Smartening up where my Remember The Milk (RTM) lists are concerned!

Remember the milkI have been a Remember the Milk & GTD user for a few years now. I absolutely love the marriage between them and their efficencies. Having said that, I have a confession to make. I find I am now starting to ignore GTD as a productivity tool, and it is not Remember the Milk’s fault! The fault lies solely on me. I’m getting lazy and complacent…

One thing that GTD doesn’t seem to address for me, is what happens when my lists, tasks, and projects become just like me. Burnt out… Overwhelmed… Scattered…

The solution is sitting right in front of me. I am a horrible weekly review user! Horrible! In fact, I can’t recall the last time I did a weekly review… I have gone from location and context specific lists, to simply sticking my tasks into a calendar type thought process. I mentally figure out when I want to attempt to complete the task, and add a due date to the task. Then the day comes up, and I don’t bother doing it as I have put too many random things to happen all on the same day. Did this really need to be done today? Ya, probably not. Just hit postpone, that’ll get rid of it…

GTD says not to rely on calendars for that reason! It is about tasks that I may want to do, to ones that need to be done on a certain day…

A quick online search brought me to http://hamberg.no/gtd/ with a short GTD review to help get me back in focus…

Here is a snippet from the article discussing the Calendar.

Calendar

calendar_picThe calendar is for things you have to do on a certain date or at a certain time, and nothing else! That’s right; no putting “install Bonzibudddy” on your calendar for next Wednesday if you just think you want to have it done then.

But… why‽

By only having items which really are time and date sensitive on your calendar it will be more useful, since it will actually tell you the things you have to do a certain day without being “diluted” with other items. The thing you want to do, but that doesn’t need to be done at a certain time will be on your next actions list any way, so you will be reminded about it and have the chance to do it anyway.

So, it is time for me to start asking a better question of myself when I have a new task…It is not going to be “When do I want to start this task? And, when do I want to be reminded to start this task?” It needs to be, “What is the next action step for this task, and in what context do I need it to be part of?” If it has a due date, I’ll apply it, but other than that, I need to develop the mentality that my contexts lists need to be trusted!

This week, I am going to do a weekly review, for the first time in probably 6 months! And, I’m going to re-jig all my tasks to be tagged with their appropriate context. And then?

Well, stop looking at my due dates & reminders for my Next Action Lists, and start looking at the Contexts and Getting Things Done.

Hopefully this tweak will move me from being a complacent GTD’r to a more efficient one!

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Remember the Milk gets a refresh on the iPhone! Sweet!

Remember the Milk (RTM) came out with a long overdue iPhone update today! And it is really nice. I recommend that if you haven’t signed up for RTM, you should right now! It is the best online and mobile To Do List and Task Manager out there…

I took a few minutes to do some screen shots of the refreshed interface. One of the nice new features is the ability to use a swiping gesture to go back to your main menu. All in all a very nice update. The only thing missing is Continue reading “Remember the Milk gets a refresh on the iPhone! Sweet!”

Sometimes you don’t need a productivity system! You just need to get off your butt!

This weekend we got a hell of a lot done around the house!

Cleaning up the mess
Image by Toms Bauģis via Flickr

It turns out that all I needed to do was stay in one location(at home), and keep one theme on top of mind. Lastly, it took communication between my wife and I.

We had all the pieces in place to move this project along. The GTD system tells us that for a multi-step project, we need to break it down into individual action items.

We are trying to downsize by the time our next baby comes, and have been buying and selling beds and furniture with this in mind. We both have asked ourselves, why wait until the baby is here, or when we have to move? In fact, that would be the worst time to do it!

So, unlike many weekends that come and go, we got up early every day and started. It felt great to slowly and steadily get stuff done!

This is probably the first time that I’ve had a larger project that has been broken down into sub-projects. But the bottom line is that once we got all the appropriate furniture, it came down to putting in the effort.

At some point physical effort can’t be something you write down. Get all the small tasks out of the way and hunker down!

For me what worked was having the motivation to get rid of things, and not have so much to move when we have to. Keeping that in mind, it made all my tasks have focus. I’d ask, “Do we need this?” “Do I want to move this into the new home?” “Have we used this over the last year?”

