How I Implement "Getting Things Done" Using TimeTo

Note: original of this document can be found here on TimeTo User Group. Original author is Simon. I am just reposting it here for your convenience: 

 

 

HOW I IMPLEMENT "GETTING THINGS DONE" USING TIMETO

(Feel free to pass this document around, or post it anywhere that
TimeTo users might hang out together - or feel free to email me for
the latest version. I find this approach has worked well for me so
far, so there's no reason why others shouldn't benefit from it also).

INTRODUCTION

=============

TimeTo (and Above & Beyond) are unique amongst PIMs in that they do
NOT provide you with the standard "To Do" list.

Instead, it provides you with a definite, detailed, minute-by-minute
plan for achieving what you want. The plan changes minute-by-minute
through the day as new things crop up during the day that would
normally play havoc with your schedule.

The plan automatically adapts to whatever you throw at it so you can
immediately see when you are over-stretching yourself. And you can
immediately see if you really can meet those tight deadlines.

There is a trial version of TimeTo available from David Berman
Communications at http://www.timeto.org

I have no connection with David Berman Communications - I just think
the program is uniquely useful for REALLY getting things done.

"Getting Things Done" (GTD) is the name of a book based on the
(revolutionary, in my opinion) time-management methodology of David
Allen. (http://www.davidco.com)

MOTIVATION

=============

I've been using the Getting Things Done approach for nearly a couple
of years now and I'm totally convinced that it works better than any
other time-management system around.

My problem is that I find it hard to keep reminding myself to check
actions lists again and again throughout the day to see what is
important. I also find it really boring to have to keep checking
action/project lists to make sure that the item I have just completed
is not part of some bigger project that now needs another next action.
I also find it tedious at the weekly review to go through all my
active projects (I have a lot of them!) to ensure that each has a next
action.

I find myself actually skipping my weekly reviews sometimes because I
find doing this sort of stuff so boring and tedious even though I know
it is worth doing them in the long-run. (shame on me, I know)

In fact, I'd rather something or someone else just took care of all
that boring stuff for me and presented me with a suggested list of
items (based upon deadlines and priorities) from which I can pick and
choose according to my intuition and judgement. The problem is that I
am the only one who really knows what my priorities are so I need to
be fully involved - rather than delegating my entire life to someone
else <grin>. This is where the dynamic scheduling power of TimeTo
comes in.

Since switching to TimeTo for my GTD approach, my life has literally
transformed as far as achieving solid results is concerned. I'm now
using my favourite PIM according to my favourite methodology and the
combination is proving to be awesome - for me, at least.

I guess others think this way also, hence the popularity of a
dynamic- scheduling-style program like Life Balance for the Palm.
I've seriously tried Life Balance on a few occasions but the TimeTo
approach is really the ultimate approach in my view because of the
minute-by-minute scheduling...but then again I don't use TimeTo in
quite the same way that most people do or as it was intended to be
used, as you will see.

Despite trying just about every other PIM that exists, I keep coming
back to TimeTo because it really *makes me* do the tasks that need to
be done - sometimes just through good old nagging - instead of giving
me a pretty theoretical plan which I can feel good about and then
ignore, or which is rendered worthless by the first interruption.

There is something within me that just NEEDS to see a detailed,
structured plan for the day and feel confident that everything
important can be achieved - but there is also a part of me that needs
to feel free enough to just ignore it on a whim! TimeTo gives me the
best of both worlds.

TimeTo does take some getting used to though. I avoided it for years
initially because it felt like every moment of my day was being eaten
up by some bizarre program that was dictating how I should live my
life from minute-to-minute.

It was not until I finally had had enough of the "Microsoft Outlook
mentality" of increasingly-long task lists that never seemed to get
any shorter, or give me any feeling of progress, that I had the
insight of creating "empty appointments" in TimeTo just to have free
time to do whatever I wanted. Then I realized that TimeTo was the
perfect solution for keeping track of everything that really needed
doing in my life while allowing me to REALLY enjoy those downtime
moments without guilt.

