Looking for an GTD-friendly app that has a 2D Urgency vs Importance (Eisenhower Matrix) view

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss Tools & Software for GTD' started by Ship69, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. Ship69

    Ship69 Registered

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    Hello

    This is probably 'GTD heresy', but I am looking for a task management app that comes with a view that allows you to simultaneously set both A) the amount of urgency and B) the amount of importance of a task simply by dragging it around a 2D space (i.e. an urgency vs importance matrix).

    In effect I am looking for a large "Eisenhower Matrix" view, but one which isn't just binary and has reasonably fine 'granularity' of urgency and importance values.

    I would of course also need the standard GTD fields like Context, Area of Life, Projects etc an the ability to generate all the normal GTD lists by having views that use the appropriate sorting, grouping and filtering etc.

    Does any such tool exist?

    Cheers

    J
     
  2. RS356

    RS356 Registered

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    Eisenhower.me (https://www.eisenhower.me/) comes first to mind, but it's rather binary and may not offer the flexibility you need. I've not tried it for GTD.

    Another option might be OneNote. You could set up a page into a 4x4 matrix and drag text boxes to the appropriate place on the screen. Deadlines, Areas of Focus, and details could be included. Filtering is not an option, per se, but a search would highlight the results on the screen.

    upload_2019-3-21_16-35-21.png
     
  3. Ship69

    Ship69 Registered

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    Yes that's the right soft of thinking... :)

    I tried creating something similar using floating topics in MindManager (in Free Form mode)...
    ...but I don't want to enter my tasks multiple times, so I was hoping that my 2D matrix would just be one view of the data, but to also have various OTHER VIEWS available of the same data.

    BACKGROUND

    I'm not against KanBan (e.g. Trello is good a this) as a way to changing the 'executionable status' of tasks, but IME, the whole KanBan system will start to melt down when you have a LOT of tasks on the go at the same time.

    One problem is: In what sort order are the tasks presented? In something like Trello it's dead easy to drag tasks up and down the screen, but does a task being further up the screen mean that it is:
    a) More urgent
    b) More important
    c) What you are planning to do sooner

    Answer: It probably means "c) what you are going to do sooner". But either way, the big problem with that, is that it is all too easy to find you have been doing lots of stuff that isn't really very important. OR you end up failing for no good reason to do lots of stuff that is dead urgent.

    SO I want to see urgency and importance simultaneously in the same view. That way when time is short I can initially focus just on the dead urgent stuff that is also important, then have a quick go at the less important but dead urgent stuff, but once I am a little bit ahead and I also have a little time on my hands, I can then start focusing on the important stuff and barely even read the unimportant, unurgent stuff.

    Does that make sense?
     
  4. John Ismyname

    John Ismyname Registered

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    Ship; This is a great question and NOT 'GTD Heresy'. I would contend that GTD encompasses the Eisenhower Matrix.

    Urgent / not important - ignore the urgency and deal with as...

    Not urgent / not important. This is subsumed under GTD @ context lists. Returning a library book is not urgent, not important...unless I am driving by the library.

    Urgent and important. GTD is to put it on your calendar to schedule ASAP

    Not Urgent and Important - GTD is to put it on your calendar for the most appropriate time

    Before discovering GTD, I did differentiate the tasks and appointments by Eisenhower type but GTD made this differentiation obsolete. That said, the Esienhower Matrix is still a powerful lens with which you look at how you spend you time getting things done.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
  5. sholden

    sholden Registered

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    If done this before by just taking my current project list in text format and pasting it into Mind Manager to better visualize. I've also done it with PowerPoint (which does a little better with free form graphics).
     
  6. RS356

    RS356 Registered

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    It's less visual, but any list manager capable of tagging could filter based on urgency and importance, and potentially display both in the same view. With a lot of actions, keeping things current might involve a lot of re-tagging.

    Like @John Ismyname I too organized using the Eisenhower matrix prior to GTD. Today I still find it helpful, particularly at the Projects level and higher horizons. It helps me decide where to focus my efforts, what to delegate, and what to drop altogether. At the next action level, its use is much less formal - priorities and urgency are constantly in flux on a daily basis.

    Many thanks to @sholden for mentioning PowerPoint - it's such a valuable tool outside of crafting presentations. I've used it extensively as a "poor man's Photoshop"- it will do 80% of what I can do in more advanced graphics suites, yet is readily available on every device I use. I'd forgotten how well it handles freeform text and non-linear brainstorming.
     
  7. Gardener

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    This is, as I understand it, by design--a core part of Kanban is limiting Work In Progress--that is, tasks on the go at the same time.

    I realize that's not directly relevant to your problem.
     
  8. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    Returning a book may be urgent if it was not treated as important for too long.
    But for me "not urgent / not important" never goes to any GTD list. It's on the Someday/Maybe list or in the trash can.
     
  9. ERJ1

    ERJ1 Jedi Master

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    I've tried including and not including priority markers in my GTD lists and I think I've finally given up on them. Priorities are so subjective and change for me so often... it's just easier to not use them!
     
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  10. Ship69

    Ship69 Registered

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    No. The problem I have is that both importance and urgency are both relative (relative between different tasks) and they fluctuate over time.
    This makes putting tasks into completely different places very clunky.

    Moreover there are "shades of grey". i.e. There are varying degrees of importance. Importance is not just a binary think. Neither is urgency. For one thing the moment may pass with urgency. Or it can be okay to kick it down the road.

