Zen To Done with Todoist Part 2

3 minutes reading time

  • Part one covers the first three habits; Collect, Process, and Plan
  • Part two addresses Do, Simple Trusted System, and Organise
  • Part three deals with Review, Simplify and Routines

Do Habit

The actual act of working on your tasks. I have a custom start page query of:

@now, (today | overdue) & p:Routines,(today | overdue) & p:Work, (today | overdue) & p:Personal

This splits the tasks up into the three main groupings I have, which are ordered by the priority in each group. This gives me a clear focus for what I should be tackling but lets me see the day at a glance. In the mornings and evenings, I concentrate on the #personal group, whilst my working day is centred on the #work group. #routines are the regular periodic tasks that span both work and personal.

The most recent addition is the @now label, thanks to the advice from Marc Jenkins. I am often distracted so by tagging my current task means it’s easy to return to what I was doing instead of starting something new. It’s early days and I need to get into the habit of tagging tasks every time, but it has paid off a few times already.

Simple, Trusted System and Organise Habits.

As I mentioned in the introduction, my trusted system comprises three tools. Todoist, Bear and my Calendar (using Fantastical). ZTD emphasises keeping it simple so I don’t have ridiculous numbers of projects or labels. Todoist has autocompletion features for both projects and labels. This avoids duplication and eases data entry, helping to keep them to an essential list.


List of projects

I have 3 main projects.
1. #Routines cover the daily, weekly and other regular periodic tasks that have to be completed on a particular schedule - whether that’s for work or personally.
2. #Work covers anything to do with my working life. I do have quite a few sub-projects for client or internal projects. This makes for easier classification and filtering of tasks. My custom start page query is set up so that sub-project tasks which are scheduled show up within the #Work group.
3. #Personal covers the rest of my life outside of work. Sub-projects cover personal side-projects and other bigger commitments, home maintenance, and shopping lists.

#VA is a convenience project where I jot down tasks that I can delegate to my virtual assistant.

#Reading contains a list of articles or books I want to read and videos I want to watch. It acts as a temporary collection point until I process them into Bear or Instapaper.

#Backburner is a placeholder for sub-projects which I have shelved. Sometimes I put tasks here which are potential ideas for the future.


List of labels

I’ve already covered the @now label so I won’t repeat it here. Most of my labels relate to my work-oriented tasks and they’re generally split into two sets. The first are my daily themes; admin, sales, project, marketing and biz. I categorise most tasks as one of these during my Processing stage. Each day of my working week has a theme, for example Monday’s are for admin.
I filter tasks by the @admin label to find tasks that can be batched together and avoid changing focus.

The next few labels identify whether the task requires deep work (@deep), are quick to do (@quick) or only need low energy to complete (@low). This enables me to schedule deep work sessions and I can pick up simple tasks when I’m not feeling energised.

The remaining labels are a mixed bag and will likely grow and change a little over time. The @waiting label reminds me that I’m waiting on someone or something else before being able to complete it. I review these in my Planning and Review stages. @idea and @blog get used to quickly capture ideas and/or blog post topics. Typically these aren’t kept around for too long before they’re transcribed into Bear.

In part 3 I’ll cover the final three habits.


Got any questions or comments? Drop me a message on Twitter (@elaptics).