How is Wunderlist for implementing GTD?

Over the last couple of days Lifehacker has been rating ‘The Best To-Do App for…Linux,

wunderlist
Image by αnnα via Flickr

Windows and OSX. The winner each and every time was Wunderlist! I made a joke on Twitter that Lifehacker must be getting kick backs from them…Really, how can the same To-Do App be the best on each and every platform?

I tried Wunderlist and maybe I haven’t spent the time to appreciate it more? I saw it as a simplistic To-Do List app. Entering in data seems a bit cumbersome. I think I am spoiled with task entry on Remember the Milk. If I enter “Go on a mountain bike ride on Sunday” on Wunderlist I get a task that says that but has no due date. If I do the same in RTM, I get a task called “Go on a mountain bike ride” and it automatically puts the due date on the task.

I have to manually click the due date with my mouse pointer to create a due date in Wunderlist. I have to manually drag the task to a list to separate it from others. In other words, using #hashtags doesn’t seem to create tags that can be saved as Smart lists. The same goes for tasks that repeat. Wunderlist can’t manage repetitive tasks.

As for how it works for GTD, I see a few nice touches. You create manual lists and drag tasks to them. If you add tasks to your Inbox, and process them, you can organize your priorities quite nicely. One of the big ‘flaws’ of Web based To-Do Apps like Nozbe seems to be the difficulty in getting the Inbox to Zero. At least with Wunderlist you can drag them out of the Inbox to other lists. As for repeating tasks, David Allen says that you use a digital Calendar for repetitive tasks, so I guess you could use Google Calender for tasks that repeat, but why?

I just don’t get it? What am I missing? I get that it looks pretty, but what features make it the best?

Any of my readers using Wunderlist? What makes it a great GTD solution? I really want to know…

How to Make Your To-Do List Doable – Lifehacker

I am a big fan of To-Do lists. My wife started me on them a couple of years ago because she loved them, and well, I loved her. What better way to try out something new?

I use a custom system that blends paper and Remember the Milk to manage my tasks. I am up to reviewing my system all the time, and am a big advocate of Lifehacker’s posts on To-Do lists and productivity. I wanted to share one of their latest posts with you…

You Are the Boss of You

At any point during the workday, you are in one of two modes: thinking mode (that’s you with the Boss hat on) and action mode (that’s you with the Personal Assistant hat on). When a project or task comes up, the steps you need to take start to form in your mind. Now you’re in thinking/Boss mode – the guy/gal who gives the orders. Your to-do list is a collection of those orders, which your Assistant personality will later pick up and do.

When you’re wearing your Boss hat, it’s up to you to write down the instructions in such a way that your Assistant self can just do them without having to think – or stress. Taking the thinking out of the acting is one of the best ways to make your to-do list a cinch to finish off.

via How to Make Your To-Do List Doable.

My GTD-Moleskine take two

I mentioned the other day that I have been finding my productivity workflow has been slowly molding into a combination of technology and paper.

My Work GTD-Moleskine Set-up
I have set up a new large Moleskine squared notebook at work to manage all my tasks and reminders. It is a modified GTD system that has 3 main areas. At the front is my Inbox. At the back is my Projects, and about half-way is my Contexts.

I have modified my Inbox in one important way. I start every day by entering and highlighting the date. All my notes, ideas, and tasks go in this inbox. I use the Projects at the back to keep track of my banking and lending clients.

At the end of the day, Continue reading “My GTD-Moleskine take two”

My Moleskine – Remember the Milk System. Old vs New.

I have been thinking about my information workflow recently, and more specifically have started to examine what works best to control the flow of data that comes my way throughout my work day, and make sure I record it.

 

Remember the Milk
Image by Johan Larsson via Flickr

I have two parallel information systems running in my life. The first is my Remember the Milk GTDish system where I document all the important stuff I need to recall later on. Birthdays, appointments, grocery lists, multi-step projects like mortgage applications. Anything that isn’t done on the fly or during the day, gets dated, context added, etc…I use RTM for pretty much everything I need to do or remember in my personal life. I also flag future reminders(tickler list) and my Waiting-For list for both work and pleasure. But not everything seems to go in there… Continue reading “My Moleskine – Remember the Milk System. Old vs New.”