GTD Basics – Methods for Reflecting and Weekly Reviews in LifeTopix

LifeTopix is an all-in-one productivity app for iPad and iPhone. We have many customers who follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method and use LifeTopix to stay organized and productive. Many of these customers ask about the most efficient ways to use LifeTopix for GTD® and our best practices.

GTD, LifeTopix, Reflecting and Weekly Reviews

David Allen rewrote the “Getting Things Done” book for 2015 and beyond, which was originally published in 2001. In addition, LifeTopix has evolved since we first published the popular post, “Best Practices for Getting Things Done – Weekly Review” in 2013. We strive to keep our customers up-to-date and hope you enjoy the new information we’re providing for you today.

We previously published three posts described below. We encourage you to read those posts before diving into this one:

Master Reflecting and Weekly Reviews

In Allen’s book, “Getting Things Done,” he dedicates a chapter to “Reflecting”. In this chapter, he stresses that you must review your system on a regular basis to ensure it is current and functional. He describes what to look at and when, and he communicates the power of the “Weekly Review.” The video below explains, in detail, how you would use LifeTopix to perform the actions he describes in this chapter of “Getting Things Done.”

Watch the Video

More to Come

In the next few weeks, we’ll be posting more videos and tips to assist you with utilizing LifeTopix for GTD. Please subscribe to the Life Blog to stay up-to-date.

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.

GTD Basics – Methods for Organizing Actions and To Dos in LifeTopix

LifeTopix is an all-in-one productivity app for iPad and iPhone. We have many customers who follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method and use LifeTopix to stay organized and productive. Many of these customers ask about the most efficient ways to use LifeTopix for GTD® and our best practices.

GTD, LifeTopix and the Organizing Phase

David Allen rewrote the “Getting Things Done” book for 2015 and beyond, which was originally published in 2001. In addition, LifeTopix has evolved since we first published the popular post, “Best Practices for Getting Things Done – Master Organizing” in 2013. We strive to keep our customers up-to-date and hope you enjoy the new information we’re providing for you today.

We previously published two posts described below. We encourage you to read those posts before diving into this one:

Master Organizing

The video below discusses the “Organizing” phase. When you organize actions and reference material, think about how you would sort these items into various areas. In an earlier post, we discussed using LifeTopix to define each collected item as actionable or non-actionable. Once you’ve completed clarifying items, you can begin organizing them (or this may be done simultaneously in LifeTopix).

Watch the Video

More to Come

In the next few weeks, we’ll be posting more videos and tips to assist you with utilizing LifeTopix for GTD. Please subscribe to the Life Blog to stay up-to-date.

Learn about the next phase: 

GTD Basics – Methods for Reflecting and Weekly Reviews in LifeTopix

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.

GTD Basics – Methods for Clarifying Actions and To Dos in LifeTopix

LifeTopix is an all-in-one productivity app for iPad and iPhone. We have many customers who follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method and use LifeTopix to stay organized and productive. Many of these customers ask about the most efficient ways to use LifeTopix for GTD® and our best practices.

GTD, LifeTopix and the Clarifying Phase

David Allen rewrote the “Getting Things Done” book for 2015 and beyond, which was originally published in 2001. In addition, LifeTopix has evolved since we first published the popular post, “Best Practices for Getting Things Done – Processing” in 2013. We strive to keep our customers up-to-date and hope you enjoy the new information we’re providing for you today.

We previously published a post about how to capture and collect all the things that are in your head and how to get them outside your head in LifeTopix. It is titled “GTD Basics – Methods for Capturing Items in LifeTopix.” We encourage you to take a look at the previous post before diving into this one.

Today, we’re covering what to do with actions, projects and to dos that you’ve collected after you decide what they are and what you want to do with them. In David Allen’s book, he refers to this phase as “Clarifying.”

Watch the Video

Important Information About LifeTopix Integrations

We understand that many of you want to use LifeTopix at the office and you want to ensure that it works with the applications that you commonly use. This is why LifeTopix is integrated with many of your favorite apps and applications. You can access docs, tasks and notes in LifeTopix from Dropbox™, Google Drive or Box™; Toodledo®, Asana™ or Google Drive; and Evernote® or Toodledo®, respectively. And LifeTopix works seamlessly with iOS calendars and reminders.

More to Come

In the next few weeks, we’ll be posting more videos and tips to assist you with utilizing LifeTopix for GTD. Please subscribe to the Life Blog to stay up-to-date.

Learn about the next phases: 

GTD Basics – Methods for Organizing Actions and To Dos in LifeTopix

GTD Basics – Methods for Reflecting and Weekly Reviews in LifeTopix

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.

GTD Basics – Methods for Capturing Items in LifeTopix

LifeTopix is an all-in-one productivity app for iPad and iPhone. We have many customers who follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method and use LifeTopix to stay organized and productive. Many of these customers ask about the best ways to use LifeTopix for GTD® and our best practices. Today, we’re sharing tips for using LifeTopix to quickly capture ideas, to dos and other items that are in your head.

David Allen rewrote the Getting Things Done book for 2015 and beyond, which was originally published in 2001. In addition, LifeTopix has evolved since we first published the popular post, Best Practices for Getting Things Done – Capture and Collect in 2013. We strive to keep our customers up-to-date and hope you enjoy the new information we’re providing for you today.

What is GTD?

If you’re not familiar with GTD, it’s “the groundbreaking work-life management system by David Allen that provides concrete solutions for transforming overwhelm and uncertainty into an integrated system of stress-free productivity,” according to David Allen’s website.

In Allen’s latest book, he lays out five key phases of the GTD process:

  • Capturing
  • Clarifying
  • Organizing
  • Reflecting
  • Engaging

Our post today focuses on the “Capturing” phase of  GTD and describes the many ways that you can capture items in LifeTopix that are on your mind. Essentially, Allen states that it’s important to capture these items “outside your head.”

