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Posted: Feb 06, 2012

As a long time GTD adherant, I would sugest keeping it simple. GTD is based arround gaining confidence from using a system that you trust to make good choices about what to do next. That is, its a way of management based on intuition.

My setup is very simple.

One folder that lists all my projects; no star, status or any other settings. I do use a due date but only for those projects that actually are due on or by a specific date.

One folder for my Next Actions by context; @home, @office, @errands, @staff meeting, @agendas with a few key people having thier own context (@Tom), etc. I have a couple of standing meetings that I'll throw things I want to discuss in here as well; @staff meeting, etc.

And seperate folders for Waiting For and Someday/Maybe.

Subtasks...NOPE. I used to use them planning out every single next action for every single project (more than 2 actions) and it was too wieldy. My next actions only contain that single next action I need to take to move it forward to completion. I use Evernote for a lot of my large project plans. As for smaller ones, I just use the notes section of the project task.

I do use goals though. These are more in the 30-40k foot level. Not all of them are in TD, but a few are where there is an active project to support their accomplishment.

As you can see, its a vanilla copy of the GTD Book.

Posted: Jan 30, 2012

Posted by don.mullins:
The longest thread in this forum, with 278 replies spanning 2+ years, is "Proximo's DTD Setup". The discussion is all about trying to make GTD work by working around the features TD is missing to implement a GTD system directly.

How can you be surprised I would ask why not implement features to address those limitations?

Lets stop for a brief moment and define GTD:

- Capture anything
- Define what's actionalble and whats not to achieve a sucessful outcome
- Organize it in a streamlined way, with the appropriate catagory based on HOW and WHEN you need it
- Keep it current
- Keep on track

- All this in order for you to make good choices about what to do in any given environment and situation.

There is not, in my very humble opinion, a single tool that can do all this without effort on the person that uses the tool. Thinking is hard work. For any of you backyard/shade tree mechanics out there... Have you ever had to fashion a tool, or combine several of them to get the job done? You know, nobody quite made one for YOUR unique situation (a 90 degree, reverse angle, left-handed tourque adapter).

Here's the thing, David Allen RARELY speaks about the tool, because the tool is irrellevant. It's your use of whatever tool you have thats important.

Weather its RTM, Nozebe, Lifebalance, Outlook, TD, Todoist, Evernote, etc., with thousands of forum posts spanning years, it is nearly impossible for any developer to meet everyones design of GTD.

"Life is tough. Tougher if you're stupid." John Wayne

Posted: Sep 01, 2011

I completely understand what your going through. Have fell off the GTD bandwagon numerous times. From what I've read, seems like your over-commiting yourself to tasks and dates. I understand how some like to have lots of structure and assign start dates, due dates, or both to all of their tasks. As if the date will force you towards completion. All it does for me is create more anxiety.

So, what do I do? I simply do not assign dates unless its absolutely critical for that task to be completed by that date. Were talking life-threatening, world stops turning, piss-off-my-boss or wife type of criticality.

Because I lean towards GTD purism, my calandar is sacred. Nothing goes on there unless its an appointment or I want to be reminded of an event happening on a specific day/time. Thats it.

We've all heard the mantra about the weekly review being the corner-stone to the whole system. Frankly, its the only thing that keeps me on the wagon. Without dates tied to tasks, I'm free to pick and choose what to do based on my energy level at that moment in time and space. Yes, some items are more important than others, and sometimes I just have to suck-it-up and do them.

This is where my someday/maybe list is probably as equally important as my project list. If I know I'm not going to get to a lot of stuff over the next few weeks simply because of schedules and the two or three projects that are competing for my time, I move a lot of stuff to someday/maybe. By doing so, I'm relinquishing my commitments to those projects/tasks. For me, makes staying on the wagon much easier. Everybody has their own unique spin on GTD and your milage may very.


Posted: Aug 03, 2011

I agree,very well said Salgud!! Cloud based task management is too competitive to leak changes just to appease a few disgruntled customers.

