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2016 Latest Evernote GTD methods?

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Before I spend $10 to download David Allen's "EVERNOTE® FOR WINDOWS" user guide - I was wondering if anyone has experience using it and if so - is it better than  other  best practices . such as some of those listed in this forum?    I  am trying to come up to speed with both GTD and Evernote - so I would prefer to start with a well vetted approach and then modify down the road if needed rather than  develop it from scratch to serve my needs as some folks have suggested in past posts.   Thank you.

 

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An alternate GTD workflow is well documented at TSW (http://www.thesecretweapon.org)
Its free and uses short videos. I'd recommend looking at it.

I haven't read David Allen's user guide but I understand that it is similar,
My understanding is that DA focusses on notebooks, while TSW is mostly tags 
Personally, I use all tags

I'd recomment you search the forums for "Allen".  There's a lot of information.

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I use the method outlined in David Allen’s guide and prefer it over The Secret Weapon (TSW). I find TSW needlessly complex and like the simplicity of the method DA’s PDF explains. As David Allen has said,

"One of the keys to making GTD work is to keep it simple––because simple is more sustainable. I've seen many people overbuild their systems and processes to the point where it would take 5 cups of coffee, the perfect moment in the day, and totally clear head space to successfully work it. It's a set up for failure. GTD is your game to play. Set yourself up to win."

This has never been the case for me with TSW. Too complicated, IMHO. I also am of the opinion TSW tries to do too much. You shouldn’t need “Now”, “Soon”, “Later” tags if you’re doing a proper Weekly Review. It’s my very humble opinion that TSW actually sabotages one’s weekly review - giving the user the false sense of security that the system is helping you prioritize. It never can - only you can. And the only way you can properly prioritize is by intimately knowing your task lists. And you can only intimately know your task lists by reading through them every day, and refining them during your Weekly Review. 

And it talks about sorting tasks by tag in the Note List view but that only works for the first tag that shows up... so needless to say, I never got TSW working. I got the setup in DA’s PDF working in twenty minutes.

What DA’s PDF boils down to is creating a notebook for each context inside an Actions stack. Then add one note per task. Add any necessary info, files, etc. to this note so everything is in one place. In your Agendas notebook, add one note per person and keep a checklist inside it noting what you need to address with them. Same with the Errands notebook - a note per place with your shopping or errand list inside that note.

That’s pretty much it. Here are some screenshots of mine to give you an example. I found the PDF worth the purchase, and I re-read it quarterly to make sure I’m greasing my wheels and keeping my system tuned and focused. One thing I do differently (or rather, one thing I do that’s not mentioned in the PDF) is use Evernote’s Reminders function for high-priority items. Paying bills, soft but important deadlines (like prepping lunch for the next day). That way I can click the Stack name in my sidebar and see my high priority items at the top. This often helps me figure out in which context I should plop myself to chug through some work.

Hope this was what you were looking for! Happy to answer any other questions.

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17 minutes ago, chirmer said:

You shouldn’t need “Now”, “Soon”, “Later” tags if you’re doing a proper Weekly Review.

Just curious - how do you identify tasks to be worked on today and tomorrow?
If your boss hands you a task thats due tomorrow, how would you represent it?

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1 minute ago, DTLow said:

Just curious - how do you identify tasks to be worked on today and tomorrow?
If your boss hands you a task thats due tomorrow, how would you represent it?

If it’s due tomorrow, that means I must do it today, so it goes on my calendar, per vanilla GTD guidelines. Tasks in my task list are to be worked on ASAP when convenient - if it’s got a deadline I use a Reminder and schedule time to work on it on my calendar. One of the key components to GTD is not overscheduling tasks, so I don’t plan tasks for certain days unless it’s to get it done in time for a deadline. If it’s not due, it doesn’t get any sort of date, whether that be “now” or “soon” or some such tag (which I find vague and tiring to keep up, personally). YMMV but when I tried to use them they brought me nothing but trouble! The beauty of GTD is in its spontaneity, the ability to be in the moment. Once I complete a task, I go through my list for that context again and find the next one I want to do - I do not schedule them out as that’s strictly not GTD.

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On March 31, 2016 at 6:33 PM, chirmer said:

Tasks in my task list are to be worked on ASAP when convenient - if it’s got a deadline I use a Reminder and schedule time to work on it on my calendar.

For me, I need to be able to pull up a specific list of tasks that I'm focussing on. That's where my When Now tag is used.
My new improved Now Tasks is a search is based solely on Reminder Date
(reminderTime:*.  -tag:!Archive   -reminderTime:day+1)

- I actually copy the list (links) to my daily journal note,
  which is what I work from during the day.
Blocking time on your calendar for working on tasks is a good idea.

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1 hour ago, DTLow said:

For me, I need to be able to pull up a specific list of tasks that I'm focussing on. That's where my When Now tag is used.
- I actually copy the list (links) to my daily journal note,
  which is what I work from during the day.
Blocking time on your calendar for working on tasks is a good idea.

Makes sense! I just follow the strict GTD method in that I don't plan which tasks I'm going to tackle today - I let my gut guide me and choose the next task once I finish one.

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On March 31, 2016 at 9:08 PM, chirmer said:

This has never been the case for me with TSW. Too complicated, IMHO. I also am of the opinion TSW tries to do too much. You shouldn’t need “Now”, “Soon”, “Later” tags if you’re doing a proper Weekly Review. It’s my very humble opinion that TSW actually sabotages one’s weekly review - giving the user the false sense of security that the system is helping you prioritize. It never can - only you can. And the only way you can properly prioritize is by intimately knowing your task lists. And you can only intimately know your task lists by reading through them every day, and refining them during your Weekly Review. 

 

When I first saw TSW, I was excited and it made great sense however you are correct that it tries to do too much and "automate" a lot with the tags. I ended up not using the Next, Soon, Later tags at all. Even if I used them, I never filtered by those tags. Now I am refining my tags to the ones I actually use.

Glad to reminded that the system needs to stay "simple". 

