ForumsGetting Things Done®Why not full GTD support?

Why not full GTD support?
Author Message

Posted: May 23, 2011
Score: 0 Reference
With GTD having enough interest to warrant it's own forum section and given the posting volume here, could that be a sign that Toodledo should consider enhancements that fill in the gaps in GTD support?

Most, if not all, of the disscussions here revolve around working around a small set up limitations. There have been many alomst complete solutions devised by the community, but why not begin a discussion of feature enhancements to complete the GTD implementation?

Andrew A

Posted: May 24, 2011
Score: 1 Reference
Define GTD? I think that sort of answers the question in its own way. TD is flexible and allows a variety of approaches towards task management.even within GTD there are flavors and approaches.

For example, when you view other GTD web sites, they always seem to have an inbox... but that makes no sense to me and seems a waste of real estate. Why would I need an "inbox" in this digital management system since anything I took the time to forward or type I could take the same time to file and assign a context and project to? That is, and I forget which book it is mentioned in, is basically, filing now to file later... and a non-GTD thing to do. But many people desperately either use them or think they need them.

But I'm not harping, just providing an alternative view to the flexibility.

*we all have inboxes outside of TD, e-mail, voice mail, paper, just don't need it in here is my point

This message was edited May 24, 2011.

Posted: Jun 15, 2011
Score: 0 Reference
The inbox is where anything enters the system, in ToddleDo or otherwise.

If you do not use an inbox, you are either not adhering to GTD's primary guiding principle of free-form capture, or you are capturing everything in another inbox and not placing them into TD until a weekly review time.

I am not talking about forcing a system on TD, I am talking about adding some features as options. Those that do not wish to use them can disable them (like an inbox). But, the inbox is not the problem: they are mostly in the area of Projects.

If you look through the majority of this forum, most of the discussions revolve around solving a small set of missing features.

There are many different workaround solutions that have been proposed, but most are just different attempts to solve the same small set of problems.

This message was edited Jun 15, 2011.

Posted: Jun 15, 2011
Score: 14 Reference
I am a long-time adherent of GTD (10+ years), and strictly adhere to its guidelines. With this in mind, I've been using TD for going on three years and have not had an issue with a strict implementation of GTD.

When I think of "In-Box" I actually have several. These are nothing more than physical (inbox on my desk) or virtual (email accounts) locations where I collect and PROCESS stuff. In TD, I have a folder titled, "In Box" I use for collecting ideas and projects that I think of on the go, but don’t have time to process at the moment.
If I have an email that I’m forwarding to TD, I will process it then, so that it goes into the correct folder and tagged appropriately. I don’t see a need to forward an email from one ‘In Box’ to another ‘In Box,’ just to re-process.

Please keep in mind, before all this electronic gadgetry, GTD was simple pen and paper in a loose-leaf notebook; still the most elegant solution around. If all my electronic wizardry was gone tomorrow, I’d have no problem going back to pen and paper in a 3 ring binder. TD is nothing more than an electronic 3 ring binder with some really cool divider tabs with lists:

-List of projects that I have made a commitment to accomplish 2-5 months out
-List of next actions sorted by context (I use tags)
-List of waiting for (I use tags of people I'm waiting on)
-List of someday/maybe: list of projects that 'someday' I will do, but not in the next 2-5 months, and whatever else I might want to park here from now till infinity...

And last, the proverbial "In Box" list of stuff that I've captured to get it out of my head. If I think of an idea or say I'm at a home show and see a nice gazebo and think to myself, "That would look good in my backyard." I'll take a picture of it and pull up TD on my phone or iPad and make a note in my 'In Box' Gazebo at home show.

The next time I get to processing all my in boxes, often daily but at least weekly, I'll process my entry of Gazebo at home show. I may delete it, I may move it to Someday/Maybe, or I may make it a project. If I'm not sure I want to commit to it, I'll make it a project anyway, and my very first next action to move this forward, is to decide on whether or not I want to commit to this. This will usually generate more next actions either as questions to be answered or things to accomplish.

I do all of this very effectively within the constraints of TD. I don’t even use half of the bells and whistles TD offers. In my experience, and I’ve been a GTDer for over a decade, it’s not the list manager. And I’ve probably used or tried them all: Palm pilots, Gmail, RTM, Nozbe, GTD plug-ins for outlook, Life Balance, even that new one Proximo left TD for (no likey), Black Berry aps, various iPhone and iPad aps, etc. It’s usually the user misunderstanding the principals of GTD, unable to shift their old and archaic ways of time management, or both (and I’ll be the first to say I’m guilty of both) to a new way and **learning to trust the system David Allen proposes** I’m not saying one has to follow GTD to the letter. I’ve have found now that when I stop over thinking it and just do it, I’m far more productive.
Michael Crouse

Posted: Jun 16, 2011
Score: 0 Reference
Well said Lance.