Posted: Jul 31, 2011

For those of you who have nothing better to do than to complain, you are always free to go elsewhere. But then, because of your angry, unhappy and difficult-to-please existence, I doubt that any tool (RTM, Nozbe, Outlook, OmniFocus, etc.) will ever meet your demanding qualifications.

You know who you are. For years you complained about TD's user interface. And now that Jake has taken steps to appease your demands, its not good enough. Then just go. Is it 100% the way I would like it? No. Will it ever be? Probably not, but comes very close. And very close is good enough for me to Get Things Done!

As the previous poster said, I too will elect to stay and pay.

Posted: Jun 15, 2011

I am a long-time adherent of GTD (10+ years), and strictly adhere to its guidelines. With this in mind, I've been using TD for going on three years and have not had an issue with a strict implementation of GTD.

When I think of "In-Box" I actually have several. These are nothing more than physical (inbox on my desk) or virtual (email accounts) locations where I collect and PROCESS stuff. In TD, I have a folder titled, "In Box" I use for collecting ideas and projects that I think of on the go, but don’t have time to process at the moment.
If I have an email that I’m forwarding to TD, I will process it then, so that it goes into the correct folder and tagged appropriately. I don’t see a need to forward an email from one ‘In Box’ to another ‘In Box,’ just to re-process.

Please keep in mind, before all this electronic gadgetry, GTD was simple pen and paper in a loose-leaf notebook; still the most elegant solution around. If all my electronic wizardry was gone tomorrow, I’d have no problem going back to pen and paper in a 3 ring binder. TD is nothing more than an electronic 3 ring binder with some really cool divider tabs with lists:

-List of projects that I have made a commitment to accomplish 2-5 months out
-List of next actions sorted by context (I use tags)
-List of waiting for (I use tags of people I'm waiting on)
-List of someday/maybe: list of projects that 'someday' I will do, but not in the next 2-5 months, and whatever else I might want to park here from now till infinity...

And last, the proverbial "In Box" list of stuff that I've captured to get it out of my head. If I think of an idea or say I'm at a home show and see a nice gazebo and think to myself, "That would look good in my backyard." I'll take a picture of it and pull up TD on my phone or iPad and make a note in my 'In Box' Gazebo at home show.

The next time I get to processing all my in boxes, often daily but at least weekly, I'll process my entry of Gazebo at home show. I may delete it, I may move it to Someday/Maybe, or I may make it a project. If I'm not sure I want to commit to it, I'll make it a project anyway, and my very first next action to move this forward, is to decide on whether or not I want to commit to this. This will usually generate more next actions either as questions to be answered or things to accomplish.

I do all of this very effectively within the constraints of TD. I don’t even use half of the bells and whistles TD offers. In my experience, and I’ve been a GTDer for over a decade, it’s not the list manager. And I’ve probably used or tried them all: Palm pilots, Gmail, RTM, Nozbe, GTD plug-ins for outlook, Life Balance, even that new one Proximo left TD for (no likey), Black Berry aps, various iPhone and iPad aps, etc. It’s usually the user misunderstanding the principals of GTD, unable to shift their old and archaic ways of time management, or both (and I’ll be the first to say I’m guilty of both) to a new way and **learning to trust the system David Allen proposes** I’m not saying one has to follow GTD to the letter. I’ve have found now that when I stop over thinking it and just do it, I’m far more productive.

Posted: Dec 19, 2010

I see a lot of potential with the way you have this laid out. Very clean. Like the folders on the side. Tasks look like tasks. Toodledo...TAKE A HINT!

Posted: Nov 01, 2010

I handle birthdays with a nice bottle of Scotch. Single malt of course.

Are you asking how to be reminded of them? Or what to 'do' for or on a given birthday?

As for being reminded, they go in my tickler file. You can do this old 'GTD' school with 43 folders and a piece of paper that says, "Buy Tom a bottle of Scotch for his birthday on 10 Dec. and buy yourself one too." I can tickle this two weeks in advance and then, if I'm 'processing' correctly, will check my tickler file and place this on my Single Next Action list with a context of errands.