Watch the Video

Minimize Collection Buckets for Capturing Information

LifeTopix is an excellent app for capturing information simply because it organizes information all into one place. In Allen’s book, he states that you should minimize the number of collection buckets that you use to capture things to do and things on your mind. With LifeTopix, you can manage a variety of different types of information, which makes it ideal for minimizing those buckets.

As you know, information originates from several different channels, which results in many collection buckets. In some cases, these buckets can be multiple mobile apps and web-based applications. You receive messages from friends, family and colleagues. You check social media. You discover things on the web. And you receive information from other places — sometimes, it’s great ideas you’re thinking about.

The LifeTopix app combines email, social media, to do lists, your schedule, projects, tasks and more into one place. The many integrations, which include Evernote®, Toodledo®, Dropbox™, Box™, OneDrive™ (SkyDrive), Asana™, and Online Docs, are also helpful for minimizing the places where you collect information. For example, if you use Evernote® for note collections, you can easily manage those notes from LifeTopix.

More to Come

In the next few weeks, we’ll be posting more videos and tips to assist you with utilizing LifeTopix for GTD. Please subscribe to the Life Blog to stay up-to-date.

Learn about the next phases: 

GTD Basics – Methods for Clarifying Actions and To Dos in LifeTopix

GTD Basics – Methods for Organizing Actions and To Dos in LifeTopix

GTD Basics – Methods for Reflecting and Weekly Reviews in LifeTopix

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.

How to Clear Your Annoying Mental Clutter

Just like physical clutter, mental clutter can take a toll on your health, happiness and productivity. For example, can you remember a time that you tossed and turned all night long thinking about things that you needed to do, which resulted in a poor night’s sleep? This is what mental clutter can do. To combat mental clutter, we’ve developed a three step system that frees your mind of the things that are bogging you down.

Three Step System – Filter, Capture Everything and Make Actionable

  1. Filter – In today’s world it’s common for many of us to have multiple email and social media accounts. In addition, we’re constantly searching the web to find new information. That’s why we’ve combined social, email and web streams into one app — allowing you to filter this information by keywords and other choices, which results in a more efficient way to consume and curate this information.
  2. Capture Everything – Doing a “brain dump” is a common way to get everything out of your head and into a system. The Quick Inbox is designed specifically for this reason. Record everything and process it when you’re ready.
  3. Make Actionable – How often do you find information in email, on the web and from social media that you can’t act on right away? This is why we created a way to convert these items that you find into objects, which you can schedule on your calendar. For example, you can instantly convert an email message with a party invitation to an event on your calendar — in one app (no app hopping required). This is a great way to reach “inbox zero” every day.

View the Slides

You can carry out this three step system by using LightArrow Apps. To learn more, watch the slideshow below:

Watch the Video

You can carry out this three step system by using LightArrow Apps. To learn more, watch the video below:

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Doing Phase

LifeTopix and My.Agenda are personal organization apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Both apps are especially useful for those who utilize David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method. The GTD method is an excellent method for organizing your schedule and getting things done for both life and business.LifeTopix GTD

At LightArrow, we’re constantly incorporating features that are useful for GTD, and we enjoy sharing our best practices for using these features. In this post, I’ll show you how you can use LifeTopix for the Doing Phase of GTD. Keep in mind that our starter app, My.Agenda, can include many of the features discussed by purchasing the Get Things Done Pack as an in-app purchase.

What is GTD?

If you’re not familiar with GTD, it’s “the groundbreaking work-life management system by David Allen that provides concrete solutions for transforming overwhelm and uncertainty into an integrated system of stress-free productivity,” according to David Allen’s website. Allen lays out five key phases of the GTD process, which include 1) Capture/Collect, 2) Process, 3) Organize, 4) Review, and 5) Doing. This post focuses on the Doing Phase of this workflow. In earlier blog posts, I’ve described the first four phases.

Refer to the following links to better understand how to use LightArrow apps for GTD.

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Prioritizing Tasks in LifeTopix
Best Practices for Getting Things Done with LifeTopix Categories and Contexts
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Capture and Collect
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Processing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Master Organizing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Weekly Review

What is the Doing Phase of GTD?

No matter what system you’re using, it’s incredibly important to take action on your projects and units of work (tasks). In GTD, the Doing Phase is about making choices and taking action on items based on the context, time available, resources, and priorities. The types of items that you execute on are primarily tasks; however, in LifeTopix you might also be acting upon notes, appointments, trips, visits, events, gifts, and shopping lists. When using LifeTopix, we suggest that you review your action lists daily and choose the items for which you wish to act.

This post focuses primarily on tasks and appointments, but keep in mind the principles are similar for most actionable items. If you’ve properly executed the phases of Capturing, Processing, Organizing, and Reviewing, then you should be able to easily proceed with the Doing Phase. When using LifeTopix for the Doing Phase, focus on the items described in the following sections.

Choosing Items from My Contexts

LifeTopix provides context tags for adding metadata to any type of object, no matter what system you use. Fundamentally, tags are used to describe the data for organizing purposes. In GTD, contexts are assigned to help you determine if you’re at the correct location and have the proper resources to complete a job. You can use LifeTopix’s context tags for GTD contexts.

The following four criteria are outlined in Allen’s book for setting contexts:

  1. Context (tools available, such as phone, internet, etc.)
  2. Time (the time at hand)
  3. Energy (your attention level)
  4. Priority (importance)

Take note that you’re more productive if you perform tasks, such as making phone calls during chunks of time, rather than switching to a different task — such as going to the grocery store to pick up milk and then finishing phone calls at a later time. Examples of GTD contexts are @office, @home, @grocery store, etc.

