want to thank all of you for the great tips, ideas and sharing that happens on these forums.

I think we can all agree that we love Toodledo and it helps us all achieve our goals, but at the same time we all would like to see some changes along the way.

So keep the great ideas and feedback going and Toodledo will do their best to implement what they can.
Mallozzi

Posted: Jan 16, 2010
Score: 0



Posted by Proximo:

PI calles Folders Projects and this messes up my entire structure.


Go into PI Settings/To-Do Settings/To-Do Mode and set it to Toodledo (instead of GTD or Franklin Covey)


This message was edited Jan 17, 2010.
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