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Tips & Tricks Tuesday: Using Remember The Milk for GTD in a School Environment

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 by Andrew Conkling

Students know that organizing your assignments across classes can be a tedious affair, even with a syllabus in hand. This week's tip, shared by astavrow, aims for a streamlined, organized setup to keep all assignments straight to make the most of your semester.

Bob T. Monkey stays in school

There’s a great post on the RTM blog on how to set up the service for advanced GTD. You should read it first, to have a basis for what my basic system looks like.

Anything that I consider a Project (i.e., a desired outcome that requires more than one action to complete) gets its own list. Each class I’m taking is, in a way, a Project. The desired outcome is, obviously, completing the course with high marks; the actions listed are how I make it happen.

The thing is, every class has its own series of Projects to complete — readings, lab reports, assignments, etc. I could make each of these a new list, but they’re pretty short-term projects (a week or less).

So, instead, I created tags that track these “sub-Projects” — things like 'lab', 'readings', 'assignment' – and tag individual tasks within my class list with them.

In a given class, for example, I might have two current “sub-Projects” — a lab and some readings. Those that are also tagged 'na' are Next Actions required to complete the sub-Project.

Why does this work? Adding a list for every bit of assigned work that comes in over the course of a semester, filling in your tasks, and then deleting the list when you’re done involves too much maintenance. A good GTD system gives you enough to work with, but not so much that you’re constantly tweaking the ‘fiddly bits,’ as I like to call them. It’s much easier to simple re-use a few common tags, especially since they will almost never overlap for a given class — it’s unlikely that you’ll have to deal with two assignments or two presentations at the same time for a single class.

Thanks for sharing this tip, astavrow! You're our Tips & Tricks Tuesday winner this week.

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Posted in: Tips & Tricks