Discuss all things Remember The Milk.

Getting Things Done™ - At last I found an approach which works out for me!

bitschnau says:

I had some hard times to figure out how to use GTD™ in my world and went from RTM to Toodledo and back again.

At last I have found an approach I can work with and I wanted to share it with you.

Check it out in my blog post (no worries, this is not to get clicks. No ads on my page!):

Comments welcome!
Posted at 3:57pm on February 25, 2011
jpconstantineau says:

I have a similar GTD setup on RTM. I have found that the Blackberry syncs relatively well to RTM. However, I only sync my actions list.

I too have an action list for multiple contexts (set through tags) and one list for Projects. I still don't use the standard task app of my Blackberry much so I can't comment on how contexts transfer over.

I have separate lists for 20kft, 30kft, 40kft and 50kft. I go through those lists once in a while if I need to think at a higher level but I usually don't focus much on those. As such, I don't have them synced with my BB.

I like how you have used the priorities to sort in between Next Actions, Waiting For and Tickler File items. I currently have WF on another list and I seem to be loosing track of my Waiting Fors until I do my weekly review. Before seeing your posts, I was still lost on tickler items and how to take care of them.

I too have found that having a prefix to all the tasks and projects help with organizing everything together in logical groups.

I haven't been using the tags to link the projects to their tasks as I find doing this overly complicated and tended to loose the connections between the tasks and the projects. I haven't found I really needed to look for the links on a regular basis. I however, still need to figure out a way to find projects with no next actions (during weekly reviews). Having the links is definitely a way one could keep track. However, I haven't looked in how I could search for projects with no next actions. I can't look for untagged tasks as tags organize which context is being used.

I really like RTM as it helps for recurring tasks. The only problem is that too often, the recurring tasks are not as "urgent" as the non-recurring tasks but they still show up at the same level and I have to weed through a list of recurring tasks to see what's non-recurring. I created a smart list to help take care of that.

I will look at your post again see how I could improve my own setup.

Posted 7 years ago
jaycary says:
I like it. Especially the use of priorities. I've always felt like GTD was a little bit too complicated but this helps
Posted 7 years ago
thomas.neal says:
A very helpful post: I recommend it.
Posted 7 years ago
gdgeorge says:
I use GTD as the basis for all of my task management. It's quite handy and readily integrates into RTM.
Posted 7 years ago
bitschnau says:
Thank you all for your kind replies.

@Pierre: I don't do goals at the moment, so my GTD system is not complete. I keep track of the 10kft, 20kft, etc. tasks on my "Maybe&Someday" list, which really is an issue I should solve.

If I understand you correctly, you have problems recognizing projects without next actions. As you say: "I can't look for untagged tasks as tags organize which context is being used."

I say, you can!

It depends on how you organize your tags, but as in my system, project tags always start with a '+' and contexts start with an '@'. I also have a smartlist for searching incorrectly tagged items.
It looks like this:

((isTagged:False OR
(NOT tag:ps AND NOT tag:wk))
AND NOT list:"3. Irgendwann... & Vielleicht...")
OR (list:"2. Projekte" AND NOT tagContains:+)

The result of the search is the following:

'(isTagged:False OR (NOT tag:ps AND NOT tag:wk)'

All tags without ps or wk, since I differ every task if it is a personal or a work task, or even no tag, which must not happen.

'AND NOT list:"3. Irgendwann... & Vielleicht..."'

The only exception of the rule above are tasks on my Somday&Maybe list. The words above are just the German words for it. So if a task is on this list, it's ok for it to have no tags.

