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Todo Cloud 7 **IS** a great app for Getting Things Done

I thought I would start a new thread about my revised setup in Todo and how it is helping me follow GTD methodology.


I've been using Todo for a number of years now and have used custom lists as my main GTD buckets and Tags to split tasks between my personal and business life. While this worked OK, there were some deficiencies in the workflow for me.


Following a suggestion in a recent post by Calvin at Appigo, I've revised my setup, essentially reversing what I had, and now have a much better workflow going. Here is what I've done:


LISTS:

  • Personal
  • Work

CONTEXTS:
  • @ Home
  • @ Office
  • @ Errands
  • @ Anywhere
  • ...and a bunch of others related specifically to my job

TAGS:
  • *Projects
  • Next
  • Someday
  • Waiting for

The benefit of this setup:
  • tasks can be tagged as standalone (e.g. Next, Waiting for, etc) or as part of a project (e.g. Project-Next, Project-Waiting for, etc).
  • parent tasks can just be tagged 'Project' which provides a very simple way to display my project list for the GTD weekly review.
  • using two lists provides a simple way for me to split (view) my tasks into the work and personal aspects of my life.

I've found this setup works really well in all of the Todo versions I am using (iPhone, iPad and Mac). And the new iOS interface in v7.0.3 (colour coding of projects) really enhances project management too.


I hope this is helpful to others who are following David Allen's 'Getting Things Done' methodology.




Best Answer

Hi Randy,


Prior to changing my setup I used custom lists in Todo as my main GTD buckets, e.g. there were lists named Next, Waiting-for and Someday, and I also had lists for specific projects (e.g. Network Upgrade, OH&S Review, etc). I used Tags to denote whether a task was personal or work related.


One of the problems with this approach was that if I had a project task that was waiting for someone or if it was a someday task, moving it into those lists meant that it was no longer in its project list because tasks cannot be in two lists at once. So to workaround I would leave the task in its project list but then would have to remember if it was a waiting for or a someday. This resulted in me having to remember, not a good way to run a trusted system.


So I completely reversed the setup based on comments from Calvin on how he used Todo. My two Tags (Personal and Work) became custom lists and my standard GTD buckets became Tags, i.e. Next, Waiting-for, Someday and one named *Project. (BTW, the * was used to put the tag at the top of the tag list).


How it works

Individual tasks are created in the work or personal list and tagged as appropriate.

Projects (using the project type in Todo) are tagged with *Project.

Project tasks (i.e. subtasks) are tagged with *Project & whatever other tag is appropriate (e.g. Next).

 

This method provides the following benefits:

1. Projects can now have subtasks that reflect their appropriate GTD status, e.g. Next, Waiting for, or Someday.


2. You can now easily view your full list of projects for the weekly review just by setting the Tag filter to '*Project'. Attached subtasks are not displayed (you need to set your Tags Filter preference to 'And' for this to work) and you can see at a glance which ones don't have a subtask attached and therefore need your attention to move them forward.


3. You can easily narrow your focus to your Work and Personal lists before setting other filters. 


I hope the above is clear. I've found it works really well and is straightforward without the need for any workarounds. My thanks to Calvin for the suggestion.


Let me know if you want to see some screenshots.



1 person has this question

Great explanation; I hadn't thought of using Todo this way. Going to try it and see it it works for me vs. my current workflow. Thanks for the info!!
I work in a similar setup, so here are my 2 cents: 1. I use a list for a GTD role, so I separated personal to me, family, community and stuff (bills other must-do's). Work is separated to different roles I hold. 2. I use a context 'Project' to hold the parent task away and filter on the weekly review. 3. I use no-tag as Next, and made a 'Future' tag for all the tasks that are dependent on the completion of other tasks (Waiting is when I wait for others).

Peter,  Can you show me or tell me more about your system?  I am really interested in trying this.  I've just not been crazy about the way I have Todo set up.


Thanks for any input.

Answer

Hi Randy,


Prior to changing my setup I used custom lists in Todo as my main GTD buckets, e.g. there were lists named Next, Waiting-for and Someday, and I also had lists for specific projects (e.g. Network Upgrade, OH&S Review, etc). I used Tags to denote whether a task was personal or work related.


One of the problems with this approach was that if I had a project task that was waiting for someone or if it was a someday task, moving it into those lists meant that it was no longer in its project list because tasks cannot be in two lists at once. So to workaround I would leave the task in its project list but then would have to remember if it was a waiting for or a someday. This resulted in me having to remember, not a good way to run a trusted system.