Posted: Jun 27, 2011
Score: 2 Reference
I've used TD for 2 years now and really happy about it. There is one thing I miss that Omnifocus got. Tasks in project automatically gets the status "Next action" when the preceding task is finished.


Project X
task 1
task 2
task 3

task 2 becomes next action when task 1 is finished.

This shortens, makes it easier, the list of relevant tasks to tackle.

To bad Omnifocus sucks on Mac worshipping and off-line mantra.

Posted: Jul 15, 2011
Score: 2 Reference
Even more perfect would be the opportunity to define a dependency graph. Rather than a strict linear order, as +brigten proposes, a partial order would be more appropriate.

Sometimes several next actions may be available at the same time. Similarly, sometimes a task is dependent on more than one other tasks being completed first.

I have no delusions that this will actually be implemented. I understand that it would be too complicated for the average user. But it would make my life so much easier. :-)

Posted: Aug 11, 2011
Score: 0 Reference
Posted by Lance:
If I have an email that I’m forwarding to TD, I will process it then, so that it goes into the correct folder and tagged appropriately.

I didn't know you could do that. Would you mind sharing how?

Posted: Aug 11, 2011
Score: 1 Reference
Terry, if you go to you'll see an option for setting up an email address to which you can send tasks. You use certain syntax (@,#,*, etc.) in front of the context, name of the task, etc. This all goes in the subject of the email and the syntax will tell TD exactly what to do with the task (context, which folder, due date, etc.). The key is at

Posted: Aug 13, 2011
Score: 1 Reference
Posted by reedj:
Terry, if you go to you'll see an option for setting up an email address to which you can send tasks. You use certain syntax (@,#,*, etc.) in front of the context, name of the task, etc. This all goes in the subject of the email and the syntax will tell TD exactly what to do with the task (context, which folder, due date, etc.). The key is at

Just to jump in this conversation. One VERY cool thing in Gmail (if you happen to use it for your email) is that when you are viewing an email, the current web address is a direct link to that email. So many times I will copy the link and put it in the body of the email and send it to Toodledo. Then I can jump right to the email if I need to respond. The coolest part is that even if you label or archive the mail, it work with that same link.

Posted: Sep 12, 2011
Score: 3 Reference
There are two very simple things that would make Toodledo MUCH more friendly for me. One is a GTD issue, one a more general one.

Firstly, the general issue: can we PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE get nesting folders (to arbitrary depth)? Now this can be easily framed in the context of GTD; a major tenet of GTD philosophy revolved around having a solid system for organizing\filing all your stuff. Now if you live a relatively simple life, then your organization system may not need any more than a single layer of folders. But imagine if you owned 3 separate businesses, you were a musician active with 2 or 3 bands, and you were also keeping track of things with your home life and relationship with your significant other, all in GTD. It's very easy to see how a single level of folders might not be sufficient to keep everything organized in a meaningful and easy-to-deal-with way. And this isn't an entirely improbable example; it's actually my life. I need a top level of folders to separate each business, my music stuff, and my personal life. Then each business for example needs to separate activities related to acquiring new clients vs. maintaining existing ones, conferences and self-development activities, relationships with associates, vendors and suppliers, etc. And each of those might have further subdivisions. Having a long, flat list of folders to scroll through every time I want to file away or find a task is extremely cumbersome and time-consuming for something that I am supposed to be making second nature to virtually every thought I have in my daily life.

Secondly, a little more GTD specific but also applicable more generally, is the way subtasks are implemented. The main problem is that to effectively use Toodledo with GTD, one needs to use top-level tasks to represent projects, and subtasks to represent what GTD calls "tasks." This is an issue because Toodledo does (IMHO) a rather poor job of displaying tasks and subtasks together wherever they appear. The choices are to display them inline, where tasks are visually divorced from the projects they belong to, or indented, which produces a very unintuitive behavior when you see the subtask from a search or view other than the folder it resides in. In this case you initially see the subtask with an icon that lets you know it has a parent task, but the parent task doesn't initially display until you actually click on the tree icon to un-collapse it. When you recollapse it, then the parent task (and not the subtask that actually met the search or view criteria) shows. This is very clumsy behavior and totally counter-intuitive.

Between these two things, it becomes an exercise in hacking and working around the system to make it behave instead of just using it as a natural extension of my mind, the way a paper-based system would behave (although not be anywhere nearly as portable or quick to access). I think a much better implementation would be to introduce the concept of a "project" that a task can reside in, just as tasks currently can reside in folders. Searches and views can display either tasks or projects or both at the user's discretion, and when tasks display, their parent projects would display if they have one(the way a task's parent folder now displays).

These two things would VASTLY improve Toodledo for the serious GTDer, while not necessarily adding any extra complexity for those that don't need them (just don't use projects or nested folders if you don't need them).