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On April 9, 2016 at 4:22 AM, TK0047 said:

 

When I first saw TSW, I was excited and it made great sense however you are correct that it tries to do too much and "automate" a lot with the tags. I ended up not using the Next, Soon, Later tags at all. Even if I used them, I never filtered by those tags. Now I am refining my tags to the ones I actually use.

Glad to reminded that the system needs to stay "simple". 

I think the TSW site and GTD book have some good ideas, and people would benefit from having a look.

However, you need to be able to extract points that work for you and adapt them to your workflow.

If not using next/soon/later tags works for you, great.  

Can you share with us your method for organizing and prioritizing your tasks?

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I started out with TSW and recently changed it up to better fit my needs. By default everything goes into the Incoming notebook. As I process the items in it they either go into the Getting Things Done notebook or in one of the notebooks under the reference material notebook stack depending on where it makes sense to go. Any to-dos or action items go into the GTD notebook and use the tagging structure of When(:), Where(@), and What(\). If it has a hard date/time associated with it I assign a reminder. The special character prefix keeps everything sorted nicely. If it is reference material  I tag the time using the tagging structure of Description(!), Document Type(#), and Entity/For/Who($). Once again the special character prefix keeps everything sorted very nicely. Basically when I tag reference material I fill in the blanks in this sentence, "this is a _description_ _document type_ for _entity_. It's kind of hard to explain say I had my car recently serviced so I go home and scan the receipt, bring it into EN and tag it with "!Service, #Receipt, $Xterra". I am going on using Evernote for my task management, reference material, and going paperless for about 8 months now and recently changed up my reference material tagging to use this structure. I also used more "hard"when tags such as Today, Tomorrow, Next Week and moved to a more ambiguous structure because it decreased the amount of when tags I had (almost in half). 

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27 minutes ago, curtisdevault said:

 I also used more "hard"when tags such as Today, Tomorrow, Next Week and moved to a more ambiguous structure because it decreased the amount of when tags I had (almost in half). 

I'm guessing you update the note when Next Week becomes Tomorrow; and update again when Tomorrow becomes Today

In my workflow, I use an actual date and this transistion becomes automatic via saved searches. Even if it's not a hard date, I assign a date.

I store the due date using the Reminder feature

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34 minutes ago, DTLow said:

I'm guessing you update the note when Next Week becomes Tomorrow; and update again when Tomorrow becomes Today

In my workflow, I use an actual date and this transistion becomes automatic via saved searches. Even if it's not a hard date, I assign a date.

I store the due date using the Reminder feature

I updated them as needed, but always felt like I was procrastinating when I saw that same task every couple days that still had "Tomorrow". When the truth was I still was not ready for it or didn't have the time to commit to that task yet. Now I use Now, Next Soon, and Someday...anything with a due date I set that in the reminder. I feel like my method now works perfectly for me! I also used Cronofly or whatever it was to show my reminders on my Google Calendar. 

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On 6/8/2016 at 19:44, curtisdevault dijo:

I updated them as needed, but always felt like I was procrastinating when I saw that same task every couple days that still had "Tomorrow". When the truth was I still was not ready for it or didn't have the time to commit to that task yet. Now I use Now, Next Soon, and Someday...anything with a due date I set that in the reminder. I feel like my method now works perfectly for me! I also used Cronofly or whatever it was to show my reminders on my Google Calendar. 

Same method works for me too

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I really bought into GTD a few years ago when I had become overwhelmed by my to-do list. I found a really good book on implementing GTD within Outlook, which suited me as  I use Outlook with Office 365 on a daily basis.

I read all about TSW and attempted to implement it in Evernote. However, as well as being rather complex, it felt very unnatural to be saving emails into evernote rather than staying in the place I was already using - i.e. Office 365.

However, I really liked the Now, Next, Soon, etc categories. So now I have modified my Outlook GTD implementation to incorporate the 'when' as well. I also added 7-projects and changed !daily to !repeat.

I always found the contexts to be a bit redundant for me: most of my time is spent in the office so I am always able to be 'at my computer' and 'at my phone'; my commute to work is about 5 minutes if I drive and only 30 if I walk. I think that the context idea works better for those who spend quite a bit of time on the road. I do use errands and at home, but as it is difficult to find an android calendar that allows you to call up tasks by category, I tend to use Google Keep for my shopping list and my list of tasks for the garden at the weekend.

I still do the weekly review and go through all the whens. if I have more in Now and Next than I can reasonably complete in a week, then i know I need to re-negotiate with myself, or someone else and move some tasks into soon. Some tasks end up in the calendar if they have to be done on a specific day.

 

It is working for me.

 

 

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3 hours ago, JayneR said:

However, I really liked the Now, Next, Soon, etc categories. So now I have modified my Outlook GTD implementation to incorporate the 'when' as well. I also added 7-projects and changed !daily to !repeat.

Is there an Evernote component go your post?

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On 8/7/2016 at 6:44 AM, curtisdevault said:

I updated them as needed, but always felt like I was procrastinating when I saw that same task every couple days that still had "Tomorrow". When the truth was I still was not ready for it or didn't have the time to commit to that task yet. Now I use Now, Next Soon, and Someday...anything with a due date I set that in the reminder. I feel like my method now works perfectly for me! I also used Cronofly or whatever it was to show my reminders on my Google Calendar. 

Curtis:  THANK YOU for mentioning Cronofy!  This is exactly the thing that I didn't know I needed!

All:  I've used Evernote for years, but mostly as a dumping station.  As I am transitioned into a new job, I'm trying to do my task management via Evernote.  I like the idea of TSW, but I often sit for a moment, struggling to think of which tags to use.  I have a lot of large projects, and prefer to keep a large list of todos within the project note, as well as related notes and thoughts.  I snagged the GTD PDF to see if it has some thoughts that might be helpful for me.  I too didn't like how TSW handled time.  For things that need to be scheduled, I want them set to a specific date, not "soon" or "later".

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35 minutes ago, peripatew said:

For things that need to be scheduled, I want them set to a specific date, not "soon" or "later".