I get a real Mind-Like-Water experience, as David Allen puts it, from
using this program. If I don't feel like doing anything important for
today (or the next few hours), I just create an immediate appointment
in TimeTo blocking out the next few hours. It automatically
reschedules everything and notifies me if there is any deadline that
will be blown away by me doing this. Otherwise I can just relax for a
few hours knowing that everything is still on track. My entire life is
literally dumped into this program so I can be totally relaxed that
nothing is slipping through the cracks. It's a great feeling to be
"totally free" for a few hours while on a busy schedule.

I run many simultaneous GTD "projects" (personal and professional)
side-by-side. (In GTD, a project is any multi-step goal or outcome,
even if fairly trivial). Somedays I have a very hectic schedule while
other days I have to provide my own inspiration (and motivation) to do
things since there is nothing pressing in the short-term but there are
many long-term goals to work towards.

So I need to be both reactive and proactive - sometimes switching
between one mode and the other very quickly. But I also get bored
easily. So I like to intuitively chop and change the tasks I am
working on depending on how inspired I feel in the moment. I get much
more done when I'm in the mood for doing it than when I am forcing
myself to do something I would rather defer until later.

Enjoying my life IN THE PRESENT MOMENT is a major thing for me and
using TimeTo is like having someone there constantly to deal with all
the mundane stuff while I just "cherry pick" the good stuff I want to
do in the moment. When you use this kind of approach, you find that
there are times when you genuinely enjoy doing a few boring, mundane
things (as a kind of break) and other times when you genuinely enjoy
being highly-creative and concentrated. And there are some other times
when it's great to just do nothing at all while knowing that
everything is still being taken care of.

Items in TimeTo automatically reorganize themselves according to
priority and deadlines so my dynamic schedule is always in a state of
constant flux. It ebbs and flows according to my whims and moods but I
get everything done on time (usually well in advance), with almost no
effort because it all seems like fun. But most importantly for me, I
genuinely enjoy the process of achieving things.

P.S. In fact, this whole description of how I use TimeTo virtually
wrote itself because I only ever did it when I was in the mood for it
so it was all fun. Whenever I got bored I just moved on to something
else in my schedule that TimeTo suggested I should do.

BENEFITS OF USING TIMETO FOR GTD

=============

- The need to constantly check action lists is taken away. TimeTo
handles all deadlines and prioritizing.

- Once all your tasks and projects are in TimeTo, you can REALLY relax
and just play with your schedule knowing that if you push it too far,
TimeTo will let you know that you cannot possibly meet a deadline.

- You don't have to think upfront about the right Next Actions.
TimeTo will automatically surface tasks (even "amorphous blob" tasks)
when it is time to work on them. You can then do some "natural
planning" (as David Allen calls it) in the Note section of that item
to define and highlight Next Actions and future actions.

- It helps enormously with time discipline so you don't end up leaving
stuff until the last minute. In the past, I have often left it too
late to do Next Actions off my actions list. If there is any danger of
that for a particular project or task, I just set the duration of the
task to an amount of time that I think the entire project would
require (in an ideal interruption-free world) and TimeTo automatically
watches to make sure that there is sufficient time available.

- You always have a feeling of progress even when tackling massive
tasks. Using the splittable items feature will allow TimeTo to let you
work a bit at a time on a large task and keep coming back to it when
you feel like it.

- You automatically get a daily record of events which I find very
useful both when weekly reviewing and also when wanting to know how I
exactly spent my time on any particular day.

- You don't have to think anymore about whether the action you are
just completing is part of a larger project. TimeTo has a "clone"
feature which, on completion of a particular task, will ask you if you
want to schedule the next one. In my approach, I use this extensively
to set a Next Action on completion of a previous Next Action.

- You can be sure that everything you are doing is moving you to
towards accomplishing significant goals and projects rather than just
being time that is being frittered away unnecessarily on meaningless
items

- Assigning Next Actions to projects during Weekly reviews are much
simplified (more on this later) - and are often not necessary at all.

