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Posted: Mar 01, 2013

I am considering coding my own Toodledo mobile app, but I want to customize it based on how I use Toodledo. Anyway, I would like to gauge interest...

I love Toodledo, but believe it has many more features than I really need. For those that use more features, my app will probably be of little use for you.

For a closer examination, you can look at my post here: http://www.toodledo.com/forums/5/16581/0/stripping-toodledo-down-for-gtd.html

But to quickly describe the what the app would do...

Syncs folders, contexts, status, and notes.
Everything else will not be synced or even displayed. So there will be no options for recurring tasks, tags, due dates, etc
I also intend to have saved searches, though I don't really use them.
Possible integration with a calendar. There are many calendars and may prefer to leave calendar maintenance up to the user.

Posted: Feb 01, 2013

This is striking me as an issue of processing. When you get the material you need to store, what do you do with it?

Item is actionable (project related):
If it's physical, does it go into a file folder labeled with the Project name? If it's digital, does it go into a folder on the hard drive labeled with the project name?

Item is non-actionable (reference):
If it's physical, where do you put it? Have a reference A-Z file and file it where appropriate. Is it a severely large book or manuscript where filing wouldn't make sense? Put it on a bookshelf, then print out a piece of paper referencing where it is in the folder. If it's digital, place it in a reference folder on your hard drive with relevant file name that would alphabetize it where you think it should go. Video source material is indexed and you don't want to move it or make another copy... then make a shortcut/alias to it in the reference folder on your computer. This also gives you the benefit of naming it something else, if needed.

Those information stores, I have in several places. Some are in physical paper file folders. Some are in computer folders on a hard disk. Some are in a Mail folder. Some are in a NoteBook (the Mac-only app by Circus Ponies) document. Some are in Toodledo task notes.

If you're having trouble finding things, then you must have too many places to look. The number of inboxes you have don't matter so much as what you do to process what's in them. You start off saying some are in physical folders then some are in computer folders, then you name more things that are also on a computer hard disk that could just as easily be put into proper folders. For lack of better terms... just pick one place on your computer and stick to it. If you can't really move anything into whatever you choose, put a placeholder of some sort, just like the paper you use in the physical file to say where a book is. I use Toodledo Notes and reference URLs, phone numbers, addresses, etc.

Posted: Feb 01, 2013

As much as I've loved using GTD, I've always felt it was always bait for Productivity Pr0n. I decided GTD was about

1. Collecting every possible project, errand, task, habit, you want to track at all.
2. Processing... this is the delegation, delete, etc.
3. Tracking
4. Acting - I use principles from the Pomodoro technique for this phase.

[So I just finished typing this all out... it went longer than I expected.]

I've started to strip pieces of GTD away and I wanted to use as few fields in Toodledo as possible. More fields to fill out is just not motivating.

Now, my display is:

Task, Folder, Context, Status (Or Priority, if that's your preference), Notes

I create a folder for ANYTHING requiring more than 2 tasks and I title it with what can be best described as "completion condition." I also create them for specific people (Girlfriend, boss, co-worker).

For context, I use @anywhere, @computer, @email, @errand, @home, @work (Contexts are very personal, you will have your own set)

Status (Or Priority) I use to designate levels. The levels I use are Next, Soon, Later, Someday, Waiting, Delegated. Using Toodledo's options, I respectively use Next Action, Active, Planning, Hold, Someday, Waiting, Delegated. I suppose one could use Priorities, though some categories will need to be shifted. I'll leave that as an exercise for someone so inclined. I'm currently experimenting with using Now for things I want to become routine like flossing my teeth or eating more vegetables. They never get checked off as complete. They're effectively there as reminders.

Notes are where I will keep relevant notes for the specific task (phone numbers, addresses, email, etc)

Every folder, at any given time, will only contain ONE task. That task is whatever the next action for that particular project will be. For example, if I had a "Prepare guest room" the only task in there will be "Dust the ceiling fan." There is no need to worry about any other task at all. (But what if you have more tasks... I'll get to that)

For contexts, choose the context that fits best for the task. What is the essential location or tool? You see my list. I expect your list to differ. For the longest time, I used to use @home, @work, @errands. Eventually, I decided I needed to add the extra contexts.

