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mike_de_bruyn

Posted: Apr 01, 2013



Very nice, thank you. This is a most useful tool. The only real wish I have is for an Android app. The ones in the Play Store suck. They don't have nearly enough function. In contrast, the iPhone app is magnificent. I had not been using it for a while and when I saw it a few days ago I was very impressed. THAT is the way apps should be written. Bravo.

Oh, and in the category of different strokes: I love chains and would prefer you leave them as is.


This message was edited Apr 01, 2013.
mike_de_bruyn

Posted: Sep 26, 2012



After another reading I have a few more thoughts. Things needed time to settle in my mind ;-)

1) I did not read far enough into the bowels of your document to see that 6/12 was actually months. I don't know WHY I missed that. Sheeesh ;-)

2) I guess most of my questions are answered by a change in perspective. I come from a computer background and to me, giving attributes multiple meanings is the kiss of death. I can't tell you how much has been lost over the years doing that. So, while "Next Action" means that the task can be done NEXT, i.e. has no predecessors, I take it that to YOU it is a way to get it to appear on the right list at the right time. For me, "3" priority is urgent and I don't need to put ! in front of the text. Likewise, a "Date Due" is the date things are due, and has no other meaning. That one, in particular has given me much trouble. I have not been able to find a way to get tasks to list on today's list without setting the due date to today. I've also been unable to find a way to get tasks sorted in the order I want to see them without putting "01" etc. in front of the text in the title. Sad.

I think all of this fussing would be moot if a few more specific fields were added.

Looking though your document again, it is very clear how much work you put into getting your tasks listed the way you want, WHEN you want. I'm not sure I'd ever be able to keep track of the vagaries of dates, statuses, and priorities such as to make things pop up when wanted. There is really not much logic to it, in the sense that the attributes of a task causes it to appear when it should appear. Your system seems mostly driven by the arbitrary way in which Toodledo chooses to display things.

Oh, and thanks for your Excel document with repeating tasks. It will be very valuable to me. It is very generous of you to share so much as you have. I can see the years of development reflected in your documents.
mike_de_bruyn

Posted: Sep 26, 2012



I've been working through you're system for a few days now. I have to say that it looks very comprehensive. I have a couple of questions for you, if you don't mind.

1) What the heck is 6/12?

2) Why did you duplicate some (quite a lot actually) of the Toodledo functionality with textual prepends and such. For example, there is already a "Next Action" status but you put a symbol in front of the title as well. There is also a "Someday" status but you use -1 priority for someday. There is a "Delegated" status yet you put a "D" in front of the text.

I also wonder why you discriminate between various durations of waiting tasks. I'd think that a search on "status=waiting" sorted by due date would get you the list you need. In fact, I have a saved search I call "Tickler" which is:

Status is Waiting or
Status is Delegated or
Status is Postponed or
Status is Hold

which gives me a list of everything I have lurking and I review it periodically. (In fact, I've found that while it is aesthetically pleasing to distinguish between "Hold" and "Postponed" I don't use it in practice. They are ALL things that I need to keep track of but not do anything about just now.)

It is interesting that you found ways to do things similar to mine in some cases. You have a number in front of folders for the area they are in ... I use a few letters to get the structure I need, for example: DEV:TM:Toodledo for a folder about learning Toodledo, to expand my Time Management tools, in the area of personal development. Your way is shorter, but I'd probably forget what area "1" was ;-)

I think I'd be in heaven if Toodledo would simply allow me to assign parameters (like priority and status) to folders, as well as give me a more extensive priority field. (I'm a big user of the A,B,C 1,2,3 technique.) I mostly think in terms of projects rather than tasks so when I do a review, I want to know which PROJECTS are in play. For now, in the absence of the ability to assign status to a folder, I put a "*" in front of the active ones so they are right on top of any list sorted by folder. I'd even settle for a user defined, sortable field. I can't imagine why this is so long coming. It is a database program, after all. ;-)

Again, thanks for your nice writeup. While I'd never get my system that complicated, I do like seeing how other people think. I particularly like how you defined the exact meaning of each of the fields you use. Very smart.


This message was edited Sep 26, 2012.
mike_de_bruyn

Posted: Jun 07, 2011
From Topic: Lock Records?



