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Scott's GTD Setup
I thought I would share how I use Toodledo and how it pertains to GTD. I am a big proponent of GTD and for years I used spreadsheet to track my tasks. These spreadsheets were custom made. I programmed them using VBA to make them more efficient to use. The problem I kept running into though was that they were stored in multiple locations (or contexts). So I had one at work, one on my laptop as I travel a lot at times, and one at home. Toodledo allows me to bring these all together without losing any off the functionality that I built up over the years in my spreadsheet. (Way to go Toodledo!)
So first a little background on how I've set things up and in subsequent posts, I will walk you all thru how I GTD and use Toodledo.
Folders: I use folders for major groupings. So I have folders for
[my current client] - I'm a consultant working in Tokyo, but live in NY
[my business partner]
[my company] - A lot of tax to do items are in here. Go figure…
[Home] - Projects, routine items, personal finance, kids sports schedules, etc
[Agendas] - Things I need to discuss with different people the next time we talk.
[Projects] - Anything that will require more than one step to complete. I also use the project name as a tag in the "to do" list.
[Job Search] - I'm always looking for my next client
[Birthdays] - Also anniversaries
[Vacation Ideas] - Got to have some fun
[Someday] - Maybe I'll get to these or maybe not
From these folders I can derive some contexts though some will cross between folders. Contexts I have defined are
[Work] - For while I am in the office
[Home] - For while I am at home
[Calls] - These could be while I am anywhere. Have phone will travel. I thought about dividing these up further, but for now they are all together.
[Errands] - While I am traveling by car.
Topics I will cover in the near future will be tags, filing, and getting "IN" empty. Let me know if you have any questions. Hopefully we can all learn from each other.
Scott, thanks for the post. I look forward to reading your future posts as I've not tried using tags yet.
I continue to struggle with overlap between my folders and contexts. I may use some of your ideas to clarify mine.
Expect another post in a day or two. Truth be told, while I tag most of my tasks, I really do rely on them too much. I find that folders and context provide most of what I need to look at from day-to-day.
The big break through for me was biting the bullet and ditching my home grown spreadsheet for Toodledo. Now when I think of something it goes in. Now if my wife asks me to stop on the way home to pick something up, I can log it in Toodledo and know that it will be under context of Errands and be viewed on my Blackberry.
Thanks for the feedback,
Today I want to explain how I use tags, stars, and status. 1st up are stars. These are easy to use. Since they are binary, we need to decide why they are on or off. As for me, when I start to work on the task, I click the star on. It stays on until the task is completed. I do this to remind me which tasks I am currently working on. It's easy to spot them this way.
I only use a few of the statuses. Primarily Planning, Delegated, Waiting, Someday, Reference, and No Status (most tasks). Since I use the star to tell me that I am working on it, there is no reason to use Active. If I delegate the task, or I am waiting for someone to get back to me, I add their name as the 1st item in the tag list. So if I delegate to Sue a task, the tag could read "Sue, Project ABC, Budget". This way I, I can easy see that Sue needs to complete something. If I am waiting for the PC Help Desk to fix a problem, then their name will go in the tag and the status become waiting.
Finally tags. I categorize most of my tasks by one or more tags. Here are examples of my current tags: Taxes, Home Env, Finances, Family, CC, Birthday, Bills, Organize Home Office, T&E, Health, Vacation, High Freq Trading, Expiration, Job Search, Futures In Swap, Personal Dev, Meeting, Agenda, Backup, Anniversary, LinkedIn, Movie, Service Desk, Automobile, Hobby. Most of these are straight forward. Others you might not recognize are projects. When I create a project in my projects folder, I then use its name as a tag. For me, a project is anything that has more than a few steps and will take more than a week to complete. Often these steps are undefined (don't worry they will get defined at some point). Now if I want to see all defined tasks related to a project, I can use the tag.
My overall goal when using tags, star, and status is to keep it to a minimum. I don't try to over think it. I find I don't need to flag something with "Next Action" because I generally know what I will be doing next.
As for my next posting, I think I will be discussing my new filing system. With Toodledo, I will be putting it on steroids. I think I've got it worked out in my head so it may be time to share (and maybe gets some feedback). My current system works, but I think this will be a lot more fun and useful.
Tks very much for your post. I've been using MonkeyGTD to control everything, but now I'm trying ToodleDo. I was becoming sad as I didn't find a way to group tasks in a project, as it's not there (not with that name). Then you tell us about your tags! So I went to "Add fields" and found tags there.It's all I needed!
Your words were very useful for me. I'll wait for anything else you'll tell us about. Hope I can help with new ideas too... Someday / Maybe.
A Geraldo - Brazil
Hi, I'm glad to have found this forum!
I have been using Toodledo as a GTD platform for over a year - I think I've set it up so that it has most everything I need (except the discipline to always do a weekly review!)
For Someday-Maybe I created a Folder called "Someday-Maybe" - I can look at just the items in this folder when I need to.
I have a few other things I've done w Toodledo that have helped :
My folders have a structure :
"*" before the topic is a personal folder that is active
" <nothing>" before the topic is a work folder that is active
"z" before the topic is an inactive folder (they show at the bottom of the list of folders). I organize the folders alphabetically, and with this system it's easy to find the folders I need.