I abandoned the now/soon/later tags also and my workflow is completely date driven
"Now" and "Soon" are saved searches using reminder date

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On 9/20/2016 at 11:15 AM, DTLow said:

I abandoned the now/soon/later tags also and my workflow is completely date driven
"Now" and "Soon" are saved searches using reminder date

I changed to reminder dates as well and abandoned the soon, next etc. My issued used to be not being able to (not knowing) how to pull the notes that were due that day. Recently I discovered the reminder search string and now every morning I run a search:

reminderTime:day -reminderTime:day+1 -tag:"Completed" 

Along with this, I started using Cronofy to show those tasks on Google Calendar for a visual of the day which turned out nicely as well.

I would recommend it highly.

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12 minutes ago, TK0047 said:

Recently I discovered the reminder search string and now every morning I run a search:

reminderTime:day -reminderTime:day+1 -tag:"Completed" 

Along with this, I started using Cronofy to show those tasks on Google Calendar for a visual of the day which turned out nicely as well.

I would recommend it highly.

I use -reminderDoneTime:* instead of a Completed Tag
I also use reminderTime:* so that I see all uncompleted tasks, not just the ones due today

+1 on Cronofy Calendar Connector . It gives a visual view of your reminders, and my calendar app is much better at features like notifications

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23 minutes ago, DTLow said:

I also use reminderTime:* so that I see all uncompleted tasks, not just the ones due today

I use this as well.  Very handy for not missing tasks that are over due.  I have this in a saved search and I will sort it on Reminder Time so I can see the most overdue ones at the top of the list.  Custom saved search (and notebook) views are in the current Windows beta.

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On 9/20/2016 at 10:15 AM, DTLow said:

I abandoned the now/soon/later tags also and my workflow is completely date driven

I still use !1-Now, !2-Soon .... for those tasks that aren't date sensitive as yet.  Go to place when dated stuff is done.  Sometimes a !tag gets a date should it become critical.  This allows me to keep a backlog of stuff that I want/need to do that isn't date sensitive.  !1-Now is a bit redundant from a wording perspective, but I use it as the top of the heap of these tasks.

Since my normal view does not have the left panel open I find it easy to get to saved reminder searches using the magnifying glass in two clicks.  I precede the searches with an ! to get them to the top of the stack.  Per @s2sailor, I as well use the new view sort options from the beta.  Stellar addition in functionality in my view..  FWIW.

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I am well-versed in GTD having read David Allen's original book and watched training videos of his years ago. I haven't bought David Allen's recent book on Evernote nor have I used The Secret Weapon methodology. I developed my own over time.  The Secret Weapon recommends something David Alllen suggests we avoid and that is, taking the time to prioritize each task. He suggests that you look at each contextual list and make an intuitive choice based on your current situation. He believes, and I agree, that things are coming at us too fast and one input can throw off our carefully constructed priorities. That makes sense to me. I will say though that one of the best things about GTD is there are only a few basic concepts and their is a lot of room for individuality. So if it works for you, that's fine. 

Personally, I only use the notebooks for project sorting and that's optional. I could function with no notebooks at all. I keep my list of tags to a minimum and apply only 1-3 tags to each note. Using saved searches I can slice my lists several different ways but not too many. Simplicity is an important feature to me. It's the saved search feature that drives my GTD system. 

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My system is all tags-based. I have a 'Inbox' notebook for notes coming in, then once they're tagged they go to a Main notebook, or a business notebook. Then I have a set of @ tags like @Errand, @Phone, @Home etc for context. I have the bulk of my tags as reference tags so they all start with Ref, e.g. Ref Receipt, Ref School. Then for projects I start them with a dot. e.g. .Cruise 2017, .Tax 16/17 (the tax one I also have a Ref Tax 16/17 because I might want to refer back to previous tax years' notes. Project's that are done get prefix with 'Done'. 

Then the tag hierarchy helps also. All context tags are under a parent 'Context' tag. Project tags are under a parent 'Projects' tag which has children 'Active' and 'Inactive'. So all current projects are placed under the Projects > Active node.

And that's about it. I've written some more about my system here.

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7 hours ago, Dezgo said:

My system is all tags-based.

You don't have much info on task management other than context
Any other process for scheduling/priority?

I completely ignore the context side for my tasks 
I work at home so I don't have much of a work/home division

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I am just curious, using GTD or TSW on Evernote, what do you do after Actionable Items have been performed. Delete notes that have been completed? Or place them in an Archive Notebook?

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1 hour ago, JErnestGo said:

I am just curious, using GTD or TSW on Evernote, what do you do after Actionable Items have been performed. Delete notes that have been completed? Or place them in an Archive Notebook?

I archive instead of deleting 

My process is to apply a tag (Archive) which I exclude from searches using -tag:Archive

This is not specific to GTD/TSW or Actionable Items

Other suggestions have been a "Completed" tag

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2 hours ago, JErnestGo said:

I am just curious, using GTD or TSW on Evernote, what do you do after Actionable Items have been performed. Delete notes that have been completed? Or place them in an Archive Notebook?

If it's an actionable item that also contains reference material, I'll just remove whatever I used to make it actionable (either a TSW "When" tag or reminder date) and move it to my main notebook (if it  wasn't already there). If it's strictly a todo item, and I don't need any record of completion, I'll just delete it. If I want a record of completion, I have a shortcut that inserts "_Completed [date/time]" in the note and then move to main notebook.

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6 hours ago, JErnestGo said:

I am just curious, using GTD or TSW on Evernote, what do you do after Actionable Items have been performed. Delete notes that have been completed? Or place them in an Archive Notebook?

I leave the notes where they are.  If the note had a reminder I mark the reminder completed and the done time lets me know it was a task.  If the note was TSW tag based, I add _Completed date/time to the note using a hot key and delete the action tag.  My saved task searches include -reminderdonetime:* or -_Compl* to eliminate completed work.  FWIW.

