I've found a simple way to use RTM and all of its functionality to implement a system that is effective - things get done. What's more is that it is low maintenance. I can actually leave it for a day or four and a 15 min review gets everything back in order and I'm back to doing things. I see what I need to see when I need to see it.
Create 3 locations: Home, Office, Errands
Create 7 smart list:
>>>Errands-"location:Errands" (I put errands in Greenland just for giggles)
Create 1 List:
>>> ToDo - for task that are standalone
List = Projects
Task = Tasks
Smart List = Context Based List
Tags = More Specific Context
Anything that you want to get done make a list for it. (Assuming it will take more that one tasks.) For example: Clean Bathroom. In this list add at least on action that you can do next. Add more if you want. That's it.
We'll almost, to be more efficient, add a location such that if it can ONLY be done at Home add location Home. Use tags to be more specific with context, such as tag:online or tag:computer or tag:kitchen. Add a due date if it has one. Add a priority if you want - more on priorities in a bit. The smart list that were created in the setup will help you focus on things you can do where you are at. When you do your review, just check that every project has a next action.
Highly recommend using A Bit Better RTM as this puts your list aka projects into a list and adds a number of tasks to each list/project.
7 Habits uses the 4 quadrants which is how I use priorities, but instead of using "important vs not important" I use the following:
>>> 1 Critical-Urgent and Detrimental if Not Completed (In other words Need to Do)
>>> 2 Crucial-Not Urgent and Detrimental if Not Completed
>>> 3 Beneficial-Beneficial If Completed
>>> 4 Optional-Something I just want to do
Your Priorities smart list will only show P1-P3. You can create separate smart list for each quadrant, but I find this unnecessary.
In this respect 1 & 2 are Mandatory and 3 & 4 are Optional. Only Mandatory items can be urgent since I don't actually have to do the rest.
Use tags to list the stores or places that you could complete these tasks. For example Buy Tide - tag: target, giant, costco allows me to search tags by store when I'm at that store and see everything from all my projects that I could buy at that store.
Once you complete the project delete the list. If it is a repeating project go to the completed tab and uncompleted all the task that you need to do again. I find this method easier to manage than setting "soft" due dates that repeat.
This system is for getting stuff done so there is no someday list, however, anything without a priority is a "someday item" so its a nice way to sneak it in, with the benefit that if I get my higher priorities done I can begin working on those someday items.
If you think you have too many projects, keep in mind that doing is what brings that list down. I find myself doing task simply because I want to delete the list.
So that's it. Any suggestions are welcome.
Posted at 7:01pm on December 21, 2013