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Tips needed
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Posted: Feb 07, 2010
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Hi all,

I love toodledo, but sometimes when I've got a day ahead of me I wish I could simplify; i.e. i have a lot of tasks, organized into projects (a la GTD - using folders), some with due dates, many with contexts, some with due dates. Soemtimes if I really just want to get moving, I look at my toodle do list and sigh, and pull out a piece of paper.

I sometimes go over my long "Main" list, and if something pops out that feels like I should do it today, I give it today's date. That's the main way I do it.

Anyway, I'm not a consistent GTD'er. But I love the Projects/Next action thing, and I love the Contexts thing.

Also, I use Pocket Informant on the iphone. But when I'm working on my to do list the most, it's on the computer on Toodle-do.

Thanks. Hope this is clear. I realize it might not be, hahah.

Posted: Feb 07, 2010
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One thing I"m trying, in order to make invisible those tasks that I know I won't be doing right now, is to give a negative priority to any item that is in the "@Waiting For" context.

Posted: Feb 07, 2010
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the folder view really helps me accomplish this easily. i have about 300 items, 20 folders, 2 contexts. i look by folder very often based upon what i need to get done in any given area.

Posted: Feb 07, 2010
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I treat Toodledo as a place to store all current tasks and projects. Then each day I quickly scan the list and add a star to the things I want to do that day. I check the starred list to see the total time required. If it's more than the time available, I cut some items out - a good exercise in realism! If there is time to spare, I can select a project for extra attention. The result is my working list for the day.

Doing this means I don't need to waste time during the day, scanning and re-scanning my list, trying to decide what to do next. To me it seems better to make a decision at the top of the day and then concentrate on the work itself.

This probably goes against the advice of TM systems such as GTD and Autofocus, but that is the beauty of Toodledo - it can be used in so many different ways!

Posted: Feb 09, 2010
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jml thanks for your simple and good idea. It's true, it's so very flexible. Sometimes that gets me too bogged down. But I love it too.

Thanks again

Posted: Feb 09, 2010
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thanks to you too akingbfd; i see how each person does their own thing.

Posted: Feb 09, 2010
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Toodledo is powerful and flexible. It can be used with many productivity systems or your own creation.

What is most important is that what you do actually works. If you like some of the GTD Concepts but not others, that is also fine.

Some people live and die by their Weekly and Daily review of task (GTD) others use a different method to stay on track.

Here is something that may help. Not diving into GTD or anything specific here, but just going by the information you provided.

Don't give task a Due date of today but use the Star instead. Why? It's very quick to add a star as you scan your list and it allows you to use Due Dates for task that are truly due on a particular day.

If you use a Due Date for a task you want to work on today and don't get it finished in time, you tend to not rely on the accuracy of task with Due Date. The Due Dates become less important. By using the star you can focus on what you want to tackle today and still have hard Due Dates for the task that really need them.

Without knowing the layout of your system, we can only give so much advice or ideas out. Let us know how it's going.

Posted: Feb 14, 2010
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FWIW, I started by setting up GOALS and sub goals. Like this:

Health:Lose Weight
Health:Eat Healthier
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.

Posted: Feb 28, 2010
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Thanks all. I just got in from out of town and haven't had time to keep up with this. Will be reading it in the next couple of days. Wanted to let you know my appreciation
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