WEAKNESSES OF USING TIMETO FOR GTD

=============

- TimeTo will only sync one-way to your Palm. Effectively, your
appointments book will be read-only since it will be overwritten at
each sync - plus you will not have any dynamic scheduling. At first,
this was a major stumbling block for me and I installed and
uninstalled several times because I kept on believing it was a major
stumbling block. But over a period of months, I've noticed just how
much benefit I get from the way that TimeTo structures and
automatically sorts out my day for me minute-by-minute so I am now
prepared to just buy a laptop and carry it from location to location
if necessary just to use the program.

- TimeTo has a very limited outliner so you have to use the Browse
Notes view and just indent text using the Tab key if you want to
simulate outlines. Actually, this is no worse than using a vanilla
Palm and keyboard really - something I've done quite a lot of in the
past. In fact, this entire document was written in a TimeTo note over
a few days in spare moments. I just outlined using the Tab key.

- It is a complex program using some clever algorithms to figure out
which are your most important next actions. You have to trust it to
pull up the right things at the right time. If you don't have faith
in the program (or computers in general), this may not be for you. It
also goes against the pure principle of simplicity in the GTD
approach by using such a complex piece of software however it works
wonders for me so is it really so bad? (The GTD Police probably
wouldn't agree!)

- To use TimeTo effectively, you really need access to a PC all day
long. That's not a problem for me since I sit at a PC all day at work
and have one on all the time at home. I just sync TimeTo between the
two locations as I travel between them.

- TimeTo is so different from "normal" PIMs that it does take time to
appreciate that it really does work and it does take time to really
appreciate the thought that has been put into the program. There are
features that only make sense after you've used it for a while. I
usually recommend people try it seriously for a couple of weeks
before passing final judgement.

- You risk being jailed by the GTD Police for not using "pure" GTD
<grin>

HOW TO DO IT...SETTING UP TIMETO FOR GTD

=============

All the following setup might sound terribly complex but it really
isn't at all once you understand why I am doing it this way. It's
just that explaining stuff in written words can take a long time
whereas the actual actions themselves literally take seconds once you
know what you are doing.

My GTD approach has gradually evolved out of quite a few weeks of
intensively using TimeTo with the deliberate intention of trying to
figure out some way to get it to work in a "higher-level" way than
just the clever task scheduler it might at first appear to be.
Because of this, it is easy for me to assume that everyone else does
something the way I have now got used to it when, in fact, it may not
be obvious at all to even an experienced user. So, if there is
anything unclear, please ask!

Most of my day, I can almost forget that I am using TimeTo and it
might seem to an outsider that I am not using it much at all even
though it is always running on my PC. I just dart in occasionally to
see what's next, maybe shift a few things around depending on work
pressures but most of the time I'm just focused on the "next action"
that interests me the most at that moment.

That's at the heart of my motivation for using TimeTo. I spend time
doing and ENJOYING doing - instead of just planning and then having
those plans wrecked by something unexpected. With TimeTo, I can be
sure that what I am doing is (probably) the most important thing I
can be doing at that time.

*****

THE KEY IDEA IS...

TimeTo together with GTD represents a powerful combination of
human-mind and machine-mind. The computer produces a candidate list
of the most important stuff to do, and then human intuition selects
from that list in the moment of action.

****

And importantly, I can confidently spend time NOT DOING and be sure
that there is nothing in my life that I'm allowing to "fall between
the cracks".

The following subsections are in no particular order - they are just
snippets of what combines together to become an overall "TimeTo +
GTD" approach. It would be a good idea to read through them all first
to get an overall feel in your mind for the approach before trying
anything yourself. Otherwise, you may get very confused as to why I
am doing certain things in certain ways. This approach is written for
advanced TimeTo users so I've not explained much about the TimeTo
features being used. If you are a beginner and need help
understanding features, just ask and I'm sure someone will help out.