Or, you can set up a separate folder such as 'birthdays/anniversaries' with a filter that doesn't show the item until X days prior to the date.

Mostly, I agree with Salgud. My calendar is sacred. If you want to use it as a tickler file, you can. However, I feel you run the risk of commingling next actions with appointments. Once your reminded of the birthday, you will still have to decide what your going to do. Buying a card might be just a single next action whereas a party sounds like a project. In a nutshell, I handle birthdays like any other actionable item.

Posted: Oct 29, 2010

I've spent some time looking around the website and in their forums to try and figure it out myself. My take on it, they have simply repackaged GTD and Franklin Covey into what they call TRO. From what I've gathered, I don't think it will work for me. I've been on the GTD bandwagon for almost a decade and am a purist about it. I'm not willing to shell out $80 to find out, when GTD as I use it is working for me.

The "Personal Productivity Consulting" market is going to skyrocket with all kinds of versions of Franklin Covey, Getting Things Done, and every other time management method out there.

Posted: Aug 09, 2010

Posted by Proximo:
Posted by David:
I kind of stinks how people need specific setups to get their GTD method working in Toodledo. Maybe choices are a good thing for some people but I personally prefer CultureCode's (Things) Keep it simple and make it easy to grasp philosophy.


I agree with you 100%.

GTD is actually very simple. Toodledo has many choices which is great for many users who want to create something that works for them, but for the GTD Purist, it's an overkill and sometimes makes it hard to use.

I consider myself a GTD purist, one who uses GTD since DA published in hardback. Yes, GTD is simple and I find Toodledo simple as well. I just don't use all the bells and whistles that come with it. One of the reasons I myself in the past, and others fall off the GTD bandwagon is we try to over complicate things with our list manager.

All GTD is, is nothing more than capturing, putting it on a list, and looking at the list at the appropriate time. Very intuitive and effective. When my electronic system is an exact replica of the paper system, it works beautifully for me. Whenever I try to get Toodledo or any one of the dozen or so systems to run on automatic (pick the next action), it stops working. Primarily because I'm trying to get a computer to decide what to do next, and not make the decision myself.

And therein lies the rub. Having to make the decision on my next action (and doing weekly reviews, beyond the scope of this topic). Toodledo is a very simple list manager that I can access anywhere when coupled with my iPhone. And if it wasn't for this, I'd say the heck with all of them and go back to a more elegant solution, paper.

Posted: May 27, 2010

Posted by fsendel:

This is where I am getting confused. Should my project planning be done in Toodledo? Or should I organize the process elsewhere (such as MS project) and only include identified next actions in Toodledo? Should I include actions in Toodledo and determine how much time to spend in each action?


If you really need the level of detail that PM software provides, then by all means use it. But, as the previous poster mentioned, its a beast to use MS Project unless your very well versed in it. My question to you is it worth the trouble?

Perhaps one way is to treat your thesis as an area of focus and make a separate folder. Then list all of the items that need to be accomplished to get your thesis done. In GTD parlance we'll call these projects and in TD you can make them parent tasks. Then for each project (requires more than two steps) list the action items needed to move it one step closer to completion as sub tasks. Each of your action items may have various contexts: library, home, book store, errands, etc.

All of this is in keeping with GTD.

I don't use GTD for just one area of my life (like completing my MBA) and another system for work, and yet a third for home. I use David Allen's method to Get EVERY-Thing Done. What system have you used in the past successfully? If that worked for you before, will it not work for you now? I'm very partial to GTD, and I believe that real success with it means using it for all your areas of focus. However, I recognize that its not for everybody.

Posted: May 17, 2010

Lets just say, for the sake of argument, that Toodledo did integrate with Evernote. How would one go about using this from a GTD perspective? I have both and mainly use Evernote as a repository for the "Good Idea Fairy" or Someday/Maybe. Not sure how I would integrate both.