In LifeTopix, you can set any context you wish and you can assign multiple contexts to items. You access the My Contexts view by tapping the “tag” icon, as shown in the following image. The My Contexts view assists you in making choices about the jobs you wish to complete daily. This view shows all the contexts that you’ve set up.

LifeTopix Contexts
You can drill down into the contexts to see their tasks and other items by tapping the items in the list. In the My Contexts view, I’ve chosen the context of @home. The following image shows the tasks to which I’ve assigned to this context.

LifeTopix Contexts

Choosing and Viewing Daily Tasks from Contexts

Once you’ve selected a task from the My Contexts view, you can view the task detail to further determine if you have the time to complete the job. You can also determine if the item is a priority. The following image shows the fields that help you to decide on an action. The image below also shows how you can assign the action to the current date. Assigning a date allows you to easily locate and view the task in the Agenda view.

LifeTopix Tasks GTD

When you assign a due date to the current day, the task appears in the Agenda view, which makes it easy for you to view and edit your upcoming tasks from one screen, as shown in the following image.

LifeTopix Agenda View GTD

In the above image, notice that the “Write 10 pages” task appears in light green, indicating it’s the next action to complete.

Choosing Items from Task Lists

Another method for choosing your daily tasks is to review your Task Lists in LifeTopix. In the Tasks + Projects topic of LifeTopix, you can access all your tasks in one view, which is the Task List view. You can drill down into each task to determine if you have enough time to complete the task and whether or not the task is flagged with a higher priority. This view is shown below.

Task List LifeTopix

We realize that it’s crucial to choose daily tasks based on many factors, and that priority and context are of upmost importance. Therefore, in our upcoming release of LifeTopix, we’ve made it easier to choose daily tasks by adding more choices for filtering task views. You will be able to view tasks by All, Category, Context Tag, Due Date, Last Updated, Status, Associated Item, Priority, and Task Owner. This allows you to better choose items based on context, time, resources, and priorities. These new choices are shown in the following image.

LifeTopix 8

(Pre-release image)

Utilizing Hot Lists

Hot Lists are exactly what the name implies — items that have a high degree of importance. Hence, we created the Hot List view for those “Hot” items. The Hot List gives you easy access to your favorite and most commonly used views and items by aggregating them into one place. This saves you time in navigating to frequently used views, items, and resources in LifeTopix.

At LightArrow, we realize that when following the GTD method, you might not want to set due dates for tasks that do not have hard deadlines. In LifeTopix, we recommend adding the due dates so you can easily view your items in one place (the Agenda view); however, if you prefer not to assign due dates to tasks, you can add these items to the Hot List.

To add tasks to your Hot List, in your Task List view, tap the “more info” icon to view the following options and then choose “Add to Hot List.”

Note: In many LifeTopix list views, you can tap and hold an item to add it to the Hot List.

Hot List GTD LifeTopix

Subsequently, you can view your chosen items directly from the Hot List, which you access from your Dashboard, as shown below.

Hot List

Using Your Calendar Views

Actions that must be completed at a certain date and time (with hard deadlines), such as classes, meetings, doctor’s appointments, kids’ activities, etc. are handled easily by LifeTopix. Specifically, LifeTopix allows you to define these items by Appointments, Bill Payments, Events, Dated Notes, Occasions, Medications, Activity/Wellness, and more. LifeTopix has a variety of choices for viewing the calendar. LifeTopix includes a main calendar that allows you to pick and choose the types of items that display on it. The app also includes specific calendars for tasks, events, and trips. You can view the calendar by Day, Week, Month, and Year. If you want to see these calendar views in detail, refer to Not Crazy About the iOS 7 Calendar App – Here’s the Answer.

In the Month and Day views, you can easily review the items that you scheduled for the day, which helps you to decide on the other tasks that you’ll work on daily. The following image shows an example of the Month view.

Month View LifeTopix

In this view, you can see all the dated items that you’ve assigned for the day — all in one place. Keep in mind that your dated items also appear in your Agenda view, which provides a good list of your jobs, events, and appointments for the current day and the upcoming week.

Completing Tasks

Of course, completing your important tasks is the ultimate goal when your intention is productivity and getting things done. Doing the work is up to you, but LifeTopix makes it easy to mark your tasks as complete. You simply set the Status to Completed and enter a Finished On date. This way, you have a record of when you complete the task and you feel a sense of accomplishment when you see your important items crossed off. The following screenshot shows the fields where you indicate status for a task.

LifeTopix Complete Tasks

Once you’ve completed your tasks, you can view the completed task list by filtering by all tasks, as shown in the following image.

LifeTopix Completed Tasks

Take note, in our upcoming release, you’ll have the ability to view your tasks by status, as shown earlier in this post.

More Information

GTD is a great system for managing your busy home and work life. If you’d like to know more about best practices using LifeTopix for GTD, refer to the following posts:

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Prioritizing Tasks in LifeTopix
Best Practices for Getting Things Done with LifeTopix Categories and Contexts
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Capture and Collect
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Processing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Master Organizing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Weekly Review

Your Turn

As I mentioned, if you’ve properly focused on the first four phases of GTD, then the Doing Phase should be a breeze. Please comment and let us know how you implement the Doing Phase and let us know if you have suggestions or questions.

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Weekly Review

A newer version of this post is now published at: GTD Basics – Methods for Reflecting and Weekly Reviews in LifeTopix.

LifeTopix and My.Agenda are personal organization apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Both apps are especially useful for those who utilize David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method. The GTD method is an excellent method for organizing your life and getting things done for both life and business.

Getting Things Done

We’re constantly incorporating features that are useful for GTD, and we enjoy sharing our best practices for using these features. In this post, I’ll show you how you can use LifeTopix’s features for the Weekly Review phase of GTD. Keep in mind that our starter App, My.Agenda, can include many of the features discussed by purchasing the Get Things Done Pack as an in-app purchase.

