I find graphical representation of most information extremely useful
I really like GTDNext and have started feeding it all my tasks and action, and was hoping if something like this can be added one day?
For now i dont mind using Scheldonize in tandem with with GTDNext, but having both together will be a killer.
There seems to be a never-ending flow of new apps. I had never heard of Sheldonize. Looks cool. It looks like one of all the time-planning apps where you determine ahead of time when you will do what, regardless of what comes up in the meantime or what mood or energy level you find yourself in when the time arrives.
Since you have already come to GTDNext, and like much about it (and so do I), may I suggest you take a closer look at GTD as an alternative method for you? The main difference between GTD and time planning methodologies is its avoidance of time scheduling.
GTD does use some elements of time scheduling, but only when things have been laid down by or agreed with other people, e.g. meetings, but for the most part tries to keep things as open as possible in order for you to make the the best use of every moment by selecting the most appropriate task to do in the situation at hand. This means, your tasks normally do not have dates associated with them. You keep them listed on a few main lists:
- Next actions are things that you are sure you will do (and will do yourself)
- Waiting For actions are those things you need to get produced/delivered by other people, e.g. delegated actions, ordered goods, money that people owe you etc
- Someday/Maybe are all the possibilities that you are not sure are good or not sure whether they need to be done, but which you want to remember
- Tickler file (“scheduled”) contains the things that would be impossible (for external reasons) to do until a certain date (even if you had nothing else to do), e.g. buy theater tickets now if they will be for sale only next month
In addition, you do indeed use a calendar for appointments etc (called calendar actions in GTD)
I am not sure if the GTD philosophy will suit you. We are all different, and it does not suit everyone. But I recommend you to give it a try. Probably the most unfamiliar part of it is to always have to actively choose more things to do from a long list of Next actions rather than just “obey” your calendar. To make this a bit easier you can “short-list” a reasonable number by clicking their Focus icon, and then view these together on the Focus list. You may also find it useful to Focus certain Waiting For actions, e.g. a delivery that you expect today.
Yeah, i discovered Sheldonize by accident myself while looking for a daily planner to plan my day on an hourly basis.
GTDNext is my application of choice, no doubt about it. I think they have started from an extremely sound core template that can evolve into something big. I think I’m going to stick with it.
So while i am sold on GTD as a method, I am just trying to find a way to easily plan my day graphically (preferably) so that one glimpse and I will have an idea of how the day’s going to be. A calendar view for ‘Next Actions’ with colours, patterns etc, where you can move and reorganise Actions…that will be ultimate.
I’m in in similar position to Vermanium. I’ve moved all my stuff into Gtdnext and its working well, I’ve tried the scheduling approach with a few apps and it doesn’t work for me, my work is too fluid and unpredictable so GTD it is. My work is asap really, not many formal deadlines as such.
A Calendar “view” is useful for me, i have a lot of meetings and calls which are appointments in our corporate Outlook, I also work from various locations (which is determined by meetings) and use the calendar to get a view of this and get a feel for the week or days ahead and arrange travel etc.
In terms of actions items from GTDNEXT being in the calendar I’m working on it but i obviously want to see anything with a time constraint.
So far I’m trying scheduled with the date set to when the action needs to be done, as such my scheduled view is effectively my calendar. This only applies to a relatively small % of my work, most has no time constraints and I don’t invent them.
if that view could be grouped by day in someway and an import or export to Outlook or a calendar app that could talk to Outlook that would be good enough for me.
I think I probably agree with you are aiming for. And it seems you and I work very similarly:
- the vast majority of actions have no dates at all
- some actions are true calendar actions, such as appointments. These are necessary to see on a calendar, and would also be very useful to see within the project/area etc to which they belong. I use several calendars for these today, and I “import” today’s appointments to the focus list every day in order to have it all on one single list, but it would indeed be nice with some form of intelligent calendar integration that detects new appointments on those calendars and allows me to selectively import (sync) those that apply to me (some of them may be on various teamwork calendars and may not apply to me).
- many actions, especially repeating routine actions, are of the GTD “tickler” type, i.e. they cannot be done before a certain date, but are to be done asap thereafter just like a regular next action (for me to do) or waiting for action (for someone else to do/deliver)
- a few actions have true agreed deadlines
Correct so far that we have this in common?
Now, as for what we would like to see on a calendar, I think it is both a bit simpler and a bit more difficult than you describe. The requirements are more complex, but the solution is simpler. We obviously want to see appointments (GTD calendar actions) on a consolidated calendar (e.g. GCal), and it would be nice and useful when reviewing to see them in their respective projects, too.
But as far as deadlines and tickler dates I am not sure we are well served by seeing every such thing on a calendar. This is partly because of the sheer quantity of them, partly because many of them are quite trivial (e.g. a daily “take out the garbage” tickler), but perhaps most importantly because the “first possible date” (tickler date) and the “last possible date” (due date, deadline) often has very limited influence on when the action will actually be done - it will be done anytime in the permissible time window, which can be any length. The corresponding “blobs” on the calendar will therefore typically constitute useless clutter that drowns anything of value on that calendar. Furthermore, by showing tasks that have some kind of time constraint, but not showing tasks that have no constraints, you inadvertently give more attention to those tasks that have constraints, even if the constraint is not in any way serious or the task itself is not very important.
I think the solution for the developers is quite simple:
- make calendar actions a separate “type” - separate from other actions (next, waiting, whatever) that just have some time window constraint in the form of “not before” (tickler) or “not after” (due date)
- give calendar actions their own separate color on the action lists (e.g. navy)
- if a calendar exists, always show calendar actions on the calendar. If the calendar is external, e.g. GCal, allow the user to select exactly which calendar within GCal.
- for regular actions with a time constraint (tickler date or due date), allow the user to tick a “Show on calendar” option (for the tickler date and/or the due date or for the whole time window). This allows the user to very selectively represent precisely those few actions that really deserve to be on the calendar, but does not clutter up the calendar by default.
EDIT: One more important thing that I forgot to mention, an important difference between true GTD calendar actions and those that just have a time window constraint: When you check off a task as done, with a true calendar action you do not want it to be deleted from the calendar as you will want to retain the calendar entry as a journal (of appointments etc), whereas with a “constrained” regular action (a next/waiting action with a tickler date or due date) you will want to dispose of it in the usual manner, just like regular actions without dates. The same thing applies to deletion: If a calendar action originates in an external calendar, which could be shared with others, you would not want the calendar entry to be deleted from the original calendar just because you delete the corresponding action from your own list.
Thanks again Folke a useful response
The points you list definitely apply to myself.
Your also spot in that a lot of the items I thinking about are effectively tickler items for relatively trivial tasks. I agree that seeing these in a calendar gives them a false priority so having them defined and controllable as you suggest would be perfect for me.
I’ve been aware for while that time of day is probably a tag i could / should use to assist filtering my actions list, some of my stuff needs doing in company core working hours, some definitely out of them.
I mention this as my work is generally pretty ubiquitous otherwise and I’ve perhaps incorrectly drifted towards using the calendar (scheduling) as a tool to define what I should work on.
I’ll give that a try this week and see how i get on