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7 hours ago, DTLow said:

I archive instead of deleting 

My process is to apply a tag (Archive) which I exclude from searches using -tag:Archive

This is not specific to GTD/TSW or Actionable Items

Other suggestions have been a "Completed" tag

This means that the notes (Made into Action Items) are simply left as is in the Action Notebook and simply tag it as Archive or Complete.

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5 hours ago, tavor said:

If it's an actionable item that also contains reference material, I'll just remove whatever I used to make it actionable (either a TSW "When" tag or reminder date) and move it to my main notebook (if it  wasn't already there). If it's strictly a todo item, and I don't need any record of completion, I'll just delete it. If I want a record of completion, I have a shortcut that inserts "_Completed [date/time]" in the note and then move to main notebook.

Makes sense. Thank you.

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Just now, JErnestGo said:

This means that the notes (Made into Action Items) are simply left as is in the Action Notebook and simply tag it as Archive or Complete.

I'm not a notebook fan, but Yes. 

My viewpoint is that I don't want to change anything; other than indicating the task is completed

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On 9/28/2016 at 6:59 AM, Ares said:

I am well-versed in GTD having read David Allen's original book and watched training videos of his years ago. I haven't bought David Allen's recent book on Evernote nor have I used The Secret Weapon methodology. I developed my own over time.  The Secret Weapon recommends something David Alllen suggests we avoid and that is, taking the time to prioritize each task. He suggests that you look at each contextual list and make an intuitive choice based on your current situation. He believes, and I agree, that things are coming at us too fast and one input can throw off our carefully constructed priorities. That makes sense to me. I will say though that one of the best things about GTD is there are only a few basic concepts and their is a lot of room for individuality. So if it works for you, that's fine. 

Personally, I only use the notebooks for project sorting and that's optional. I could function with no notebooks at all. I keep my list of tags to a minimum and apply only 1-3 tags to each note. Using saved searches I can slice my lists several different ways but not too many. Simplicity is an important feature to me. It's the saved search feature that drives my GTD system. 

When you said you use notebooks for project sorting - Did you mean that each Project has its own Notebook, perhaps under a Project Notebook Stack? And If so, those notes under a Project Notebook (Under a Project Notebook Stack) are made to actionable items, being that a Project contains multiple actions?

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11 minutes ago, JErnestGo said:

When you said you use notebooks for project sorting - Did you mean that each Project has its own Notebook, perhaps under a Project Notebook Stack? And If so, those notes under a Project Notebook (Under a Project Notebook Stack) are made to actionable items, being that a Project contains multiple actions?

In case @Ares doesn't reply, I'll jump in

You want some method of collecting your project notes so you can do project reviews.

This could be Notebooks or Tags.  I use a tag for each project

These would be any notes connected to the project, including actionable items.  I have a master note for each project

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7 minutes ago, DTLow said:

This could be Notebooks or Tags.  I use a tag for each project

These would be any notes connected to the project, including actionable items.  I have a master note for each project

^ I do the same.

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42 minutes ago, DTLow said:

In case @Ares doesn't reply, I'll jump in

You want some method of collecting your project notes so you can do project reviews.

This could be Notebooks or Tags.  I use a tag for each project

These would be any notes connected to the project, including actionable items.  I have a master note for each project

Okay. So you mean to say, that using GTD, you then realize that a certain thought shall require not only a single action, but many, hence it becomes a project.

then you further identify the actions needed for the project and put tags with those actions instead of placing them in a Notebook for that project. Each note or action item for that project has tags according to the name of the Project.

Follow up question: The GTD method teaches us that once a Project has been identified, we need to list all actionable items for that project. Then organize those items according to a) Quick Actions b)Schedule actions c) Delegate List

do you also have notebooks for each or again thru tags? Do you move actionable items/notes to these notebooks after identifying the list of actions for the project?

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5 hours ago, JErnestGo said:

The GTD method teaches us that once a Project has been identified, we need to list all actionable items for that project. Then organize those items according to a) Quick Actions b)Schedule actions c) Delegate List

do you also have notebooks for each or again thru tags? Do you move actionable items/notes to these notebooks after identifying the list of actions for the project?

Instead of "List actionable items", I create individual notes for each task
Instead of Notebooks, I assign Tags and/or Dates (reminder)

I use the search feature to generate lists
- shortcuts to saved searches:   Current, Soon, ,,,
- I can also search for tag:Project-aaaaa to for my project reviews

Note: My reminders are synced to my calendar app, so I can view in grid form

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On 3/17/2017 at 8:21 AM, DTLow said:

Instead of "List actionable items", I create individual notes for each task
Instead of Notebooks, I assign Tags and/or Dates (reminder)

I use the search feature to generate lists
- shortcuts to saved searches:   Current, Soon, ,,,
- I can also search for tag:Project-aaaaa to for my project reviews

Note: My reminders are synced to my calendar app, so I can view in grid form

Got it! Thanks buddy!

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Here are a few, but in my opinion, key reasons, why I use notebooks for the GTD lists (@Home, @Office, @Errand, ... Projects, Waiting, Someday/Maybe), instead of tags.

I started using tags. Tags are more flexible. You can even assign notes to multible tags. Perfect. Right?

Well, I soon realized, that it adds unnecessary steps and complexity to my GTD workflow:

  • Once you moved your action (note) from your Inbox notebook into your other notebook where you keep all your actions, you have to assign a context  tag. If you move it into your notebook e.g. "@Errands", the extra step of assigning a tag is not needed.
  • Same is true if you create a new actions. You will create it directly in your notebook where you keep all your actions. But then you still need to assign a context to it. Again an extra step.
  • If you want to move your action from one context to another one, simply drag and drop it from one notebook into another one. If you use tags, you also can drag and drop, but you also need to un-assign the old tag.
  • Now think of the above scenarios when you are on the go and using your mobile phone or tablet. To cumbersome when using tags, in my opinion.
  • And last but not least, but hard to explain. Using a notebook for each list, instead throwing everything in one big bin and then sticking labels to each note, feels more natural to me.

