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How to flag items as 'next actions'?



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dag.remote

Posted: Oct 25, 2010
Score: 1



Was hoping to tap into experienced GTDers and get feedback on easiest way to mark/flag tasks as next action items.

I can see where I could make items associated with two separate contexts, where one of them is next actions. Or, I could see where starring the item provides an easy way to add a quick next action attribute to a task.

Opinions please.

Thanks,

W.
PeterW 

Posted: Oct 25, 2010
Score: 0



Toodledo is quite flexible so there are many ways you could tackle this.

My system (which has been modelled on others here) is to use Folders for the main GTD categories, e.g:
- Next
- Projects
- Waiting for
- Someday

The folder that a task resides within denotes its status, and by simply moving a task from one folder to another you change its status.

Any task that is in the 'Next' folder is by definition a next action (a single step task) that can be done when time/energy permits. Projects are kept in a separate folder as they contain parent tasks (the project itself) and subtasks, which are the project next actions.

I use a saved search to create my own 'Hotlist' of the tasks that I want to work on next. This list is made up of tasks from both from the 'Next' and 'Project' folders and will include anything with a hard due date of today or tomorrow and items that are starred.

Note that there is a 'Status' field in Toodledo that has GTD selections such as 'next', 'waiting for' etc. I found the folder method easier than maintaining another field but it might work for you.

I use the Context field only for contexts - I've always found it best to keep things as simple as possible and play to a solution's strengths.

There's lots to be found at Toodledo so you probably need to do a bit of testing to see what works for you.
dag.remote

Posted: Oct 25, 2010
Score: 1



Peter:

Looks good and maybe I read some of your earlier postings (without taking note of your name), cause so far, my system is setup in a similar fashion.

3 other quick questions for you:

1.) Where do you store non-project / general todos?
I added an extra folder named 'Actions' which is where I pretty much place anything that doesn't belong in a specific project. I could have left these items in the INBOX, but then it's hard to see newer items.

2.) How do you manage multiple projects if you only have one folder named projects?
I'm guessing you have have a pro account that permits you to create sub tasks. Otherwise I can see a complicated process based on a long list of ever-growing context items.

3.) Do you use the Starred item(s) feature, and if so, what for?

Thanks,

W.


This message was edited Oct 25, 2010.
alexandremrj_1388136045

Posted: Oct 25, 2010
Score: -1



I would like to share my GTD system that I'm currently using:

Folders: Projects like "Things to Read" or "Big Work Project with lots of things" ou even subprojects whose big project is a Goal

Context: "Office Desk", "Office Building", "Home", "Outside", "Shopping"

Status: "Next Action" for the real todos, "Active" for todos that are not a next action, "Reference" for those small things to remember, and so on.

My big projects are a Folder, those small projects I use Proximo's setup that are:
+For the main subject
-Main: Subtask

I have my goals filled out and part of my weekly review, but to stop clutering my TD I disabled them from the main window.

Hope this helps. Any questions just ask.
PeterW 

Posted: Oct 25, 2010
Score: 1



@dag.remote,

1. Non-project / general todos?
These tasks are filed in the other folders, e.g:
- in 'Next' if I can do them;
- in 'Waiting for' if I am waiting on someone else to respond or do something first;
- in 'Someday' if they're nice-to-do but not imperative tasks.

The Inbox is only for tasks that I haven't processed yet and will be emptied daily.

2. Multiple projects
Yes, I have a pro account for this reason. In the Projects folder, every task is a project (parent task) and each have subtasks that are my project next actions.

3. Starred item(s) feature
Yes, I do use the Star field. As mentioned above, I have a Hotlist (saved search) that I use to drive what I want to achieve each day. This is usually a list of 5-10 tasks and is made up of tasks that have a hard due date (due today or tomorrow) and tasks that I've 'starred'. This gives me a small manageable list of tasks for the day.

Using the Star field avoids having to put soft due dates on tasks. Per GTD methodology, I only put a due date on tasks if they really are due that day. I don't want to get into the habit of setting soft due dates (i.e. setting due dates as a reminder) and then rolling the tasks forward all the time when they aren't done - that's a waste of time and energy and creates the sense that I am not getting things done.

