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DGT GTD Based on David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”

After setting myself up with ToDoist and paying £36 for a year’s rental, I rediscovered DGT GTD which is a software tool, loosely based on David Allen’s huge best seller called “Getting Things Done”, a paper system I have used for many a year. DGT GTD was difficult to use in their early days but a little smoother now. If you use it, it takes a bit of getting used to, but you'll be pleased you persevered!

I also use Todoist which is a simple, easy program to use but cost £36 a year. Alas, although more powerful, the totally free DGT GTD is not so easy to master. However, I will try to set out how I use it for my home life. I’m keeping Todoist for my businss activities as I prefer to keep things separate.

First of all, play with it! It is so important to get the structure right. Once you have familiarised yourself with the program, only then is the time to set the structure up – before even thinking of adding tasks. So much easier to zap everything if you haven’t spent ages filling in all your tasks.

Before we begin, I’d like to explain the button to add items. This is in the form of an icon depicting a “floppy disk” - if you don’t know what that is, ask your dad!

The most important things to master are:

  • Goals
  • Folders
  • Projects
  • Checklists

And once you understand these, the following will be easy to work out:

  • Tasks
  • Context
  • Tags.
  • Inbox
  • Contacts

I will give some easy examples to help you get an idea initially but first, when you load up the program there are three main screens. The centre one you first see is the most used. When there, if you swipe left to right you will see the Folders screen – return to the centre screen and then if you swipe right to left, you will see the Goals screen – more on these follow:

Goals:

“Financial security” is a good title as it encompasses everything, from correcting your bank statements, checking your credit card account, asking your boss for a rise etc. Another good one is “Health”, from booking an operation to getting a supply of aspirin from the chemist/drug store.

Swipe right to left on the main screen and, to set up a new goal, click on the pencil icon at the top, then on “New goal...”, Edit Goal (type in the new goal name here) then add (the add icon is that of a floppy disk as mentioned above) and, on the next page, click on the word Lifelong and a new screen which will give you a choice of Lifelong, Long-term or Short-term. Click one of these and then click on the add icon again.

Folders:

We have two only. My wife “Pam Taylor” and mine “Andrew Taylor” and one “Joint”. Everything we do will go into one of these folders. You could use them for anything where you wanted to keep Goals, Projects, Tasks together for later examination. But they are exceptionally useful for reviewing our lives.

Swipe left to right from the main screen, and to set up a new folder, click on the pencil icon at the top, then on “New folder...”, Edit Folder, (type in the new goal name here) then the add icon and on the next page click on the colour if you want to use a colour to identify the folder. I have used pink for Pam and blue for myself! Finally, click on the the add icon button again.

Projects:

These are the next level down. When we decided to get rid of our desktops and buy Notebooks (laptops) we set up a project called “Change of computers” and set up a check list for all the things we had to do to get this completed.

Once this structure had been set up, we could concentrate on all the jobs (or in this case, Tasks).

It is a little confusing that, when you set up a new project, (click on Project, then the add icon then project again) it comes up as: Task title. Just enter your project name as the Task title and save (the add icon). You will see the normal task list screen mostly empty other than the project’s name against Project and possibly a Context name at the bottom. Just save (the add icon) again.

The reason I say keep the rest of the screen blank, is that we are setting up the structure first and don’t want to add tasks at this stage. Once your program is all set up and you are using it for real, when you need to set up a new project, there is nothing wrong in adding the first task at this stage.

Checklists:

This can be a little confusing to use at first, but very useful. Supposing you set up a task for planning your eightieth birthday party (I am doing this right now, in March and it’s in July!

  • My project name would be Eightieth Birthday Party
  • Then under Checklist would be the following entries
  • Warn people by email to keep the date free
  • Book the venue and accommodation
  • Order Invitations
  • Post out invitations Under Notes add: with a letter saying details of getting there will follow later
  • Send emails a few days before with directions.

As each has been accomplished, tick them and they disappear - useful.

Setting up Checklists can be a little daunting at first.

You want the centre screen for this. Click on Checklists two/thirds of the way down the screen. Click the plus + sign and Checklist in the next screen. Under “Task Title” add the name of your check list (80th Party in my case). Click save (the add icon) (then the add icon a second time).

In the next screen, click the plus + sign again. Now you are ready to enter your list. Enter the Task title and click the add + icon, enter the next task with: [add, add, +, Enter task, add, add]

Carry on until you have all the items listed.

If you click on the title of the checklist, you will get the full task screen to enter all the relevent information, see the next paragraph. When you have entered the last item, and can see the list of check tasks for checking off, you will see at the top of the screen, to the left of “Checklists” an arrow. Click on it. This will return you to the main screen.

Now click on Checklists and you will see the Checklist titles. Click on the title, and you will find all the items to eventually check off.

Tasks:

We have a top quality coffee machine and by cleaning it every fortnight, we hope it will last long enough to justify the high cost. So I set up a Task to Clean the Krups Coffee Machine once a fortnight. I then went through the task list as follows:

  • Status: Active
  • Type: Task
  • Due Date: Sunday 24th March
  • Due Time: 9:00am
  • Remind: 30 minutes before
  • Repeat: Bi-weekly
  • Priority: There are: “Top/High/Med/Low“ I ticked High
  • Project: I ticked “Home Efficiency”
  • Folder: As I am responsible for this, I ticked “Andrew Taylor”
  • Context: I ticked “Kitchen”
  • Tag “@Home”

Under the Repeat button are a multitude of options. You can add complex repeats such as every 16 weeks, or every Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, amongst many other options. The best, in fact, I’ve ever seen!

Contexts:

You can use these for anything you want, I have each room of my house, and my garden listed here - for the want of a brilliant idea. I'll probably change this as I go along.

Tags

Here I have a tag for home, one for my locality, one for central London, one for the local shopping mall. Then further ones for Telephoning, Email, Texting, Laptop, Mobile (different from making phone calls) - it can be anything but you get the picture!

Some extra information:

Inbox This is five items down in the main menu. Ideally this should always be emptied at least once a day. When you are working in the office, travelling, or at home, items you have to do occur to you. Add them here. Once a day, clear the items by adding them to a task or whatever. It is just a way of ensuring you don't forget anything in your life.

Contacts - (as opposed to Contexts) - when in the Task menu, click on Today (third item down) and then the plus + sign. The last four items are:

  • Call a contact
  • Return Call
  • Email a contact
  • SMS a contact

Clicking on these will open up your contact lists on the phone to choose. They are not for future planned communications, they are there for instant, off the cuff, communications.

This program has been around for several years and hasn’t even reached 1.0 yet; it is still on 0.9xxx I thought of writing to the programmer saying I’m 80 this year and could he reach 1.0 before I expire! I could have said retire as I’ve just come out of retirement to start my sixth business!

It is available on Android, if you are an Apple user, there could be a version in the after life! But don’t hold your breath!

Finally, if you've had a play with the app, and like what you see, there is a more extensive tutorial available - click on the button below..

Ampers.

(c) Andrew Ampers Taylor London UK 2019