Thanks for your response. I'm glad you have it on your list. Global commands are notoriously dangerous ;-)
mike_de_bruyn

Posted: Jun 02, 2011
From Topic: Lock Records?



Is it possible to lock certain records so they will not be changed by global commands. I'm thinking of some inadvertant changes I've made to tasks with far out dates ... ticklers, actually. I've wanted to make some global changes but did not realize that I had records that I wanted left unchanged.

If this is not already possible, I wonder if it could be put on the list for future development. It sure would be nice to leave the due date for my passport renewal alone when I do some kind of mass change.
mike_de_bruyn

Posted: Feb 14, 2010
From Topic: Tips needed



FWIW, I started by setting up GOALS and sub goals. Like this:

Health:*General
Health:Lose Weight
Health:Eat Healthier
Finance:*General
Finance:File Taxes Early
Finance:Monitor Investments

This way I get goals and sub goals and a general goal area that sorts to the top of each section.

Next I set up Folders which to me translates to Projects. So I'll do something similar as in:

H:Weight:Set up exercise room
F:Invest:Research new Brokerage

For each of those I'll add what tasks I can.

- Find mat
- Find dumb bells
- Find exercise books
- Call Schwab
- Call Fidelity
- Check BBB for Brokerage House Complaints
- Etc

If I don't have a clear idea of all of the tasks, I'll put in a general task and maybe some ideas for follow on tasks as bullet items in the note section of the main task. When my planning is ready to go further, I'll add more tasks and delete some of those notes. Using notes is not a problem because there is no question of due dates or categories or any of that as the planning has not moved forward enough yet.

I don't really use contexts. That idea was the main thing that drove me away from GtD. I don't run my life by context. I can do almost everything I do almost anywhere. I.E. I always have a cell phone for @calls, and my cell phone is an iPhone so I always have @internet, my iPhone has my lists and reference materials, etc. What I DO use the context field for is certain categories of tasks:

- Waiting
- Tickler
- Hard deadlines
- Things to discuss with my wife
- Shopping list items
- Books I want to order
- etc.

I like Mark Forster's systems and am now using his DWM system which uses "due date" in a rather eccentric way -- it is the date on which an item will EXPIRE. IOW, it has nothing at all to do with WHEN to DO the thing, but the last day it will appear on your system. All new tasks are entered with a default due date of "one month" - but you can work on them at any time. If I work on a task but don't finish it I change its due date to "next week". Anything due today that I do not COMPLETE or work on and move a week ahead, is simply deleted. (If I did not do it for a month, or if I did not continue working on it in the last week, I guess I don't really need to do it.)

Since I ALSO want to have TD keep track of REAL dates due, I assign them the "hard deadline" category and possibly even "*" them.

His system has an interesting psychological effect in that you are always looking FORWARD toward what needs to be done. So you don't wait until the last moment to do a task, you do it as soon as you can find an appropriate time to do it ... even if it LOOKS as if it is a month away. When it finally falls on TODAY, it is about to be lost forever ... IOW, there is never an "overdue" task ... it just drops off. So when things become "overdue", I delete them. So you see tasks coming at you, moving forward, and try to shoot them down like that computer game with the alien ships. LOL ;-) (Mark thinks of it like canoes approach the falls ;-) Anyway, it seems to be changing my mindset so that I try to get things done before they can expire rather than trying to work on things that are overdue.

I don't use "importance" and am trying to find a way to turn that off. I'm not against it but it gets in my way for this application.

So that is a brief description of how you could set things up from scratch. If your list is long and confusing, try working out some SYSTEM of using folders, contexts, goals, and tags to enable you to slice and dice it. But be sure to keep consistent.

OH, I forgot "tags". I use them too but I'm not sure how effective they will be. Perhaps just searching will get me what I need.

AH, last tip, be consistent in HOW you NAME a task. You'll eventually remember you had something to do in the attic and not have written the word "attic" in the task name so have to hunt for it. Think about how you will want to find things. Will you want to do all similar actions in the same sitting? Then put an action verb in the title. Will you want to find tasks related to different objects in your life? Then be sure to put "house", "car", "work", "market", etc. in the task name. Either that or be sure you tag things well ;-)


This message was edited Feb 14, 2010.
mike_de_bruyn

Posted: Feb 14, 2010



I don't know if this is the same problem ...

