Tag Archives: howto

My GTD setup in RTM

It’s come up a few times: “How do you use RTM?” “What do your lists/Smart Lists look like?”

I covered them briefly on RTM’s blog but they’ve changed a bit since then, and I’d like to flesh them out a bit more.1

Obviously my work has meant that I come in contact with a lot of users’ methods that they share on the forums, and I’ve borrowed a few. :)

The first method I ever implemented was Doug Ireton’s “classic” post on the RTM blog on implementing GTD.

My setup deviates from that though. The basics are there—I try to minimize use of due dates, I organize my tasks by physical context (home, phone, computer, work, etc.) and I try to make my list capture everything.

However, I try to keep my setup as minimal as possible, a lot more minimal than a full-on GTD setup. The biggest thing is that I don’t really organize my tasks in projects; that’s just not how my work or life revolve.

To show you what my organization looks like, here are my lists on the website:

RTM list tabs

As you can see, I only have two proper lists2: Mine and Shared. The only reason I have two is to separate tasks that are shared with Deanna. (I’ve shared that list with her.)

The rest of my organization is tag-based, and I’ve created a number of Smart Lists (shown in blue) to organize them in ways that I regularly use.

I use my Inbox as a place where my quickly added tasks end up—something I’ll email in, a handful of tasks I think of and want to get in quickly without setting any properties, etc.—but I empty it regularly.

Most of my Smart Lists are pretty obvious (and correspond to a particular tag or two), but a few of them are worth mentioning:

  • zzz: This is a Smart List that puts tasks to sleep until a certain time before they’re due. (When I’m looking at my list of tasks to do at home, I don’t care about the bills I have to pay until it’s time to pay them.)
  • !Next: (((priority:1 OR priority:2) AND NOT list:zzz) OR (NOT tagContains:@ OR list:Inbox status:incomplete)) AND NOT (list:Target OR list:Grocery)
    This is a list of all “next actions”, things I can do presently. Naturally, this will exclude anything I’ve “put to sleep” as mentioned above, and also things that I’ve designated as something that I’ll get to later. It also catches anything I haven’t filed correctly (anything not tagged correctly or in my Inbox) and it will exclude anything in my special Target and grocery lists. :)
  • !Today: ((dueBefore:today OR due:today OR priority:1) AND list:!Next OR (NOT tagContains:@ OR list:Inbox status:incomplete))
    This is a Smart List that shows me the things I really have to do today—or should at least try to. On a really good day, I’ll clear this list. It’s everything from the !Next list that’s overdue, due today, or high priority.
    Perhaps its obvious, but this is where I spend the bulk of my time, with the occasional jaunt over to my !Next list.

Tag CloudLastly, my Tag Cloud shows how my tags/lists are being used. It should be no surprise that a lot of my tasks are things for me to do on the internet. :)

My goal with my organization is to make it quick and easy to use. I can quickly add a task that will show up where I’ll see it (!Next and !Today) and organize all sorts of tasks that won’t show up there.

Let me know if you’d like any more pointers or tips on how I do things.

  1. Firstly, you should read my notes on GTD; if you don’t understand that, my methodology will make less sense. I’m not going to reexplain it here.
  2. Inbox and Sent are lists RTM creates

Tracking WordPress comments

Participating on a blog is infinitely more worthwhile if you’re able to find out about new comments to any interesting posts.

To that end, here is my favorite tip for keeping up on comments: Co.mments.com, a great site to subscribe to comments on any blog. You simply track a page and it will update you via email or RSS (your choice). It works on a majority of sites/blogs/forums, and there’s a handy bookmarklet you can use in your browser that works on any page. Check it out and see what you think.

I prefer using this to other methods because it doesn’t require anything on the part of the blog author (and many don’t opt in to this kind of functionality). Also, I prefer seeing comments in RSS to email, and co.mments gives me one RSS feed, so I don’t have to keep subscribing to a new feed for every post—I simply track new conversations and the feed is updated automatically.

Also, putting my proverbial money where my proverbial mouth is, here are a few things I’ve done on my blog to offer you some choices:

  • You’ll see the ability to subscribe to comments via RSS below. (OK, I didn’t actually do this; it’s a WordPress feature.)
  • Since I like co.mments.com so much, I’ve also added the ability to track a post’s comments via co.mments.com. (See underneath the comment form.) The link is kludgy, but using Javascript in WordPress is an obstacle I haven’t tackled (yet).
  • Lastly, you can also track comments via email, as per the Subscribe to Comments plugin. (Also underneath the comment form.)
  • If you’re someone who wants all comments on all posts, you can subscribe to my blog’s comments feed. WordPress doesn’t offer that to the browser as an available feed, and I’m disinclined to add it given the other choices above. (However, if you want this, make the case; I’ll be pretty easily convinced.)

Sorry I hadn’t done these sooner. “Comment management” is definitely a feature I have wanted to offer on my blog, I just hadn’t put in the time yet to implement them. (Thanks for the kick in the pants, Steve!)

WordPress OpenID plugin: Now providing

I was very pleased to find out today that the WordPress OpenID plugin was updated. Among some general fixes, the newest version supports acting as an OpenID provider. In other words, I can use my “andrewski.net” domain to sign in to any OpenID-enabled websites, of which there are plenty. I can then manage my authentications within my WordPress settings. All very good stuff.

(One heads-up: the OpenID plugin encourages you to install the XRDS-Simple plugin. The description is there, but I missed it.)

My general goal is to make my domain as useful as possible, and this is definitely a big step.