Getting Things Done (GTD) With Toodledo, Using Pseudo-GTD Methodologies

One of our readers previously wrote about Getting Things Done with 2Do and Toodledo. That great writeup focused on using Toodledo through 2Do, an iOS app. I have been using Toodledo ever since I first was blown away by it, although primarily through the web app (albeit via Fluid, a Mac app that turns a web page into a standalone application). Over time, I’ve developed a system of my own to implement some GTD methodologies within Toodledo. Here it is.

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How to Give Toodledo a Visual Makeover, and Turn It Into a Standalone App, With User Styles

toodledo style.jpeg

I love Toodledo. Ever since I crowned it my task manager of choice over a year ago, it has remained as one of the main tools in my productivity arsenal. Read our prior review for a look at why it stands as such a strong task management app for geeks. One shortcoming of Toodledo, and a factor that keeps many people from using it, is the user interface. To put it bluntly, it’s ugly. But it doesn’t have to be. With very little effort, you can turn Toodledo into a visually appealing productivity tool.

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Review of GTD in Springpad & Which GTD Solution Nina Chose [Reader Workflow]

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

Reading about how our readers approach their tech/workflow combinations has been both enlightening and a pleasure. You guys are smart — and we appreciate you taking the time to articulate your personal systems with us. Nina Kefer has already shown us two GTD setups in applications she has experimented with. Her Beauty and Brains: Getting Things Done™ In Style series has put an emphasis on mobility (from the iPhone), a beautiful user interface, and above all, functionality. She wraps up her series today with her own take on and review of GTD in Springpad (Bobby put together a slightly different approach here), and a final conclusion as to which GTD setup ultimately works the best for her – and might for you, too.

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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

Got To Do vs. Ultimate To Do List: Comparison of Toodledo Apps on Android

Got To Do versus Ultimate To Do List

If you can find an app in the iPhone app store, chances are that you can find an equivalent app for your Android device.  Sometimes, though, an official app isn’t available, so you have to look a bit harder.  That’s the case if you’re a user of Toodledo, a task manager that we’ve raved about before here at 40Tech.  Fortunately, Android developers are a resourceful bunch, and, as a result, third party alternatives have sprung up that bring Toodledo to your Android device. Two of the best are Ultimate To Do List and Got To Do.

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4 Reminder Tools to Keep You on Track

reminder The human memory is an awesome tool, but it isn’t perfect.  We all need gentle reminders now and then, so that we don’t forget what we need to do and where we need to be.  It would be nice if there was one source that could be the end-all, be-all when it comes to sending yourself reminders. I find, though, that I use a mix of tools to remind myself of what I need to do.  Here are four that I use.

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Task Manager Comparison: Toodledo vs. Remember the Milk

Toodledo vs Remember the Milk This post needs to start with a disclaimer.  I was initially going to compare two task managers, Remember the Milk and Toodledo, giving equal time to both as I put them through the paces.  But along the way, something strange happened.  As I put the two services to the test, I fell head over heels for one of them.  I’m talking about the kind of love I previously have only felt for Evernote and LastPass.  This post will still touch upon both Remember the Milk and Toodledo, as each one is useful in its own way, but you will see a bias here, and a more thorough discussion of Toodledo, as I abandoned Remember the Milk after a few days of using both.

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