So I completely reversed the setup based on comments from Calvin on how he used Todo. My two Tags (Personal and Work) became custom lists and my standard GTD buckets became Tags, i.e. Next, Waiting-for, Someday and one named *Project. (BTW, the * was used to put the tag at the top of the tag list).


How it works

Individual tasks are created in the work or personal list and tagged as appropriate.

Projects (using the project type in Todo) are tagged with *Project.

Project tasks (i.e. subtasks) are tagged with *Project & whatever other tag is appropriate (e.g. Next).

 

This method provides the following benefits:

1. Projects can now have subtasks that reflect their appropriate GTD status, e.g. Next, Waiting for, or Someday.


2. You can now easily view your full list of projects for the weekly review just by setting the Tag filter to '*Project'. Attached subtasks are not displayed (you need to set your Tags Filter preference to 'And' for this to work) and you can see at a glance which ones don't have a subtask attached and therefore need your attention to move them forward.


3. You can easily narrow your focus to your Work and Personal lists before setting other filters. 


I hope the above is clear. I've found it works really well and is straightforward without the need for any workarounds. My thanks to Calvin for the suggestion.


Let me know if you want to see some screenshots.


Hi Peter,  


Thank you so much.  Yes, screenshots would be great.  I more of a visual person.  I have tried this a little bit in evernote but just not comfortable and haven't got the full detail down like you're doing.  I just don't want to miss or forget something.  I like Todo and have bought all their apps.  Just need to figure out what is comfortable for me.


Thanks again so much for sharing.

Randy


Randy,


I have attached some screenshots of my system from both Mac and iPad. Let me know if there is something specific you want to see.


  • Todo Mac 1: All tasks displayed, no filters set, shows my GTD tags.

  • Todo Mac 2: Project tag set - shows my list of projects and I can clearly see which ones have no next task set and therefore need my attention.
  • Todo Mac 3: Shows 'Next' tasks for context @IT in my Work list.
  • Todo iPad 1: Project tag set (same as Todo Mac 2 above)
  • Todo iPad 2: Focus List

Peter



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Hi Peter,


Thank you so much for the screen shots,  They are very helpful.  I like it very much.  I do have another question.  How do manage files, spreadsheets, etc for your projects when they have them? I wish Todo would let us attach them.  Thanks again for all your help.


Randy

Hi Randy,


Any files I create as part of my tasks or projects are stored wherever they belong, e.g. on the sever at work or for personal files, on my Macbook at home. I just file them in the appropriate folder so I always know where to look, same as I would do for hard copy files following the David Allen GTD recommendations.


Attaching files to tasks wouldn't really work for me unless it was material that had come in from an external source that I hadn't yet reviewed or worked on. In this case it would probably go into a 'to be reviewed' folder (or file if hard copy).


One thing you could try is Dropbox - create whatever folders you need and insert a link to the file(s) in the notes of your task. I do this occasionally where it makes sense. You can then have access anywhere.


For reference material I was using Appigo Notebook but it's been a while since it was updated and was proving a bit limited, so after reviewing a bunch of different apps (including OneNote and a host of others in the app store) I've just switched over to Notebooks App which is similar but has a lot more options, handles more than just text files (e.g. formatted documents, PDFs, etc) and syncs via dropbox. It's pretty cool and there is a Mac version too.



I made a slightly different variation of Peter’s setup.


Tags:

- *Project

- Private

- Work

- Next

- Wait


Lists:

- Current

- Someday


I am not (yet) using contexts at this moment.

In settings, I set the tag selection to “And"


I like to use the standard Focus list as my Next list, for both private and work. With this setup this is possible.


I always start by selecting either the Private or Work tag. Actually it feels like I set the whole app in Work or Private mode, I have the functionality of all lists available.


Then I can go to the Focus list and select by the Next or Waiting tag. Project review is the same way as Peter described.


Now I am going to find out how things work out for me. Just wanted to share this.


Thanks for the suggestions. I'm a big fan of Todo and GTD. I understand now how to make a project list using your suggestions above but how do you make a list of next actions? A next actions list would NOT contain projects just the subtasks of a project because, as David Allen says, "you can't DO a project". Please help.

To make a list of next actions:

In my Focus list, I select actions containing the tag "Next". My projects don't have this tag and thus are filtered out from the Focus list. This way I have a list of pure next actions and no projects.


Hi Wynn,


As Lex has suggested, you would do this via the Focus list, which is the best place to be looking for your list of next actions. Just check your settings for the Focus list to ensure subtasks is turned on.


Happy GTD-ing!


Thanks. Your replies all helped.
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