What is GTD?

If you’re not familiar with GTD, it’s “the groundbreaking work-life management system by David Allen that provides concrete solutions for transforming overwhelm and uncertainty into an integrated system of stress-free productivity,” according to David Allen’s website. Allen lays out five key phases of the GTD process, which include 1) Capture/Collect, 2) Process, 3) Organize, 4) Review, and 5) Do. This post focuses on the Review phase of this workflow. In earlier blog posts, I’ve described the first four phases. At the end of this post, you’ll find links to those earlier posts.

What is the Review Phase in GTD?

In many productivity systems including GTD, experts recommend that you set aside time every week for approximately an hour to reflect on the items that you’ve completed, determine what needs to be completed the following week, and to contact people who you need to connect with. Allen recommends that you select a consistent place and time so you develop a habit for your Weekly Review. Schedule your Weekly Reviews on your LifeTopix calendar to ensure your process remains consistent.

The following table provides an overview of the items that you should include in your Weekly Review and how LifeTopix provides a feature or view to make the Weekly Review painless.

Weekly Review Checklist LifeTopix Feature or View
Calendar (Time Sensitive Items) -> Calendar / Agenda View
Email and Someday/Maybe Items -> Quick Inbox
Projects -> Tasks + Projects Topic
Contacts -> People + Services Topic (or) Context Tags
Checklists and To-do Lists -> Notes + Files Topic or Agenda view
“Waiting for” and Catch All -> Context Tags and Recently Updated
Loose Papers -> Box, Dropbox, SkyDrive, Google Drive Integration

How Do You Review These Items in LifeTopix?

LifeTopix and My.Agenda are both very flexible apps so there are several ways that you can approach your Weekly Review. The following sections describe different approaches for viewing the items you wish to review.

Calendar / Agenda (Time Sensitive Items)

Items you’ve placed on your calendar are important for your Weekly Review because they’re time sensitive. You’ve given them a date for a reason, whether it’s a hard deadline, meeting, or other event.

When performing your Weekly Review, review the items that you’ve scheduled and create any new items that might be a result of your scheduled items. For example, you might have a meeting with a client coming up, but you haven’t reviewed your client’s requirements. Put this prep time on your calendar or use your LifeTopix Quick Inbox to collect this information.

LifeTopix Calendar

The LifeTopix Calendar is an essential tool for your Weekly Review. Looking ahead 30 days will give you a good “big picture” view of your scheduled items. Make sure that your daily tasks are aligned to your strategic initiatives.

LifeTopix’s Month view is very handy for reviewing time-sensitive items. Review the next two to three weeks to get a sense of what is immediately ahead of you. The image below shows an example of the calendar with the Month view selected. The calendar shows a clear marker on each day that you’ve scheduled an item. You can filter the calendar to view the types of items that are important to you. For example, if you want to view tasks, but not media items — this is certainly possible.

LifeTopix Calendar

LifeTopix Agenda View

You’ll find your Agenda view to be priceless during your Weekly Review. The Agenda view provides you with an easy-to-read, high-level view of the items that you’ve scheduled for the current day and the next seven days. It also includes your to-do lists, checklists, overdue items, and undated items. Just like the calendar, it includes filters so you can decide which types of items you wish to view on your agenda. The image below shows an example of the Agenda view.

LifeTopix Agenda View

Review your to-dos, overdue items, and upcoming items on your calendar. The Undated items section is especially useful because they may not be on your radar yet. This is a good time to decide the fate of your upcoming undated items, tasks, projects, events, and other items.

Email and Someday/Maybe Items (Quick Inbox)

Utilize the LifeTopix Quick Inbox for items without a clear due date, with a due date in the future (ticklers), that you’ve collected from your email messages, or that you wish to do someday (such as learn to speak another language). These items should be reviewed during your Weekly Review. Quickly review items in your someday/maybe lists to determine if you want to convert them to projects or other items. Remove any items that are no longer of interest to you.

The image below shows an example of items waiting to enter the Processing Phase in the LifeTopix Quick Inbox.

Quick Inbox

In LifeTopix, it’s easy to convert these items to actionable items such as projects, tasks or events, as shown in the following image.

Quick Inbox Convert

Projects (Tasks + Projects Topic)

In GTD or other productivity systems, a project is an objective that requires one or more actions. The Weekly Review is a good time to determine what you need to accomplish to move your projects forward and the due dates for the tasks or other items associated with the project.

In LifeTopix, you can create tasks (as task lists) or as a part of a project in the LifeTopix Tasks + Projects topic. These tasks can remain undated if you wish, and you should review them regularly. In LifeTopix, you can create general projects, education projects, health and activity projects, and other types of projects. You can review them all in one place — the Tasks + Projects topic, which is shown below.

LifeTopix Projects

Once you tap on any project, you can view and associate additional items, such as a task list, to-do lists, checklists, appointments, files, notes, expenses, services, shopping items, etc. The project gives you a complete picture of each project and organizes all associated items.

Contacts (People + Services Topic)

During your Weekly Review, you should decide if you need to contact friends, family, or colleagues regarding projects, tasks or other items. Your Weekly Review is a good time to manage your follow-ups. In LifeTopix, when you create tasks or other items, you can assign a contact as an “owner” as shown in the image below:

LifeTopix contacts-owners

During your Weekly Review, in the LifeTopix People + Services topic, you can view all your recent activity in the “Recent Items” section and easily identify any owners that you’ve assigned to items, as shown in the image below:

LifeTopix contacts-recent

Tapping View/Edit in the screen above enables you to easily view the assignments for this person, as shown in the image below:

LifeTopix contacts-associations

You can also easily contact your selected person via phone, SMS, Twitter, and Facebook through the Person view, which makes follow-ups a breeze.

