First of all, full disclosure. I made this up. Thus, it might hurt you more than it helps you. However, this is true for most GTD concepts, so that’s all the warning you get.
I call this Mindests, and here’s the elevator pitch: Mindsets is (are) one particular activity, such as writing, that is distinct from others, such as reading. They can be nested, putting blogging and emailing under writing, or not. They are useful when you are blazing along, have written three blog posts already and can’t continue on or you’ll have none for later, but don’t want to stop the creative juices flowing. Just continue on in your Writing mindset.
Now that we’ve got a good idea, or at least in my mind good, how do we implement it? Why, the same way as Contexts, of course! I suggest either a # instead of the @, if you want to continue to make your task list look like Twitter, or if not you can use an !. However, I just have mine without a prefix, so they are distinct from my Contexts. Anything that’s not either of these probably needs to be a folder.
That brings me to a confession. I switched GTD apps again. Yes, again. I ran out of the trial period on Things, and began to be curious about The Hit List. I had been syncing Things over to iCal calendars, so I just set up THL to do the same. It took a bit of fiddling to get it to work, but eventually I managed it. A word of advice: back up iCal before you do this, because it took me literally over 10 tries to get it right. I won’t go into a whole review here, but I will list some of my first impressions of THL.
I like the keyboard-navigableness. That is a new word, which I’m rather good at making. You can literally do anything you would do regularly with a keyboard shortcut/combo, which is awesome. Another thing they got right is the separation of tags and contexts. You can use either or both. To add a task, type a / and then your tag. To add a context, type @ and then your tag. They are otherwise identical except that contexts are highlighted light pink and tags light yellow. Card view is really neat, and it’s really easy to make a task repeating. Subtasks are also great. I also like the Today view showing first due tasks, then tasks you added to Today in the past, then tasks you added today.
That said, there are some glaring, and I do mean glaring, omissions. There is no Next or Someday like Things has. There is Upcoming, which looks like it should be the same, but isn’t (it just holds your upcoming scheduled tasks). This is the major stumbling block I encountered when switching. You either have to create your own lists and deal with them not being with Today and Upcoming, or assign every task to a project–otherwise every task goes to your Inbox. While I realize this may have been a design choice, it is almost a deal breaker for me. Another beef I have is with folders. First of all, tasks cannot be placed inside a folder, only a list. This means I have to have a “Miscellaneous” list in each folder. Same with tags–they can be bundled, but tasks cannot be added to a bundle. Projects are also hard to figure out, as they either have to be implemented as a list or a task with subtasks. Rest assured I will be writing an email to the developer, but hopefully not a snooty one.
I also added Anxiety to my workflow, and to hear about that listen to my pick on IMP Live 47, because everything that applies to Things there also applies to THL. While I don’t recommend switching GTD apps without reason, I do recommend adding Anxiety to the mix if you haven’t already.
Well, there’s my weekly sharing of ideas with you, and penance for fiddling with something that already worked. I do have an excuse, though, I couldn’t keep using Things. Unless I bought it, of course, which I don’t have the money to. Case in point, and good luck to you with your GTD adventure.