I don't have time at the moment (or so TimeTo tells me!) to write all
this up into a completely perfect document but I still want to get
you started on using TimeTo this way if you like the sound of it. So
I figure this "random thoughts" approach is probably a reasonable
compromise.

I'm sure there must be bits I've failed to explain properly or even
bits I've missed out. I apologize in advance for this and suggest you
post a question if are confused about any aspect of this.

INBOX

=============

Your ultimate electronic inbox is TimeTo itself.

All your GTD collection buckets should ultimately feed into this. If
you are at your PC when an idea or task occurs then just dump it into
A&B straightaway and get it off your mind. For other non-computer
occasions, you'll have to work out your collection method. I carry a
mini-digital voice recorder everywhere I go to record random thoughts
and ideas and tasks. I have a recurring daily TimeTo item to make
sure I empty it into TimeTo daily.

ENTERING GTD TASKS

=============

The only important things to fill-in upfront when entering a task are
the description (obviously) and any deadline, plus the appropriate
priority (see Priority Codes below).

It is important you fill in these items as soon as you can since this
is what TimeTo uses to perform the magic of dynamic scheduling.

If I am under pressure and the items are coming in thick and fast and
I have no time to think about deadlines or priority yet, I leave the
priority as blank. This marks it as "new" in the TimeTo priority
list. This means that TimeTo makes that tasks the highest priority of
all and it keeps surfacing to the top of the schedule automatically
until I assign it a proper priority. This is a very handy failsafe
mechanism when you can't afford even a few seconds of upfront thinking
time.

What I find interesting is that I don't need to think about what the
"next action" should be at this point. This is handy if the items are
coming in thick and fast. I can just dump my mind into the program
and deal with it all later when things calm down a bit. (I have the
default duration of new items set to 30 mins in New Item Preferences
(from the Settings menu), with Offer To Clone When Item Done on by
default.)

Because TimeTo automatically surfaces important stuff, you will soon
notice that you are scheduled to perform a vague unknown item. At
this point you will realize that you need to do some GTD "natural
planning" on that particular item. (See GTD book - or audiobook - for
description of "natural planning"). More on breaking down vague,
unknown items (or "amorphous blobs") later.

PRIORITY TIERS

=============

My TimeTo priority tiers are used as follows: (These descriptions are
not entered anywhere - it is just the meaning that I assign to each
letter in the priority list)

A = "must do as soon as possible"

B = "do whenever there is time"

C = "someday/maybe"

O = "out" (equivalent to @errands in GTD )

T = "talk" (equivalent to @agenda in GTD )

W = "Waiting For" (same as GTD)

TIMETO PROJECTS (Not to be confused with GTD projects)

=============

Unlike most people, I only use TimeTo's Projects as higher-level "how
is my life balanced overall?" type categories, not as things to be
accomplished. Each project is defined as Franklin-Covey "roles" or
Tony Robbins' "categories of improvement" (from Time of Your Life)
type of thing.

This means that I can look at the colour rectangles (that prefix each
item) for a day (in Day View) or for a week (in Multiple Day View)
and get a feeling for the colours that are dominating or
non-dominating and adjust accordingly. I know this is vague but going
too much into this here is getting away from my GTD approach so I'll
be brief on this bit. The higher-level stuff is also a very personal
thing anyway that everyone seems to want to approach slightly
differently so figure it out for yourself!

It's the lower-level concrete items that seem best suited to
particular solid methods.

MY DAILY SCHEDULE

=============

I often don't do the day's items in the order that TimeTo suggests
but I use the software's opinion as my safety net in case I go too
far and start putting too much pressure on myself by deferring items.
I pick and choose from the day's schedule what I want to do as the
day goes on and I "press f5" (TimeTo's Start command which start
elapsed time within an item) on things that I notice that I would
rather do now than later. This brings them automatically to the
current time on today's schedule. Occasionally, intuition suggests
something that TimeTo has put on the next day's list or even further
ahead. Here I just pull the task over to today's schedule and give it
a Fixed Date of today if necessary. (I usually don't bother spending
time altering the item's Priority unless the task is part of a
project that is now of much higher priority.)

