Wednesday, August 13, 2008

GTD on Tagaabo

GTD (Getting Things Done) is a life management method created by David Allen. This method helps you to achieve more while wasting less time, all with less stress. For more information on GTD there are many great resources such as this or this.

You can start to use GTD in many different ways. Some people implement it with pen and paper, while others may use special software. You will be happy to know that Tagaabo is compatible with GTD. In fact they work together perfectly because they both emphasize having everything in one place.

By the way, have you ever tried implementing GTD, only to give it up? Didn’t you find that paper-based solutions made you to do too many tedious bookkeeping types of chores, while software-based solutions forced their way of doing things on you? I felt that way, which is why I started developing Tagaabo. If you feel the same, Tagaabo is for you. It provides a nice middle ground between paper and conventional software, and is both efficient and flexible.

Before going forward, it might help you to take a look at this entry to understand the basic idea of tagging in Tagaabo.

So let’s look at how to implement GTD with Tagaabo. There are basically two main habits that you will start employing on a regular basis.

  1. As you lifelog, start using specific tags to organize tasks
  2. Bookmark some specific Tagaabo pages (I will give you a list of pages and explain how to use them), and refer to them every so often.


So first about adding specific tags. In addition to the regular todo tag, you will start using some new tags:

  • waiting – add this tag to anything that you are waiting for or are waiting to take action on
  • someday – for things you would like to accomplish someday, but not immediately
  • next – for things you will do as soon as you have some time
  • event – for things that will happen on a specified day

Also, you might have noticed that Tagaabo automatically adds a dated tag on To Do items with a due date.

In addition to the tags above, you will create your own project tags and context tags.

Project tags

Come up with tags that represent your projects. In my case, of course I have tagaabo tag, since for me development of Tagaabo is a project that generates To Do items. I also have a moving tag, since I moved to a new apartment recently and there are many To Do’s related to that. You might have just a few of them, or you might have many more than that.

Context tags

Come up with some tags that represent your contexts. I have an errand tag and a work tag. I also have a books2buy tag so that I don’t forget to buy books that I want to read.

As you lifelog, apply these tags to your items. Note that you can apply multiple tags at once. For example, for a work related low priority item, I apply “todo work someday”. If you are not sure at the moment which tag to add, don’t worry about it. Just lifelog and you can add and adjust tags later on.

Pages to bookmark

Next, bookmark the following Tagaabo pages and visit them regularly.

  1. Inbox!todo

    This page will show you your 100 last lifelog items that don’t have a todo tag.

  2. Due Today

    This page gives you the list of To Do’s that should be done by today.

    till_today parameter in the URL is used for showing all of the items that are dated today and before. You can also get to this page by following “Items due today only” link (see the picture below) from regular To Do list (

    This link!

  3. Next

    This page shows you the list of all the things you want to do next. Whenever you have some extra time, go to this page and get busy!

  4. Event Calendar

    This is your calendar of events.

  5. Projects

    Bookmark the pages for each one of your project tags. The URL would look like this.

    These pages show you the current status of each one of your projects. Review and organize them so that they reflect the latest status of your projects. If you find a To Do item that can be done next, mark it with a next tag, so that it will also show up in the Next page.

  6. Contexts

    Bookmark the pages for each one of your context tags. The URL would look like this.

    These pages show you what you need to do in specific contexts. Review and organize them so that they reflect the current status.

  7. Waiting

    This page shows a list of items that you are waiting on. Review this page periodically so that you don’t forget what you are waiting on, and follow-up if necessary.

  8. Someday

    This page lists all of the items that you’d like to do someday. If you see something you want start to take action on, replace the someday tag with the next tag, set a specific date, or create a project for it.

  9. Due Date Calendar

    This is your calendar of deadlines.

  10. Miscelleneous To Do items

    First, start with this URL.!next+!someday+!waiting+!dated

    If you have just a small number of To Do items in it, you can just bookmark it.

    If you have more than a manageable number of To Do items listed here, most likely a lot of To Do items from your projects or contexts are mixed in here. If so, click the right side of the button that is next to one of your project/context tag that looks like this.

    This button!

    That will filter out the To Do items from the project/context. Repeat this until the number of To Do items is reduced to a manageable size, or until you don’t have project/context tags for filtering anymore. Now bookmark that page. The resulting URL should become something like the following.!next+!someday+!waiting+!dated+!project1+!project2+!context1+!context2

    The To Do items you see on this page are the ones that are not covered by any of the other pages I have explained above.

Weekly review

Now, I will explain how to use these pages in your weekly review.

  1. First, go to your Inbox page.

    Go over them and see if they remind you of anything that you need to do. If something occurs to you, create new todo tagged items. If you haven’t done so for a while, review older entries.

  2. Next, go to your Miscellaneous To Do items page, and process the To Do items listed there.

    Possible actions to take include:

    • If it will take less than 2 minutes to do, do it now and check it off!
    • Mark it with a next tag
    • Mark it with a someday tag
    • Set a deadline and defer (Click anywhere in the item text, or the pencil shaped “edit” icon, check the “Due date?” checkbox and set a date.)
    • Make it a project (create a project tag for it), or part of a project (tag with an existing project tag).
    • Mark it with one of your context tags.
    • Delegate it to someone and mark it with a waiting tag
    • If there is no action to take, delete it or remove the todo tag

    As you go with the above process, To Do items will be either resolved or moved to other pages.(After marking the items with tags, reload the page to see them disappear.) Keep the size of the items in this page as small as possible.

  3. Review the rest of the bookmarked pages.

    Now, your remaining To Do items are categorized and moved to appropriate pages. Review the rest of your bookmarked pages one by one and make sure they are up to date with current reality of your status.

This concludes the fundamentals of GTD on Tagaabo. This is just a basic introduction, so you can tailor it for your individual requirement by introducing your own tags and your own combination of tags.

Please let me know if you have any problems or questions around implementing it.

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