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PawnMower

Posted: Nov 18, 2009



Posted by Steve:
I've pointed this out before, but completely separating calendar tasks and next action items doesn't work that well for me. You have to keep switching backwards and forwards between views/products to see everything, and to utilise contexts properly. You can't always finish your calendar items in the context you're in, so then you switch to next actions and start working on them. Then you switch back to calendar items later etc.

I use iCal and the iPhone calendar for real appointments. For tasks that must get done on a particular day (I'll call them Calendar tasks), I use a folder in Toodledo. Then I have a custom search that shows all by calendar and next action items, sorted by context. I can see everything on my plate at once, I concentrate on the "must do" items, which stand out because they have a due date, but can do next action items depending on my context.


This sounds like a good approach. I might consider it myself. Thanks.
PawnMower

Posted: Nov 16, 2009



Posted by Steve:
Thanks for that, PawnMower. Did you actually create a "Calendar" folder to put these items in?


Hi,
Sorry for the late response.
Yes, I have an actual folder for Calendar. Since stuff in this folder has start date &/or start time, I then export this to Google Cal and iCal.

Again, the big idea I got from the GTD book is that the calendar is where we work first-- because that's where our commitmments are. If we do not keep these commitments there are consequences and stress. I do not miss anything thinking this way. The next actions are there when I get to it, so I can get on with the rest of my life--family, ad hoc work, etc.
PawnMower

Posted: Nov 11, 2009



Posted by Steve:
Thanks for your insights, PawnMower. I find your approach very interesting. For me, it has the slight drawback that I would have to use both start and due dates for a task due on a particular day. Start date because that must exist for you to use "hide future tasks", and due date so you can look at tasks by due date (on the web and iPhone). On the iPhone app, I do like to look at what tasks are due on a particular day in the future.

Do you have a special "Calendar" folder for must-do tasks?

How do you sync calendar tasks to iCal?

Thanks again.

Steve


Hi, I put ONLY appointments and stuff that has to be done on a certain date in my calendar. Appointments definitely get a start time/date and due time/date. Tasks that must be done that day will also go in this folder, but I only put in start date and due date (leave off the times). These items show up in my due-date tab of "today." I always hit that stuff first because it has to be done.

These items will sync perfectly in this folder if they have a start date and/or time and due date and/or time. To sync go to the "import/export and sync" link on the sidebar. Click on iCal and follow directions. In iCal I choose that no tasks show up (next actions), but only those "hard-edges." I think Allen's concept of the calendar is difficult because we have all been thinking for years with Covey's 7 habits to forward whatever tasks we don't get done. GTD says do not do this. Forget forwarding tasks you can't get done on a certain day...if you don't think you can do it and finish it on a certain day don't put it on the calender but next actions. This took awhile for the light to come on me for this, because it goes against the grain of everything I've been doing with time management for years. But I think this GTD method makes total sense and is more effective than 7 habits.

Everything else not on my calendar and requires action is a next action...and these are in either my next action folder (single actions) or projects (multi-actions). I do not put start or due times on these items because according to Allen "you get to them when you can." However, remember some of these tasks are "DUE BY" a certain date (a deadline) (not "DUE ON" a certain date. The official GTD site discusses this aspect further, that is-- difference between stuff DUE BY (next action deadlines) vs. DUE ON (calendar).

These items are arranged as above by context, time available, energy available and priority. I further filter my items by status as either "next action" or the deferred actions like "hold"-- that way I don't see everything that week.


This message was edited Nov 11, 2009.
PawnMower

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
From Topic: PawnMower's GTD Setup



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.
PawnMower

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
From Topic: PawnMower's GTD Setup



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.
PawnMower

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
From Topic: PawnMower's GTD Setup



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.
PawnMower

Posted: Nov 02, 2009
From Topic: PawnMower's GTD Setup



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
PawnMower

Posted: Nov 01, 2009



I personally do not use the Star method but I use two of the following important features of Toodledo: Start-time/date for my Calendar and Status for next actions, projects, ticklers, reference, etc. I think these features are sadly under-used, but the results are filtering future tasks and deferred tasks as well as an uncluttered working environment.

Going by the David Allen's"Getting Things Done", I look at nothing else but my calendar items first.

Calendar: These are items that have a specific date and/or time. Some are appointments (specific date/time) and others are important things that day that MUST be done. As Allen says, this is sacred territory-- the hard edges of the horizontal landscape of your day. After I have done items there or I'm in between appointments I work on next actions. (See Allen GTD pp. 142-143, 183 1st ed.)

It is important to note that to have a true calender in Toodledo that has blocks of time you must have a start date/time and due date/time. Remember if it's not an appointment you don't have to have a time. Having a specific date and/or time also helps filter items when you want to hide future tasks on your desktop and iPhone app.

As an aside, one of the reasons I find Toodledo better than Omnifocus and Things is because they are WEAK when it comes to the calendar. I've noticed it's all project focused. Projects are secondary to the calendar! I maintain that we should have a calendar folder for those hard-edges as well as sync it with something like Google Cal or iCal. Therefore, if you are serious about following true GTD methods then you must start with the calendar!!


With Next Actions, I process STATUS of "next action" for 2 folders (next actions and projects). Only the top items in the sub-tasks have this status in my projects. All other subtask items in the project are a status of "hold." That way these items are filtered when I turn on "hide deferred items." In addition, what is cool is as long as a few next action items (whether single item or subtasks) have a context all the other items will naturally filter out when you are on the context tabs. The result is only what you can be doing next.


When I'm DOING next actions I make the decision based on 1. context, 2. time available, 3. energy available and 4. priority (Allen, pp. 192-195) So I click on the Context tab.

I sort by tags of time and energy (a T+, T-, E+, E- system) and then by priority.

I have my filters set for hide future actions and hide deferred.

What I see on both my computer and iPhone app are nothing but the next actions for that context nicely sorted by time, energy, and priority. I see both single-item next actions and project sub-task next actions together. I have NO CLUTTER that usually find with Hotlist. I have more control over what I'm seeing with STATUS. [Also note that the parent project name I don't put status or context because this filters as well.]


I have found the "stars method" a good one-- that is, where you are starring your next actions. However, if you are looking for an alternative, I have found personally the method above works extremely well if you are trying to go by the book in your decision making process using context, time/energy available, and priority. I like being able to switch between contexts based on where I'm located in the moment. At home, I'll glance through @Anywhere, @Computer, @Calls, etc. It's all nicely filtered and organized.

I have found this works great on my Toodledo iPhone app as well. I have turned on both filters (hide future, hide deferred) and I keep subtasks in-line. The results are excellent. Like the desktop, I go to due date first or iCal (because this syncs perfectly with iCal). Then I move to Context for my next actions. I see only the items I wanted and I can choose a sorting process there based on tags or priority.

PawnMower


This message was edited Nov 01, 2009.
PawnMower

Posted: Oct 31, 2009
From Topic: PawnMower's GTD Setup



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.
PawnMower

Posted: Oct 14, 2009



I would like to cancel this question. It has already been addressed in another forum post "1 hour off"
thanks
Ms
PawnMower

Posted: Oct 14, 2009



Hi,
When I'm syncing with the iCal app, my date/times are OK for the month I am in, but the following month, I noted all the times are off by -1 hour.

Does anyone know why this is happening? Could this be something to do with DST (Daylight Savings Time) in the programming? I think it might be because DST ends 11/1.

I guess that this will only be resolved when I get to that date and it will work itself out?

Any thoughts/help would be great.

MS


This message was edited Oct 14, 2009.
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