I have been using ToodleDo on my iPhone, home computer and office computer for the last three years. ToodleDo is my trusted system for capturing tasks, planning my projects and getting things done.
In this article I will show how I capture an item to do, review the action list for today (the Hot-list) and marking a task as completed.
A task list management system has to be accessible from everywhere in order to capture information no matter what I am doing. Typically I think of things to do while I am eating my breakfast, walking to the railway station, and planning my day at the office.
In order to use ToodleDo you need to register at the ToodleDo web site then you can begin to set up your lists of tasks. I recommend you watch the introductory videos to understand the different parts of the system. Visit the Mobile access page to learn about the iOS App, Android App and Mobile Web interface.
ToodleDo can be customised in many ways and you don’t have to use all the fields and options provided. Now I will show how a task is captured on my phone and explain the extra fields used to organise the tasks.
Capturing a Task
The Hotlist screen is my starting point and shows the tasks i must do today. Every task has a short description and these can be seen on the list. [Click on images to display full size]
Adding a task is just a matter of touching Add Task.
Enter the task description as a short sentence. I like to start the sentence with a strong action verb. I sometimes use the Voice input to capture the details.
Click Done. This screen is displayed. You can see the fields I have chosen to use in ToodleDo and default values.
Due Date is optional but my default is today’s date. Click on the date to change it. This screen is very convenient as the days of the week are shown with the dates, so if I wanted to record a task for the weekend I could click Sat or Sun.
Star – clicking the star at the top right is a useful way to select tasks to display separately. My Hotlist setting includes tasks with a star.
Context is used to record where the task can be done and is one of the foundations of David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology. A context means the task can only be done in this context. The contexts I set up include COMPUTER for my home computer, HOME for my home activities, OFFICE for the workplace, ERRANDS are for shopping tasks and lunchtime activities. You may want to have contexts for PHONE (phone calls).
Notes click at the top of the screen to add additional information to the note. Often I paste URLs for web articles to read later, outlines for blog articles and details of books or DVDs to borrow from the library. For example, I can search the library catalogue on my computer, create a ToodleDo task then add the details in a note. When I visit the library I access ToodleDo on my phone, the date is synchronised then I can access the details in the note.
Other fields I use but won’t go into details here are Folder (for categorising tasks into different areas of my life), Status, Tag and Priority. These fields are not needed for the quick and easy tasks like this example of buying bread. Returning to the Hotlist, you can now see the Buy loaf of bread task is displayed in the list.
The tasks on this page can be sorted by up to 3 levels using the controls on the dark blue section at the top of the screen. I have chosen to sort by date then status. You can see how the tasks due to day are shown under the Today label. The context of the tasks is shown in small type under the task description.
Doing the work and completing the tasks
I had to establish the habit of checking the ToodleDo hotlist in the morning before I left for work, then checking at the office, at lunchtime then in the evening. This ensures I review the tasks when I change context from home to work and errands for lunch time activities. This ensures that I do the tasks I have captured in my system.
Completing a task is just a matter of pressing the box to mark the task as done.
The Weekly Review is another important part of the Getting Things Done methodology. Each week I use the desktop browser to view the Recently Completed and Recently Added tasks as well as open tasks and completed tasks. Recent means within the previous seven days. I then review the tasks in several ways including by folder (areas of my life) and status (Next Actions).
This is a very high level overview of ToodleDo. I encourage you to try it out (it is free) then gradually extend your usage by customising the fields used, creating searches and exploring the settings. I chose to pay for the Gold subscription as this gives me more feeatures as well as supporting the developers of the product.
When I want to remind myself to do something, then I add the task to ToodleDo. I have found that if I don’t capture the task, then it will be forgotten and not done. I no longer write reminder notes or post-it notes of things to do.
I hope ToodleDo helps you get things done.