I am a longtime fan of the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology described by David Allen. (If you’ve never heard of GTD, here’s a basic overview). He prescribes a system in which all of the “stuff” you need to get done goes in an inbox, and then is periodically sorted into contexts and priorities.
Over the years, I have used a number of tools to help me manage my GTD-centric system. Most recently, I moved to using Nozbe, and I am really happy with the ways that it helps me manage my life.
Every task starts in the Nozbe inbox. Whether I am at home and remember I need to do something, or I am at work finishing a project, I add any new tasks to the inbox. I don’t think about what task list the task needs to go on, and I don’t bother to categorize it. When I think of something I need to remember to do, I quickly add it to my Nozbe inbox and then I get back to doing what it is that I was doing.
By simply dumping to-do’s into my inbox, I am able to very quickly add the task so I know I won’t forget, but I keep from getting distracted by opening my list of tasks.
At least once per day, I look at each task in my inbox and I assign each task to a project based on the area of responsibility in my life. For instance, I have projects created for each area of responsibility I have at work, at home, and in my personal life. Some examples include a project for all my work-related finance tasks, another for my home-related finance tasks, and another for my home “life” tasks. I have projects created for each software product I am working on at MSPintegrations, and projects for the different areas of my Rezitech responsibilities: finance, technical, sales, and administrative items.
While I review each task, I also assign the task to a category based on the context in which I can complete that task. For instance, some tasks require me to be at a particular place (at home or work), some tasks require me to be able to make phone calls, and some require me to be in front of a computer. Based on the context needed to complete the task, I assign the task to a particular category such as phone, home, work, computer, or errands.
If tasks need to be completed by a particular date (or if I want to be reminded on a particular date), I set the date of the task as I file it. Nozbe will automatically move the task to my priority list on that date.
Nozbe tasks can be flagged as “Priority”, which I use as my list of tasks that need to be done today. Tasks that are due today will always move to the priority list, and I can manually mark a task as priority if I want to be sure to work on it today. As I work during the day, I primarily work in my priority list.
On a weekly basis, I work through each project in Nozbe. I make sure that I have marked off all the tasks that I completed, and I also make sure I have created a task for the next step for the project.
Using Categories (Contexts)
One of my favorite things about using Nozbe is the ability to make tasks with a category (which I use to track the context). If I have time to make some phone calls, I simply pull up the category for phone calls. On one screen, Nozbe lists all the tasks that are related to the phone, across all my projects and areas of responsibility. I can then make a bunch of phone calls all at once and knock them all out. Same thing for when I’m at home, or at work, or running errands. I can quickly see all the things that need to completed while I am in those contexts.
There are things that I need to do on a recurring basis, such as paying the bills, submitting payroll, and getting an oil change in my car. When I add these tasks to Nozbe, I mark them as recurring. Nozbe then adds the tasks back to my inbox on the schedule I set.