Checklists and To-do Lists (Notes + Files Topic or Agenda View)

During your Weekly Review, it’s a good idea to review your to-do lists and checklists. I usually reserve to-do lists for lists of items that can be completed fairly quickly and checklists for things such as packing lists. You can view checklists and to-do lists directly from the Agenda view, shown earlier in this post, or you can manage these lists directly from the Notes + Files topic, as shown in the following image.

LifeTopix notesandfiles

Tapping on the tile that shows your to-do list or checklist allows you to view it and check off completed items.

Context Tags

One of the most powerful features of LifeTopix is the implementation of tags. In LifeTopix, Context tags are multi-purpose tags used for the purpose of identification of items. With tags, you can label items for identification or to give GTD Context. When items are tagged with matching Contexts, you can define your own views with your defined groupings.

In the GTD method, Contexts are typically based on a physical location, resource, or the equipment that’s necessary to complete a task. Examples of Contexts are @office, @home, @grocery store, @computer, @train, @vacation, or @phone. Also, in GTD, items are allowed more than one Context. For example, you could assign a Context of @office and @phone for phone calls that are completed at the office.

One way that you can identify items that you wish to include in your weekly review is to tag items with a tag defined as @Review. In LifeTopix, you can use multiple tags on items; therefore, you can implement GTD Contexts, and you can use tags to flag items for review. The image below shows an example of how this appears in LifeTopix:

contexttags

LifeTopix enables you to tag several types of items including:

  • Topic Items: Asset, Event, Gift, Note, Person, Project, Service, Service Provider, Shopping Items, Shopping List, Subject, Trip, Visit
  • Data Items: Appointment, Audio, Bookmark, Checklist, Drawing, Expense, File, Photo, Reminder, Task, Video
  • Log Items: Activity, Health Stat, Medication, Nutrition, Wellness

Tagging Items

One strategy you can utilize is to be cognizant of projects, tasks, and other items you want to include in your Weekly Review and tag them when appropriate. For example, if there’s a document that you plan to review by the end of the week, tag it with @Review.

In GTD, Waiting For is the list of items that you cannot complete because you’re blocked in some way. For example, your TPS report may be due; however, you’re waiting for the new cover sheet. Consequently, you would tag it with @Waiting For. This way, you will make sure to follow up on these items before they become overdue. You can tag items with context tags, such as @Assistant, @Boss, or @Spouse for items that you’ve delegated or are waiting for an answer before you can proceed.

In LifeTopix, you can apply your tags to any of the items listed above by simply tapping Edit in the appropriate screen for the item, such as a task. The image below shows one method for tagging an item. In this example, the item is a task.

set tag

When you perform your Weekly Review, you’ll save time because you can view all your items that you’ve tagged with @Review or other tags in one place, as shown below.

GTD Weekly Review

This view gives you full access to your items with editing capabilities and allows you to view the items by Type, Updated, or Name. You can modify due dates, priority, effort; remove items that are no longer required; and mark items complete — there are several options based on the type of item that you’re modifying.

Keep mind, if you don’t believe you have the discipline to tag your items with @Review throughout the week, LifeTopix includes many other options for organizing your Weekly Review — don’t fret!

Loose Papers – Online File Integration

The Weekly Review is a good time to pull out any of your loose papers that you’ve gathered during the week. LifeTopix supports access to files and notes in Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Evernote, and Toodledo and also supports media files such as photos and video. We recommend that you digitize your files, store the files in the Cloud, and access those files via your LifeTopix items.

More Information

GTD is a great system for managing your busy home and work life. If you’d like to know more about best practices using LifeTopix for GTD, refer to the following posts:

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Prioritizing Tasks in LifeTopix
Best Practices for Getting Things Done with LifeTopix Categories and Contexts
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Capture and Collect
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Processing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Master Organizing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Doing Phase

Your Turn

We enjoy hearing from you. Please share your best practices for using LifeTopix.

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Master Organizing

Read the latest version of this post at: GTD Basics – Methods for Organizing Actions and To Dos in LifeTopix

LifeTopix and My.Agenda are personal organization apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Both apps are especially useful for those who utilize David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method. The GTD method is an excellent method for organizing your life and getting things done. And it’s not just for your work life. I recently stumbled upon this post from April Perry that mentions how GTD enabled this mom to really enjoy her family.

GTD Lady Post It

We’re constantly incorporating features that are useful for GTD, and we enjoy sharing our best practices for using these features. In this post, I’ll show you how you can use LifeTopix’s features for the Organizing phase of GTD. Keep in mind that our starter App, My.Agenda, can include many of these features discussed by purchasing the Get Things Done Pack as an in-app purchase.

Note: The screenshots in this post were created using an unreleased version of LifeTopix, which will be coming soon to the App Store.

What is GTD?

If you’re not familiar with GTD, it’s “the groundbreaking work-life management system by David Allen that provides concrete solutions for transforming overwhelm and uncertainty into an integrated system of stress-free productivity,” according to David Allen’s website. Allen lays out five key phases of the GTD process, which include 1) Capture/Collect, 2) Process, 3) Organize, 4) Review, and 5) Do. This post focuses on the Organize phase of this workflow.

What is the Organize Phase of GTD?

When you consider organizing, think about how you would divide your home life and work into various areas. Consider how you would sort your life before you get started. In an earlier post, we discussed using LifeTopix to define each collected item as actionable or non-actionable. Once you’ve completed processing items, you can begin organizing them (or this may be done simultaneously for some items). During the Organize phase, you divide your items into various areas.