For Status, place items where they best fit in terms of how important they are. The standard GTD Someday example is Learn Italian. Maybe your first task is Buy an Italian-English dictionary. You will probably make the status of this Someday. Maybe there is a book you want to read over time. Your first task can be Read Chapter 1 and you'd give it the status of Planning. The vacation to Hawaii you were planning on this year is going to have to be postponed due to a sudden medical emergency so the original Next Action now becomes Hold (or Waiting).

So, continuing with the Prepare Guest Room...

I create a task "Dust ceiling fan" and I add it to the folder "Prepare Guest Room." I give it Context of @home and Next Action.

Great... now turns out you have a list of Guest room tasks you want to record right now... fine. Let's do that... you'll repeat as above, only the Status will be Active instead of Next Action. This way, it will be tracked, but it won't be there when you're searching through "Next Actions."

That's it for task entry! (I'll get to collection later)

The two views I use most are Main (Folder/Context) and Context (Context/Status). I also use Folder (Folder/Context) with Recently Completed Showing as it gives a marker of progress during the daily/weekly reviews.

The other tool I use is Google Calendar (you can use whatever calendar you like). Everything that has a hard due date goes there. I make it an All Day event and on a given day, when I complete a task, I will delete the event. I should also stress I have no duplication between my calendar and Toodledo. So for a more complex project, you will place tasks on your calendar so you can be sure to make enough progress as needed. The VERY IMPORTANT thing is to treat the due dates as firm, and the easiest way to do that is to make the action as doable as possible. For example, "Read 1 chapter" not "Read Book." Just think, if you make a due date to "give yourself time" to finish by then, you haven't made the steps small enough.

Lastly, I use Evernote and the Toodledo email address (and sometimes paper) as capture devices. During daily review, they will all get processed and entered in Toodledo as needed.

So... I get an email and I decide my next action is to Call Phil about car. I forward that to Toodledo @@calls $Next Action. I archive the original email... my inbox is clean. Is it an email I just want to read at some point, like a newsletter from some company? I forward that to Toodledo Read Newsletter @@computer $Next Action. I get an email about the new Lamborghini. I forward that to Toodledo Buy Lamborghini @@errand $Someday. If you replied to an email and are now waiting for a reply to move on, bcc your toodledo and don't add any context/status. You'll just process it in daily review.

I'm out and I eat something delicious I'd like to recreate. I take a picture of it in Evernote and title it "Find recipe for delicious awesomesauce" and I will process it later.

Daily review: Anything in Evernote is processed. Go to search and search for anything where status is none. Feel free to save the search. Now process those items. Go to your Folder view. Any folder without a Next Action under it needs to have a new Next Action. Thankfully, you have your completed action there to help remind you of what the next new action is (Or, if you have other tasks already listed, like in the Prepare Guest Bedroom example, just update one of those to be the next action). Go to Status->Waiting do any of those items need to be followed up on? If so, create a Next Action task for it. Go to Status->Someday and look over anything there to see if it can now become Activated as a Next Action. And delete any Projects that no longer interest you. Quickly brainstorm anything else you might want to take on and create a folder and task for it.

Weekly Review: Do the daily review, then... review your projects and decide what's most important. Maybe some projects need to drop out of Next Action to Active to keep your Next Action list small. Look at your calendar and see if there's anything in the week you need to supplement in some way, like you and your wife are scheduled to go shopping for a new dresser and you just realized you should take measurements before that day. Take look at some projects where no progress has been made. Perhaps you can make a step even smaller so you'll be able to make some progress in the upcoming week. Finally, go over some type of trigger list and see if it triggers anything in your brain about a task or project you need to plan for. Feel free to use Merlin Mann's trigger list (http://wiki.43folders.com/index.php/Trigger_List) and just remove what makes no sense for you. Eventually, you'll add to it yourself. Just remember, this is a time to REVIEW, not to DO. So, if you suddenly remember a phone call you need to make, don't do it. Just make your note for processing it afterward. For most people, this should be less than an hour. Also... this should be on your calendar every week.