Hope that is helpful

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5 hours ago, Erol said:

I use notebooks for the GTD lists (@Home, @Office, @Errand, ... Projects, Waiting, Someday/Maybe)

How do you handle multiple attibutes?
for example a task is   @Office,  Projects and Waiting

>>And last but not least, but hard to explain. Using a notebook for each list, instead throwing everything in one big bin and then sticking labels to each note, feels more natural to me.

I think that's the bottom line for many users, and it doesn't just apply to GTD
It makes organizing easier, but it limits your options and flexibility

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7 hours ago, Erol said:

Well, I soon realized, that it adds unnecessary steps and complexity to my GTD workflow:

Funny how we all have our own idiosyncrasies.  For me, I found context to be an unnecessary step and after eliminating it I ended up using tags with pretty much just my main notebook.

Horses for courses.  Shows the flex of EN I suppose. 

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6 hours ago, DTLow said:

How do you handle multiple attibutes?
for example a task is   @Office,  Projects and Waiting

>>And last but not least, but hard to explain. Using a notebook for each list, instead throwing everything in one big bin and then sticking labels to each note, feels more natural to me.

I think that's the bottom line for many users, and it doesn't just apply to GTD
It makes organizing easier, but it limits your options and flexibility

I guess that the first section of my answer is probably not what you want to hear :) but keep reading. My answer will also show you a little further how I use Evernote for GTD.

I never had/have the situation where I put a next action into two "where-contexts". If it contains just a single action to get it done, its not a project. In this case it either has to be done in the Office, at a computer (in this case, it also can be done in the office, but not exclusively), on the phone, and so on... 

If there is just that single action where I, for instance, wait for an answer, that note exclusively goes to my "Wating For" list. But honestly, my "Waiting For notes" mostly belong to a project.

Notes in my Projects notebook are not actionable. They simply including a rough plan (bullet points, if it's a small project) of what I need to do in order to get it done. The weekly review, at the latest, lets me create my next actions of my projects.

But here is a point that I did not mention in my previous post: To keep all notes together that belong to a project (next action notes, notes of reference material and the project note itself), I tag them. That's about the only tag that I currently use. I can't explain exactly why I need this. I simply feels better to me if I can pull a list of all notes related to a specific project. Especially if it is a big one.

The project tags are named the same way as the title of my project notes.

I have 6 key categories where my projects belong to. 5 categories belong to my job and nr. 6 is my "private" category. To avoid adding a second tag, just to categorize my projects, I use a category-code as a prefix in front of my project. E.g. "10 Project abc" belongs to category X, "11 Project abc" belongs to category Y., and so on... It became second nature to me to use this notation for all my projects as I create them (the notes and the tags). Means I create the note and copy/paste the note title into the tag line within the note in order to create the tag. I don't move those tags into, for instance, a header tag, called "Projects" or so. I simply keep them where they are. The few header/parent tags I use to organize my reference notebooks, include a .(dot) in front of the name, to keep them at the top of my loooong tag list.

Maybe, someday I skip taging my project related notes. But for now, it feels right to me.

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5 hours ago, csihilling said:

Funny how we all have our own idiosyncrasies.  For me, I found context to be an unnecessary step and after eliminating it I ended up using tags with pretty much just my main notebook.

Horses for courses.  Shows the flex of EN I suppose. 

Yes, it's funny and interesting. The nice thing about a tool like Evernote is, you can change your process/workflow if you want/need. E.g. you can switch from tags to notebooks and vice versa. It's not done within a minute and needs some manual work, but it's totally possible. This is really important to me.

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Does anybody have a system that works for GTD when sharing/delegating tasks?

I have 16 direct reports and currently use a notebook for each which I share with them.
Amongst other notes in the book is a note for "one on one".
I meet each one weekly and actions with a check box and a deadline are added under the date heading in the "one on one" note.
If a deadline is missed or needs to move I write the new deadline along side the old. That way I can see how frequently deadlines are missed.

It's crude and sort of works, but I could be more productive if I was able to see all actions with today's due date, and my team could do the same.
Any tips?

It could be that I'm trying to put a square peg in a round hole and Evernote simply won't fit but I'm hoping that's not the case.

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6 minutes ago, Stuj said:

and actions with a check box and a deadline are added under the date heading in the "one on one" note.

I don't like to use a single note with multiple action items
Instead, I use individual notes and assign due dates (reminder) as required

>>I could be more productive if I was able to see all actions with today's due date

Create a shortcut to a saved search like     reminderOrder:* -reminderTime:day+1 -reminderDoneTime:*
This will give you all the notes due today and overdue

The explanation is:   Any note with a reminder     reminderOrder:* 
                                 Exclude Future Dated          -reminderTime:day+1
                                 Exclude Completed             -reminderDoneTime:*

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You could put each item in its own note.  Tag the note with the person, project, and whatever other tags make sense and set the reminder.  If you want to share the notes with the person you may not want to use a person notebook in addition to or in place of the person tag.  Put all the notebooks in a stack for easy searches for yourself.  Easier to share a notebook than a bunch of notes.  

A search of tag:person remindertime:* -reminderdonetime:* will return all open items for that person (or drop the person component and do the search on a notebook).

To record shifting dates just enter the date changes in the note.  May not be any more effective for you than your current process, but a different view.  I use = as a prefix for names, makes for easier tag picking in the drop down, =Smith.  FWIW.

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I was using Evernote for about 2 years for GTD. My setup was following:

Noteboks (only two):

  • Inbox
  • Stuff

Rest of the work was done by tags:

GTD status: #Next, #Someday, #Scheduled, #Waiting, #Reference

Context: @Home, @Work, @Computer etc.

Project: +House renovation, +Films to watch, +Buy new car, +Car maintenance, etc.

By starting each group of tags with special character, I was able to easily manage the tags.

For my convenience I have created few saved searches and added it to shortcuts.

The system works quite well, however I was not satisfied with the application itself. So finally basing on my experience with implementation of GTD on Evernote I have created an Android application called "GTD Simple". I am still working on adding new features to it, however it is available on Google Play, if you want to test it (it's free and with no ads).

