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A simpler, more appealing GTD-ish system in RTM

mattssoncarl says:
This system attempts to make a GTD-ish system as appealing and easy as possible. I created this system for myself due to most others including different arrangements of symbols in front of the actual tasks or tags, something which to me makes it looks very unappealing and complicated. I wanted something which both looked good and was extremely easy to work with.

The system has a few key concepts which you will have to accept for the system to work, or at least to work as mine does.
First, every task must have either a tag or a due date.
Second, every project gets its own tag.
Third, priority one is to be utilized for project goals, whereas priority two is for next actions.

This is basically it, let me illustrate. Say I want to clean out one of my closets to put the summerclothing in the garage.
I start with creating the goal and tag for the project, lets call it summerclothing.
"Clean out the summerclothes from your wardrobe and put them in the garage !1 #summerclothing"
By doing this, we state the goal of the project and we create the project by starting the tag summerclothing. Let's continue with adding some new tasks to it;
Buy crate for storing clothes !2 #summerclothing
Sort out summerclothes from the wardrobe #summerclothing
Put the summerclothes in the garage #summerclothing

And there we have it, a simple project. You simply move around the priority 2 for sorting your next action (if you want to, in some projects you might consider this a bit redundant), and when you are finished with a project you simply mark the priority 1 as finished.

Other tasks might not be projects and or need to be done on specific dates, for this you simply add a due date.
Book a time for laundry ^today
Pay the bills ^26th *monthly

Notice the repeating task above, I utilize this alot, it can be bills or just finding a good cleaning scheduele, e.g. that you vacuum every 5 days, or that you should call your grandma every 8th day. When it comes to social obligations though, remember to avoid weekly or biweekly repetitions. It's likely no one will notice, but some might consider it rude that you call them just because it is in your to-do list, avoiding calling them a specific day every week makes it less likely that anyone will ever know.

Last but not least, since the system depends on tags and due dates, you can simply create an extra inbox with the smartlist;
due:never AND isTagged:false

In that, you can simply fill in things. For example, say that you get an idea in the elevator at work, you don't really have time to come up with a good date or whether or not it requires you to create a project - just add it without anything. The above smartlist will make you find items such as this. To make this easy to remember, just add a repeating task which reminds you to clean out this inbox every or every other day.

Some short final comments;
For someday/maybe items, simply create a #someday tag, in which you put every maybe-idea you can come up with. When you got some time, simply make a project out of one of these ideas.
Use plenty of smart-lists, for example, if you have a demanding job you might want to create a smart list which sorts them away from your non-job projects. Another option would of course be to use other lists or perhaps locations,it's up to you. I can also recommend creating a special Fun-smartlist, in which you can toss in fun projects, like building a birdhouse or something. Remember, this is just a fundement for getting started with building your own perfect system.
Use some method for storing more information, for example just pen and paper or something akin to Evernote. In here you can keep your long-medium-short term goals to make sure your projects gets you on the right path. Simply create a recurring task weekly or biweekly to make sure you check up and make sure that you are heading in the right direction.

Please feel free to question or comment on the system, any and all feedback is highly welcome.

Carl Mattsson
Posted at 10:55am on August 9, 2013
angela.spivey says:
Thank you, I'm brand new to RTM and was wondering how to implement the system GTD style. This gets me going in the right direction!
Posted 4 years ago
mattssoncarl says:
Glad I could help. The system is of course by no means strict to the GTD standard, though with a little tweaking I suppose it could be. :)

It's a start though, which is all I intended it to be. =)
Posted 4 years ago
sally.groom1 says:
Thanks from me too. I've been looking at Evernote for implementing GTD but not it doesn't feel right. This works better for me and I knew I could be putting RTM to better use.

I'm guessing you're still using lists such as Home, Anywhere, Computer, Phone, etc so your example of the summer clothes would be under the Home list?
Posted 4 years ago
raymond.bergmark Power Poster says:
Nice idea Carl! Easy and still expandable system. Tip of the week if you ask me!

Sally: I've found it much easier not to use lists (except Someday) and store everything in the default Inbox. Instead, use smart lists in order to access the tasks in a structured way. Have a Check smart list checking that all your tasks have the correct meta info (due date OR tag in Carl's example above).
Posted 4 years ago
curtispartridge says:
One problem have had of implementing this system is that during the weekly review I like to review all my projects to confirm a next action exists. I have not found a rapid way of doing this using this method. Other than that the methodology is a great idea.
Posted 4 years ago
ariane2 says:
Curtispartridge, can't you do a search for the project tag and !2 and see if something comes up? It seems as though if you wanted to use this system you'd want to have the habit of moving the !2 to a new task each time you completed one, so this search during the weekly review would just be ensuring that you hadn't forgotten to do that.
Posted 4 years ago
(closed account) says:
What a great and simple way of structuring RTM (responding to the actual post)!

In regard to checking whether all projects have a next action, one might try the following.

First, give every project a project tag, preceded by a "." In the example of the topic starter this would be ".summerclothing". This enables you to separate the project tags from other tags and make them searchable.

Second, make a smart list containing the following search string
tagContains:. AND NOT priority:2
So you search for all tasks with a project tag attached that are not priority 2.

The list will come up with every project task (the priority 1 tasks) and every due dated task. But what about project where the next action is planned for a date in the future? "Talk to my manager when he gets back from vacation" for instance. That would be a task with a due date instead of priority 2. In Therefore, you might alter the search string a bit:
tagContains:. AND NOT priority:2 AND NOT due:never

For every project the list will now present you the project task (priority 1) and either:
- the corresponding tasks from which you must designate one as the next action by assigning priority 2 to it or from which you must give one a due date (because you cannot do it until a later date)
- no further tasks at all, making it necessary for you to enter at least one task or end/close the project

In theory the smart list could return a massive unstructured list of tasks. But given the fact that most of your projects probably do have a next or planned action, for most people the search string will not be that overwhelming.

I hope this might help anyone who wants to make sure every project is still in motion.
Posted 2 years ago
(closed account) says:
Edit: the second search string I mentioned should be
tagContains:. AND NOT priority:2 AND due:never
Posted 2 years ago
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