Working with GTD
There are several ways to input tasks into THL. The most prevalent is simply to hit the return key in almost any THL view. If you have no task selected, it will appear at the end of the list you’re viewing, and if you have one selected it will appear right under it. It also keeps the level of indentation, so if you have a subtask selected it will add a sibling to that child. To add a subtask of the task you have selected, either hit tab before typing the title of the subtask or hold the shift key while you’re pressing return.
Any task you add while viewing anything other than the Inbox inherit the properties of whatever you’re viewing. The Today view is one exception—tasks there act as if they were added in the Inbox. However, tasks in a list go into that list, while viewing a tag or context they inherit that, and when you’re filtering the new tasks gets the filtered tags. You cannot, however, add a new task while inside a Smart folder, and can only add tasks inside a folder if you have a task selected, so THL knows which list to put it in.
The Quick Entry panel works almost a bit of the Inbox torn off and floating at you, but not quite. To activate it, use the key combination you can set in the Shortcuts tab of the Preferences. Entering a task here works the same as anywhere else, except the Return key dismisses the window and sends your task to the selected list, and the f key to file the task doesn’t work. To add a subtask, use shift-return, and to add another task use command-return. ^-0 through ^-9 sets priority, and as always command-’ lets you edit the note. To see these handy shortcuts, click the ? button in the corner. You can also choose which list to add the task(s) to, although you have to use the mouse and not the keyboard for this. It’s important to remember that this stays set even after you dismiss and recall the Quick Entry panel, so unless you want your next entry to disappear into your filing system, it’s helpful to bring the panel back up to set the list to Inbox again.
Another way of adding a task is to drag anything onto THL’s icon. If it is text, that becomes the task title. For a link, the title is set to “Look at” and the URL, and the clickable link is put into the Notes field. For files, it places a link to them in the notes field, and shows an attachment icon when the notes are collapsed and the file icon when they are expanded. The title of the task is set to “Look at” and the name of the file.
Once all your tasks are in the Inbox, THL makes it really easy to add everything you need to them using keyboard shortcuts. Rather than list them all here, I’ll point you to the user-made list on Google Groups that’s infinitely more likely to be updated along with the application. Some of my most-used are command-1 through command-4, space, tab, X, T, B, F, G, /, and @.
To add due dates and start dates, as has been said before, is a matter of Select > Tab > Tab > Type start date in natural language > Type due date in natural language. The one shortcut I have heard requested is one for cycling through lists, rather than going directly to one using G.
THL has a very neat view we haven’t even touched on yet. It’s called Card View, and sounds like what it is.
To show the card view, either click its icon above the notepad or use keyboard shortcut command-2. In card view, all sensible keyboard shortcuts still work, and you can edit notes more easily. This could be useful for outlining or writing small things like an email, so you don’t have to go hunting for it when you want to keep working on something you’ve left off. You can also drag links and files into the notes field here. This is useful for just doing what you need to do, because you can concentrate on it instead of seeing all your other tasks around it. Once you check off your task, it is moved to the back of the pile, with the same nice animation the arrow buttons or keys show, and you can focus on the next thing. (If you want to you can turn the animation off in the General section of the Preferences.)
One more thing you should try is dragging a task from this view. Grab a bit of the card above the title, and begin a drag. You’ll likely never use this, but it’s so nicely put together it’s worth seeing.
Once you Do (and check off) your tasks, you can archive them with the button at the left of the Hints bar (covered later), or with the ` key, right above tab. To see your archived tasks, click the Show archived checkbox on the top left of the notepad (or card, although it doesn’t do much of note in card view).
This seems as good a time as any to mention a large easter egg in the app. ‘Tis the season, as well. Create a task with the word “Mario” in it, complete it, and archive it. Do the same with “Star wars”. Now you’ll see why those are the only two tasks allowed to stay in the archive of my Inbox, for those times I need a motivator and don’t have any chocolate around. Speaking of which, excuse me for a second…
All right, I’m back. That is some good chocolate. Now on to the final stage of GTD.
There’s not much an application can add to the reviewing process. The only thing I can say for THL is that there is a Date Modified criterion for smart folders, which could be used to see what tasks need to be reviewed.