Advice on projects

#1

Hi

I’m coming from Things. Love the quick actions of GoodTask; however, I’m struggling to work out how to manage projects. I generally use tags as GTD contexts and list for Areas of my life.

I generally have 15-20 projects at any one time - too many for tags, I think?

How do others deal with this?

Andrew

#2

In my experience with projects, you can do it one of two ways:

  1. You create a list for each of those projects.
  2. You create tasks for each of the projects, and then you use sub tasks. I don't recommend this option as you can't assign dates/times to sub tasks.

It's a lot of lists, but it's better/easier to manage that way.

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#3

Thanks. It’s just, as you say, there can be a lot of lists.

Edit: i’d tried your second option and come across the problem you noted. I’ve also tried keeping a master list of projects with tasks as sub tasks of each project, transferring next actions as tasks, but that’s very labour intensive.

#4

I feel this is the biggest shortcoming in GoodTask. I went to Things 3 because of it. But now I'm back again because Agenda is a main part of my workflow and they are integrating with Reminders in a major way. (Also, the rumor is that Apple is cooking up a huge improvement to Reminders this year).

In the past, I have used Smart Folders for projects. Projects are short lived and I don't want to create lots of lists for things that are not that relevant after a short while. Yes, I could delete them but then I lose the whole record of those projects.

Here's what could make Smart Lists better for use with projects:

If they added the feature to be able to drag tasks to a smart list and the task would then take on the tags of that smart list. Also, a way to archive Smart Lists so that when the project is done you don't have to have it sitting around taking up valuable space.

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#5

Thanks for all the feedback.

Of course you can use the app as any way as you can but I personally recommend using a Reminders list for a project. This is much more flexible than any other ways and after you're done, you can just simply check it off inside 'Settings - Lists & Calendars' to hide them on GoodTask. There is no need to delete them if you don't want to.

I have multiple plans to update things according to these use cases and I'll try to work on it soon.

Thanks!

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#6

But then over time you end up with 100s of lists in the reminders app. That doesn’t seem the best for me.

#7

@stevew , It'd be nice if you can share how you handle projects. If you make a lot of them as you said, it seems like it could be a mess.

If you use tags for a project, it could be better as you said. I'll check and will see if drag and drop on a smart list to get tags automatically could be done.

Thanks! :slight_smile:

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#8

Thank you so much for looking into and considering if that's possible. Yes, I have felt that's the one and only thing that Things handles better - projects. But if the drag drop onto smart lists could happen, then GoodTask would be much better because it's so much ore powerful and flexible.

I use a GTD methodology where whenever there's two or more related tasks, then they become a project, particularly if they are sequential. So a simple project could be buying a new computer. The steps might include researching online, visiting the Apple Store, getting some recommendations, etc. A more complex project could be performing some work for a client. But even that could be broken down into smaller projects - bidding on the project, writing up an agreement, creating a prototype etc. In a GTD system, projects need to be small enough that projects can be finished in days or weeks, not months. So you end up with lots of them.

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#9

I’d agree with that. There is so much that’s great about GT, but project handling a la GTD seems to demand an additional overhead that Things doesn’t.

Andrew

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#10

Yes, if he solves that then GoodTask is leaps above Things. I personally feel that Smart Lists are the way to go. It's almost there. In addition to the drag on to a smart list feature request I mentioned above, the one other feature would be to be able to archive a Smart List. That shouldn't be a real problem. Just have some list of all the archived Smart Lists and a way to bring one back to an active state if desired. Then you have a really powerful GTD projects system in GoodTask.

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#11

I've been playing around with this as a result, and having the tag sorting makes this really nice I think.

What I've done:

  1. I dropped my "project" lists and now just have "area" lists.
  2. I'm sorting the "area" lists by specific tags for each area.
  3. Then I created smart lists for each individual tag.

Benefits:

  • I now have a primary area that I can view a high level look at all my projects and move tasks between projects by drag & drop within that list.
  • History is not lost when I archive a project, as that history will be maintained from the main area list.

Downsides:

  • A bit cumbersome to setup at first. Creating lists for every project is easier.
  • Had to setup quick actions to manage swapping tasks into projects based on tags rather than lists.

I might be missing something, but this feels better at the moment. :man_shrugging:t2: :blush:

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#12

I’ve also arrived at a similar solution:

  1. Area lists (Personal, Work, Voluntary + Inbox)
  2. Tags for key projects (not everything needs a project tag) as well as tags for a simplified context view
  3. Smart lists for project tags and contexts.

Using QAs speeds up the process of triaging the inbox.

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#13

The curse of fiddling. I dug out some publications on GTD by David Allen’s company and looked at both the iPad (iPhone is very similar) and Things advice on implementation of GTD.

Both are essentially the same (which i think is missing a trick with Things, but that’s another story). Use Lists for contexts. Maintain a project and a someday/maybe list. Only use tags sparingly (e.g. for areas of focus). Each project would be a task in the Project list. Any planned next actions could be recorded as subtasks and ticked off when turned into a current action

A change of mind set will be required, but I’ll experiment with this for a couple of weeks.

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