I'm a big fan of gQueues as a light way way to set up a to-do list system that has just enough configurability, but not too much required to get started. Some things I like about it:
- Quickly adding items using natural language syntax
- Integrates seamlessly with google calendar
- Has a nice chrome extension to clip websites
A Simple GTD Setup
The purpose of this post is to share how I have set it up, which I hope will help you explore what works best for your personal workflow. I tend to bounce around between to-do list apps, trying new things. But the following configuration has lasted me quite a while.
Here are my "queues":
- Inbox - Everything goes in there; it's just like it sounds, a place for me to throw things now and sort through later.
- Specific Projects Folder - Here I create queues for any active projects I am working on. You will see how this is important soon. For example, I might have a queue "Fix Sewing Machine" with tasks: order gear, look up help guide, do the repair. This folder also contains a To-Do project, which contains all generic one-offs I am working on.
- Pending Projects Folder - This is just the same as the above, but for projects I want to do or that need planning, but I am not actively working on. Maybe I have "restore speedboat" that started out as an idea/to-do and then became a pending project, and I added some relevant tasks to it. Once I am ready to actively push the project toward completion, I'll move it into Specific Projects.
- Lists - Here you can see a few important catch all lists that group certain items:
- Reading - Books, articles, or websites that I want to read.
- Someday - A collection of random ideas, projects, and wants that I take a look at every so often. Things in here may wind up in Pending Projects.
- Ticker - Here are items that I don't want to worry about now, but that I will in the future, and every item in here has to have a date. Specifically, this is where I put an idea for a hollowed costume dated a week or so before October 31.
- To Learn - Similar to Reading, lets me collect topics that I want to learn so I stay on top of them.
The key to this setup is the "smart queues," which let you use some simple rules to help with your workflow; they can get pretty crazy, but simple is best:
- Today - This is easy, any item with the current date will show up here. When things are running smoothly, it gives me a quick look at any hot items.
- Next Actions - Here is the classic GTD concept. This queue shows the top item from any of my Specific Projects, that way in one quick list I can see what is next to drive each project forward.
- For Review - Another GTD goodie; this shows any tasks that are "overdue" and in the Ticker queue. So during my review, I might see Send birthday card to cousin Bill, and I would know to move that into my To-Do queue.
Well, there you have it. I encourage you to give this setup a shot, and let me know if you found any pain points. I have also been experimenting with Trello and will post soon about how I have that setup.