GTD With 2Do and Toodledo [Reader Workflow]

GTD With 2Do and Toodledo [Reader Workflow] | 40Tech

Continuing with our Reader Workflow showcase, we’re proud to present Nina Kefer’s second post in her GTD experiments series, Beauty and Brains: Getting Things Done™ In Style. In her last article, she showed us a particularly awesome GTD setup with Awesome Note and Evernote; focused on the iPhone, overall. This time around, she delves into a mobile frontend for Toodledo. Read on for Nina’s GTD workflow with the iPhone app, 2Do.

For an additional take on Toodledo and GTD, also check out our post on Getting Things Done with Toodledo using pseudo-GTD methodologies.

 

Beauty & Brains: Getting Things Done™ In Style, Part 2 – 2Do

In my last article I described my GTD system for Awesome Note synced with Evernote. If you prefer a tighter sync between front and back end, however, you’ll want to give 2Do a try. 2Do is an award winning productivity app that syncs with the task management website Toodledo as well as iCal and Outlook (via a sync helper). I use a PC, so iCal is not an option and I don’t use Outlook because it doesn’t doesn’t play well with Gmail, so unfortunately I had to make do without a desktop client.

The sync with Toodledo is pretty tight, albeit with some peculiarities. 2Do’s interface is designed to look like a colourful Filofax and comes with several pre-installed “calendars” or tabs, which are basically to-dos, projects and check lists that are pulled together in the “Today” and “All” tabs. 2Do’s tabs appear in Toodledo as folders and, as with Awesome Note, they can be easily renamed or replaced to suit GTD. They can also be moved up or down and assigned custom colours – I basically think of them as dividers in a lever arch file or personal organiser.

While Toodledo supports contexts, 2Do doesn’t out of the box, but this can easily be set up by creating tags for each context and then searching for each tag using the excellent built-in search function. These searches can be saved as tabs which will then sync to Toodledo as folders. Just like “normal” tabs, they can be moved up or down to whichever position fits best with your GTD setup. Note that tags cannot be created from scratch; you first need to create a task, then you can create the tags to tag it with.

 

The Setup

For my to-do system I use a similar setup as in Awesome Note. Since 2Do doesn’t have a dedicated inbox, I first created a new tab called Inbox. I then created a Next Action tab as well as saved searches for all my context tags. That way I can collect all next actions in one tab, but filter them by context using the saved searches. Since these are the folders I check most often I moved them to the top of the list, so they are immediately visible on my screen when I open the app. Alternatively, you can create a dedicated “normal” tab for each context. Finally, I created Project, Someday and Reference tabs and moved all tabs in an order that suited me best. I then manually arranged the corresponding folders in Toodledo in the same order:

  • Inbox
  • @PC
  • @Contact
  • @Errands
  • @Home
  • @Waiting (these appear as tags in Toodledo)
  • Next Action
  • Projects
  • Someday
  • Reference

Setup GTD in 2Do for iPhone | 40Tech

 

Using 2Do

2Do offers an almost bewildering array of features, but they are elegantly tucked away in hidden menus, so the interface never looks cluttered. When creating your tasks you have the choice between three different types – to-do, checklist and project – that can be assigned six different actions: call, SMS, email, browse, visit and Google. Call, SMS, email and visit actions can be linked to the contacts in the iPhone’s address book and a tap on a task containing such an action will bring up the contact’s phone number or email address or show the postal address in Google maps. You can then call, text or email them directly from within the app.

A long tap on a task brings up a menu that shows what you can do with that particular task: mark as done, defer to another day, copy, share (via email, SMS or Twitter), delete, add note, take or attach a photo, record and attach an audio file or assign a due date and alarm. There is a choice between email alerts and local alerts, i.e. a notification on the phone lock screen that works even if data roaming is disabled or the phone is in airplane mode. For local alerts, you can choose between receiving a push message only or a message plus sound, with a choice of different alarm sounds. A red badge on the app icon shows how many to-dos are due or overdue and within the app overdue tasks appear in red font instead of black.

