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Posted: Nov 09, 2009

You are definitely right that too much tweaking with productivity systems is a big time trap -- but so, alas, is changing systems frequently in the hopes of finding one that is perfect.

I'm at a point where I want one that is "good enough" to use for the long term, and whose limitations I can live with.

So far, Toodledo is working well for me in a "simplified" form using no folders, no sub-tasks, and only two priority levels (low/-1).

With respect to the iPhone app vs. full web app, I think it is inevitable that the iPhone app will be secondary -- it is likely to have fewer feautures, and in any case the smaller screen and keyboard make it less efficient to use. So, I'm fine with doing the "heavy lifting" using the full web app and using the iPhone app for targeted purposes.

(One thing I really like, however, is having the iPhone app as a way to access and work on tasks offline. Since there is no gears support or the like, that part of the iPhone/Web app combo is a real strength.)

Good luck in your quest, and THANK YOU for posting all your GTD expertise here!


Posted: Nov 09, 2009

Steve, I use due dates for hard deadlines (and so tasks that must be done today should already have that deadline built in). In addition, in my morning review I star those and other tasks that I want to get done that day.

With respect to next actions, all of my tasks are next actions and so I don't have to mess around with differentiating between next and future actions. On the one hand, all single-step actions are next actions by their nature.

On the other hand, I create a single action per project with the title reflecting the current next step (e.g., 'Project - Next Action') -- I then rewrite the title when I complete a step and I use the notes field to list future steps that I wish to document (I don't document trivial steps) and include a dated list of when I complete each next action.

I do disinguish between active and someday/maybe tasks by assinging the latter ones a priority of -1.

I find that a little work renaming a project task and referring to/editing its note field avoids lots of complications when dealing with projects....

This combination of steps makes it really easy to display next steps of all active tasks either on the main Toodledo website or on the more limited views provided on the iPhone App -- and without messing with folders, sub-tasks, etc.


Posted: Nov 09, 2009

I find it simpler not to use folders at all in favor of using context and tags to keep my tasks organized.

Likewise, I don't use sub-tasks and instead use a single task per project (with the note field documenting steps completed and to be completed, and with renaming the title to include the next step -- sounds cumbersome when I write it down, but works well in practice).

Finally, as part of this "keep the GTD implementation as simple as it can be" approach I only use two priority levels (low for active tasks, -1 for someday/maybes) and use start by and due date fields to allow Toodledo to prioritize the importance of tasks.

This message was edited Nov 09, 2009.

Posted: Nov 09, 2009

One way to deal with the sub task limitation is to change the way you document projects: instead of using subtasks to capture the various depth of a project, use a single task or that with the title of the task indicating the current step and the note documenting future and completed steps.

So, for example, a task could be titled "Project - next step" and then renamed as you move on to the next step. In the note field, you could first list all the sub-tasks that you care to document (and in the order that you wish, overcoming another Toodledo limitation) and also include a dated list of the steps you have completed (just copy and paste from when you change the end of the project title).

This system works well, and has the benefits of having fewer total tasks and allowing you to do away with folders or the like to separate single-step actions and multi-step projects. You do need to do more editing of notes, but I find this is simpler than managing separate sub-tasks and it does overcome the iPhone app limitation as well as the limitation about ordering project steps.

I'm not sure my description is clear enough to follow, but I've experienced the same issue you have and find that this alternative practice works well for me both on the main website and on the iPhone App (and on the Informant PIM app, which integrates Toodledo and calendar data in a wonderfully powerful way).