ForumsTips & TricksAny good way to project plan in/with Toodledo?
Any good way to project plan in/with Toodledo?
AFAIK, there's no good way to plan out a project in Toodledo and those of us with more complex planning needs simply have to use an alternative text tool like Evernote, and copy tasks from there to TD to use TD's line-item sorting/filter tools (context, due date, etc.).
By project planning, I mean making an outline showing/listing all the tasks and sub tasks and sub-sub tasks, etc. Also, a project plan would be a place to store notes about that project. I know TD has "notes" and "outlines" but those are odd rudimentary appendages that aren't very useful (they aren't searchable, or categorizable, etc.).
I was considering using the TD "goal" field (per project), but there's no way to sort the goals inside a goal view that one would normally need to order the tasks based on what needs to be done first. I know there are due-dates, but arbitrarily adding-in due-dates ruins the whole system--due dates should only be used for hard deadlines. The TD sub-task feature is only 1 sub-level -- not very useful in most cases.
As an aside, I know TD doesn't have this, but in reality, projects have dependencies where one task cannot be worked on until a previous task is complete. It would certainly be nice is to be able to see what I can work on today as opposed to what items will need to be worked on in the future but cannot be worked on today because of a dependency. Perhaps someone has kludged a way to see dependencies using existing TD options? I know I can change the STATUS field to "waiting," but upon checking off a task, I wouldn't automatically know which dependent tasks to change from "waiting" to "next action" without manually tracking the dependent tasks in the notes or something.
Assuming my premises are correct, project plans/notes are best kept outside of TD. Does anyone have any tips for keeping both the project plans and TD task lists synchronized efficiently? I know I can constantly and manually cut/paste/update from one tool to the other, but perhaps this process can be made more automated or at least routine/habitual with the help, say, of saved searches?
In general, I value being able to quickly see what's due and what I can work on today based on context/time/energy among all projects, but know that all but the simplest tasks should be planned out to create the doable tasks that go in to the TD database. Also, just to save time in this discussion, I'm not interested in MS Project since all but the enterprise-level projects can be planned using a simple outline-capable tool like Evernote or any word-processing program.
What you need then is MS Project.
However, unless you _really_ need a complex project management tool, you'd find yourself spending way too much time managing the task list at the expense of actually working on your tasks.
If I learned one principle that really helps it's KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid.
I like to separate my project planning (a lot of which is storing info and making plans / outlines of things to do) from my master task list - which is a list of concrete distinct actionable items that can be worked on, from all of my projects.
I use a free mindmap program called Xmind (they have a paid version as well but the free one is pretty good) to do a high level project planning & collect info. It's easy to plan with a mind map format. I can use my maps on Android via the free Mindmeister and on the iPad via paid (but extremely good so it was worth it) iThoughts.
When I am done with high level planning, I export concrete actionable tasks to Toodledo. I just copy & paste them in TD window on the desktop (on iPad, I can actually create a reminder from within iThoughts). TD acts as my master task list from all projects. If I have two similar tasks from different projects, I assign tags. If I can easily say what project the task is for by just reading the subject, I don't even bother with tags.
I don't need the tasks to stay linked to the project they came from - although it's doable I found it to be just a waste of time.
Now, there's another tool that is just perfect for project planning - OneNote. It is perfect for information gathering, you can create Outlook tasks from within ON and they will automatically stay linked to Onenote file, it has a great iOS version and an OK Android version, all free. I think it's the single best program that MS has created. I'd love to use OneNote but it requires a OneDrive account to sync with and Onedrive syncing is blocked at my work so I can't sync ON with my mobile devices.
Thank you for taking the time to reply.
Do you find that the mind-mapping method is much better than using a word-processor outline? I could see it being more visual, but at the same time not allowing much in the way of text notes.
Also, if you have many tasks in TD from different projects/goals, do you preface the subject line with the task to help identify what project they belong to? I've been using the TD "goal" field for identifying the tasks' projects, but tags sounds like a good option too. The advantage of using the "goal" field is that it's exclusive (task can only belong to one project).