2Do uses two types of tags – word tags and people tags, the latter linked to contacts in the iPhone’s phone book – which make tasks easily traceable via the search function. You can also search by key word and date range, and searches you do frequently can again be saved as new calendar tabs, so in the future you only have to tap on the tab to bring up a search result.

Tasks can be sorted by status, priority (none, low, medium, high, star), due date, note, URL, alphabetical or manually. As in Awesome Note, you can sort each folder in a different way. The Today tab shows all tasks due today and additionally there is a focus button that can filter out to-dos that don’t fulfil certain requirements, e.g. due date or level of priority. Individual tasks can be moved from one tab to another with a few quick taps. Switching to landscape view in any tab brings up a calendar showing all tasks that are due in the current month. Finally, there is a nearby tab that alerts you when you approach a location connected with your task, but I don’t use it since it uses GPS and therefore guzzles battery.

2Do for iPhone, iPad, iOS | Task Management App

 

Tasks, Subtasks, and Sync with Toodledo

I Get Things Done in 2Do in pretty much the same way as in Awesome Note: my Inbox and Next Action (and context) tabs are reviewed daily and Project tab weekly. As with Evernote, you send emails to Toodledo to create a task; you can specify folder, priority, due date and time, tag, repeat, and attach the body of the email as a note.

2Do supports subtasks, so there is no need for workaround like there is in Awesome Note. Each subtask can be given its own tag, due date, alarm, action and attachment and can be moved out of the project and into the appropriate Next Action folder, right from within the main task menu (parent and subtask can’t be in different folders). Alternatively, if you have created contexts tabs from saved searches, adding the appropriate context tag (@PC, @Contact, @Errands and so on) will make the subtask appear in that tab, with the project and folder name still visible. Finally, if you assign a due date, the task will eventually pop up in the Today tab. However, be aware that subtasks are a premium feature in Toodledo and in order for them to sync between 2Do and Toodledo together with their parent task you need a (paid) Pro account. In free accounts, subtasks sync separately from the parent task.

Tags, due dates and notes sync to Toodledo, but photos, location maps and audio files remain locally in 2Do as Toodledo only supports notes. However, this has the advantage that these files are available for offline use on the iPhone.

 

There is a reason why 2Do was voted Best iPhone Productivity app: in combination with Toodledo it offers pretty much everything one could wish for, except the option to sync your tasks with the iPhone calendar. It is quick and easy enough that you barely have to use the web, yet the sync with Toodledo is tight enough to be able to use both apps more or less interchangeably. Don’t be put off by Toodledo’s less than slick appearance either. It is a powerful and highly customisable task manager and there are a number of Stylish and Greasemonkey themes to pretty it up.

What are your thoughts on GTD in 2Do and Toodledo?

Nina lives in the UK and works in Financial Services. A frequent international traveller, she has extensive experience of managing life on the go. A trip to Japan opened her eyes to the possibilities of mobile phone technology and she has been attempting to achieve a similar level of connectivity ever since. This is her first technology article.

Up Next: Part 3 – Springpad

21 Comments:

  1. Pingback: Review of GTD in Springpad & Which GTD Solution Nina Chose [Reader Workflow] | 40Tech

  2. Thanks for the review. I have started using Toodledo and like it but 2Do looks so much better. I’m wondering why not just use Toodledo since it has an iphone app?

    • Thank you for your comment and my apologies for the late reply.

      Well, at the time when I got 2Do the Toodledo iPhone app didn’t have certain features that 2Do had. For example, it wasn’t possible to order folders manually or sync them in the same order as on the Toodledo website, which made GTD impossible. Also, an appealing UI is important to me because otherwise I avoid looking at my to-dos and therefore don’t get things done. I chose 2Do because I preferred the UI, in addition to it offering functions that Toodledo didn’t. It may have caught up since then.

