As a new contributor to the TaskLabels website and community, upon my very first installation of the app one of the very first questions that crossed my mind was: Can this app handle GTD?
In case you don’t know, GTD stands for Getting Things Done. It’s the most commonly used time-management system in the world and while we definitely would recommend to read David Allen’s book about it, going through few hundred pages is not necessary in order to get started with using the system.
It’s actually fairly simple. There’s few boxes – or labels – and few binary questions that make up for the GTD workflow depicted in the chart below:
I decided to set up a fresh TaskLabels account and run a test to see whether the app is up to par to manage the GTD workflow. Here are the steps I went through:
1. Set up an ‘Inbox’ label and proceed to do a brain-dump
One of the single most powerful features of the GTD system is the ability to get all those recurring thoughts about ‘stuff we need to do’ out of our heads. And this is true whether we want to sit down to clear our minds by putting all the ‘stuff’ into the Inbox or something just struck our mind on our commute. Or someone just asked us to do something. It all goes into Inbox:
As you can see, you can add new items simply by typing in the upper field in both Web and Mobile apps. No need to click anything, just keep on typing until you got it all out of your head!
After we’ve put it all down into our Inbox, now it’s time to start processing the items one-by-one!
2. Actionable or not?
Now we have to decide whether the items are actually doable or not – in the second case we should put them in a Someday/Maybe or Reference category. I cannot act on ‘Consider starting a Mastermind group’ now, so I assign a Someday/Maybe label to it and uncheck the Inbox label since this item is now processed.
I do the same with ‘Consider sky diving this summer’. Similarly, I cannot act on ‘WrittenChinese – great app for learning Chinese’ , so I put it into my Reference:
3. Less than 2 minutes? Do it now!
Now that all of my items in Inbox are actionable, I either continue processing the tasks one by one or scan for those that can be done under 2 minutes.
I take a quick glance and there I notice it: ‘Get back to Matt’ can be definitely done in less than 2 minutes, so I just do it right away.
4. Longer than 2 minutes? Defer it or delegate it.
When processing my next task, I wanna see if I can delegate it to free up my already very busy schedule. There it is! ‘Design a new logo for my blog’ can definitely be done by our graphic designer Dimi.
I edit the task and create a label waiting for. I also add ‘Dimi’ to task’s name and set a deadline in the Calendar.
I could also run different labels for specific projects and share labels (whole groups of tasks) with my colleagues. We’ll learn more about sharing labels and its possibilities in the next episode, so stay tuned for that!
With deferring, I have 3 options: put the task into Next Actions, Schedule it or put it into Projects (see the workflow chart).
If the task only requires one step or simply doesn’t merit its own project, we can put it into Next Actions. We can run different labels for our Next Actions, for example Household, Office, School etc.
The next time we’re at those places, we can just pop out our smartphone and see what are Next Actions relevant to that location. (Think of all the times we think about buying something while not even being at the relevant location for that action – the Supermarket)
Notice that I can add Notes to my tasks, which comes very handy for things like creating my shopping list.
For tasks with a set date (such as meetings and events) I can simply schedule them. I can then choose to not assign any labels (since the Calendar will be reminding me about those) or assign a label like Meetings and Events.
Put it into Projects
For tasks that require multiple steps we should create projects with their own labels. Let’s say I want to lose 10 lbs. That’s a project that will require multiple recurring actions.
So I set up a new label: Losing 10 lbs. Then I proceed to add tasks that will make it possible to reach the project’s goal, e.g.:
-Do a research on a new diet
-Running in the morning (recurring task)
-Evening cross-fit (recurring task)
I can set up a repetition and reminder for my ‘Running in the morning’:
Tip: You need to set up a Due Date first before setting up Repetition
Looks like we’ve covered all the aspects of the plain GTD system. As a new user to TaskLabels myself I can confidently say that this app can indeed handle this practical and reliable system.
What I like the most is the simplicity of the app. It has all of the most essential functions, it’s clutter-free and clean yet can be very powerful.
And it is totally up to you how you use the app. You can build a sophisticated GTD system within the app or just use it intuitively, constantly adding and organizing labels until you figure out your perfect way of using TaskLabels.
What’s your way of using the app? Drop us a comment below, we’re curious to hear from you!