After doing some research, Evernote's IFTTT options seem to have recently been stripped to just one trigger: send notes that have been publicly shared to whatever service that IFTTT uses. Google's history reveals that there was likely some other triggers in the past (e.g., checkbox line items can be shared). In any case, it seems like any Evernote->TD integration is going to be manual without using another subscription service like taskclone. Has anyone any reviews after using taskclone?
A task that is part of any complex project is to review/plan/revise the very same project. It's likely that that planning will not be done all at once before the beginning, and likely that the plan will keep changing as the project progresses. So it would be best to have more planning flexibility inside TD. Alternatively, I think I'll just have to keep updating the TD tasks manually when my Evernote planning sessions cause a change in the tasks, their priority, etc. This is unlike your scenario where the tasks are dumped in one-time at the beginning, which would much easier.
"Do you find that the mind-mapping method is much better than using a word-processor outline? I could see it being more visual, but at the same time not allowing much in the way of text notes."
XMind allows text notes in each node with basic formatting (bold / italic / strikethrough / underline), hyperlinks, or inserted pictures. It also allows inserting pictures and files (e.g. PDFs, excel sheets etc) either directly into the map (embedded), or as a link to that file. iThoughts supports all of this and works directly with XMind format so whatever I embed into Xmind file I can open on the iPad. The Android program that I use (Mindjet) doesn't work with attachments but I can still read the notes. Finally, there's a basic outline mode in Xmind if you like that kind of presentation.
I would rate both mind mapping with XMind and the OneNote format as being superior to Word outline (which is what I tried to use in the past). Especially when it comes to adding attachments or file links. Also I didn't find any programs with good support for Word outlines or embedded objects on iOS or Android. The Word outline is really just a very basic tool for document creation.
"Also, if you have many tasks in TD from different projects/goals, do you preface the subject line with the task to help identify what project they belong to? I've been using the TD "goal" field for identifying the tasks' projects, but tags sounds like a good option too. The advantage of using the "goal" field is that it's exclusive (task can only belong to one project). "
I am usually able to recognize the project just by the task subject line. If not, I'd use either folders or tags. I think using tags is more "natural" but then I am also using Pocket Informant and it treats folders as Projects. But so far I haven't really had a need to use too many project indicators even though I have about 30-70 tasks at any given time. I don't have too many projects with identical tasks, and I try to be specific in task subject line. Also my TD task list is a master list of all things I need to do today / this week / this month, with saved custom searches to filter out what I don't want to see. If I want to see things pertaining to a particular project I go to my Projects file in Xmind.
The key is not to try to capture EVERY task in Project file (if I have to create a presentation for a project I will put it in TD but won't bother creating an entry in project map unless I want to keep that presentation), and not to try to tie EVERY task in TD to a project if I know just by looking. Keep it simple and only use things when you have to.
I didn't like Evernote no matter how hard I tried to use it, so can't help you there. It lacks a good visual organizational structure so it doesn't work out - for me - as a Project tracking and planning tool, and it doesn't have a good tasking feature either. It's a big pile of random info which you can search quickly, great to store recipes and receipts.
This is unlike your scenario where the tasks are dumped in one-time at the beginning, which would much easier.
No, that's not how I do this. The project file is being worked with daily, and the tasks in TD are being updated / added / checked off as required. Usually I have my master Project map (outline) and TD opened at the same time.
Say the project is "Build a deck".
The project file will have the high level planning stuff (What Material ? What dimensions ? Links to decking product sites / sketches). Some high level tasks that are integral to planning or serve as milestones to remember will also be there (e.g. "create a layout; choose material", with each likely having sub-entries with links, pictures etc). But the concrete single steps that I have to remember about but are not essential to planning ("Buy decking screws") go straight into TD. I will know what project they are from, and I don't need to overly burden my project file with them.
Just download the free version of XMind and try it.
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