      • I am very late to this post, but have a a few questions…

        Why do I need 2Do AND Toodledo? How are they different and how do they complement each other? I realize I probably don’t NEED both, but I would like to know the benefits of having both. Also, is there no web app version of 2Do? I would like the ability to enter stuff in from a computer when needed as well as my phone (android).

        I need to be able to track tasks and subtasks of projects and love the idea of next actions, contexts, etc. I also need to be able to track notes, events, dates, etc and ideally be able to connect them all to each other when needed.

        I am a HUGE google/gmail person so any integration there is a huge benefit.

        So far looking at Springpad, 2Do, Toodledo, reQall, and Wunderlist to name a few.

        Thanks for taking the time to read through all of that (if you did!) ;)

  3. Thanks for the response. I am wondering what you use for a calendar. I have been an avid Palm Tungsten e user for many years and am trying to totally transition to the iphone. Toodledo is working for tasks and I’m going to check out 2Do also but I”m still looking for a calendar replacement that even comes close to the capabilities of my archaic palm pilot. It seems like everyone has gone to google. I would like to sync from PC, to iphone & ipad seamlessly with no glitches. Do you have any thoughts on Pocket Informant? It appears to be a powerful task & calendar app. Any other organizational apps that you recommend? One more thing, since you mostly use 2Do what do you mainly use Toodledo for? Thanks again for any advice. BTW, I really like GTD methodology and recently have read the Manage Your Now book and added some of its principles which actually works well with GTD.

    • Depending on your priorities, there are a number of apps you could try instead of the native calendar:

      http://www.iphoneness.com/iphone-apps/10-best-calendar-apps-for-iphone/#idc-cover

      http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/touchtodo/id299665280?mt=8

      Right now I just use Google calendar synced with my iPhone calendar; still looking for the perfect setup. I was tempted by Pocket Informant but the price in combination with many negative reviews, and no free Lite version to check it out myself, put me off so far. That said, I had a look on their forums a while ago and what they have planned for the future sounds interesting.

      I use Toodledo mostly as backup in case something happens to my phone or 2Do. I’d hate having to manually re-enter all my tasks! And if I have a lot of tasks to enter I tend to do that via Toodledo, rather than 2Do, since it means that I can use a proper sized keyboard.

      If you’re looking for a more integrated solution, perhaps Producteev would work for you? It’s free if you go for the basic version and you can use it for basic GTD. Bobby has written a great article about it here:

      http://www.40tech.com/2010/09/03/gtd-in-producteev-utilizing-multiple-workspaces/

      I’m not using it because I prefer local (push) alerts on my phone over email alerts, but that’s a personal preference. I travel a lot internationally and email alerts require data roaming, which can run up to be very costly. But that’s just me. :)

  4. Thank you for the article and sharing your information. I have been off and on with using Toodle Do. I am not a fan of the browser interface. I also go back and forth between paper systems also.

    Google is my standard for email, contacts and calendar…plus Facebook is very popular with my friends. Google is so accessible between all of my computers, iPad and droid. So far I love the 2Do interface.

    Any suggestions on a good method to follow-up with contacts?

    I would like to have their phone number and email handy but keep it stored in Google to sync everywhere.

    I keep everyone in Google Contacts with my Calendar and email. However, I need a better tickler system to follow-up with people.

    Thanks!

    • I can’t speak for Nina, Mara, but I use ToodleDo often as a follow-up system. I have a “Follow Up” Context, and put stuff in there that I need to follow up on, and plug in a follow-up date. I have a “Today” saved search that I review every day, and those follow-ups automatically show in there.

    • Hi Mara,

      Thank you very much for your comment and my apologies for the very late reply.

      My system is similar to Evan’s. If I want to follow up with someone I create a task in the @Contact folder, link it to the contact of the person I want to follow up with and assign a due date. The task/reminder then pops up automatically in 2Do on the due date I assigned, showing the person’s email, phone number or address depending on the manner of contact I have specified in 2Do.

