Things 3 and GTD

chirmer

Registered
Just to chime in on what @chirmer said: Searching by tag and filtering by tag are by design different in Things 3. If you search on a tag, you will get every item not completed that has that tag. That means items on the Upcoming (Scheduled) list and on the Someday list as well as on the Anytime list. If you want currently actionable items with a given tag, you should filter the Anytime list.
Ohh, good to know! I didn't realize they performed differently. That makes sense, thanks!
 

Mindfulcraig

Registered
Things 3.5 released last week, and after looking at all the upgraded features, I decided to give it a try again. And I'm loving it. Here's my simple GTD setup: I have major areas (Personal, Work, Freelance) with projects listed under each area. In the notes section, I keep relevant key info about each project (but longer support material resides in Evernote). Now the areas are collapsible, which makes a HUGE difference to me. All my Next Actions go into the categories on the top left: Today, Upcoming, Anytime, Someday. I use the tags for the various basic GTD contexts. In other words, my next actions aren't linked to projects (except by abbreviated project name in the next action itself). Otherwise the project heading shows up and that was distracting; I like seeing just a basic list in any given context. This has been working great for me, and Things is so visually appealing, super fast, syncs immediately across all devices that GTD is FUN again.
Are you able/willing to send a couple of screen shots to demonstrate this setup? I'm intrigued
 

photodiva

Registered
I just have all my projects listed by Area, so under Work I see the name of each project. Then in the section at the top called Anytime, I create the next actions with appropriate tags (@Mac, @Mac Work, Waiting For, etc.). It's just very clean and basic. Project List.pngNext Actions.png
 

Mindfulcraig

Registered
I just have all my projects listed by Area, so under Work I see the name of each project. Then in the section at the top called Anytime, I create the next actions with appropriate tags (@Mac, @Mac Work, Waiting For, etc.). It's just very clean and basic. View attachment 212View attachment 213
Ah, so your Projects are not Things Projects, but rather tasks under the Area of Focus(?)

If so, would that not cause them to show up in your anytime view amongst your tasks?
Is there are reason you don’t create flat lists for each context rather than using tags?
 

photodiva

Registered
No, they're projects under the respective areas. The only thing I do differently is create the tasks without associating them with a projects. I think using tags is the only way to set the contexts.Can you explain more what you do with flat lists?
 

Mindfulcraig

Registered
No, they're projects under the respective areas. The only thing I do differently is create the tasks without associating them with a projects. I think using tags is the only way to set the contexts.Can you explain more what you do with flat lists?
Still Playing with this, but essentially it would mean creating Projects for Each Context and Project for a Projects List. See attached.
 

Attachments

Mindfulcraig

Registered
Wow, that is an interesting way of doing it. It would eliminate the need for tags too.
It's definitely slim and trim. Down side is you can't assign multiple contexts (tags) of course. I'm also looking at trimming down my tags considerably. Maybe using an "On Hold" and "Active" Tag to be able to subdivide my contexts lists without moving something temporarily into Someday/Maybe. In my mind S/M is a place I put ideas and projects I have not yet committed to. Parking tasks and projects there temporarily as a means to trim my lists down on a weekly basis strikes a sour note for me
 

photodiva

Registered
It's definitely slim and trim. Down side is you can't assign multiple contexts (tags) of course. I'm also looking at trimming down my tags considerably. Maybe using an "On Hold" and "Active" Tag to be able to subdivide my contexts lists without moving something temporarily into Someday/Maybe. In my mind S/M is a place I put ideas and projects I have not yet committed to. Parking tasks and projects there temporarily as a means to trim my lists down on a weekly basis strikes a sour note for me
I agree about S/M -- and thanks for sharing your setup, I'm going to think through if this might work for me. Right now the way I have it set up it's streamlined and it does work. Much less fussing with everything like when I've used Omnifocus (which I really like too).
 

Michael King

Registered
I have areas (work, personal, etc) with projects listed under them. Then I created a new area for each context (computer, home, waiting for, etc) and this is where all the next actions go. It's clean and simple. I use the notes section in the project for noting key info and a little update about the project's status. I can move actions into the Today list, and I really like that I can also see calendar items from iCal there.
This sounds great, but does this mean that your projects don't contain a list of the actions? Does this annoy you? Or do you duplicate the actions in the project as well as the specific context (/area)?

