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Simple GTD setup

arnar.egils says:

Hi all,

I guess there are many variations of this to be found and everybody has their own preference but this is how I set up RTM for my incarnation of GTD. The premise I set out with was to keep everything as simple and fast as possible when working with the my lists. With this setup all tasks end up in Unprocessed (my Inbox) regardless of from where they were added, no task has more than one tag and/or a due date and the lists I use are few (could even drop two without harm). This works best for me since I tend to lose control of my task lists as the level of complexity rises.

I use the Inbox to store all tasks and smart lists to sort them. My lists are in the order RTM displays them:


.DO NOW (NOT priority:none)
After scanning other relevant lists I add priority to all tasks I want to do in the coming section of the day. I then go to this list and reorder the tasks using priority to get a rough order.

@Home (tag:home AND (due:never OR due:today OR dueBefore:today))
I have one of those for each of my contexts. I assign all tasks context and give tasks due date that need to be done on a specific day or that I cant start working on until a specific day. Tasks with no due date should be done ASAP so these lists show me tasks I need to do soon and tasks that need to be done today sorted by context.

Projects (" / ")
The format I use to keep track of projects is the following: Project name (deadline) / Task. For example: Buy birthday present (28. feb) / Go to mall and pick up ring. When adding next action to the project I just edit the name of the task instead of creating a new one. By searching for " / " I get the ever useful Projects list. Note that the format for naming is (project space slash space task) and the search is (quotation space slash space quotation). This way its possible to use / in the name of a task without it appearing in the Projects list.

Someday/maybe (tag:someday NOT priority:3)
My someday/maybe list. The NOT priority:3 is to ensure that everything I add ends in the Unprocessed (see below).

Tasks (NOT tag:someday AND NOT (isTagged:false AND due:never))
Here I have all my tasks in one place excluding unporcessed stuff and someday/maybe stuff. Its not super useful and could be skipped but it helps with the weekly review.

Unprocessed (isTagged:flase AND due:never)
This is my Inbox. Since all smart lists I use have complicated enough search terms all tasks I add end up here unless I manually assign a tag or due date. I do this on purpose since I want to be able to add items while in my @Home list for example without having to remove things like tags or due dates while I´m capturing ideas.

Waiting (WF)
How I handle waiting for is by starting the task with WF, e.g. Buy birthday present (28. feb) / WF call about resizing of ring. Searching for "WF" lists all my waiting for but since I assign due dates to them as well they also appear in my Today list. This list could be dropped but I find it useful to have all my waiting for in one accessible place.


Misc. information
Since I use iPad/iPhone for a lot of my work I use the Today view of the mobile apps to get an overview of tasks that need to be done today regardless of context. Since the Overview in the web version does not allow interaction with the tasks I just use the Inbox (or Tasks) sorted by due date for that purpose.
If I need to keep an eye on a project or if its important that I do it I add ! in front if the name so it pops up to the top of the list, e.g. !Buy food.

Thanks for reading!

- Arnar

Posted at 3:32pm on February 1, 2013

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