Finding my GTD

I have tried several todo/gtd apps including Tracks and other web-based apps, OmniFocus and iGTD. While some of these make it painfully easy to input tasks they don’t encourage task completion. What I end up with is tasks properly contextualized and project-organized in a big pile. I find myself out of breath and left short of what direction to head before I even start working because there are never too few projects and things to do.

What I have found to work for me is a ordered list of what to do next in the day overall. I need to see what exactly is left for me to do in a given day. To-do apps do a great job prioritizing and setting due dates and some even clear exactly where the next steps on various projects are, but what I really need personally is a daily agenda that I can keep referencing to see what’s next on my list for today.

I’ve begun using a simple text file for my todos in order to simplify this method. My syntax (with example tasks) is as follows.

# 2007-10-22
@home
- write todos blog entry
- read feeds
@school
- schedule dentist appointment
- finish 440 lab assignment
- brush up on 430 material
@home
- catch up on info 470 reading
- catch up on info 440 reading
@before bed
- schedule tommorrows todos

That’s a very simplified set of tasks but if I create my todos the night or morning before I can guess how much time each task will take and fit it in broken up based on where I will be at that point in the day. This is flexible, of course. If I find I don’t finish something as planned I can always move it into another place or put it in a dump for scheduling on or after the # NEXT day. The contexts are a bit different than many gtd apps will suggest they be used, but they work.

I’ll revisit and reflect on my progress in a week or two.

2 Responses

  1. I highly recommend Todoist

    Yes, it’s another to-do organizer… but fast, cheap (free for basic service) and has really helped to focus efforts.

    Dave

    ReplyReply
  2. Thanks for the tip!

    I’ve been to this site before and have actually recommended it to a few people but haven’t actually used it for myself. Maybe I’ll give it another shot and see.

    ReplyReply

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