If I get bored and want to try something else, I might just hit
<CTRL>+ <f6> to mark the item as Done For Now & Finish Later and move
onto something else until I feel inspired again to return to the
original item. I might also use the <ALT>+<LEFT ARROW> or
<ALT>+<RIGHT ARROW> keys to adjust an item's Duration up or down, now
that I've worked on it a bit and know a bit better how long it will
really take. I do this many, many, many times each day and TimeTo
just recalculates my schedule accordingly.

"OFFER TO CLONE WHEN ITEM DONE" SETTING

=============

Set the Offer To Clone When Item Done checkbox as checked in New Item
Settings (from the Settings menu). This is important for the reasons
outlined in the following sections.

SHARED NOTES

=============

The way TimeTo uses Shared Notes for duplicate items is key to this
entire approach. If you duplicate an item in TimeTo, then it will
share any Notes between them automatically. So if you have an item
with Offer To Clone When Item Done checked then when you mark it Done
in TimeTo, a little dialog pops up asking if you want to schedule a
duplicate item.

In GTD, items are really bookmarks for projects. So if in the current
sitting you have completely finished the project, you can say No to
this dialog, because the item is over. Otherwise, after you click
Yes, you can click on the Note button for the new duplicated item and
up pops your project planning that you have done for this project
within the item you marked as Done.

Use the Note as a basic outliner and idea storage place for each
project - rather like you would on the Palm. You can use the Tab key
to indent text so that you can get some sort of outlining.

Note that, in this method, every Note relating to the project is
automatically attached to each item in the project. This is
accomplished automatically by using the "Offer To Clone When Item
Done " feature.

For massive amounts of text notes, I use a separate program (Zoot) to
store the information.

TURNING A STANDARD TIMETO ITEM INTO A GTD PROJECT TASK

=============

Just put "[" and "]" around the item's Title and write the next
action in front of that.

For example, to turn "Write Report" into a project with a next action
task of "Get a pen from stationery cupboard" would become "Get a pen
from stationery cupboard [Write Report]". That is, you just put the
brackets around the original task and add the "next action" in front.

It just takes a moment to do this once you realize that you have an
"amorphous blob" task (i.e. GTD project) instead of a real next
action item. You can also do a quick check to see that the "Offer To
Coine When Item Done" checkbox is checked (but you should have this
on by default already).

The reason for using the "[" symbol is for easy filtering of
projects, which I explain later on.

AFTER COMPLETING AN ITEM CONTAINING AN ENTIRE GTD PROJECT (as just
described)

=============

The "Offer To Clone When Item Done " dialog should appear since you
have checked the Offer To Clone When Item Done checkbox.

If this is a project item like "Get a pen from stationery cupboard
[Write Report]" you can just click "Yes" and a new item is created
with all the same settings (and, most importantly, the same Note).
All you do is click on your Note (or just use your intuition) and
decide what the next action should be (so this item might be "Fill
pen with ink [Write Report]") ...you just change the item's Title in
the newly-created duplicate task but leave the GTD project name
intact to be carried forward. The Note will also be carried forward
automatically - which is key to making the system work.

Eventually when the project is complete as you mark the item
containing it as Done, you can click "No" to the "Offer To Clone When
Item Done" dialog and that's the end of that GTD project.

Remember that in GTD, task items are merely "bookmarks" for reminding
you where you currently stand on an uncompleted project. This means
that you only ever need to know the project name and the next action.
Every other task or idea pertaining to the project is hidden away in
the Note. So, in this way, you can be storing hundreds of potential
tasks in TimeTo Notes, yet there are only a handful of actual "next
actions" on your schedule. This, in itself, is a massive stress
reliever.