However I will use the start date field if I want a tickler for any task.


This message was edited Oct 25, 2010.
dag.remote

Posted: Oct 26, 2010
Score: 1



Thanks folks - good suggestions. Only missing part for me now is getting the tasks into Outlook timeslots, cause if it isn't in my calendar, it tends to not get done.

It drives me nuts that I can't drag a task to a time where I want to work on it. I end up some days looking at an empty day (in Outlook), but with a long list of tasks at the bottom. I have to manually create events throughout the week to get the tasks done, so I end up duplicating the tasks in the calendar.

Having a task with a due date is't good enough if I have to work on the task over three days at varying times to meet the due date.

Throw an Iphone into the mix and it's a pain to have everything synced and get everybody rowing in the same direction.
alexandremrj_1388136045

Posted: Oct 26, 2010
Score: -1



I use toodledo with GTD on every part of my life, personal and profissional, and I use Outlook at work (requirement).

What GTD says is that you only have in your calendar the things you must really do on that day (day specific-in outlook I use as an all day or hour specific), so to drag a task where you want to work it is not supposed to be in your calendar, it goes in your next action list.

So, I recommend put the action you must do in your next action list, even if it is the only one. My tasks don't have a due date in TD, if it must be done is in my next action list and the due date is in the Outlook or Personal calendar.
PeterW 

Posted: Oct 26, 2010
Score: 1



@dag.remote,

I agree with alexandremrj in principle. The way I work is to put appointments in the calendar, e.g. work meetings in Outlook and personal stuff in MobileMe. I spend most of my time working out of Toodledo and use the calendar as a reference for appointments during the day. For me, date-critical tasks tend to not be time critical so this works fine and it suits me fine because I am no fan of Outlook!

Nonetheless this would be the holy grail - i.e. the ability to link Toodledo items with your calendars (i.e. Outlook/Exchange/MobileMe/Google) etc without lengthy sync delays etc. One day...
alexandremrj_1388136045

Posted: Oct 26, 2010
Score: 1



Wait,

I have my toodledo items in my calendar, in the start date I specified (I don't use due date on toodledo and use only the start date to know when I added them - usefull mostly in the waiting part), and that is easy.

Justo go to iCal and then All Others and place it as a web calendar in your Outlook (I use Outlook 2007).

For me the calendar is sacred and its the hard landscape - A deadline may appear in the calendar (with a reminder a day or a week before) but the task itself is in my next action list.
PeterW 

Posted: Oct 26, 2010
Score: 1



Unfortunately I don't have iCal as I don't have a Mac. Windows PC at work and home. I've dumped Outlook at home and now just use MobileMe and GMail. At work I have to use Outlook/Exchange for mail and calendar.

The neat thing about the iPhone is that it overlays my Exchange calendar with my personal calendars so it's the best calendar to look at for scheduling.
alexandremrj_1388136045

Posted: Oct 26, 2010
Score: 1



"Publishing your to-do list as an iCal subscription will allow Google Calendar, Apple's iCal, or many other calendar programs to stay synchronized with your Toodledo account."

I don't have a Mac also, I can see my tasks in Google Calendar (personal) or Outlook (work) because I add a new calendar - the Toodledo one.

I tried this before but didn't fit my GTD methodology but you can place start date and due date in your tasks and have them appear in your calendar.
etanafinkler

Posted: Nov 01, 2010
Score: -1



Ugh. I just stayed up all night rearranging Toodledo according to what I had been reading about GTD with toodledo on diff websites. Using the folders as "who I am" ie,
home owner, artist, Financial mgr, .... maybe kind of like Alexandremrj... and now I just synced with ToDo on my Touch and it does NOT work. I just don't see the next actions!!! That is what I need to see first...