Posted: Aug 09, 2009

Posted by stephan:

I have about 60-70 Projects - i'm not sure if the Subtasks feature is the right for my projects, i'm not used to the concept how the UI works there. I would rather go with a seperate Folder per Project, would you think that this will work?

Any other ideas how to start?

Much like GTD is a framework upon which you can customize your system, Toodledo is GTD inspired task management system with extreme flexibility.

If you wanted to, you could make a separate folder for each project, but I know most people, myself included, want a way to keep work and personal separate for viewing purposes.

Since you are going Pro, the typical hiearchy people use is Folder (Something broad like "Work") -> Task (Actual project name) -> Subtask (What would be your list of next actions). I do not prefer this setup because of my own personal implementation of GTD. You can read about my approach in my post in the Tips and Tricks forum "Pseudo subfolders" The organization part is really up to you.

Most of my collection is done outside of toodledo in my work inbox, home inbox, email inboxes, and hipster pda. During my spare moment, I will process items from inboxes as is appropriate, then I will add the task/project to toodledo, if necessary (which I can conveniently do from my iPhone). And that is it!

I also tend to differ from the way people use toodledo because my folders are project names, and I rarely have more than one task in any given folder. The task in the folder is my next action, and my folder name can help me figure out my next action as I complete one. I tend not to put multiple actions in a folder because I think it adds to the clutter that GTD is trying to clear up.

I use toodledo strictly for task management. My calendar is my iPhone. And when I need to look at my task lists, I can use the computer I am at, or my iPhone. Many of the other features in toodledo, I simply prefer to have in a physical form in my file cabinet.

I review multiple times during the day, probably dozens.

That about wraps it up. Honestly, though, try setting up toodledo how you think it should be setup. Then use it. Using it will help you customize it to how you want. You will learn what you like or don't like about your workflow. I know the way I have toodledo setup for myself is FAR different from the way I set it up when I first signed up. You'll have your workflow figured out soon enough. What's important is just using it.

Posted: Aug 09, 2009
From Topic: Pseudo subfolders


I originally did what you described using subtasks. I mentioned it in my first paragraph. But, it just didn't set right for me in my head because in my PHYSICAL reference file, every project is its own folder. I wanted to maintain the similar usage.

I also mentioned that I am probably describing how to do the exact same thing most people do with subtasks, but with tags. For me, this just works and flows better for me in my head.

Posted: Aug 07, 2009
From Topic: Pseudo subfolders

Like many people here, I really wanted the organizational capability that would come with having subfolders. At first, I toyed around with using subtasks, but it just didn't feel right. What I am about to describe is likely to be seen as exactly the same functionally, but for me feels more appropriate.

In my adoption of GTD, there are a couple of items on toodledo which I simply do not use. One is priority, and the other is tags. There isn't much I could think of to do with priority, but tags was essentially a free for all. And it was while thinking about tags, that folders fell into place.

The reason I wanted subfolders was to group things together. All of my personal tasks, I would like under one grouping, with subgroups underneath. So, if I had my choice, I would have a personal folder, then within it would be my projects (Read these books, Redesign living room, Plan girlfriend's birthday party), then within each project folder would be the tasks. As it turns out, philosophically, tags are used to categorize or otherwise label things. In a sense, tags allow someone to put anything into multiple folders, but this is not what I use them for.

I created tags for my wide picture view (Personal, Finance, Work, SideJob, etc). Then for folders, I simply used the full project name. In addition to projects, I came up with generic verb-based folder names to lump my single-step tasks ("Maintain the credit I still have" for the Pay Utility Bill type of transactions).

Now, when I want to see what is going on in my Work file, I sort by Tags -> Folders -> Context, and I get an awesome bird's eyeview and somehow, my mind is at ease for not using subtasks to do the exact same thing.

Also, a minor point for me, is subtasks were nested below, whereas in this method, the task and the project to which it belongs are always on the same line. Apparently my memory is weak, as I always had to jump back up a few lines to re-read the project. With the tags, it's an easier glance a little bit to the right, as opposed to a random distance above.

And for those that care... you don't need to upgrade your account to be able to do this, either, so you can save a little bit of cash. Myself, I'd still pay because this site has paid for itself many times over to me. I can give them a little bit of money. Thanks guys!