Major sections include the following areas:

  • Projects – Actions that require more than one step to complete.
  • Calendar Items – Actions that must be completed at a designated day and/or time.
  • Next Actions – Items that only require one step, such as “call mom.”
  • Waiting For – Items that others need to complete that affect you or your work.

Allen suggests that you also organize your reference material, which are items that do not have any actions associated with them.

Reference material might include:

  • Checklists
  • Items without actions, but need to be retrieved at some time
  • Notes from meetings, classes, etc.

Projects in LifeTopix

During the Capture and Collect phase, you collect items that are subsequently processed during the Processing phase. You might have placed them in a holding area via the LifeTopix Quick Inbox and then converted the items to the proper type of object — such as a Project.

Allen suggests that you create projects for actions that require more than one step. For example, if you’re starting a landscaping project, you will have several tasks such as 1) choose three landscape design firms to obtain bids, 2) set up appointments with landscape design firms, 3) choose designs, and so on.

When using LifeTopix, your first step for organizing your projects is to define project categories (under Manage Categories in Settings) that are relevant for your life. Built-in categories include Education, Health + Activity, Indoor, Media, and Outdoor, as shown in the screenshot below.

Project-Categories-LifeTopix

You can add more categories or delete the default categories — LifeTopix is very flexible allowing you to define what works for you. You can further organize by creating subcategories under your categories. Once you’ve created your categories, you can create a project and break it down into tasks, as shown in the following screenshot.

tasks-projects-lifetopix-gtd

As a side note, you can view your tasks by Open, Undated, and Overdue. And you can assign a status such as In Progress, On Hold, Completed, Canceled, or on Hold, if desired.

Calendar Items and Next Actions

Actions that must be completed at a certain date and time, such as classes, meetings, doctor’s appointments, kids’ activities, etc. are handled easily by LifeTopix. Specifically, LifeTopix allows you to define these items by Appointments, Bill Payments, Events, Dated Notes, Occasions, Medications, and Activity/Wellness. By simply accessing LifeTopix’s Calendar View, tapping the plus sign, choosing Quick Add, and selecting one of the options, you can choose to create dated items such as Trips, Visits, Attending Events, Hosting Events, and Occasions.

LifeTopix gives you a variety of options for Next Actions. You can choose to use reminders, tasks not associated with projects, or to-do lists to organize items that only require one step.

Waiting for Items

At times, completion of your tasks might depend upon the completion of a different task by a family member, friend, or colleague. Or, perhaps, you’ve delegated your tasks to someone else. This is when Waiting For items come into play. LifeTopix handles these items by allowing you to add owner(s) to a task as shown in the following screenshot.

TaskOwner-LifeTopix

You can view all tasks for each person through the People + Services topic. It’s a good idea to create a LifeTopix Group for contacts to which you frequently assign tasks for easy access.

Context Tags

When using the GTD method, it’s necessary to consider the context of your captured items. The context defines how and where the item will be completed. How defines the tools, such as @laptop and where defines the location, such as @home.

In LifeTopix, contexts are completely configurable to meet your needs and items can include zero or more contexts. You can configure tags in the My Contexts view, which is shown in the screenshot below. You can also access all the items defined with these contexts directly from this view.

GTD Contexts LifeTopix

Reference Materials

Reference materials are items that aren’t actionable that include data and files, which may or may not support your projects. LifeTopix allows you to associate several types of objects with projects — allowing quick and easy retrieval.

With LifeTopix, you can associate Checklists, Bookmarks, Local and Online Documents, Audio, Photos, Video, Notes, Expenses, Services, and Shopping items with Projects, as shown in the following screenshot. This eliminates the need to file these items into physical paper folders and files using large filing cabinets.

Reference_Materials_LifeTopix

And with LifeTopix, you can back up your data to Dropbox™ or other services, allowing you to feel secure about your data. In addition, LifeTopix supports Google Drive, Dropbox™, SkyDrive™, and Evernote™ — allowing you to access files or notes from these services in context with your projects.

Review and Do Phases

A future post will discuss the Review and Do Phases in depth, but keep in mind that when you choose actionable items to complete when you review your action lists daily, you can simply set the Due Date to the current day — with or without a specific time. If you choose not to include a time, keep in mind that your calendar will consider a task without a date as an all-day event, which results in a blocked out day to others viewing your shared calendar.

When you’ve added a due date, the Agenda view will show all the tasks in a list view that are due on the current day. The following screenshot shows the resulting Agenda view after tasks have been given due dates.

Agenda-LifeTopix

Take note that the items that you view on the Agenda view are completely configurable by you. you can choose to show or hide Device Reminders, Appointments, Bill Payments, Events, Expenses, Notes with Date Tags, Occasion Reminders, Projects, Quick Inbox Items, Checklists, Reminders, Shopping Items, Shopping Lists, Tasks, Trips, Visits, Health Stats, Medication, Nutrition, Activity, and Wellness.

More Information

GTD is a great system for managing your busy home and work life. If you’d like to know more about best practices using LifeTopix for GTD, refer to the following posts:

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Prioritizing Tasks in LifeTopix
Best Practices for Getting Things Done with LifeTopix Categories and Contexts
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Capture and Collect
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Processing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Doing Phase
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Weekly Review

Your Turn

We enjoy hearing from you. Please share your best practices for using LifeTopix.

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Processing

See a newer version of this post with video at: GTD Basics – Methods for Clarifying Actions and To Dos in LifeTopix

LifeTopix and My.Agenda are personal organization apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Both apps are especially useful for those who utilize David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method. We’re constantly incorporating features that are useful for GTD, and we enjoy sharing our best practices for using these features. In this post, I’ll show you how you can use LifeTopix for the Processing Phase of GTD.

What is GTD

If you’re not familiar with GTD, it’s “the groundbreaking work-life management system by David Allen that provides concrete solutions for transforming overwhelm and uncertainty into an integrated system of stress-free productivity,” according to David Allen’s website.

