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(Archived) Best Way to Handle To-Do or Task Items?

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I'm still struggling with the question of the best way to enter to-do items. The checkbox and unfinished to-do attributes combination works when I'm in full edit or full screen mode in the Windows 3.5 or Web version. But I have not found a way to insert a checkbox or to search for it when I'm on the mobile platforms such as Ipod Touch or Smartphone or IGoogle gadget. I've considered creating a to-do tag, a to-do notebook, etc. but nothing seems satisfactory.

So the final question is: what is the best way to enter and search for to-do items that works across all platforms whether in quick-edit or full edit form? Notebook? Tag? Checkbox?

Thanks for any suggestions.


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My todo notes all have one of the following mutually exclusive tags:

"next", "deferred", "waiting", or "done".

Each note usually includes a few other tags to associate it with one or more of my many current projects. I use saved searches to display my todo lists. Each time I take an action on a todo item, I usually add a little text describing what I did, and optionally change the tag. Evernote has the limitation that only two date fields are available across all platforms: Created, and Updated. The Updated date field works fine for documenting that time of my last action on the todo item. To set a due date for a task, I edit the Created date (entering a date in the future). Sorting on this field allows me to see tasks that are coming due.

Here is a simple example that is typical of my usage:

1. I enter a todo item with the title "procure XYZ widget", tagged "next" and "projectX", and enter a Created date that is three weeks in the future.

2. At some point in the future, I am reviewing my todo list (a saved search listing everything tagged "next"), and see this todo item with a Created date about a week away. I panic a little, then act on it by writing a short specification for the XYZ widget within the note, and email this specification to my administrative assistant. I change the tag "next" to "waiting" and add a one liner to the note "emailed request to admin".

3. The following week, the item arrives in the lab and I change the tag "waiting" to "done"

Some todo notes have a much simpler lifecycle and may not include anything within the note body. Others may contain a bunch of reference images, numerical simulation results, URLs, and/or a long sordid history of phone calls, conversations, etc.



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Get a program thats dedicated to To Do items and read up on Getting Things Done by David Allen. Use Evernote as a reference library and a ToDo app for tasks - e.g. ToodleDo

That's what I do. I use Toodledo desktop on my, uh, desktop. :D And have 2Do (Guided Ways) and Todo (Appigo) on my iPhone. Both sync with Toodledo (and there are several other iPhone apps that sync w/Toodledo). Toodledo also has an iPhone app.

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I've been hearing a lot about Toodledo since I started using Evernote. I am wondering whether I should give it a try.

Right now I am using Google Calendar and Google Tasks. The Google Calendar is sync'd with the calendar on the iPhone. My main concern with using Toodle (perhaps the Toodle iPhone app as well) is adding a layer of complexity to the set up. Would keeping everything in sync become a nightmare? I can give up Google Tasks easily but already I have a lot of scheduled events in the Google Calendar and don't feel like moving all those events to another app.

Also, for those of you who are using Toodledo already, are you using the free, pro or pro plus account?

Money is not the real issue since the annual fee and the app cost are all affordable. I just don't want to over-complicate the set-up. I would appreciate it if those using Toodledo can share your experience of how you are using Evernote, Toodledo and iPhone together.


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Right now I am using Google Calendar and Google Tasks. The Google Calendar is sync'd with the calendar on the iPhone.

I do that, too.

My main concern with using Toodle (perhaps the Toodle iPhone app as well) is adding a layer of complexity to the set up. Would keeping everything in sync become a nightmare? I can give up Google Tasks easily but already I have a lot of scheduled events in the Google Calendar and don't feel like moving all those events to another app.

Also, for those of you who are using Toodledo already, are you using the free, pro or pro plus account?

I'm using the free version of Toodledo. I haven't used the Toodledo iPhone app (don't know why - think I tried the free version but liked Appigo better) but the Appigo "Todo" works seamlessly with Toodledo. (Just as seamless as the iPhone calendar app integrates with Google calendar.) I use the Toodledo web client on my desktop to make big changes or mark things off, if I'm at my desktop.

Appigo is the app I use for shopping/grocery shopping. It's not as nifty as SplashShopper was on the Palm TX, but it's close. (I've tried SplashShopper for iPhone & IMO it's ok but not nearly as nifty as the Palm version. Plus, if you use your desktop to do any entries, you still have to sync with your desktop rather than "the cloud." IOW, if I forget to sync before leaving the house, I'm SOL with SplashShopper.) I like that you can mark things off & they stay listed but get pushed to the bottom of the list. (That's nice in case I accidentally mark the wrong thing off, it's easy to find & untick.)

The reason I'm playing with Guided Ways 2Do is b/c I have my long list of to do's on Toodledo. 2Do is a quick way to just look at my short list (IE, things to do today) when getting started for the day. And it's pretty. :D So far, I still favor Appigo but I think I'll like 2do for the short list.

I'm not a GTD person, so can't help you there, if you are. I just use Toodledo for listing the tasks & organizing by folder/priority.