 

Best Regards,

Michal 

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I really bought into GTD a few years ago when I had become overwhelmed by my to-do list. I found a really good book on implementing GTD within Outlook, which suited me as  I use Outlook with Office 365 on a daily basis.

I read all about TSW and attempted to implement it in Evernote. However, as well as being rather complex, it felt very unnatural to be saving emails into evernote rather than staying in the place I was already using - i.e. Office 365.

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10 hours ago, Karlot said:

it felt very unnatural to be saving emails into evernote rather than staying in the place

Personally, it would feel unnatural to do task management in an email tool.

I don't think the objective is saving emails into Evernote.  
The objective is to list your tasks in Evernote; email forwarding is a quick entry solution

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10 hours ago, Karlot said:

it felt very unnatural to be saving emails into evernote rather than staying in the place I was already using - i.e. Office 365.

I don't do this with all emails. I just move the emails over into Evernote that take me longer to get done. But I adjust the note title (that gets generated by the email subject). For instand, I change "10 Laptops for sales department" into "review quote". So its actually a task, not an email in evernote. If the task needs to get done on a specific day and time, it goes directly into my calender and not into Evernote.

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On 5/16/2017 at 5:44 AM, Karlot said:

However, as well as being rather complex, it felt very unnatural to be saving emails into evernote rather than staying in the place I was already using - i.e. Office 365.

I feel just the opposite. Using Office 365/Outlook for reference storage or task management felt very unnatural. In my mind, Outlook is the equivalent of an inbox/outbox trays that were common on office desks before technology was so wide spread; Evernote is the equivalent of a manilla folder in my filing cabinet.

Plus, I find that Outlook's search functionality is the worst thing in the Office suite and effective searching is pretty critical for me.

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@chirmer How do you handle a list of projects? Separate note for each list and then put those notes into a "Projects" notebook or something else?

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27 minutes ago, Jammer said:

How do you handle a list of projects? Separate note for each list and then put those notes into a "Projects" notebook or something else?

I have a sepate note for each project; my project master note
These notes are flagged with    tag:Type_Project

To retrieve a project list, I use a sortcut to a search     tag:Type_Project -tag:Archive

In addition to creating the project master note, I also create a project tag   Project-aaaaaaaa
This allows me to retrieve all the project notes when doing a project review

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On 6/17/2017 at 11:52 AM, DTLow said:

I have a sepate note for each project; my project master note
These notes are flagged with    tag:Type_Project

To retrieve a project list, I use a sortcut to a search     tag:Type_Project -tag:Archive

In addition to creating the project master note, I also create a project tag   Project-aaaaaaaa
This allows me to retrieve all the project notes when doing a project review

@DTLow Do you have an outline of how you manage your overall system from top to bottom with screenshots? I want to maintain more of a tag-based system but projects and tags have been a real sticking point, even after reviewing multiple forum posts/ David Allen's PDF. I'm very good at identifying all my "next steps" but my system for tracking them sucks. I tried following what he says and more than one task becomes a project but it gets messy really fast so i'm considering moving to where a project has its own tag for all items and a master list for all action items. Ideally I would decide which action items from that project list actually need to get a when-tag but also struggling with how to keep track of if an action item has been prioritized etc.

Ex) Boston Trip-Plan is a project.

  1. Research groupon options
  2. Look up average prices of friend recommended restaurants to see if it is in budget
  3. Buy tickets for the harbor tour

How would I keep track of whether 1, 2, or 3 had actually moved from the list of tasks on the master project note onto prioritized? 

 

I wound up with tons of action items from different projects randomly listed under !4ThisMonth tag....

 

If you are willing to post screenshots that would be awesome. On another note, could you tell me how to do either of the two following things:

1) Follow a specific thread on this forum and easily navigate back to it

2) Search a thread for all of a user's posts? (Might help me consolidate all your posts on your system and how you GTD)

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, DealHaggler18 said:

Do you have an outline of how you manage your overall system from top to bottom with screenshots?

In progress at https://www.evernote.com/l/AApgI93yv79KYZ8y3WbfKJaJhUJ1Pu26VHE

Just starting, but I'll have the initial version done by end of day

I'm outlining

  1. Infrastructure
    1. Notebooks
    2. Tags
    3. Reminders  
    4. Note Titles
    5. Shortcuts  
    6. Scripts (Mac Applescript)
       
  2. Process
    1. New Project
    2. New Task
    3. Completed Task
    4. Daily Review
    5. Project Review
    6. Process Inbox
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9 hours ago, DealHaggler18 said:

1) Follow a specific thread on this forum and easily navigate back to it

There are options in user settings but I don't use them594a7da10ae04_ScreenShot2017-06-21at07_07_00.png.6fd23f96078cebf022330a457a7c09cc.png

I just read all the posts using the Unread Content link

>>2) Search a thread for all of a user's posts?

I click on the profile picture and get a list of recent posts

 

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8 minutes ago, DTLow said:

In progress at https://www.evernote.com/l/AApgI93yv79KYZ8y3WbfKJaJhUJ1Pu26VHE

Just starting, but I'll have the initial version done by end of day

I'm outlining

  1. Infrastructure
    1. Notebooks
    2. Tags
    3. Reminders  
    4. Note Titles
    5. Shortcuts  
    6. Scripts (Mac Applescript)
       
  2. Process
    1. New Project
    2. New Task
    3. Completed Task
    4. Daily Review
    5. Project Review
    6. Process Inbox

@DTLow, Thanks that would be perfect and is much appreciated!

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1 hour ago, DTLow said:

There are options in user settings but I don't use them

I just read all the posts using the Unread Content link

>>2) Search a thread for all of a user's posts?

I click on the profile picture and get a list of recent posts

Appreciate the response.

 

1)Was hoping evernote organized it by thread. Seems weird to me that I have my messages for individual chats available at link at top, but then my content/streams mixes that with responses to my posts etc under my activity streams.