Another idea that is occurring to me now is to do it as you're suggesting, but to also create a tag for each project?

The lack of an easy way to sort by contexts is killing me.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
P
This sounds great, but does this mean that your projects don't contain a list of the actions? Does this annoy you? Or do you duplicate the actions in the project as well as the specific context (/area)?

Another idea that is occurring to me now is to do it as you're suggesting, but to also create a tag for each project?

The lack of an easy way to sort by contexts is killing me.
I’ve set Things up both as Cultured Code suggest and as in the GTD setup guide (using “project” lists for contexts. I think the second way works better for me. I do miss having the project space to play in, but that does foster a certain lack of precision in determining next actions, which is never good. You can do very sophisticated things with tags to create metacontexts which contain multiple contexts so it is easy to see next actions in more than one context. For example, if I filter by either the home or work tag, I will see my computer list, but only the work tag gives me the work list as well. Using a different tag for each project is not a pain, but I do assign each item to an area of focus. I find this is a good compromise which makes review fairly easy.
 

Michael King

Registered
P


I’ve set Things up both as Cultured Code suggest and as in the GTD setup guide (using “project” lists for contexts. I think the second way works better for me. I do miss having the project space to play in, but that does foster a certain lack of precision in determining next actions, which is never good. You can do very sophisticated things with tags to create metacontexts which contain multiple contexts so it is easy to see next actions in more than one context. For example, if I filter by either the home or work tag, I will see my computer list, but only the work tag gives me the work list as well. Using a different tag for each project is not a pain, but I do assign each item to an area of focus. I find this is a good compromise which makes review fairly easy.
Great info. I think I understand - here's a few questions that would help clarify things for me:
1. Does this mean that you have a home tag as well as a home list? A work tag and work list?
2. Where do you put your actual projects?
3. Are your next actions sorted / grouped into specific projects? I guess you could use Headings to sort things into actual projects?

I did not buy the GTD Things 3 setup guide. Is there anything in there that's going to revolutionize how I use Things 3? As of last night, I set up contexts with tags, and projects are projects. It works, but I often forget to add a context tag, which wouldn't be possible in a normal gtd setup where I would be forced to put it on one of the default lists.

I'm still early enough in my setup/organization that I can easily change - it's now or never though.
Thanks for your help!
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Great info. I think I understand - here's a few questions that would help clarify things for me:
1. Does this mean that you have a home tag as well as a home list? A work tag and work list?
2. Where do you put your actual projects?
3. Are your next actions sorted / grouped into specific projects? I guess you could use Headings to sort things into actual projects?

I did not buy the GTD Things 3 setup guide. Is there anything in there that's going to revolutionize how I use Things 3? As of last night, I set up contexts with tags, and projects are projects. It works, but I often forget to add a context tag, which wouldn't be possible in a normal gtd setup where I would be forced to put it on one of the default lists.

I'm still early enough in my setup/organization that I can easily change - it's now or never though.
Thanks for your help!
I have a couple of metacontexts, which are tags, for example home and work. Lists are tagged with those tags, so my Desk list, for things that can be done at my desk at work or my desk at home, is tagged with both home and work. These tags only are applied to lists. With this approach, every next action is assigned to a context.

I try to put an area tag on each action and project. These are things like household, fun, money and some work areas. Areas in things are things like Next Actions, Projects, Someday/Maybe and Reference. So if I filter on “Work” I see everything I can do at work. If I filter on Household, I see all the next actions, projects, et cetera having to do with house and cars: kitchen remodel, grocery list, and so on.

I’ve switched back and forth several months times from this approach and the one Cultured Code suggests, so don’t feel that choosing one or the other is a forever choice.
 

kishen

Registered
Hi! I am brand new to the forums, and have a specific question about the Applying GTD to Things set guide, not sure where to put it!

On page 9 of the guide, it says you can move text or checklist items from within the Notes field to another Project. (See “Dinner in SF” item on the bottom of page 9.)

Does anyone know if this can still be done? I have not been able to get it to work, as the checklist items seem to be locked within the task. Not sure if it is a setting thing. Maybe Kelly Forrister would know?

Thanks in advance for any help or advice!
 

kishen

Registered
Great info. I think I understand - here's a few questions that would help clarify things for me:
1. Does this mean that you have a home tag as well as a home list? A work tag and work list?
2. Where do you put your actual projects?
3. Are your next actions sorted / grouped into specific projects? I guess you could use Headings to sort things into actual projects?