      2Do syncs with the contacts from the iPhone phonebook, which in turn syncs with my Gmail contacts. It doesn’t sync with Google calendar or the iPhone calendar, though, and the developers have made it clear that they see task management as separate from scheduling appointments and won’t implement calendar sync (I understand that limited sync with iCal is possible but I’m on Windows so I’m afraid I don’t know many details).

      I hope that was helpful. :)

  5. Pingback: GTD On the Go With Awesome Note and Evernote [Reader Workflow] | 40Tech

  6. Pingback: Getting Things Done (GTD) With Toodledo, Using Pseudo-GTD Methodologies | 40Tech

  7. Hi Russ! Thank you for your comment.

    There is currently no web app for 2Do, which is why I chose to sync 2Do’s iPhone app with Toodledo’s web app. My article was written from the perspective of GTD on the go, but I too prefer to enter tasks on a computer, rather than the small iPhone screen and keyboard, if possible. Toodledo also has an iPhone app but at the time it didn’t offer as many features as 2Do and didn’t look as good (still doesn’t). I believe there’s now also an Android version of 2Do and a Mac app is planned.

    Since you say you’re a Google person I suppose you also use Gcal? If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution covering Gcal events, Toodledo (web) tasks, notes and contacts you may want to have a look at Pocket Informant. There are iOS, Android and Blackberry versions and a web app is in beta.

    I hope this was helpful. :)

    • Thank you Nina for a well thought out and written article. In a sea of information it was just what I was looking for. I’m a long time Toodledo user looking for a new app that can better list ‘next steps’ to keep me focused and not overwhelmed by the vastness of big projects. Based on your article and subsequent comments, I’ll give 2Do a try.

      Cheers,

      Andrew

      • Thank you so much, Andrew. The article is a little out of date as 2Do has been updated since it was written, so I’m glad that you still found it useful!

  8. Are you gonna write a review on 2Do for Mac? It was released last week! It’s a great app but I haven’t seen many reviews yet which surprises me :)

    • Hi Lana, many thanks for your comment!

      Yes, I saw that the Mac app has been released and I agree that it looks very interesting. If it’s anything like the iOS apps it should be both elegant and powerful. However, I have moved on to using Omnifocus so I’m not planning to buy it right now.

  9. Hi Nina, ok thanks for the quick response. Yes I guess it all depends on your personal needs and what fits your workflow best. I’ve noticed that 2Do suits me better than OmniFocus so I’m very happy I can also use it on my Mac now.

    • Ah, now you’re tempting me! One of the reasons why I switched to Omnifocus was that I found I really missed calendar integration which the devs of 2Do at the time made clear they wouldn’t provide. I was also reluctant to become a Toodledo Pro subscriber as there were sync issues with sub tasks. I’m happy with Omnifocus for the moment, especially Forecast and Review, but I do miss the beautiful interface and time zone support of 2Do.

  10. Haha sorry ’bout that. Yeah I really love 2Do’s design as well. Since I have to look at my task manager quite often it better look good. That’s what I really couldn’t get used to with OF. Idd, I don’t think 2Do is going to create something like the Forecast view. It has a lot of other features that won me over though (tags, smart lists, alarms, priorities, the ability to use keyboard shortcuts for almost every action). You can always download the free trial if you’re curious right ;)

    • Yes, the Omnifocus desktop app is quite ugly and messy looking. I’ve barely touched it since doing the initial setup. I use the iPhone and iPad apps for everything; they aren’t as pretty as 2Do, but not really ugly either (I think) and I like the purple icon.

      On 2Do’s forums at the time the devs were very firm that they saw tasks as completely separate from calendar appointments, so I agree that it’s unlikely they will create a forecast or other calendar view. But as you say, 2Do has a lot of other useful features. Perhaps if they have a sale on the desktop app I’ll cave in and check it out.

  11. Yeah I understand, the iPad screenshots I’ve seen of OmniFocus definately look better than the desktop app. I don’t own an iPad so a great Mac app is more important to me.

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