Look at the top of your THL window. Most likely, if you’re reading this, you have one tab-shaped thing sticking out of the top of your notepad area. THL supports tabs, just like your web browser (hopefully) does. Double click in an empty area of the tab bar or press command-T to create a new one. As you can see, the colors vary through Lists including Inbox (white), Today (green), Smart lists including Upcoming and Tags/Contexts (purple), and Folders (blue). You can choose in Preferences > Shortcuts to have command-W or command-shift-W close a tab (the opposite closes the whole window).
My tab structure is organized in order of what should be cleared first.
As you can see, first I move everything out of my Inbox, then work on the items in Today (which normally fills all my time). If I finish that I move on to Upcoming, and on the unlikely event I finish that I go in order of Pending (smart folder for everything I can work on at the moment, then my Someday list (which is different from Eventually), and finally a smart folder for absolutely everything that’s not completed.
The Three Bars
As you can see, there are three buttons across the bottom of the notepad area. (If you haven’t noticed, I’m using that to refer to the area your tasks are displayed in, which looks like a notebook.) The first works a bit differently than the others. This is what is called up by the G key. You can type letters, and THL will show you lists, folders, and smart folders you have that contain those letters in that order, no matter what letters may be in between them. You can then use the arrow keys to move between matches, and enter/return to to to that list.
It should be noted that while this works in a similar way to the file (F) command, it won’t create a new list if you type something that doesn’t match any list/folder/smart folder.
The second Bar is the Hints bar, and it’s useful to keep open for new users. It gives you easy buttons to press to do the things you’d normally use keyboard shortcuts for if you could remember them, while teaching you the shortcuts. There’s also a search field, which only searches the current container and doesn’t search notes. This is also where the Archive button, which I referred to earlier, is located.
The final Bar is the oft-mentioned Filter bar. It shows you all your tags and contexts applied to tasks in the current container, and if you click one the filter turns on and only tasks with that tag are shown. If you select more than one, using command or Shift, only tasks with both are shown. To click on tags that are hidden, click the double arrow next to the search field. This and the Archive button are the same as in the Hints bar.
I say the Go To bar is different because it appears to come up in front of the other two, while they just switch. Also, it’s white.
To see the sort options for THL, either go to View > Sort By or right-click the colored strip between the notepad area and the tab area. Manual sort is replaced by Today in the Today list, and you can’t sort by list inside a list, but otherwise they’re all the same even if some are greyed out. They’re pretty self-explanatory, although you may find you need to mentally add the word “Date” after Added, Completed, Due, Modified, and Start.
Sequential vs Parallel tasks
So far, we can organize our tasks by list or by tag, so how do we know which one to use? My personal system is to have a list for everything that happens sequentially and a tag for that which doesn’t need to. That way I can use Smart Folders to replicate the lists made out of tags. This is my current system as it stands today.
And on that note. I’ll finish up this mammoth of a post. I have out done myself, this totaled about 3905 words. I hope you all liked it, and will stay tuned for more along these lines.