2) Reason I was asking #2 was so that I could look within the thread at all of your responses or other people because you get bits and pieces of what works for one person then some more posts from someone else. Also, clicking follow you would show every post you make and you are a busy guy on the forum :) But in the end I was only asking to see if I could understand your entire process from top to bottom which you are creating now (thanks again btw)

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I made of movie of my process, specifically relate to project tagging. Bear with me on the movie, I summarized as best as I could. 

Feel free to poke holes. I'm not saying this a sexy solution but it's a start and I'm more than open to someone pointing out the redundancy/uselessness of something I am doing. I am getting much better at identifying action items, it's organizing that data at the right level vertically and horizontally that is the real challenge for me (and DA says essentially its a large struggle for most with no clear answer).

Anyway, if you ARE going to watch it, I recommend watching it at 1.25 speed even though I will probably sound like a chipmunk.

https://youtu.be/JPfkzvUuyR8

 

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6 hours ago, DealHaggler18 said:

I made of movie of my process, specifically relate to project tagging. Bear with me on the movie, I summarized as best as I could. 

re: Table of Contents (ToC)

I'm not a fan of static Table of Contents
For example, clicking on the project tag gave you a complete list of all the tasks in the project.
However, the ToC in your Project note may or may-not be complete.  

You used the Project Note ToC to indicate status information 
I add codes to the task title to indicate status, for example and Ω prefix indicates completed

btw  
- I also use list view.  I prefer top list view; more room for columns without cutting into the note panel
- Since you're using a Mac, you should look at scripting.
   It makes life easier for repetive tasks

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On 6/21/2017 at 1:12 PM, DTLow said:


- Since you're using a Mac, you should look at scripting.
   It makes life easier for repetive tasks

1) What does scripting do exactly and how do I do that? Is that the thing at the bottom of this link and does it somehow catch things you may have missed in your process? https://www.evernote.com/shard/s10/sh/6023ddf2-bfbf-4a61-9f32-dd66df289689/8542753eedba5471

2) How do I make these: Ω prefix

As far as the rest of your posts: I've been off the wagon a little while cuz I was dreading trying to work my system/figure it out again. Didn't realize you had attached a hyperlink to your overview and just looked that over. It helped A LOT so thank you. In particular I like that you have a tag for non-projects and I love your template for daily review too. 

3) So I understand you right: Your project master note for each project would be found by searching for tag: Projects and just scanning the title of notes that pop up to find it?

4) Also, that note has a list of all the tasks comprising that project correct?

5) The next action on that project list is what you create a new task note for and you delete or put a checkmark next to that task/step from the Master note? 

6) Lastly, I don't understand why you have these three things and how you use them. I get the scheduled one is probably if it goes on your calendar, but don't understand why you would have a +task or a ++task.

+  Task bbbbbb              Task
++Task bbbbbb              Task (Next Action)
+.  Task bbbbbb             Task (Scheduled)

 

Thanks again!

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52 minutes ago, DealHaggler18 said:

1) What does scripting do exactly and how do I do that?

You mentioned that it gets messy if you don't follow your process, or miss a step
With Evernote, you can write a script (AppleScript)
     tell application "Evernote"
           action 1
           action 2
          ...
     end tell

Theres a large list of actions you can specify; from creating notes, titles, tags ... 
Documentation at   
https://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/applescript.php

2) How do I make these: Ω prefix596cbfddc25b3_ScreenShot2017-07-17at06_46_17.png.882140dec3ad27a2b23b93a3febea679.png
There are Alt codes you can type, but I can never remember them
I can simply copy the symbol from existing text
I also added this as a text replacement, so I type "omega,," and it gets replaced with the symbol  

 

3) So I understand you right: Your project master note for each project would be found by searching for tag: Projects and just scanning the title of notes that pop up to find it?

Correct. 

4) Also, that note has a list of all the tasks comprising that project correct?596cc13d263b7_ScreenShot2017-07-17at06_51_49.png.f7807a503dc0e695b3ab1ceba12aeaa7.png

Not necessarily, it's probably out of date

To get the complete list of tasks, I use the filter by tag on the project note 

596cc14096904_ScreenShot2017-07-17at06_52_05.png.c1c4e5f3726374a7b9c621cf17d0e68e.png
 
 
 
6) Lastly, I don't understand why you have these three things and how you use them. (++ task title prefix)
 
After step 4, Filter by tasks, I get a complete set of notes for the project; I sort by title sequence
 
I want the note list to be in an ordered sequence; Tasks at the top of the list, Next-Action at the very top
I control this sequence by adding a prefix to the note titles
 
 
 
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12 hours ago, DTLow said:

You mentioned that it gets messy if you don't follow your process, or miss a step
With Evernote, you can write a script (AppleScript)
     tell application "Evernote"
           action 1
           action 2
          ...
     end tell

Theres a large list of actions you can specify; from creating notes, titles, tags ... 
Documentation at   
https://dev.evernote.com/doc/articles/applescript.php

2) How do I make these: Ω prefix596cbfddc25b3_ScreenShot2017-07-17at06_46_17.png.882140dec3ad27a2b23b93a3febea679.png
There are Alt codes you can type, but I can never remember them
I can simply copy the symbol from existing text
I also added this as a text replacement, so I type "omega,," and it gets replaced with the symbol  

 

3) So I understand you right: Your project master note for each project would be found by searching for tag: Projects and just scanning the title of notes that pop up to find it?

Correct. 

4) Also, that note has a list of all the tasks comprising that project correct?596cc13d263b7_ScreenShot2017-07-17at06_51_49.png.f7807a503dc0e695b3ab1ceba12aeaa7.png

Not necessarily, it's probably out of date

To get the complete list of tasks, I use the filter by tag on the project note 

596cc14096904_ScreenShot2017-07-17at06_52_05.png.c1c4e5f3726374a7b9c621cf17d0e68e.png
 
 
 
6) Lastly, I don't understand why you have these three things and how you use them. (++ task title prefix)
 
After step 4, Filter by tasks, I get a complete set of notes for the project; I sort by title sequence
 
I want the note list to be in an ordered sequence; Tasks at the top of the list, Next-Action at the very top
I control this sequence by adding a prefix to the note titles
 
 
 

DTLow, Maybe I''m off, but it seems you have a tag to indicate completion for any note (project related task, non project related task, or project TOC) of tag:archive correct? But then you also edit the title with +Ω and mark the reminder as completed to indicate completion? I could see how the reminder thing would give you information on when it was completed but it seems like the 3 methods do nearly the same thing.