Now I'm thinking I have to do it all over again with PeterW's
- Next
- Projects
- Waiting for
- Someday

as the folders... UGH . It seems I'll never set this up; I'm spending so many hours trying to coordinate toodleto and ToDo, but I"ve researched online and can't find anything better. Taska and Things are about $50 /yr I think, and I just spent for the Toodleto pro since I thought it could handle the GTD and I know I am new at GTD but darn this is just too complex. Toodledo has contexts that don't seem to work ... I set up all the Next Actions etc there, and they don't even show up on ToDo,,,,

any advice? I guess tomorrow night I'll have to redo everything with this setup; maybe it will work
- Next
- Projects
- Waiting for
- Someday

I've GOT to see my Next Actions quickly on my Touch, without going through menus

thanks, eTana
vsbsubscribe

Posted: Nov 01, 2010
Score: 1



I had the same requirement and this is what I did.
I use Toodledo for my personal use - not official project management. I am reading and part time working. So I use toodledo for tracking all my reading and writing.

Below are the fields I have enabled.

* First I setup the folders according to the different activities I am doing.
I considered all the activities I do in my life, grouped them into different categories and that is how I ended up with the list of folders.
E.g., different folders in my case are - philosophy, language, science, GENERAL.
So whatever I do would come under a particular folder.
NOTE - I have broken the first rule of GTD by not creating the folders they advice. Just my personal implementation.

*Context - They tell the nature of the work under a particular folder. E.g., reading, writing, to-do, communicating, etc.

* Status - This is important. All the tasks have any of the five status possible - Active, Next Action, Waiting, Hold, NONE.

* Tag - to fine tune

* Repeat - not a must.

*Goal - not a must.

* Start-date/end-date - not a must.

So the point of listing was to convey a solution for your problem.
When I add a task, it goes to a particular MAIN TASK under a specific FOLDER, with a specific CONTEXT and a STATUS.

My main list is the ACTIVE tab under STATUS page. So all I want to do today or tomorrow [depending on the start date, end date] would appear there.

There is no magic way the list is going to be populated with the next tasks unless you go to that task and set a criterion which you would have configured for your hotlist.

So make sure all your tasks are sub-tasks and once you complete a subtask, you can make the next one active. Again, the above solution is one among the possible ways you can configure. Experiment is the attitude.
alexandremrj_1388136045

Posted: Nov 01, 2010
Score: -1



etanafinkler, next actions are status not contexts, are you sure the sync is correct?

When you use the slim website and the start page is status, do you see your next actions?

Or are you simply having trouble defining what are your next actions?

If it is the first then there was a syncing problem, if it's the second then you need to process everything you got before defining what is action, and in that what is the next action.

Sorry if I misunderstood your post


P.S: I got my GTD setup on: http://www.toodledo.com/forums/5/8109/0/my-gtd-setup.html
PeterW 

Posted: Nov 01, 2010
Score: 1



@etanafinkler,

Appigo Todo does not have the 'status' field so if you are using it on the website to flag tasks as next actions, you will be completely lost when you look at your iPhone. If you really want to stick with using the 'status' field on the website then I'd suggest you use Toodledo's iPhone app.

The setup I am using works because the folders that you see on the home page of Todo (Next, Projects, Waiting for, Someday) are your status. Everything in the next folder is a next action - it couldn't be simpler. The Focus list can be setup to work much like the Toodledo Hotlist to narrow down your next actions to a daily to-do list. I used a saved search on the website for this because I want to include 'starred' tasks and Todo has an option to include in the Focus list, so again this means that Toodledo and Todo work together really well.

I have to say that setting your folders up in 'roles' just won't work well with GTD. If you use Toodledo on the iPhone then you might be able to get away with it but you'll have to work out of the 'Status' view.

Just my $0.02.
etanafinkler

Posted: Nov 02, 2010
Score: 1



>Appigo Todo does not have the 'status' field so if you are using it on the website to
>flag tasks as next actions, you will be completely lost when you look at your iPhone.
@PeterW
Yes, this is exactly what killed me., I spent HOURS setting it up, only to find that ToDo didn't have Status, while in Toodledo, Status is the "next action, someday, delegated, etc"

No wonder I was floored when I synced and nothing worked. I had researched, thought it out, looked at different models....

So then at 5:30am I redid the whole think quick and dirty in Toodledo, using the ToDo folders as status as PeterW says: "Todo (Next, Projects, Waiting for, Someday) are your status".

I'm bleary-eyed and brain dead and was doing other things today. Tomorrow I'll begin looking at it on my Touch on the metro to work, and see what I have. At first glance, I have Next Actions on top folder, with a chronological list of overdue, today, tomorrow, next week, future, completed and no due date on the first NEXT Actions screen. I think this may work.