Also, don't worry about Durations too much (a rough estimate is fine)
- I leave durations at 30 minutes on many items that I can't be
bothered to estimate because I leave it up to my intuition how much
time I want to spend progressing any particular project before I get
bored. I press "f5" (Start Item command) as I get back into a project
via a next action and TimeTo automatically updates my schedule. I hit
<CTRL>+<f6> (Done For Now & Finish Later command) as I leave a next
action which has not been fully completed.

(If the next action was fully completed, I would hit <SPACEBAR> (the
Done command) and the "Offer To Clone When Item Done" dialog appears
as mentioned above).

As I get clearer on how long something will really take, I can adjust
the Duration easily on the schedule itself using <ALT>+<LEFT ARROW>
and <ALT>+<RIGHT ARROW> for Shorter Duration and Longer Duration
commands.

LABELS

=============

These act as your location contexts such as @work, @home, etc. Note
that this is a different use for them than many users but I think
TimeTo is more useful when doing it my way! <grin>

Setting labels will colour-code your items' titles (the actual text
colour changes) so that you can instantly see which items can be done
together. For example, if I have just done a blue task then I know I
am in the right location to do other blue tasks as well. I don't even
need to know what the blue colour represents. You should go into
Labels Settings and change the default colours to colours you are
happy with and which look very different to each other.

Don't use the "none" or the "special day" (Label 7) labels as
contexts. The "none" label is for items you have not assigned a
context to (I set the default colour for this label to a light-grey
colour - such as the normal default "tentative" label colour so that
the item description looks faint on the screen compared to all the
other colours. That reminds me to set labels for items that look
faint on the screen: otherwise I have trouble reading them!) Any item
that has the "special day" label causes the title of the day upon
which that item is scheduled to appear in a highlight colour
(designated in Labels Settings) to indicate a really special thing is
happening that day.

The contexts I have defined are: work, home, internet, computer,
calls, out. Unfortunately, you are limited to 8 labels, so you have
so choose your contexts wisely! I hope this limit will be increased
in a future version of TimeTo.

"Out" just indicates that the I am going to be "out and about" during
that appointment/item so whenever I see that colour, I know that I
can take a quick look at the items with priority tier "O" at the
bottom of my Priority View (<CTRL>+R) (the "Out" items).

You'll know when you're doing this "labels trick" right because your
daily schedules will look like multi-coloured rainbows! Very quickly,
you'll start to appreciate what each colour represents, and just by
the overall colours you see you can tell what location TimeTo thinks
you should be spending most of your time at that day.

FILTERING CONTEXTS (LOCATIONS)

=============

For today's schedule, you can just see by looking at the colours what
can be done where ...or you can Filter using the Label property to
pull up work, home, Internet, etc. items.

To use the Filters approach to get a complete overview, go to the
Priority View (<CTRL>+R), then press <SHIFT>+F to turn on Filters,
check the Labels checkbox and press the Labels button to choose which
contexts to include.

Notice that you can choose a number of labels at the same time (so
you can see stuff you can see, for example, "home + computer + talk"
items all at once, which is useful sometimes.

TimeTo will remember your filtering choices the next time you use
Filters, so it doesn't amount to as many keystrokes next time.

DAILY REVIEW

=============

I have one five-minute daily recurring item to "read through O, T, W
priority items (= OUT, TALK, WAITING FOR)" just to keep on top of
them, since, unlike in pure GTD, these items are slightly hidden away
down at the bottom of the Priority View.

FILTERING PROJECTS

=============

You can Filter on Title contains the "[" character (<SHIFT>+F with
Title = "[" ) to find all GTD projects worked on in the past week
(scroll backwards and forwards in the Day View to scan the days in
your last week of Done items, to see what projects you made progress
on. The use of this is mentioned in the next section.

TIMETO THINGS TO DO AT YOUR GTD WEEKLY REVIEW

=============

Do your GTD weekly review as normal but also do these additional
items...