I really like that you do the title of next action for the next step you are going to take on a project. Once I understand it a little more I think it will help reinforce DA's mantra of getting everyone to ask "What is the NEXT STEP?".

If I understand you correctly, your title codes are mutually exclusive...how do you handle it when your task for next action is also scheduled? I think based on your responses, that once you draft action steps in a master note you prioritize them all (with a due/reminder date or a when tag, who tag, context tag, etc) and process them through your system. If that is the case, what purpose does your master list for a project/TOC serve? I could understand keeping it around if you ONLY processed/prioritizedthe next action step at a time for each project prioritized  and DIDN'T create individual tasks of the ones following the next action step.

Hm looking at our note titles I might understand it: Every task in a project gets a + since it is a task. If it can be scheduled, you create the reminder date and do so. Same for if it happens to be the next action. During your project reviews you look through each project for tasks that have a single + and revisit whether it is time for them to get scheduled or become the next action? Just a stab in the dark, might be way off. If this is true, do you differentiate between active/inacitve projects? And what foes in your projects section of you daily journal. Just a list of all projects active via hyperlinking the note title of master note for each or is it the projects with a task you are actively working that day at some point?

Also, in your outline you said "I assign current date to tasks I'm working on even if there is no hard date". Can you describe that a little further?   Ex below:

In this example, each step would be sequential. Today in this example is Wednesday

Project: Organize Garage

Task 1 (Research Shelving Options Online) (You know you want to do this this weekend, so maybe you put the reminder date as this Saturday, but it is also your next action so what would title look like)

Task 2 (Go to store and buy shelves) (You might be able to get this done this weekend, so what date do you put on it?)

Task 3 (Assemble shelving Units) (This will definitely not fit in the weekend as it is a time intensive task)

Task 4 (Organize and label items into bins)

What would the above look like in terms of titles, reviews, reminders, etc?

 

As always, thanks for the help!

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1 hour ago, DealHaggler18 said:

what purpose does your master list for a project/TOC serve? (Project Master Note?)

I use the project master notes to produce a list of projects
It could simply contain the project title, but I also use it for project notes
Not entirely up to date as a TOC; I prefer to click on filter-by-tag and get a list of all project notes

>>it seems you have a tag to indicate completion for any note
>>But then you also edit the title with +Ω and mark the reminder as completed to indicate completion?

I use the reminderDoneTime field in the reminder feature
The title prefix stuff is just to control the note sequence. Its not critical; I like completed tasks out of the way at the bottom of the list
I agree it's a duplication

>>how do you handle it when your task for next action is also scheduled?

For me, scheduling is the important factor in my current task list; regardless of next action
The title prefix stuff is just to control the note sequence. Its not critical; I like next actions at the top of the list

>>once you draft action steps in a master note you prioritize them all (with a due/reminder date or a when tag,

Not really into When tags; I only use due/reminder date for priority
Currently in my project review, I can see which tasks are coming up
If it gets complicated, I could see the need for a When-Soon tag

>>do you differentiate between active/inacitve projects?

I have a generic "!Archive" tag that I apply to inactive projects

>>projects section of your daily journal. Just a list of all projects active via hyperlinking the note title of master note for each

Correct.  If I want to review the project, I click on the link.  I click on Filter-By-Tag to review all the notes for the project
I could obtain the same list with my Projects search shortcut, but I like the project list front and centre

>>Current section of your daily journal - task you are actively working that day

It's a copy of the note links from a saved search based on reminder date (Current Task List)

The Activities section of my daily journal is what I'm doing that day
It could be tasks or meetings from my calendar ...

>>Also, in your outline you said "I assign current date to tasks I'm working on even if there is no hard date". Can you describe that a little further?

A hard date is a set date for the task, for example   Supervise Sept 15 Construction
When I"m doing reviews and planning out my week; this could indicate that I'm working on a set of tasks tomorrow.  I'll assign tomorrow's date to the tasks so they trigger on my Current Task List
- this would be eqivalent to the When-Now used in some other schemes

>>What would the above look like in terms of titles, reviews, reminders, etc?

First, a project note     -Project: Organize Garage
There were some tasks, each one a separate note
     Task                      +Research Shelving Options Online
     Task                      +Go to store and buy shelves 
     Task                       +Assemble shelving Units
     Task                       +Organize and label items into bins
And miscellaneous research notes
      Research                Web clippings
Not critical, by I assigned prefixes so the notes sort into a logical order

Project Review:
     What is the next action?       ++Research Shelving Options Online
     Any scheduling? set reminder date to Saturday for Research Shelving Options Online
     If there are hard dates I would assign them, but for now, I'm only focusing on the Next Action

Task Completion: Research Shelving Options Online
       Flag task as completed (Reminder option)
       What is the next action?  Go to store and buy shelves
        Any scheduling? set reminder date
       

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6 hours ago, DTLow said:

>>I have a generic "!Archive" tag that I apply to inactive projects

I should have asked how to you define an active project, not how do you track them. Ie is it as long as it has a current action step, or do you have some other way of deciding if something is active?

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, DealHaggler18 said:

I should have asked how to you define an active project, not how do you track them. Ie is it as long as it has a current action step, or do you have some other way of deciding if something is active?

I really just have the Project Master Note.  The actual search is       tag:"!Type-Project", -Tag:!Archive
When I'm finished with the project, I add the tag:Archive to remove it from the list

My Current Task List is completely independent of this Project tracking
If I flag a note as actionable (I use Reminder date), it appears on my task list; regardless of any Project status 

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