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Custom Kanban/GtD style workflow

ioparaskev says:
After using to-do apps for about 2 years I strongly believe I've found a flow that suits me:

I use lists like kanban/GtD lists. I have Done, Active, Next, Queue, Blocked, Frozen.
Everything starts from Queue, and every week I plan my week's tasks. This week's tasks go in the Next Pick list. When I start working on them they move to Active. If for some reason they are blocked or dumped, they go to Blocked or Frozen. When they're Done they go to Done and are marked as done.

I use tags to denote the projects and any other info a task is related to. For example I have tags like work, study, bug, documentation, project-A, project-B, leisure, github etc

I make "heavy" use of the smart lists. For example I have one "Work Today" where I have the work tasks that I'm currently working on, or the tasks that should start today, or the tasks that should have started before today, or the tasks that are due today or before today.

The query is the following:
(list:Active OR (list:Next Pick start:today OR startBefore:today OR due:today OR dueBefore:today)) AND tag:work

I have similar (but simpler) smart lists to filter out Next Pick Work, Work Queue, Next Pick Study etc.
Since I use Due dates and Start dates, the Today view is also helpful to see what am I supposed to do today in general. In today I have a custom sorting where I group by List and sort by priority. That way I have a crystal clear view how behind schedule am I in general . If for example I have 10 tasks in Active and 20 in Next Pick and its Thursday, this means that I'm way behind schedule and I probably need to reschedule and/or reprioritize.
Posted at 1:30pm on September 5, 2017
aviskase says:
Interesting usage of kanban. Can you explain a little bit more about priorities, how do you use them?
Posted 3 years ago
ioparaskev says:
I use priorities in two ways:
1. When planning each week what tasks I must do: I use priorities to pick at least 1-2 top priority tasks. If I have a time estimate added for them and I see that I can fit more, I add more top priority tasks in the Next Pick list. I know for sure that a todo list shouldn't have only top priority tasks. It should also have lower priority tasks that might take little time but still have to be done. If you only plan to do the top priority tasks, you'll reach a point where the lower priority tasks will become top priority as well. Doing only stuff that is marked as super-important is too tiring. So I keep in mind doing smaller tasks during the weeks as well, considering them as a small break between the top priority ones. A list of only top priority things is pretty anxious and tiring to even look at (let alone work). So I've seen in practice that keeping myself occupied with smaller tasks gives me time to breathe and relax, slowing my tempo and at the same time getting work done without procrastinating.
2. During each week where I move tasks from the Next Pick list to the Active list. Priorities help you microplan your week and day and pick which a Next Pick task to do (and move to active task). If I have a tendency of procrastinating I find that picking lower priority tasks helps me get moving and stop procrastinating.

Keep in mind that a car can't only ride uphill 24/7, it should also ride straight, downhill and have some time to rest as well. This is one of the most important things to keep in mind if you want to keep your can working for a long time (besides service) :)
Always try to mix tasks even if that means that some higher priority tasks must be postponed for next week. You'll get more work done and keep your "engine" more healthy in the long run.
Posted 3 years ago
emily (Remember The Milk) says:
Hi ioparaskev,

Thanks for sharing your setup -- this is really interesting! You're this week's Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner, and we've added a free year of Pro to your Remember The Milk account. :)
Posted 3 years ago
xtoq says:
If you use "startBefore:tomorrow" and "dueBefore:tomorrow" it will replace the due/start:today and due/startbefore:today queries, making your smart list even smarter!
Posted 3 years ago
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