Subject: Re: Another GTD question.
Date: Wednesday 4th October 2006 16:11:26 UTC (over 11 years ago)
I really like this discussion started by Alex. It has triggered for me a lot of thinking and clarity about how to use Org-mode for a GTD system. High time, because my current system basically is "do whatever the closest person pointing a gun to your head is asking". Has kept me alive, if stressed :-). Charles Cave's [article/tutorial] gives a great overview over the basic structure of GTD and his views on implementing GTD with org-mode. Below are a few thoughts on how GTD elements can be represented in org-mode. 2 The (too?) many organizational elements of Org-mode ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There are many ways to apply structure to your notes using Org-mode: - Categories (i.e. files) - Lists (outlines) - TODO keywords - TAGS and many of these can be used interchangeably. For example, if I am collecting the things I have to discuss with my colleagues Peter and Sarah, I could - use lists : * Agendas : ** Peter : *** item p1 : *** item p2 : ** Sarah : *** item s1 : *** item s2 - use TODO keywords : #+TYP_TODO: Peter Sarah : : * Project X : ** Peter item p1 : ** Sarah item s1 : * Project Y : ** Peter item p2 : ** Sarah item s2 - use TAGS : * Project X : ** item p1 :Peter: : ** item s1 :Sarah: : * Project Y : ** item p2 :Peter: : ** item s2 :Sarah: The same is true for contexts like `@work', `@home', `@computer' etc as they are being used in GTD. You could make a list of things to be handled at your computer at home, or you could use tags for contexts. So what is the best way to approach these issues, what method should be preferred and why? I think his is the core of the present discussion. For me personally, the main advantage of Org-mode is that I can keep information relating to a project together in one place. This is best for many reasons, for example - things that belong together, stay together - easy review if a project is stuck So I would not generally make lists for a specific contexts or people. Lists for a specific person are unlikely as well. Most of the time I would use either TAGS or TODO keywords, also because the search functions for tags and TODO keywords are the most powerful ones in Org-mode. 3 CATEGORIES for broad splitting of the GTD system ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I am using separate files for things I need to do for HOME and for WORK. At work I use one big file for most things, but the biggest tasks/projects I split off and put them into a separate file. 4 TAGS versus TODO keywords versus Lists to implement GTD elements ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 4.1 Context =========== I think most of us agree that contexts (location and required tools for doing a task) is something best implemented with TAGS in the org-mode system. Tags like @home, @work, @phone, @computer, @mall can be defined and easily applied to any tasks that need that particular context. 4.2 The GTD lists as *status* of a task ======================================= Another important part of GTD terminology are different lists that contain tasks, for example NEXT ACTION, WAITING, or SOMEDAY/MAYBE. In the original GTD terminology these are called lists. When thinking about implementation in Org-mode, it occurred to me that these are better called /status of a task/ which is then used to make corresponding lists. Here is what I mean by status: - TODO: this is something that needs to be done, no further specification if this can be done now or not. - NEXT: this is something that can be done /now/, you have everything you need to start doing it. This is what /next actions/ are about. - WAITING: This item cannot be done now, because we are waiting for something. Somebody else needs to act, some material needs to arrive, etc. - SOMEDAY: means that you have not decided that this needs to be done. How should we go about implementing this structure in org-mode? 1. We could make physically separate lists for each task status. As I said, I don't like this idea and will not discuss it further. 2. We can use TODO keywords to implement these different states. Each time the state changes, we switch to a different TODO keyword. This is very easy from an Agenda view: `1 t', `2 t', `3 t' etc directly switch to the corresponding keyword. In the buffer, try `Shift-left/right' with the cursor on the keyword. 3. We can use TAGS to implement this structure. So each TODO item would have an additional tag, identifying the state of the task. - Advantage: you keep the simple on/off of a TODO item. - Disadvantage: When you mark an entry DONE, the NEXT tag (or whichever the current status is will stick around and put this item into your NEXT ACTION lists. Which of these two possibilities you choose really depends on your personal taste. Since version 4.52 of org-mode matching TODO keywords has become as easy as matching tasks, so also from the technical point of view there is no preference. I am personally inclined to try option (2) first. 4.3 Agendas =========== Charles and Pete have already discussed here about making agendas (things to discuss with a particular person or group) either lists or tags. I agree with them that it is best to keep tasks in the