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  • Level 5*

I looked at ToodleDo -- looked powerful, but way more complicated than I need. I finally settled on Remember the Milk, and like it. I'm not an intensively tasklist-driven person, but I like to keep up my task lists, and RTM seems to fill the bill for me. I like that it's easy to get started, but has some powerful organizing functionality. It lives in the cloud, so it's available wherever I am, and has decent browser plug-in support, as well as being able to be a gadget for gMail. I can't speak to its smartphone/device support, as my last Win Mobile PDA died over a year ago (I used Pocket Informant back then), and I don't really care much about Outlook any more, so I don't need to worry about syncing there.

I don't know how (or if) it integrates with Evernote, but I haven't really needed that. But anyhow, it might be worth a look.


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ToodleDo Pro

Its a difficult thing to recommend because its about what tools best fit your work practices. GTD itself is very flexible with some key ideas that IMO would benefit anybody. Though whether you need a tool to handle your action lists is another matter. I use toodledo to categorise by actions into the contexts in which I do stuff. E.g. @Computer, @Home, @Work, @Call, etc. I then review these task lists weekly and decide which of the tasks I'll do next - this week. It works for me.

But there is a process to how you do this and thats described by David Allen in his GTD methodology. Its very simple. Not rocket science. Give it a read. There is plenty on the web to get you started e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done#Principles and if it sounds like your cup of tea you can buy the book and implement it.

I use my Calendar for any tasks that are time critical. If I need them done by a certain date/time, they go in my calendar. I try and keep this to a minimum. The rest of the tasks go into ToodleDo and thus I do not use the date features in ToodleDo.

I keep my Inbox at Zero and I look at it when it suits me; not when an email arrives. I've educated colleagues that if they want my attention now then send the email high priority or use an IM.

I delete emails if they are irrelevant.

I put them in EN if I may need to refer to them in the future.

I email them into ToodleDo if its an action I may do someday, but don't care about it for the next few months.

I delegate the action if thats appropriate and set a follow up reminder in Outlook

I do actions NOW if they will take less than 2 minutes.

I email the rest into ToodleDo that I've decided are tasks that need action in the next few months.

I mostly use EN to record whatever I find my self using for reference, usually on the Web, and for tracking all my projects - what I've done, what emails I've sent, what people said what and when, etc. Note that I convert doc files into PDF so they are searchable and displayable on iPhone.

I have an iPhone 3GS with 16 GB RAM. I have all my EN notebooks synced offline. Its fast. iPhone 3G or less RAM with a large EN database may mean you cannot have it all offline.

I have ToodleDo setup something like this: http://www.toodledo.com/forums/5/2660/0/proximos-gtd-setup.html

I use searches a lot in the ToodleDo web interface. The ToodleDo iPhone interface doesn't have a good search which makes it a little more clumsy, but I use the web on a PC for my weekly review which is when the searches are most useful so it hardly effects me. I never use the ToodleDo web interface on iPhone.

I'm usually at a computer working, so I tend to use the web interface the most. When I'm not working I use the iPhone and its mostly for checking what I need to do where - like what to get from the hardware store - or entering a task thats come to mind that I'll review later.

I get business card info into iPhone contacts using CardSnap and thence to Outlook through iTunes sync.

This is not complete but I think it will give you a taste of how I use ToodleDo and EN.

Note, its possible to use EN for GTD, but I think its twisting EN to do something it wasn't designed for. Check it out for yourself: http://ruudhein.com/evernote-gtd#dates

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  • 3 months later...

Really, if you think about it. A todo list item is really a one line item. Sure many todo programs extend that a litlle. But at it's basis it is one line. On the other hand, a note taking system -- such as Evernote, offers the flexibly of keeping full featured notes with file attachements. What I've always hated about most task managers is their note taking feature leaves much to be desired.

So the question is how to make Evernote manage my task based notes. It's already in the system.

1) Use tagging to tie context, status & projects together.

2) You can also use folder to silo tasks off if you wanted -- but it's not necessary -- I think it's better to file them under their topic folder.

3) In the title -- I use the text "TODO:" or "ATWAIT:" in the beginning of my title field. Just helps to call it out as I glance over it with my eye. I will also add priority and due date. So my title my look like. "TODO: Sign kids up for Summer Camp 5-25-10 (A)" Now all I have to do is search for the date, priority or "TODO" to find the item.

4) For something that has multiple tasks associated. I use the check box feature in the note itself.

With GTD and a little creativity. You really can use Evernote as both notes and tasks simultaneously.

For more ideas on how to structure your titles to get items in it you need. Check out the site for Todo.txt. This link takes you right to their explanation/help page. http://wiki.github.com/ginatrapani/todo ... txt-format If you use their system of one line tasks as your notes title in Evernote. It think you'll find a pretty powerful combination.

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As an Android user, Toodledo would not work for me, so I am sticking with Google Tasks. It may be short on features or polish, but the simplicity and cross-platform compatibility is great so far. Most of my lists are temporary, short and are only useful if I can get in and out of them easily.

I tried using EN for to-do lists, but it just didn't work well. What I did find useful was to create a list of items we would need to take on our camping trip. I know I will need to use that list again, so didn't even bother checking things off, other than mentally. For me, EN is a storage cabinet, not a PIM.

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