I go then to Toodledo and I'm kind of lost. I did a search for groceries, or shopping and it doesn't turn up anything and.. maybe I deleted it, dunno.

I think the Toodledo interface is crap. I'm using

>When you use the slim website and the start page is status, do you see your next actions?
@alexandremrj... What is "the slim website?"

@vsbsubscribe, I don't want to move away from GTD. I have tried many org styles and none work. I am a procrastinator. I would really like to adhere very closely with GTD because I am drawn to it, and I think it has potential. My hardest think is letting go of the notion that each thing is under a project and sub projects. I may take some of the larger projects into a dedicated app. Home renovation maybe should have been in an app by itself. I had hoped that Toodledoo/ToDo would help me focus and manage the home reno, and thru that I'd learn the apps.

For example. Okay I know the next 2 actions for buying the granite for my countertop. But there are maybe 10 actions associated with it, since I haven't yet even picked the store or the color. It would seem I need a place to store more than "next actions" and postponed or action or someday for the other parts of the granite project, which is just one part of the home reno project. It would make sense all the ideas I have about the home reno flooring would go under a project called home eno, sub project called flooring, sub-projects t for pergo, wood and carpeting. So I don't know how to integrate this into the system of PeterW's that I'm leaning to using for ToDo.

My favorite app lately is National Velocity and SimpleNoteapp.com website....

I'll be back after I use this structure a bit.
sts.alfasolar

Posted: Nov 02, 2010
Score: -1



make the countertop a project, think hard to get all the actions needed for completion (with subtasks, you can control the order of them, too), mark the next action somehow (star or status), and start using it.
If you use a folder as a container for project-specific tasks or tasks/subtasks is dependent you have to decide on your own. some like one solution, other hate the fumbling with subtasks.
imho there is no need to further group the projects related to the house or so. you know that the countertop is connected to the house and not your work or? I personally would not subdivide more that work/personal (i think).

alas, I am myself still undecided in what way I will setup projects. both solutions are lacking some features.
alexandremrj_1388136045

Posted: Nov 02, 2010
Score: 1



@etanafinkler:
The "Slim" website is Toodledo optimized for small screens.

http://www.toodledo.com/slim

Using your example I have:
Folder: Home Eno
Inside that folder I would have:
Task: +Granite for Countertop - Status "Planning"
Subtask: -Granite: Pick Color for granite - Status "Next Action"
Subtask: -Granite: Check store prices for granite - Status "Active"
Subtask: -Granite: Phone contractor N:xxx xxx - Status "Active"

When you are checking status "Next Action" you are only seeing the first one, when you finish it you go to the project and pass the second from "Active" to "Next Action"
PeterW 

Posted: Nov 02, 2010
Score: 1



Posted by etanafinkler:
I go then to Toodledo and I'm kind of lost. I did a search for groceries, or shopping and it doesn't turn up anything and.. maybe I deleted it, dunno.

I think the Toodledo interface is crap. I'm using

The Toodledo website has many views - look at the top line of the screen where it displays "View by" and select the one that suits you best.

To see the data in the same kind of format as you would see it in Todo on the iPhone, select View by: Folder and you will see Next, Projects, etc. If you then sort the view by Due Date it will appear with the same type of dividers as you see on the iPhone.

I'm using Toodledo for my trusted GTD system and it does work. You probably just need to spend some more time with it and ask questions.


This message was edited Nov 02, 2010.
etanafinkler

Posted: Nov 02, 2010
Score: 1



alexandremrj and PeterW and sczuka,
thanks for the replies... I think I'm just frustrated that "both solutions are lacking some features." and I have seen the menu structure and did settle on the

"View by: Folder and you will see Next, Projects, etc." I hadn't gotten to "If you then sort the view by Due Date"... but I did notice today that that is how the Touch is displaying the info, and I probably can work with that.

Practice now practice... and asking questions... thanks... I suppose part of it is that I am not only new to ToDo and Toodledoo, but also new to GTD, and already overwhelmed by the whole home renovation stuff anyway!!!

thanks for the quick and thought-out responses.

etana
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