ForumsQuestionsFolders, tags, context

Folders, tags, context
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Posted: Apr 15, 2009
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Hi there,

How do people use these three different ways of classifying to dos? Do you use all three in different ways or do you end up only using 1 or 2 and leave the other dimension alone? At the moment, I'm using folders for Work, Personal, Travel, etc. I see I could use tags for things like email, call, etc. but I'm struggling to see how I need three dimensions??


Posted: Apr 16, 2009
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I would suggest that you start by using what works for you. Eventually you may want to change your style to allow more control over your tasks, but I believe that you should start with what you know and let your style of management evolve.


Posted: Apr 16, 2009
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I recommend, when you have some free time, that you go through old posts in these forums, especially "Getting Things Done." You'll find quite a few posts from people who've described their methods and how they use these fields.

It's a learning experience. You'll find that there is no "right" way to do it. What you ultimately choose will be based on your own needs and style of working. But see what others have done and take ideas from them. You'll probably have to experiment to see what works best for you.

Vin Thomas

Posted: Apr 16, 2009
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I use folders for areas of interest (work, school, ministry, etc), and contexts to associate the task with a particular place (@phone, @home, @mac, @store, etc), and tags for keywords if I need to quickly filter (clientX, bills, someday, etc).

But I agree with replytoken, you need to find something that works for you. I spent months tweaking my TD system. Now that I have one that works, my life is much simpler!

Posted: Apr 16, 2009
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I use virtually the same system as Vin Thomas. I think of them as roughly analogous to the way that tasks are divided up in GTD (although my system is only losely based on GTD).


Individual tasks = actions
Parent tasks = projects
Folders = areas of focus/responsibility
Short term goals = goals & objectives for the next year or so
Long term goals = long term visions (3-5 years ish)
Lifetime goals = purpose & core values, ultimate aims

And obviously contexts = contexts! If you're not familiar with the GTD concept of a context, it is basically just about what situation you need to be in to do that task, which doesn't just mean physical location, but can also include things like the resources available. Contexts are useful for filtering tasks based on your current context (e.g. @home, @work, @computer), or for grouping tasks efficiently, e.g. you can bring up a list of all of the errands you need to do and do several of them in one outing. Mine include things like "@kids" for those tasks I can only do when my kids are around, and "@people/calls" for things I need to talk to someone about (this used to be two contexts "@phone" & "@people" but I realised there most of these could be discussed in person OR on the phone, so it was an artificial distinction). The distinction between contexts and areas of focus is useful, because the place where you do a task and the *reason* you are doing the task are often two separate things, but might have the same name, e.g. tasks that you are doing *for* your home won't necessarily be done *at* home (like buying something in a shop), and tasks done *at* work might not be done *for* work (e.g. personal phone calls that need to be made during office hours).

Tags are used for a variety of things, like refining the contexts (e.g. I have an @home context, but use tags to group tasks that are all in the kitchen, say, so that I can do all those tasks at the same time) or classifying the type of task so that I can choose something to suit my current mood, e.g. "creative", "easy", "reading", "organising", "housework" etc. I also have a few very specific tags like "[tray]" which tells me that I have reference materials for the task stored in the filing trays on my desk (which each correspond to one of my Toodledo folders).

Ultimately, though, as the others have said, you need to find a way of using Toodle that suits your own way of thinking, but it does help to get inspiration from other people's setups.

This message was edited Apr 16, 2009.
Vin Thomas

Posted: Apr 16, 2009
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I forgot to mention that I am a pro user, so it helps me to have subtasks. For the price (less than $15/yr) it is SO worth it! I love being able to expand only the projects I am working on. I use a parent task as a project, and sub tasks as actions connected to the project. It's great!
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