Posted: May 17, 2010

Not surprising to me. One of the reasons I left RTM for TD over a year ago, was RTMs demeanor in their forums. Lets just say there were occasions where RTM was less than professional. Sad, but true.

On the other hand, Toodledo, especially during their server crash, is the consummate professional. You can browse the forums for yourself and see for those of you new here.

Posted: May 04, 2010


For me, this is one of the biggest obstacles. I didn't realize how much I was forwarding tasks to my TD inbox just to avoid doing the task. So, what I did was extend the 2 minute rule out to 2 to 5 minutes, just reply to the damn email, and get 'er done!

As for the Nirvana discussion going on... from my perspective they are not ready for prime-time. Their GUI is nice and all, but does not play well with all browsers. And they have a laundry list of stuff to implement yet, so their functionality is very limited. Frankly, I'd go back to paper. I've been following David Allen's GTD practices for almost a decade, and I'm not moving away from TD anytime soon.

Posted: Mar 18, 2010
From Topic: Proximo's GTD Setup


Perhaps to help you out on the Someday/Maybe part. I use a system similar to Proximo's, but organized a bit differently. Mainly, one folder with all my work projects, one for all my personal projects, one for single next actions, and a someday/maybe folder. I must have about a hundred potential projects in my someday/maybe folder. None of them have subtasks or contexts assigned to them because, I have not made a commitment to myself to work them. They are parked there so they don't take up space in my head.

As I do my weekly review (the single most important key to making it all work), I will move potential projects from my someday/maybe list into the project folder. And then flesh out all the action items, resources, that will be required to complete the project. Some of them I know upfront, some I won't know until I'm knee deep into it. GTD is very, very flexible in this. As I do my weekly reviews, I might identify more actions required to complete the project. I might even identify more (sub)projects. For these items, if project X is waiting for project Y, I simply put an @waiting for - project Y as a sub task in project X. I know there is lots and lots of demand for additional levels, but in the meantime this works for me.

Also, I keep it really simple: @work, @computer, @home, @errands, @phone, @waiting for and @agenda (person's name). Anymore than this, it becomes too complicated for me. Your mileage may very. But I have discovered for those new to GTD, to keep it simple at first.

And for the someday/maybe, no rules here. Like I said, its just a parking lot for stuff that I may want to do in the future. Nothing on this list is a commitment until I move it to my projects list.

Don't worry about asking questions, its what were all here for.

Posted: Mar 15, 2010

DITTO here!!!!

Posted: Nov 05, 2009
From Topic: Proximo's GTD Setup

Posted by Proximo:
I am on the same quest and currently looking at different GTD specific solutions. I enjoy Toodledo and have shared it with many friends who now have Plus accounts. I would not do this if I did not think it was a great service.

Is it perfect for GTD? No and I don't think it would ever be, because Toodledo is an open system and not focused on any particular productivity system. This makes it hard for certain changes to happen without considering the rest of the user base who do not use GTD.

I would move to OmniFocus if they only had a web application. Because my employer (Govt.) continues to have an unholy alliance with Microsoft, and I have a Mac at home, I need a Web solution.

I would move now, but trying to work solely from my iPhone is just not practical. I'm considering a Mac-mini server solution at home, and using a remote login solution (Go To My PC).
Very high upfront expense, but then I would have total control of the system.

Posted: Nov 05, 2009

It does feel nice to have David validate our discussions on the concept of 'contexts' in an interview.

I think too many people, myself included, when first reading David's book think that you have to have all those contexts, and then some. After many years of GTD, and several re-readings, I finally 'got-it!' I only need contexts for those situations I interact with. And those will change from time to time.

Linden, your very welcome and I'm glad you found something of value in it.

Thanks also to you Proximo and the others for sharing your own experiences with GTD.