Allen lays out five key phases of the GTD process, which include 1) Capture/Collect, 2) Process, 3) Organize, 4) Review, and 5) Do. This post focuses on the Process Phase of this workflow and describes the many ways that you can process your collected items.

What is the Process Phase in GTD?

In an earlier post (Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Capture and Collect), we discussed using LifeTopix to capture everything that’s floating around in your head. Once these items are in your trusted system, they need to move to the next stage of the workflow, which is Process.

During the Process Phase, you define each item collected as actionable or non-actionable. Non-actionable items are reference items or items that you can delete. Actionable items can be further defined in LifeTopix as described in this post.

Generally, those who follow the GTD process take an hour or two out each day to perform the Process step.

How do you use LifeTopix to Process?

During the Process Phase, you define each item collected as actionable or non-actionable. Keep in mind that LifeTopix is very flexible so you’ll find that you can create objects and categories that are suitable for the way that you work.

The following diagram shows the choices for the Process Phase in LifeTopix.

GTD Process Phase

Non-actionable Items

Non-actionable items include items that you cannot or will not act upon. These might be objects that are not important, not your responsibility, or items for reference — such as background materials in the form of notes, document files, audio, or video. These items might never make their way into LifeTopix in the first place and generally reside in your email or voicemail inboxes. If you find non-actionable items in LifeTopix during a review, you can easily delete these items if they’re no longer needed.

LifeTopix includes features enabling you to organize your important reference materials. For example, you can associate local files; checklists; bookmarks; audio; photos; videos; notes; shopping items; and online files from Dropbox, Google Drive, SkyDrive, Evernote, Toodledo to projects so you’ll always be able to find reference information associated with your actionable items.

Two-minute Rule

Generally, during the process phase you focus on making decisions, rather than completing actions; however, if an item can be completed in two minutes or less, then you can go ahead and act immediately.

Items To Do Soon or ASAP

During the Process Phase, you decide which tasks to do right away and soon. If you would like to learn more about prioritizing when using LifeTopix, see Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Prioritizing Tasks in LifeTopix.

LifeTopix to-do lists (checklists) are very suitable for small items that you wish to complete soon. If you’ve defined projects with associated tasks in LifeTopix, you can choose to complete the next action that helps you complete the project. You can define to-do lists on the fly directly in the Agenda view or you can define a task list. Task lists can include dates if you wish to view them in your Agenda or on your calendar. In addition, you can choose to use online tasks from Asana, Toodledo, or Google.

Items With Dates and Times

Many objects in LifeTopix can include dates; however, generally when using the GTD method, calendar items should be used for objects that occur at a fixed place or time, such as meetings, doctor’s appointments, or social events. The LifeTopix calendar is the logical place to place these items. Simply tapping the plus sign allows you to add events you’re attending, events you’re hosting, appointments, reminders, occasions, and device events. With LifeTopix, you can also use your online calendars (such as your device calendar, Outlook, or Google calendar) and manage those items via LifeTopix. LifeTopix becomes the central place for viewing multiple calendars.

Ticklers, Items You Wish to Defer, Items To Do Someday

Items without a clear due date, items with a due date in the future (ticklers), or items that you wish to do someday (such as learn to speak another language) can be placed in the Quick Inbox as a holding area. These items should be reviewed often.

Alternatively, you can create tasks (as task lists) or as a part of a project in the LifeTopix Tasks + Projects topic. These tasks can remain undated and you can review them regularly.

Projects

In LifeTopix, projects can be used for just about anything you dream up. You can create any type of project for work or your home and tag the project with an appropriate user-defined context tag. For example, in LifeTopix you can create Health projects; Event projects (for a wedding, graduation, etc.); Education projects; Work-related projects, and more.

Delegation

For items you wish to delegate, you can email them directly from LifeTopix to the recipient and he or she can open them directly in their LifeTopix app on their device from their email inbox. The ability to share is available for Projects, Trips, Notes, Tasks, Shopping lists, Checklists, Visits, Events, and Appointments. Another option for sharing includes using a shared Dropbox account with team members or family members and using Cloud Sync. And if you wish, you can use Toodledo or Asana for your task management, which allows you to share with team members.

More Information

GTD is a great system for managing your busy home and work life. If you’d like to know more about best practices using LifeTopix for GTD, refer to the following posts:

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Prioritizing Tasks in LifeTopix
Best Practices for Getting Things Done with LifeTopix Categories and Contexts
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Capture and Collect
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Master Organizing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Doing Phase
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Weekly Review

Your Turn

Please comment on how you use LifeTopix for the Processing Phase.

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Capture and Collect

See a newer version of this post with video at: GTD Basics – Methods for Capturing Items in LifeTopix

LifeTopix and My.Agenda are personal organization apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Both apps are especially useful for those who utilize David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method. We’re constantly incorporating features that are useful for GTD, and we enjoy sharing our best practices for using these features. In this post, I’ll show you how you can use LifeTopix’s features to help you capture and collect things that you’re carrying in your head and that are competing for your attention.

What is GTD?

If you’re not familiar with GTD, it’s “the groundbreaking work-life management system by David Allen that provides concrete solutions for transforming overwhelm and uncertainty into an integrated system of stress-free productivity,” according to David Allen’s website.

Allen lays out five key phases of the GTD process, which include 1) Capture/Collect, 2) Process, 3) Organize, 4) Review, and 5) Do. This post focuses on the Capture/Collect Phase of this workflow and describes the many ways that you can capture and collect items that are on your mind.

Why Capture Everything?

Allen’s thoughts around capturing everything that’s floating around in your head is of greatest importance because once these items are off your mind, you’re no longer burdened by them. Just like removing clutter from your home to create a relaxed environment, removing clutter from your mind into a trusted system gives you a sense of relief and order.