I have not tried the app yet but I'm using the "slim" option on Safari on the iPhone. The problem is that I added a context on the website last night and it HAS one task in it.

On the iPhone web access (slim) the context shows up, there is a (1) after it, but when I click it it says "empty.

I've seen the "slim" version get out of whack in some other ways as well.
mike_de_bruyn

Posted: Feb 14, 2010



Personally, I don't need and would not use a manual sort. I like things sorted in the order I enter them, which seems to be the case now, but I'm not sure as I have not checked it carefully.

What I would like is a way to color code the tasks. This might help those who need manual sorting ... or maybe not ;-)
mike_de_bruyn

Posted: Feb 14, 2010



Posted by akingbfd:
I too am getting bogged down, but I think I need to move the "someday list tasks" to a -1 priority and hide them until I have a little "woulda coulda shoulda" time.

Don't they make medicine for people who can't let things go:-)


ROTF ;-) For the moment I set a "context" for "someday" but I'm not focused on it that much so I probably have not noticed that those things keep showing up. But I'm sure you could construct a "saved filter" or "saved search" or whatever to screen things out any way you needed to.

One thing I wish they would add is the ability to color the text anyway we like. That would give up yet another way of marking things.
mike_de_bruyn

Posted: Feb 14, 2010



Posted by acedia.acedia:
Hi MIke,

NIce to see someone else from the AF forum over here!


Yeah. This has promise ;-)

Your description of setting the weekly and monthly dates sounds right to me. If you haven't already noticed, the calendar window that opens when you click on the due-date setting, shows quick dates, including one week and one month ahead, so that is very handy for DWM.


Yes, that is very nice. Just two clicks to move a task where I want it.

To view your tasks, you can sort by due date, as you say, but this will give you one long list, not the series of closed lists that Mark advocates. There isn't a setting in TD to view lists by separate days, as such, BUT there is a work-around: if you use calendar view and then click on each date for the next 30 days in turn, you will see the list for each day, without anything else. I think that will give the effect Mark describes.


Is there a way to turn off "importance" for all views and have it stick? It is not that I don't like "importance" but it works against this way of doing things. As you indicate, it would be nice to have tasks aggregated by day but it does not bother me that it is done this way.


Sorry, I don't have an iPhone, so can't comment on the merits of TD's native app vs PI.


I am starting to see problems with the "slim" version that I pull up in Safari on the iPhone. One context is showing one item in it, and when I click it it says "empty" but on my PC I see the item there. Very odd.

Also I don't know if the work-around I just suggested is possible on the iPhone - apologies if it isn't - in that case I think you would have to work from one long list.


I don't even mind working from one long list. It is not that much of a bother.

Thanks for your response. I'm new to this product and it has great promise. But DAMN, the web interface is way too busy! LOL ;-)
mike_de_bruyn

Posted: Feb 08, 2010



The main difference between GtD and any version of AutoFocus (including DWM) is that with GtD you do your planning up front and then execute the plan throughout your day. With AutoFocus, you simply dump everything into it and use your intuition to decide what to do when. Very different philosophies which appeal to different mind sets.

I am just learning Toodledo and accessing it from the iPhone via Personal Informant. My question is how I can use it with DWM, yet another version of Mark Forster's time management system. You can read about it here:

http://www.markforster.net/blog/

(You'll have to go down a few items, I just could not get the link to insert correctly. Sorry.)

The basic idea is that you enter new tasks a month from today but work on them any time you like. If you don't complete a task, you RE-enter it a week from today. Any tasks remaining undone on today's page are discarded.

It seems as if it is simply a matter of setting the default due date to 30 days and manually changing the date on incomplete tasks to a week from today.

A simple sort by due date should show all tasks which can be done, in order by the time they will expire.

Do I have that about right?

Is there any compelling reason to get the iPhone Toodledo App, or will PI on the iPhone give me what I need? (If anyone is familiar with PI, that is ;-)

Thanks for any input. I've gotten a lot of good reports about Toodledo and will use it for this purpose if I can. I also plan to add the normal kind of calendar/task events that are used in "normal" time management systems. (Birthdays, renew driver's license, etc.) I'll distinguish those with a tag, or a star or something. I've not decided yet.


This message was edited Feb 08, 2010.
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