So after about two weeks of using GTD-life-enhancement with “ToDo” on iPhone, Toodledo as online-synch I have some basic thoughts wheher this helped me. You can find the last post about this here: Why using ToDo-Lists and GTD?.
GTD only > 2 minutes
The first (logical rule) I came across is: never put something you can do in under 2 minutes on a ToDo-list. Do it instantly! This helps resolving loops like “Put the other item on the ToDo-list”, so I guess the rule was made by a computer scientist ;-p … no really: if something is done quickly, just do it!
GTD vs. Calendar
First it has to be noted that GTD has some paralells with using a calendar. You’ll put appointments with people (like go to the doctor, have an interview with, etc.) and recurring appointments (like a weekly meeting with your colleagues) in a calendar, as you got one certain point in time when you have to do that. GTD is more about listing the stuff, that has no exact point in time when it has to be done. I’ll put there items I need to to at work and stuff that needs to be done at home.
Context is the situation you’re in when you need a certain part of your ToDo-list. I don’t need my work-list at home and I don’t need my home-list at work. This is what contexts try to solve. In the GTD-programs I use, you can set a context to each item. On ToDo for iPhone setting your actual situation to a context lets the app hide all other todo-items. Contexts get automatically set on todo-items if you have set that certain context. On Firefox I need to set everything by hand, but its pretty easy. Use contexts, they mean the world.
The contexts I use are work and home. I also use another context thats called “boring-time”. When there’s nothing to do at home (or soon in the christmas-holidays), I look in that list. I put topics for blogposts to write, books I’d like to read and private projects and stuff like that in the boring-time-context. I didn’t solve one of those since I use GTD, seems I got too much other stuff to do :-/
You can set a “due date” (and time) on each todo item. This is the time when you should have solved a todo or the last point in time when you should begin working on the todo. You can also define a priority (like none, low, medium or high). When you then look at your “hotlist” (or “Focus”-list as its called in the ToDo-app), only the more important stuff and the stuff with a near due date gets shown, at least in the iPhone program its also filtered by the actual context that is set. This helps seeing the important stuff through the other clutter.
The due date has another important meaning. As its the time when you should start the ToDo if you didn’t do it before, you get a message (that looks like an SMS) in the iPhone app.
Problems I didn’t solve so far
I tried making a short list of items I need to do in the morning. Why? Hmm. I tend to walk around in the morning, not knowing what to do first. Sometimes I forget my umbrella and get cauht by rain. Therefore a small list would be nice. There is an option to let items recurr (any timespan, every day for example; I use this for getting the trash out every two weeks), but I didn’t like to see all the stupid items like “do breakfast” in the list. Maybe this can be solved with the iPhone ToDo’s “Projects”. Those can be used to set sub-items, but it gets synched to the Toodledo Service as single items, so I’m not sure if it works that good (tried it once, “inTheMorning”-project with subitems, set to recurr every day, but the subitems didn’t resurr somehow, so I sat the and got an empty project recurring in the morning).
Then Outlook 2003 made problems. I used another thrid party-app linked on toodledo to sync the ToDos with outlook 2003. Sadly, Outlook realizes its data gets changed and ask the user (me) for permission. This wouldn’t suck if you could allow it forever, but you can’t. Outlook just doesn’t support it, so you have to click “okay” every ten minutes, when the third party app tries to sync. Stupid outlook. Didn’t try it with a newer version so far. Outlook seems like a crappy ToDo-solution anyways, as you got no chance to define contexts (at least in 2003).
When I have more insights, I’ll let you know! So far, get stuff done! ;-)
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