- check you've not lost any projects during the week by failing to do
appropriate "Clone" actions. Find these by filtering on the "["
character, as mentioned above. Each item that you have done that
pertains to a project will show up as Done items in each day's view
for past days. Quickly scan the project names. If you suspect that
you don't see one of them on your current Priority Vist anymore (i.e.
you forgot to clone for some reason), just hit <CTRL>+R and switch to
the filtered Priority View and you will see it there (or not)
immediately, or Filter on a word you know was in the item's title.
Flicking backwards and forwards (using <CTRL>+S for Day View and
<CTRL>+R> for Priority View) like this makes it very easy to see if
you have accidentally lost any GTD projects. (NOTE: Only items with
flexible dates will show up in your Priority View: if you want to see
all items in one list then instead choose the Alphabetical View
<CTRL>+A.)

- check that there are no items with priority tier C (someday/maybe)
that deserve prompt action. To give them the priority they deserve,
just change their Priority Tier to A or B and set their Priority Rank
to whatever you think is appropriate relative to all the other items
of that Priority Tier... or give them deadlines if they deserve one.

- Take a general look over your Priorities for each item in the
Priority view (<CTRL>+R) and drag items up and down until you feel
generally happy. You might want to schedule a recurring item every
few days (or more often) to do this, if it matters a lot to you.

AN EXAMPLE OF MY APPROACH

=============

This is just a quick journal of what I did to get started in writing
up this document, to give some real-life illustration of the
approach....

After making my initial commitment that I would be willing to explain
how to use TimeTo in the Yahoo group if there was interest, I entered
"check Yahoo Group and write up TimeTo approach if enough interest"
as an item with a Flexible Date and a Deadline of "3" (for three days
into the future). I left the time as the default 30 minutes. The item
was now on my Day View for today.

I then pressed Ctrl+E from my Day View to bring up the Note for the
item, and dumped a few ideas for things I would mention in this
document straight into the Note so I would remember them if I had to
explain coherently what I do to another person. This was just to get
them off my mind and get back to "mind like water" status.

After about 10 minutes or so of brainstorming, I realised that there
were quite a few subtleties to what I was doing and since I did not
have a lot of time at the moment, it would be better to change "check
Yahoo group and write up TimeTo approach if enough interest" into a
GTD project and "check Yahoo group" would be one task in the project
and "Brainstorm ideas to explain" would be another task.

So I then pressed Enter to open the item's properties and added
squared brackets around the Title so that it now read "[write up
TimeTo approach if enough interest]", then and dumped a few more
ideas into the Note. I then cut and pasted the "next action" item (in
this case "Brainstorm ideas to explain") from the Note and prefixed
it to the item's title. I then changed the Deadline field to blank,
and changed the Priority Tier to B (indicating to do whenever I have
time - i.e. important but not urgent task).

(If I was doing this without keeping this journal at the same time,
the whole process would have taken me a few seconds. I do this sort
of thing many times during my day as ideas bubble up or "amorphous
blobs" appear on my schedule.)

I then clicked OK to save the modified item and then noticed the text
was coloured a faint light grey (which indicated no context label yet
assigned). So I right-clicked on the item and set the context to
"computer" (since I can only do this when I am at my computer) and
the item's title became the appropriate colour for that context
label. TimeTo just seamlessly slipped this GTD project into my
schedule.

I later expanded the time required for this project (using the Longer
Duration command <ALT>+<RIGHT ARROW>) to something a lot larger than
30 minutes as it became clear that this would be a reasonably-sized
document.

Hopefully, you can get some idea how this task evolved from an
"amorphous blob" into precise tasks within a TimeTo item representing
a GTD project that led to the creation of this document. There was
minimal organizational and tracking of this project since TimeTo just
kept it going in my spare moments, and I only worked on it when I
felt like doing so.

CONCLUSION

=============

I hope you can begin to make sense of all this. It is more tricky to
explain in words than it is to do in practice so give it a try and
see what you think. If you have questions, post them to the forum,
read the TimeTo help, or contact TimeTo support.