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Message started by CcTiger2 on 12/29/10 at 19:45:33

Title: Handy tips for using GTD with Ecco Extension
Post by CcTiger2 on 12/29/10 at 19:45:33

I love Ecco.  I love "Getting Things Done" or GTD.  Here's a few tips for how I've made the GTD system work for me in Ecco using the Slang Extension.

It may  not be the most eloquent solution, but it has certainly worked very well for me, and may work well for others too.  

InBox Notepad
This is the first step of GTD – a place to dump all random bits of information, thoughts, ideas, should dos, etc. coming into my mind.  

My Inbox notepad is set up with columns that contain everything I need to decide about each incoming bit of information.  The columns I have (corresponding to folders, obviously) are:

NA     (Short for Next Action)
Due Date

The “Home” and “Work” columns simply let me designate whether the bit of information is relevant for home or work so I can keep the two separate.  

The remaining columns are fairly self explanatory to the GTD System.  

The final column (Inbox) will be checked, as long as the item is in view in this notepad.  It is at the end of my column list because once I have decided what check boxes to put in all the other columns, I can remove the item from the Inbox by un-checking this column.  

Handy Color Coding
To help me see when something is a “project” or when it is a “next action”, the Ecco Extension has a handy folder called color.  I have the following auto assign rules in my color folder:

++:!:4821760:[ Waiting]

These rules cause the text of any Next Action item in my system to be blue, Projects are a purple, and waiting for items are green.  This makes it easy to see at a glance in any notepad what I am looking at.

Project Folder (and “Magically” removing Items)
My project folder contains the following auto assign rules:

These rules make it so that whenever I check a project as “Done” or tag it with “Someday/Maybe” it is automatically removed from the project folder as well.  This is really handy for making sure that my project folder only contains ACTIVE projects, not projects I’ve already finished, or projects I’ve decided to postpone.

NA Folder
My NA (Next Actions) folder contains the same rules as my Projects folder, and for the same reason.  Whenever I mark a NA as “Done” or decide to make it a “Someday/Maybe”, the item is automatically removed from my NA folder.  This keeps my folder up to date.

Using Contexts
GTD methods call for assigning a “Context” or location where a task can be done, for each Next Action.  This helps to separate a list into things that you can do where you are.  In Ecco, I do this by creating a folder called “Context” and then putting all the contexts for my life below it.  For example:  @Home Computer, @Yard, @Errands, @Work.

These are all subfolders of my “Context” folder.  My Context folder contains the following auto assign rule:

This rule makes it so that any itme in a sub folder is automatically assigned to the context folder.  (So, when I put an item in my “@Yard” folder, it is automatically added to that “Context” folder as well.

The reason I do this, is because I have a notepad entitled “All NA’s”.  This folder displays anything in the Next actions category.  I have set up a filter for this notepad called “No Context”.  This says to show only items for which “Context” has no value.  I use this as a double check to make sure all my next actions have a context!  This is critical because of the way I view my Next Actions (more on that in the next section).

Each of my context folders have the following auto assign rule:

This rule means that if the item does NOT have “NA” checked, then remove it from the context folder as well.  So, once an item is marked Done, my auto assign rules remove it from the NA folder, and also remove it from the context folder.  

Viewing Next Actions
This is where I work in my system the vast majority of the time.  Actually looking at next actions, doing them, and checking them off!  
To view my next actions lists, and actually use them, I have my “Working NA” notepad.  This notepad has all my context folders on it, show with “context free” view.  Because I work with my NA items by context, it is critical that each of them have a context, or else I won’t see them!  (see note above about my double check for this).

This system has worked very well for me.  Maybe it will be helpful to you to!

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