Thoughts, comments, concerns, death threats?
Folke X

Posted: Sep 12, 2011
Score: 0 Reference
I have no concerns about your suggestions, but I must confess they are nothing I have a deep need for.

Subtasks as such I do not like. I haven't even tried them here in TD, but I did use both multi-level subtasks and multi-level folders in a system called Todoist. Todoist did this quite well, but what I noticed clearly was that this way of working didn't suit me. It got too detailed (my own fault). Also, subtasks would really require a lot of parameters to get them to always get sorted and displayed automatically the way you would like them to in all the different kinds of output lists. I think no system has this functionality, but, obviously, if TD could manage to do this in a useful way then TD would be even stronger.

I now rely on "manual" "sub-tasking", using regular tasks only. I use Goals as project names, and I have a special tag for the "header" task (project description). In some saved searches I include just the header tasks, whereas in some I include only "real" tasks, depending on what the list is for.

What I also do a lot is keep it as simple as possible. I have noticed that many types of projects I can handle without explicitly writing down all the steps. Sometimes a single task can represent a whole project, and I can modify the task name for each step if I need to remember more easily where I am at the moment. And the task notes are useful for keeping all kinds of comments and checklists etc - only when I need to remember something separately I create a separate task for it.

But we are all different ...

This message was edited Sep 12, 2011.

Posted: Nov 13, 2011
Score: 0 Reference
I miss an owner to delegate tasks. I have to use tags with the name of people.

I miss also the posibility to change the name of "folders" ("carpetas" in Spanish) and call them projects or any other way.

I miss the possibility of creating new fields.

This message was edited Nov 13, 2011.

Posted: Nov 13, 2011
Score: 1 Reference
Funny to read that some think TD needs more features for GTD. For me the only thing that would be really useful is some idea of task dependencies ... when task B is completed, task C auto goes to next action, something like that. Other than that, TD is *too* flexible for my needs; I have a special context "Project" for projects, and the relevant states are either "active" or "planning". However it's all to easy then to generate a task with state "planning" which gets lost in the system, since for me that is not a valid status for a task, it's only valid for a project.

If I have a project in state "planning" and create a subtask of it, it auto-inherits state "planning". Also you can get wacky things like a task that resides in a different folder than its parent task ... if you want to change folders for a project, you have to cook up some multi-edit search or else move the tasks one by one, rather a change in the parent task's folder being reflected in all sub-tasks.


Posted: Jan 30, 2012
Score: 1 Reference
The longest thread in this forum, with 278 replies spanning 2+ years, is "Proximo's DTD Setup". The discussion is all about trying to make GTD work by working around the features TD is missing to implement a GTD system directly.

How can you be surprised I would ask why not implement features to address those limitations?

Posted: Jan 30, 2012
Score: 2 Reference
Posted by don.mullins:
The longest thread in this forum, with 278 replies spanning 2+ years, is "Proximo's DTD Setup". The discussion is all about trying to make GTD work by working around the features TD is missing to implement a GTD system directly.

How can you be surprised I would ask why not implement features to address those limitations?

Lets stop for a brief moment and define GTD:

- Capture anything
- Define what's actionalble and whats not to achieve a sucessful outcome
- Organize it in a streamlined way, with the appropriate catagory based on HOW and WHEN you need it
- Keep it current
- Keep on track

- All this in order for you to make good choices about what to do in any given environment and situation.

There is not, in my very humble opinion, a single tool that can do all this without effort on the person that uses the tool. Thinking is hard work. For any of you backyard/shade tree mechanics out there... Have you ever had to fashion a tool, or combine several of them to get the job done? You know, nobody quite made one for YOUR unique situation (a 90 degree, reverse angle, left-handed tourque adapter).

Here's the thing, David Allen RARELY speaks about the tool, because the tool is irrellevant. It's your use of whatever tool you have thats important.

Weather its RTM, Nozebe, Lifebalance, Outlook, TD, Todoist, Evernote, etc., with thousands of forum posts spanning years, it is nearly impossible for any developer to meet everyones design of GTD.

"Life is tough. Tougher if you're stupid." John Wayne
R K Elleson

Posted: Jan 31, 2012
Score: 0 Reference
I have tried to adapt several of the MLO, TD, Nirvana2, Doit type of applications for GTD and I find that it is very easy to lose sight the basics when trying to make a tool fit evey detail of one's own way of working. I tend to rethink the way I operate when I am between different client contracts and, for me, it helps to go back to pen and paper sometimes - the only real downside is the limitation of backing it up. (Having said that, on the one (pre-cloud) occasion when I lost a bag containing my PDA, laptop and paper address book it was surprising how quickly I got over it!)
You cannot reply yet

U Back to topic home

R Post a reply

To participate in these forums, you must be signed in.