Task / project management

just realized that what i did with Everdo is not pure GTD, and i am asking for your suggestion.

Task capture

the GTD theory asks to capture any ideas to inbox first, and later empty the inbox.
what i usually do is, i have some projects which could last for several months.
when i capture a task, i know exactly which project the task belongs to. so i directly put the task into that project.

Next list

I have dozens of projects ongoing at the same time. and inside each project, i have lots of tasks. in fact, those tasks are executed in parallel, and it takes more than 2 weeks to finish those tasks (for example a large simulation run on server which takes huge time to finish). as a result, i got too many tasks in the next list, which makes me barely look at that list. some times i set the project to be sequential to avoid a huge next list. but that acutally is not what it is and i still don’t want to look at the next list, since there are dozens of tasks inside. instead, i look at the project list.

i tried to use different area for those projects, but still it is not enough. inside each area, the next list is also huge. and i always feel that, if an area is not valid any more, then i wish to delete it otherwise there will be too many tags to choose. but if i remove that area, then i lost some information for the completed tasks.

2 minutes principle

for me, frequently i will be interupted by some urgent requests, and most of them take about half an hour. in that case, i still don’t want to capture it. i just spend half an hour on it directly.


Now i feel a little doubted, if GTD is really applicable for my situation.
could you please give me your suggesion, what kind of management method / tools should I use?

thanks in advance

Regarding your Next list:
I like to keep there only the tasks that actually are “actionable”. So for example if I had “a large simulation run on server which takes huge time to finish” I’d put it on “Waiting” while it’s running and perhaps add a scheduled date when I expect it finish. I also make heavy use of Someday list for tasks that are still unclear. For some projects I also have a dedicated tasks “backlog” notebook and keep only few tasks I expect to work on soon in the “main” project.


I would capture those tasks.
What happens if an even more urgent request hits you while you are working on another urgent task that didn’t made it to your inbox yet?

When emptying your Inbox you can enjoy marking them done.

As igasior wrote, I d make heavy use of waiting for and triage the tasks using someday, scheduled and next inside the project itself.

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The server is a person.
The task is a waiting on task.

Another reason we need timed reminders. Today is just WAY TOO HUGE. I need to be able to designate tasks to times throughout the day. You might also want to start using tags and contexts. I have @home separated into different times and locations because @home is way too broad. If I’m downstairs in the TV room, ain’t no way in gonna clime all the way upstairs to use the printer. Then when I’m working in the printer room I often forget to check my phone to see what I need to do there. If I know when I’m going to be there I could often schedule a time reminder.

David Allen actually talks quite a bit about this and having a distraction free time and place. This is actually the beauty of GTD – the ability to schedule tasks when and where you need to do them.

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thanks guys, brilliant, the server is a person. i surely would put it in waiting list.:grinning:

It’s important to keep Next clean and actionable. I would suggest going through the Next list in each Area, and check if each specific action should be there. Is it actionable right now? Is the whole project actionable? Will you really be working on it in the next few days, or will you ignore it in favor of other projects?