Someday-Maybe is thus "Z Someday-Maybe"
I have my weekly review checklist as a text note under "weekly review" which is a repeating task every Tuesday (the note itself contains my modifications of the GTD wkly review checklist)
I've also set up a series of bookmarks that help me, and they include some Toodledo Folder views already bookmarked
So the higher folder level on my toolbar is "Daily" and there are some direct bookmarks there to Toodledo, to my email, to a few other sites I use daily & multiple times a day
Underneath, sub-folders for each day of the week (Mon-Friday plus one for weekend)
A day's folder will have the bookmarks I need - I have Inbox Zero days for certain accounts for different days of the week (and none on Monday because Monday is usually a hectic day for me). So bookmarks to each account under the appropriate day.
Tuesday is Weekly Review day (if all goes well). I have my main work inbox set for Inbox Zero on Tuesdays & Fridays, so bookmark to my webmail client for that account. And another subfolder for bookmarks under "Weekly Review" under "Tuesday" which includes a link to the Cleansweep assessment (which I do monthly) and a bookmark which directs me to the "Someday-Maybe" folder of Toodledo.
Now when I do my Weekly Review I just click through the various bookmarks & see the things I need (they are ordered to correspond to my Checklist).
I've found this system really helpful - only wish I could get Toodledo offline on my computer when I am traveling, although the iPhone & iPad apps help somewhat.
I love learning how others use the system. I will try to explore using tags - so far I haven't done that.
This message was edited May 07, 2010.
More is coming. I've been traveling a lot the last 2.5 weeks.
I want to talk about my new filing system which is now fully in place. You can't believe the amount of paper I shredded last week!
I see where you are going with your folder structure. With me, I try to keep folder to a minimum. I look for big buckets. I also sort the folders manually. My most active folders area at the top.
As for the sub-folders, it seems like a lot of work to maintain. I want very little to be between me and actually getting thing done. Since Toodledo has dates and shows me what coming up, I let it do the work.
This time I want to share my new and improved wiz bang filing system on steroids. Truth be told, this is where I really needed to make changes. My problem was that since last July, I have been on the road 4 out of every 5 weeks. So when I have been home, the last thing I wanted to do was tackle this. Well I thought I was home for good and after 2 weeks, I am back in Japan for another 3 weeks.
I did, however, reorganize my home office, and that includes reorganizing my file or reference system. I also have to say, this was where most of my disappointment comes from with regards to Toodledo.
Problem: How to best store both electronic and physical files and be able to find them easy?
Ideally, I want the ability to store documents on line and be able to categorize both the electronic and physical files. I want the ability to use tags to make searching easier. For example, I have physical documents from State Farm Insurance. They cover my Home and Auto. So I could use tags such as Insurance, Home, Auto, Fire, Theft, and Personal as was to describe the type of insurance this covers. My disappointment comes from Toodledo not having the ability of storing tags on notes. Further, I also want the ability to note when a file needs to be purged. For example, taxes 7 years from now. Or a warranty that expires in 2 years, etc. Sometimes the purging is open ended.
Another problem is how do I reference and store electronic documents. Since Toodledo is limited to storing text, that leaves a big hole to overcome. I thought about using another web service, but I really really wanted to keep things in one place if possible. I also needed to balance that with restrictions some of my client’s place of websites I can get to. Ubernotes.com was a serious contender. It is much better at note taking than. In the end, I decided to stay with Toodledo. And here is what I did.
Each physical or electronic file is stored as a note in Toodledo. The notes are numbered sequentially, not alphabetically. I started with 00001 for files that are at home. Client files start 10000. I serious doubt I will ever have more than 10,000 files at home. <Fingers are crossed> the sequence # is followed by a “p” or and “e” (physical or electronic). Then a dash, followed by the title of the file. So the structure looks like this: [ref #][p/e] - [Title]
Inside the note is where the fun is. I embed the tags and other info inside the note. 1st up is Purge and a date or TBD. The looks like this: 2013-12-31. Below this are other tags as described above. Lastly, if it is an electronic file, I add “Path” followed by the path where the file can be found on my home network.
Here is an example:
Title: 00001p - State Farm Insurance
With this structure, I add new files in the order they are created, but can use Toodledo’s search feature to find the file I am looking for.
I would love to see Toodledo add a more robust note taking capability. A wiki would be great. The ability to add pictures and graphs would be helpful. Tagging is a must. And finally a purge or expiration date would allow me to once a year pull those files that no longer serve any purpose.
Posted by Scott:
Another problem is how do I reference and store electronic documents. Since Toodledo is limited to storing text, that leaves a big hole to overcome.
If you upgrade to a Pro-Plus subscription, you will get 5GB of storage space in which to upload files and you can attach these files to tasks.
I use a Fujitsu Scansnap S1500 to make everything 8 1/2 x 11 or smaller into a pdf and attach to Toodledo. Then you always have reference to them. The file attachment function, the email directly into folders, dates... is what keeps me at Toodledo.
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