And now for the part, that might help you:

'AND (list:"2. Projekte" AND NOT tagContains:+)'

As you can see, also every task on my project list must have a tag with a '+' in it. Maybe you can use the "tagContains" search rule also for recognizing projects without next action. It depends on how you mark next actions and projects.
Posted 7 years ago
sgri says:
excellent ideas, thanks.
I have been thinking about how to re-org my RTM lists and you have shown me a solution.
I use the Location as a context - @office, @home, @shops, @computer.
I have also been trying out Priority for the Covey Quadrants (from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People); P1=important+urgent; P2=important+not urgent etc
Posted 7 years ago
rmcmullan says:
I have been making similar sorts of forays into the best way for me to set up RTM. My current thinking is to track my project list in Excel (where I can map out future weeks with deadline and see when I get a "crowded" week with several colliding deadlines -- also gives me an "at a glance" version of projects). Project tags have three components per tag:
-- = indicator of a work project, one dash is a Someday/Maybe project and two dashes is a ready project. I use periods in the same way for personal projects.
finance = the Area of Responsibility/20k level, so I can group different projects by Area of Responsibility
investments = project abbreviation

I then use the Tag Cloud Restructurer Firefox extension (discussed elsewhere in the forums) to organize my project tags into a nice nested display that even allows "subprojects" such as --finance-investments-apple_shares.

It does require a disciplined weekly review to make sure my spreadsheet project list doesn't drift from my RTM project tags, but so far it has worked out without too much effort. In my weekly review, I look at my project list to decide priorities, then click on the project link in the tag cloud and assign a high priority to the appropriate tasks. Then I use Smart Lists to serve up my short list of Next Actions.

It's amazing how many different ways there are to do the same thing. Thanks for sharing your set-up -- even though I'm happy with my own, it's always a good thought-starter to ready about others'.
Posted 7 years ago
liffer says:
bitschnau: I really like your set-up and I'm trying to implement it now.

A question though: Do you have "project titles"? I mean like a task that only contains the title or the goal of the project?

If you don't have a task especially for that, you could run into the situation where you have no tasks with that project-label, and hence maybe loose the grip of the project, as you won't find the project in the projects list. Right? (and maybe also empty tags disappear from the tag cloud? not sure at the moment)

If you do have a "title task", do you also have a way to get that on the first place in the list you get when you click the "project name tag"?
Also I think that it would be good to have all the "titles" on top of the Projects list.
Maybe the way to do it is to have a "." or other special character in the beginning of the name and also to use priority=1 for that task, even though it is no real task.
To avoid seeing them in other searches all title-tasks could have a tag "title".

I hope that I manage to make myself clear here :) This post became much longer and more complicated than intended.

So to summarize: I love your GTD-RTM-set-up! :)

Posted 7 years ago
bitschnau says:
Hello everyone,

I really appreciate the positive feedback and the critics (one is balm for the soul, the other is a chance to improve).

I wanted to let you know, I have made some changes and improvements to the system and I will update the article the next few days/weeks... my lists are full. ;-)

Happy doing,

Posted 6 years ago
(closed account) says:
hi! I'm trying to access the link that you posted originally (especially after so many postive feedback you've recieved!) but it seems to be broken. Could you please point me out in the right directon?

Posted 5 years ago
dfinley says:
Would love to read the post as well and have received the 404 as well. The feedback on your post has been very positive and I would hope that this isn't lost in the ether.

Thanks for you help
Posted 5 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
While waiting for bitschnau, here's the cached version from July 2012:
Posted 5 years ago
rendlm5 says:
Does not work. Would love to see the post
Posted 5 years ago
scott.devine says:
Bummer. It was working just last week. Started to implement, but didn't print out a hard copy. If anyone has another link, please let me know...
Posted 5 years ago
(closed account) says:
Bummer, looks like I arrive too late, anyone with the original post?
Posted 5 years ago
bitschnau says:
Hello there,

I am a bit surprised about the responses and e-mails I receive about my article. I am currently trying to get the old article back online and I will inform you as soon as possible, if I was successful.

Posted 5 years ago
bitschnau says:

the article should be reachable again. I haven't used RTM for a while, since I switched to Omnifocus for Mac/iPhone/iPad.

Sorry for the inconvinience.

Have fun! :-)
Posted 5 years ago
bitschnau says:
Unfortunately I can not recreate the old link. Please use this one:
Posted 5 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
Thanks a lot for reposting, especially after you have switched to another task manager!
Posted 5 years ago
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