Capture Everything

Capturing these ideas, plans, etc. allow you to carry through on them and move them through the workflow. LifeTopix and the starter app, My.Agenda, are ideal tools for capturing things and helping you to follow through on items that you must do and goals that you want to achieve.

The Capture Process

Our apps include many features that allow you to capture everything that’s in your head. I’ll touch on the following features in this post:

  • The Quick Inbox
  • The Quick Menu
  • The Agenda View
  • The LifeTopix Calendar
  • The 12 Life Topics
  • The Notes + Files Topic
  • Your Reminders / Siri

The Quick Inbox

The Quick Inbox was designed with GTD in mind. Its purpose is for quickly capturing everything that’s in your head for processing later. It’s perfect when you’re short on time, or for items that are not on your immediate agenda, or for “ticklers,” which are items that have a definite date in the future such as a wedding you’re attending. Most of us keep our smartphones handy at most times so a personal organization app such as LifeTopix or My.Agenda are the natural choices for recording these items that pop into your head or are demanded of you.

You can easily access the Quick Inbox by tapping the Inbox icon in the left pane then tapping the plus sign in the upper right corner. The Quick Inbox displays as shown below.

Quick Inbox

You simply type a description of the item, optionally add an Act by date or you can tap Soon or Someday for items without a clear due date. These items are added to the Soon or Someday buckets — depending on how you’ve defined them, and all dated items are added to the Soon bucket.

When you’re ready to process these items, you can easily convert them by tapping on the green arrow and then tapping Convert as shown below.

QuickInbox2

When using the Quick Inbox, you can convert the items to tasks, notes, appointments, reminders, projects, trips, visits, attending events, hosting events, shopping lists, or gifts as shown below. 

QuickInbox3

Once these items have been converted, you can add details that support the next stages of the workflow — (Organize, Review, and Do). Keep in mind, you should set a time each day to review and process these items that are waiting in your Quick Inbox so they don’t fall through the cracks.

The Quick Menu

The Quick Menu gives you access to many important features for capturing information, such as the Quick Inbox discussed above, Quick Add, and the Quick Log. You’ll find the Quick Menu as indicated in the image below.

Quick Menu

Through Quick Add, accessible from the Quick Menu, you can add tasks, shopping items, checklists, notes, appointments, reminders, bookmarks, files, expenses, projects, events you’re hosting or attending, trips and visits, service providers, assets, audio, drawings, occasions, bills, photos, videos, device reminders, and device events.

Quick Add

When using Quick Add, you can move directly to the Processing step and add all the details of the entry immediately, if you wish.

The Agenda View

You can also capture items directly in the Agenda view, which is the view that shows your to-do lists/checklists, and what’s important today, tomorrow, and the next seven days. The Agenda view is a perfect place to add several types of items to the Quick Inbox described earlier, or through Quick Add.

Agenda

Through the Agenda view, Quick Add allows you to add tasks, shopping lists, notes, appointments, reminders, expenses, projects, events you’re hosting or attending, trips and visits, occasions, bills, device reminders, and device events. When using Quick Add, you can move directly to the Processing step and add all the details of the entry immediately, if you wish.

agenda quick inbox

The LifeTopix Calendar

For items that need to be scheduled at a fixed time such as meetings, doctor’s appointments, or social events, the LifeTopix calendar is the logical place to capture them. Much like the Agenda view, simply tapping the plus sign allows you to add events you’re attending, events you’re hosting, appointments, reminders, occasions, device events, and device reminders as shown below.

calendar

The 12 Life Topics

You can capture any type of item through the My Topics view by tapping one of the cards, and you’re given full access to all the details of the entry. You can see an example of the My Topics view below. The 12 life topics include Tasks + Projects, Shopping, Events, Travel + Places, People + Services, Health + Activity, Finances, Home + Assets, Education, Notes + Files, Media, and Bookmarks. To learn more about the 12 life topics, refer to the 12 Life Topics.

12 topics

The Notes + Files Topic

For those who prefer list-based notes for ubiquitous capture, LifeTopix or My.Agenda provides the flexibility to capture these notes directly from the Notes + Files Topic. And they allow you to capture these notes via voice/audio, text, and through free-hand writing. You can also add checklists/to-do lists from the Notes + Files topic. You can share these notes via social media, email, or text messages.

notes+files

The Notes + Files topic is also the perfect place to capture reference materials such as class notes, meeting notes, coupons, health docs, manuals, financial items, legal docs, etc. You can attach a file to these notes, take a photo, or use online notes (such as Google Docs or Evernote).

As a side note, if you want to access the Notes + Files Topic quickly, you can add All Notes to the Hot List view for one-tap access.

Using Siri to Add Reminders

If you like to use Siri to capture items you wish to be reminded of, you can simply tell Siri what you want to be reminded of and where. For example, you can say, “Remind me to pick up Timmy from Soccer practice at 7:00 p.m. today.” Siri launches the Reminder app and requests confirmation. With the LifeTopix integration, you can automatically view these reminders in your Agenda view, My Calendar view, and your Events Calendar. You can open the reminder directly from LifeTopix to edit it or mark it as complete. You can also create new entries in the Reminders app from LifeTopix topic

More Information

GTD is a great system for managing your busy home and work life. If you’d like to know more about best practices using LifeTopix for GTD, refer to the following posts:

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Prioritizing Tasks in LifeTopix
Best Practices for Getting Things Done with LifeTopix Categories and Contexts
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Processing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Master Organizing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Doing Phase
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Weekly Review

Your Turn

You’ll find in LifeTopix or My.Agenda that there’s several ways to capture everything that’s in your head. Hopefully the items that I touched on will get you started to living a more productive, stress-free life. Please comment!

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.