Posted: Nov 04, 2009

Below is an except of an interview with David Allen on GTD for the Web-Worker (noun?). I stumbled on this a couple of days ago and wanted to share it with all here in the forums. You will notice how David Allen addresses several of the topics we have had for discussion around here and I found it very insightful. Hope you do too. You can read the full article here.


Bob Walsh: OK. Well, I'm wondering, since your first book came out I think it was early 2001 things have changed a lot in terms of what a lot of people do. They spend more and more time working on the web. Has GTD evolved for you at all since the proliferation of web applications and cloud computing? The original book was very focused on paper and cut and dry silo working. With information overload and active exchange of ideas and comments online, has anything changed?

David Allen: No.

There's no difference in the cloud of information that's sitting in the web or the cloud of information in the forest. It's all of your filters in terms of what you do with it. What's changed, if there's anything that's changed, it's just the speed and volume of stuff that has potential meaning in it has probably gotten faster and bigger.

So the necessity to do GTD, that is to make quick decisions and appropriate decisions on the front end when things show up on your radar, instead of just letting them lie fallow there just becomes that much more critical. So I wouldn't change a thing in terms of the book.

Nothing has changed, because it's not about paper. The book is not about paper. By the way, you're never going to get rid of paper. It's just an externalized communication and information transfer medium. So the medium really doesn't make that much difference.

Bob: Well, I know as somebody who practices GTD, that I find myself, basically I have sort of two contexts in my life: at the computer and not at the computer. Any implementation tips for people who, all their work happens within the Internet?

David: You only need as many as you have contexts. You don't need to carry your bills around to pay it if you pay them every Friday night at your desk, just leave them where ever you pay them. That's fine. Since you only work on the web you don't need, unless you need when you're away from the web to be able to see what your work is on the web. So when you say they only do work on the web, does that mean they only need to be reminded of it when they're setting up their computer? And if that's so, fine.

So if you think doing GTD means you have to have a bunch of lists, you don't get it. And by the way, if you only had 18 things to keep track of, put them all on one list, it won't blow your fuse if you look at the whole list. The only reason to separate it into context is if that makes it easier. Most people have over 150 next actions to write, and if you stick those all in one list, you get to a phone, you'll blow a fuse trying to find all your phone calls.

All I did was add complexity that made it simpler.

Bob: All you did was add complexity to make it simpler?

David: Well, it's the cybernetic principle. If you're trying to make complex things simple, you need an equally complex system in order to make it simple.

Most people are using too simple a system to manage a lot of complexity, that's why it feels so overwhelming. So you have to have, it's one of those "get it as simple as possible but no simpler" kind of things. And you say people only do work on the web. I say yeah, well do they ever go out for errands? Maybe there are people who never do, I mean, I don't know.

Bob: Once in a while, but more often it's flipping over to Amazon to buy something.

David: Sure. If you never go out and about and need anything or a reminder, or one Post it because you only do it once a week for one thing, a Post it is fine. If you even need that. I don't need to write down all the food to buy, I just walk down the aisles in the grocery store and that's enough of a reminder.

Bob: So the key for people who spend all that time online isn't the way they track all this information, it's much more about getting it out of their head, whatever way they find that works for them to externalize it?

David: If they can in 35 seconds see every project they're committed to and all the next action they need to take on all of those, they have some improvement about relaxed control. If they can do that, they've done enough.

The only thing about GTD is look, there's something on your mind, if it happens twice on your mind then you don't trust your system, so what do you need to do so that you trust it? Hardly anybody is ever disturbed by where they need to be two weeks from Monday at 3:15 in the afternoon because that's a system they trust called their calendar.

They know it's in there and they know they'll look at it at the right time. So all GTD said is, well look, if you want everything off your mind, like not having to keep track of your calendar, just make sure you put it in the same kind of a system that you trust just like your calendar. Meaning you trust that it has all the content it needs and you trust you'll look at it when you need to see it. That's all it's about. So it's nothing to do with paper or email or where you sit or any of that.

Posted: Nov 03, 2009



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