tomas - self training

Hi all,
I've started TRO with RTM. Now I have all my tasks/projects in the RTM but I feel that something is not good :).

I've setup up the smart lists according to training. According to processing, when I'm choosing task to DO, I should at first look into calendar, then Do today list and then in other lists. Ususally there's nothing in the calendar and Do today but about 15-20 tasks in Daily review list. I used this list for choosing the next task, but this list is little bit messy for daily use. It contains tasks with W/F flag, then errands and shopping and personal stuff. There are also tasks for work. According to processing I should DO the tasks from top to down. Usually at top there are W/F tasks messed with errands tasks. So I have to always go through all the tasks in the list. I have created smart list for WORK tasks, but then I don't see tasks which I can do during work (phone calls etc) and there are always WORK W/F tasks with priority and due date set...

Can you suggest me which lists should I create? So I could see tasks which are doable now...

Is it possible to set up W/F task to not show in the list until some time before due date, so it will be reminded at the right time and not constantly showing in the list?



  • Tomas,

    You need to make some adjustments to your TRO approach for Remember the Milk. Right now it isn't quite following the Total, Relaxed Organization method.

    1) When you do your daily review, move tasks from your Daily Review list onto your Do Today list. Do not work off of your Daily Review list.
    Move RTM tasks to Do Today by:
    - Set the Due Date to today, OR
    - Add a "today" tag to tasks you've decided to do today (I prefer this since it doesn't change the "hard" date). Modify the Do Today smart list to include those tasks by changing the search string to "(dueBefore:tomorrow OR tag:today) AND status:incomplete". You have to go to Settings > Lists to make that change.

    2) Understand how W/F tasks work in TRO. Do NOT use a W/F tag as GTD teaches, it works against you and makes your weekly review painful! Instead, use W/F in the name of the next step to remind you to follow up if you have not heard back yet. Always set dates according to #5, below.

    When you see the W/F task, it means "if I have not heard back yet, I will now follow up with this person." That last part is very important to understand. If you set the right dates (Priority/Due Date) and think about them correctly, they are just like any other task and should not be hidden since you sometimes want to follow up a bit early. RTM provides no easy way to hide W/F tasks until the right time.

    3) Add tags for Calls, Errands and any other groupings that make sense. Create 1Person tags for specific people (like 1Laura, 1Kevin), + categories for tasks to be discussed in meetings (like +Staff, +Board). Some people use a Bills tag to group all their bill-paying activities for efficiency. Maybe create an Away tag for non-phone call tasks you can do away from the office. Now create a smart list for every one of these tags.

    4) When looking at a smart list (like Work), you will see tasks grouped by Priority (soft date) and Due Date. (Always sort these lists by Priority.) Work them in roughly top-to-bottom order if you are no longer working off your Do Today list. RTM always sorts tasks alphabetically within groups, so you can't necessarily do them from top to bottom.

    5) Make sure you aren't over-using "hard" dates. Assign a Due Date to a task that has a day when "bad things might happen" if you don't start taking action (or when moving to Do Today if you use that method for #1 above). Always set a "soft" date for a tags (Priority 1 = this week, 2= next week, 3 = this month; or tag sm = someday/maybe). Dates and tags always apply to the next action, NOT the entire project.

  • Thank you,
    I have set up smart lists and looks much much better.

    I have another question. I did daily review in the morning and had about 10 tasks for today. But meanwhile new tasks come. Some are important some are less. When I'm processing them should I give "today" tag to important tasks if I want to do them right now or immediately after current task? I'm doing it that way now, but "Do today" list is always getting bigger.

    Another question. I'm a programmer and when I have a task, especially bug in a program, it's very hard to estimate whether it will take 20 minutes or 1 hour. That's why I can't decide beforehand if task should be scheduled in the calendar or not. Have you any suggestion for this case?

  • Tomas,

    Your answers are posted here:

    Handling Urgent Things That Come Up Today:

    Agile Tasks (like Bug Fixes & Support Tickets):
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