Future Actions

Stephen Brown

Registered
The GTD setup guides advise against using start/defer dates that a lot of task manager apps have. If an action cannot be started until a specific date, the guides and the book state that these should go on your calendar. However, if those tasks are recurring and you forget to reschedule them, they can be missed for future instances. Obviously, the weekly review should pick up these omissions but it seems like extra work that could be left to the software. What does everyone else do?
 

mcogilvie

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I use start dates in Things 3 to defer actions and projects, and for ticklers. In the iOS or Mac spaces, only Things and OmniFocus have implementations of this feature I feel comfortable with. However, if you try to use this feature as a project manager (in the conventional sense, not the GTD sense) with multiple deferred next actions per project, you will be inviting problems.
 

Oogiem

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The GTD setup guides advise against using start/defer dates that a lot of task manager apps have. If an action cannot be started until a specific date, the guides and the book state that these should go on your calendar.
I ignore that part of any GTD setup guide. Start dates are critical in my GTD system (Omnifocus) as so many of my projects repeat yearly. These repeating projects are well defined and I do not want them cluttering up my calendar because the EXACT date is not critical just the season. So I have a lot of projects with say a start date of 1 July that need to be started sometime in the July-September season.
 

Cpu_Modern

Registered
However, if those tasks are recurring and you forget to reschedule them, they can be missed for future instances.
I do have that sort of stuff in my (digital) tickler, most of the time. I use a digital calendar that allows me to have repeating appointments, so a very few recurring meetings are hard landscaped over there. The win with recurring items comes with the tickler though.
 

cfoley

Registered
I used to use start date in my list manager for actions with start dates. The problem I found was that things would appear in my lists without me necessarily knowing.

I switched to ticklers because:
  • I know I will see it first thing in the morning of the day it is activated.
  • I can then drag it to the appropriate action list, or choose to process it another way.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
I used to use start date in my list manager for actions with start dates. The problem I found was that things would appear in my lists without me necessarily knowing.

I switched to ticklers because:
  • I know I will see it first thing in the morning of the day it is activated.
  • I can then drag it to the appropriate action list, or choose to process it another way.
Yes. It's highly dependent on personal preference and choice of list tool. Both Omnifocus and Things have mechanisms to help you notice when new actions and projects start, but neither is a replacement for good habits. Using ticklers can be a good, system-agnostic approach.
 

Stephen Brown

Registered
I used to use start date in my list manager for actions with start dates. The problem I found was that things would appear in my lists without me necessarily knowing.

I switched to ticklers because:
  • I know I will see it first thing in the morning of the day it is activated.
  • I can then drag it to the appropriate action list, or choose to process it another way.
How do you implement the tickler?
 

cfoley

Registered
Most of the things I put in my tickler are not next actions or projects. They are what David Allen refers to in the GTD book as amorphous stuff. I'm putting them in my tickler so I can defer making a decision. This means when a tickler's time comes up, it is not on any context list. Instead, I have to process it as if it were an inbox item.

Some examples are:
  • 2020-08-31 Music school payments only scheduled until September.
  • 2020-08-01 Arrange new dentist appointment (Dentist says they will be in contact after COVID 19)
  • 2020-07-17 Does grass need cut?
The date is the date it will be brought to my attention. In each case, there is a decision to be made. This is true even for the Dentist one. Realistic choices are calling them or re-tickling.

Other than that the important thing is that the ticklers are out of sight, out of mind -- although I can obviously choose to delve into them as I have done just now.

In terms of the tool I use, I consider that to be less important. Right now I use Todoist to organise my lists. I have a list (a project in Todoist's parlance) for ticklers. Each tickler has a scheduled date which is the day it will be shown to me. Todoist shows it to me by putting in in the Today list. I only use scheduled dates for ticklers so this combination of a Tickler list, scheduled dates and the Today list works well for me.

In the past, I have used 43 cardboard folders, pieces of paper, ordered text files where each line is a tickler, a similar setup to my Todoist on Toodledo.
 
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