ForumsTips & TricksMy Toodledo Quick Start Guide

My Toodledo Quick Start Guide
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Posted: Sep 15, 2012
Score: 2 Reference
After many hours of analysis, testing and revision, I have created a system for setting up and using Toodledo that I have found very efficient and useful. My quick start guide contains to following sections:
I. Toodledo Features
II. Setup
III. Process
IV. Advanced Usage
V. Appendix - Book Summary – Getting Things Done by David Allan

It is best to carefully proceed though it section by section. To view my Toodledo Quick Start Guide, click on the Dropbox link below:

Posted: Sep 15, 2012
Score: 0 Reference
Richard, it looks very good!

Wondering about a few things:
1. How long have you been using your system?
2. What benefits have you noticed in using your system?
3. Have you seen this article at Quote Investigator?

This message was edited Sep 15, 2012.

Posted: Sep 15, 2012
Score: 0 Reference
1. I started using Toodledo in early 2012 but have been evolving my task management system over many years.
2. My system creates a trusted, consitent and predictable way for viewing tasks. It's one thing to dump all your tasks into a system - it's another thing to get them out in a way that is logical and efficient.
3. Interesting article.

Posted: Sep 26, 2012
Score: 0 Reference
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.

Posted: Sep 26, 2012
Score: 0 Reference
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.

Posted: Oct 04, 2012
Score: 0 Reference
Hi Mike,
Thanks for your comments and feedback.

FYI - I've made a few changes to the way I use status for task processing. You can see it in the updated version of my Start Up Guide which I just posted:

Regarding how to view a daily task list, I have also struggled with this. Especially on weeks when I have a lot of tasks to work on (eg this week I have 86 stared items!) While some of these are Permanant, Pending or Reference tasks, it is still hard to know where to start some days.

What do you think about the following two options for weeks when you have a lot of tasks to do:

Option 1 - At the beginning of the week, asign a number (corresponding to the day of the week) to the beginning of the task description and then Sort by Context then Alphabetically. I've done this on occasion for certain Contexts when I have a lot of tasks for a given Context(eg Office.

Option 2 - Create Tabs for the different days of the week and add them to your weekly tasks according to what day you want to do them. Then to view your tasks for the day, use the Show feature to select the Tab for that day. Each day you can ADD the Tab for the next day. Tasks that didn't get done the day before will still show up.

Posted: Oct 04, 2012
Score: 0 Reference
May I suggest one other technique for those with excessively long task lists? Add one more task to your list, Start Date Today, no Due Date, called "Learn to say 'No'".

Posted: Oct 04, 2012
Score: 0 Reference
Posted by R.Welsh:
FYI - I've made a few changes to the way I use status for task processing. You can see it in the updated version of my Start Up Guide which I just posted:
Richard, you've created an incredibly complicated system and, from your most recent post, it seems that you want to make it even more complicated. Are you actually working your system as documented?

You've added a lot of extra layers to Toodledo:
• Numbers added to the names of Folders and Contexts to indicate "Categories"
• Numbers added to the task name to indicate days of the week
• Status to indicate various time frames
• Using Star based on task duration and Due Date
• #, !, and ~ to identify Difficult, Next, and Pending tasks
• "Perm*" to identify "Permanent" tasks

That's a lot of additional parameters and conflated variables. Toodledo already has 19 fields. Apple's Reminders app has 6, Google Tasks has 5. I suggest that you're headed in the wrong direction. For a simpler approach, take a look at Master Your Workday Now. This is the system I use. Take a look at the Toodledo setup:
Or re-read David Allen's books.

You don't mention Saved Searches. Do you use this feature? It is very powerful and allows you to create customized lists that can be selected from one place rather than bouncing around the various Views and Tabs. The main limitation, though, is that you can't specify a separate sort order for each Search.

Anyway, I suggest that you simplify your system. As it is now, there are far too many fields to edit, far too many parameters to track. Remember the trees/forest thing, and it might be a good idea to burn the underbrush. ;)

Good luck.

This message was edited Oct 04, 2012.

Posted: Nov 08, 2012
Score: 0 Reference
Thanks for the feedback. I reviewed Master Your Workday Now. It has some benefits and I’m sure it works great for many people but it’s too simplistic for my purposes. Albert Einstein said "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler."

I continue to use Status to define when something is to be done - ie this week, this month, this quarter, this year or beyond. This is very helpful if you have a lot of future tasks as it facilitates reviewing them at an appropriate interval. For most Future tasks, I find it is easier to assign a Status that represents one of these time intervals than it is to assign a specific future Start Date.

I have however simplified a few things. The most helpful has been freeing up the use of the Star for “Critical Now” tasks or tasks to be done today. My Startup Guide has been updated to reflect these changes:

Posted: Dec 24, 2012
Score: 1 Reference
FYI – I’ve made another revision to my Toodledo Startup Guide. You can see the updated version by clicking on the following link:

Posted: Jan 13, 2013
Score: 0 Reference
Thansk!!! Looks great, I will have my assistant also go through it :)

Posted: Apr 27, 2013
Score: 2 Reference
I've been using my Toodldo system for over a year now and am extremely happy with it. I've further simplified a few things regarding the setup and workflow. To see the latest version of my Startup Guide, click on the link below:

Posted: Aug 28, 2013
Score: 1 Reference
R.Welsh, A big Thank You for sharing your system with others. I started using Toodledo from August 2013. Some of your tips were very insightful (from a GTD perspective) and helped me tune up my system. "Steal Shamelessly and Share Generously!" I did the first and you the second. Thanks.
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