I did not buy the GTD Things 3 setup guide. Is there anything in there that's going to revolutionize how I use Things 3? As of last night, I set up contexts with tags, and projects are projects. It works, but I often forget to add a context tag, which wouldn't be possible in a normal gtd setup where I would be forced to put it on one of the default lists.

I'm still early enough in my setup/organization that I can easily change - it's now or never though.
Thanks for your help!
Hey Michael! I think you might have access to the Setup Guide - if you go to https://gtdconnect.com/ and click on Document Library in the upper right. (If I am correct that you need a membership in order to be on this forum in the first place...)

Anyhow I wanted to send a screenshot of how I set up my contexts, as Things “projects” in the left hand side. I also need to be able to drag and drop tasks quickly, and I played with using tags for a while but found it just doesn’t work for my brain since they take work to pull up. Now I use tags as an additional layer to identify tasks, and have just two: !frogs and !beforetrip

(I tend to get lost in apps and organizing, so I use markers for every different “type” of identifier. ! signals tag to my brain, and frogs are from the Eat That Frog concept to mark stale tasks that I am avoiding.)

Also fyi, I have non-conventional contexts and I also list my main work projects in the first column. I have 2 babies, and a very adhd brain, so please feel free to ignore them. :) But I hope this helps you visualize the other way to set up contexts!
 

Attachments

mcogilvie

Registered
Hi! I am brand new to the forums, and have a specific question about the Applying GTD to Things set guide, not sure where to put it!

On page 9 of the guide, it says you can move text or checklist items from within the Notes field to another Project. (See “Dinner in SF” item on the bottom of page 9.)

Does anyone know if this can still be done? I have not been able to get it to work, as the checklist items seem to be locked within the task. Not sure if it is a setting thing. Maybe Kelly Forrister would know?

Thanks in advance for any help or advice!
On a mac, drag and drop of selected text from the notes field works fine for me. For checklists, you can only drag one item. However, you can copy and paste multiple lines without problems. Copy and paste also works well on iPhone and iPad. In general, it's all done pretty intelligently. For example, you can copy and paste multiple lines checklist to checklist, or checklist to notes field, and more.
 

kishen

Registered
Interesting, cut and paste does not work for me on the ipad or Mac version! Not for multiple items. Drag and drop from the nested checklist (in the notes field) also doesn’t work - the nested (circle) items are locked into the larger (square) to-do item.

I did however see that you can copy different lines of text from within the Notes field into a new project, and that creates new to-do items.
 

kishen

Registered
Okay! So copy and paste from the nested checklist can work, with keyboard shortcuts only. Shift click to select multiple items, then command-c and command-v to cut and paste. 1 mystery solved. :)

Still don’t understand why drag-and-drop doesn’t work for me, but I will live!

I’ll just make project plans within the Notes field, and cut and paste when necessary. Thanks mcogilvie!
 

Peter Me

Registered
Things 3 on the MacBook looks good but is - again - no real GTD software.
No Weekly Review, nothing for Reference Material etc.
On the iPad there is a problem if you have a lot of projects as they push the contexts or "areas" as they call it downwards so that they disappear.
As an old Things user I am very disappointed about the new version.
I have completely changed to FacileThings. At first I was in doubt to go back to Things (3) but there is no need for me.
?? There is no such thing as a real GTD app.
You don't need a Weekly Review "feature" to do weekly review.
You can create a Project or Area reface materials, or add links to anything.
What are you supposed to do with lots of anything beside pushing them down out-of-sight?

  • Projects in the sense of ordered sets of actions are a necessary evil in a task manager, both essential and a trap. 90% of my projects only have one or two next actions at any given moment, but the temptation to make near-useless "project plans" is strong. Things exacerbates this tendency. On the other hand, I have a few responsibilities that require planning, coordination with others and attention to detail that really warrants a high degree of organization, a project plan if you will. Overall, organization of actions into projects represents drag on the system, and that's true in Things or Omnifocus, or any similar system.
Hmmm? Evil? Really? Not necessary, just an option. For those many things that are just a step or two, I just use a single "Other" Project (or Area if need be) that has a bunch of tasks and headings if need be.
 
Top