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struggling with Due Dates



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bdws1975

Posted: Jun 20, 2010
Score: 0



hi all,

I'm new to GTD and Toodledo and am trying to get my head wrapped around the concepts and practices.

I've been a 'to do list' guy for ages. I get to the office in the morning and write out my to do list for the day. Or, if I'm at home I'll enter a to do list on my computer for later use.

I ALWAYS assign a due date to everthing. For example: as I'm sitting here, I'm remembering that my expense report has to be done Monday the 21st. So, I'll enter 'expense report submitted' and place a due date of 6-21-2010.

Am I to understand this is incorrect (according to GTD)? If so, when are due dates used and how do you keep track of things that must get done BY a certain day?

I'm sure it's buried in this forum somewhere but I've exhausted my patience to dig. Please feel free to point me to a post or otherwise.

Thank you so much. I'm excited at the prospect of getting more done with less stress.

Best,

brett
bdws1975

Posted: Jun 20, 2010
Score: 0



ok, so I've been reading a little more around the web.

Am I right to say that if something has a hard due date, it shouldn't go on a list at all, but on my calendar?

If so, then since most projects have a hard date (at least for me), should all projects go on my calendar?

It's all so new and confusing. But exciting.

thanks!
Kara Monroe

Posted: Jun 20, 2010
Score: 0



@bdws1975,

I think you have to make what works for you in GTD. Remember - GTD is just a framework to help you build the system that's right for you. For instance, you may still use your practice of writing your daily "to do" list - but that list is going to be taken from your list of all next actions and is just simply a small breakdown of those items for you to get done first, or perhaps no matter what, on that day so you don't have to think about it. Remember - the big guiding principle of GTD is to get everything out of your head and from all the other sources where you're keeping it and putting it into one single system that you know and trust.

With that said, your question on due dates, I think requires you to determine how you're going to work best. For me, an expense report is a project - it is not a next action. However, that project has four next actions. It requires reviewing my calendar for all expensed activities, reviewing and gathering all receipts, completing the appropriate paperwork and then submitting the expense report. Those four tasks for me don't have due dates so they wouldn't go on my calendar. However, the actual submission of the expense report would go on my calendar because it has a hard due date. That also gives me reassurance (as I trust my calendar more than I trust anything) that it won't fall through the cracks of my massive project/next actions lists (I routinely have about 70 active projects at a time as I have a large team so I'm tracking progress on delegated projects as well.).
Hope that helps.
PeterW 

Posted: Jun 20, 2010
Score: 0



Hi Brett,

Welcome to Toodledo.

If you haven't read David Allen's book "Getting Things Done" then I'd recommend starting there. It will kick you off in the right direction.

To answer your specific question about due dates, it depends! The distinction about hard due dates is important. You want to avoid assigning due dates to tasks that simply do not have to be done by that date.

An appointment with my doctor is a hard date on my calendar - it's set and I can't miss it (certainly don't want to if I'm sick). A task to clean to screen wire on my windows at home won't have a due date. I may want to do it this coming weekend but it's not essentials so I don't assign a due date.

I use Toodledo for everything, appointments included. I will also add some of these things on an Outlook calendar when it's a meeting involving others because that's how my office does things. Personally though, I use Toodledo to drive it all. The Outlook calendar is just an extension.

I'd recommend avoiding the use of due dates on tasks where there really is none. All you end up doing is rolling them forward continuously and also stressing yourself out by feeling overwhelmed with what you've set yourself to do.

There's so much more to discuss on this, and many forum members here will be happy to help, but you really should get yourself a copy of David Allen's book - it will all become clear, and it's a fun journey.
Sytone

Posted: Jun 25, 2010
Score: 0



I use the Due Dates as a foft due date in Toodledo. If it is hard it is in my calendar. Mentally I am happy to be past the due date in Toodle do as it is a nice to have if I do it by that date. It gives me a sense of priority for tasks in a context as well with out haveing a prioriy.

Also in the review I look at why a task which is past the nice to have date has not been done and redefine/negotiate the task and time frame or move it to someday.

This works well if you can be happy to see overdue tasks but be comfortable that they are not over due as toodle do is you non hard date items (Outlook is my calendar)
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