    Overall I want to be able to look at all my "stuff" through several different lenses - i.e. different views.

    I also want to be able to make fine adjustments to but importance and urgency... and to change both simultaneously (i.e. by moving the task around in 2D space).

    Personally I find that the huge problem with GTD is that I find it far too easy to end up doing lots of less important tasks. Part of the reason for this is that I have great difficulty in reading. And this means that any kind of "review" of a whole load of tasks (i.e. a whole 'list' ) ends up taking me a stupidly long amount of time. And worse, it exhausts me.

    So although I am not against major reviews (e.g. weekly reviews) I am looking for ways to not necessarily have to READ so much. If I can put tasks onto a 2D matrix then I can just start executing things without having to read/ skim-read an entire list.... potentially multiple times per day!

    I am finding my approach works very well on paper using a large area and small postit notes, but I now want to move back into digital.

    Either way I find it easy to get "stuck" and overwhelmed with stuff if I just stick to traditional GTD lists.
     
  11. Ship69

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    For me, priority does not work well unless it is broken down into Urgency and Importance separately. That way you can see exactly why you are doing something. Is it because it is urgent or because it is important? (Or both?)

    Also both of these variable need to be relative between tasks not absolute otherwise the metrics start to get clogged up with lots of tasks all having the same certain values of priority.
     
  12. eldiente

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  13. mcogilvie

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    Yes I have looked at it, starting years ago. The first problem is one of display: there seems to be no good way to display a 2x2 grid with tens of meaningful entries and grasp it. If you are ok with a list view, many programs will allow Urgent and Important tags or categories. For me at least, there is a second problem: items marked as Urgent get done almost always, Important sometimes (because they typically require more time and energy), and the rest pretty much doesn’t happen. But as David Allen says, either you need new tires or you don’t. Not doing the non-urgent and the unimportant not only leads to problems over time, but leads to less being done, and a less full life. At least that has been my experience.
     
  14. TesTeq

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    And you say it is "the huge problem with GTD"?
    I have the same problem with my home. It's too easy to end up watching TV instead of doing important things. ;)
     
  15. Longstreet

    Longstreet Registered

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    I would not use priorities in your GTD system at all. Look, if there are important projects you need to focus on, then create time blocks on your calendar for deep work. I am a morning person and I block 2-3 hours every morning during the week. I focus on deep work during this time - not working from action lists. The rest of the time, I DO work from my next action lists. GTD is not the problem here. It is how you carve out time to do your "urgent and important" work.
     
  16. Gardener

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    Have you ever tried putting drastically fewer tasks on your current lists?
     
  17. John Ismyname

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  18. John Ismyname

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    Agreed. No matter what GTD platform you use, you still have to revue all of your tasks on a regular basis to see what has changed.


    You are correct. After the due date, I get fined some nominal amount. Eventually, I am liable for the cost of the book. Until then, there are no consequences, so its not urgent and not important.

    As the urgency/importance of tasks can and do change, all tasks should have a due date. After this date, the task needs to be re-evaluated. @ context tasks are a great example of this. Such tasks can be (theoretically) done anytime but, at some point, each of them has to be done or there is a consequence. When one has to do one of these @ context tasks, there are usually other tasks in the same @ context that can be knocked off as well.


    Unless…



    I don’t put dates on my Someday/Maybe list as, by definition, I ‘m not committed to the things on this list.


    If a task has no deadline, no consequences for not doing it, an dis not on your someday/maybe list, why are you doing it? @ TesTeq is correct that it should go in the trash can.


    Agreed. If something is urgent and important, it should be scheduled on your calendar in a time block. If I have 3 hours of tasks on my “A list”, I better have 3 hours allocated on my calendar in the right context to accomplish them.
     
  19. Ship69

    Ship69 Registered

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    Yes. In truth, that is broadly what I do right now. But I only do so out of broad desperation.

    Moreover I was under the firm impression that David Allen firmly and explicitly recommends a single trusted place for ALL your tasks.

    What happens if I don't have all my tasks in one place, is that I wind up doing much of my life without consulting my task lists at all.

    To recap, the core point her is that I read extremely slowly and re-reviewing all my tasks on a frequent regular basis saps my energy and makes me extremely inefficient.
     
  20. Ship69

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    PS To get clear, I definitely appreciate the need for really thorough weekly reviews - no question.
    BUT re-reading and re-reading large numbers of tasks on a regular basis just ain't gonna happen!

    The whole point is that by placing tasks precisely into an Urgency vs Importance 2D space, given that the Urgency and Importance of all my stuff is unlikely to change overly quickly, there really is no need to go deep into all the tasks too often. Urgency tends to increase predictably and for Importance to change, that is unusual and I have to ask myself "how come"?

    In practice quite like taking on and executing my tasks based PURELY on where they are in that Urgency vs Importance space. i.e. Without even reading something I can say to myself "Right I'm going to do whatever that is NOW"

    And if & when I am doing stuff that I know isn't necessarily all that "important" I am doing so consciously. OR I will change it's importance explicitly.

    Personally I find nudging tasks around that 2D space makes the reviewing process seem more interesting and it feels less of a "bl**dy waste of time" going over and over my task lists. Reading is like sticking pins in my eyes. So the less I can do it the better.
     

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