Davide Muzzarelli

GTD in a text file, the Muzzarelli’s version – part 1

published on 07.12.2007 in # in english, * livello base, GTD, organizzazione

I’m starting to use GTD (Getting Things Done) since September 2006 reading 43 Folders.

Before that I read a lot of organization books, tips and articles on internet. When I discovered GTD of David Allen I changed my mind and now I see the results, the best results.

I’m a fan of simplicity and I love text files because I can read it whit all devices, open it in an instant and build fast scripts to automate some operations.

I tried a lot of programs, both off and on line (web applications), like Remeber The Milk, Nozbe, Vitalist, pyGTD, Backpack (my preferred) and others.

The 20% of web applications are really good, like Backpack or Vitalist, but you need a connection to the internet if you want to work.
The desktop applications are slow to open, not multiplatform and needs installations on all your devices: there are not an application that run in Linux, Windows, MacOS and on my Palm or cellular phone.
All text systems that I tried are complex, too complex for the real life: I want to write a todo item in a couple of seconds, not in minutes.

So I created my text system: simplest to remember, faster to write and easiest to read.

Well, if you just know GTD take a file called GTD.txt. If you hear GTD for the first time, give it a try: you will discover how is easy to organize your life and your million of things to do!

So, create a simple text file with your preferred program. Avoid MicrosoftWord or some other heavy program, use the Notepad or Edit Plus or Vim or whatever else: you have to create a .TXT file.

Put all your contexts in your first line, see the example:

@Buy @Home @Office @Tel @Web

This line is for reference. You can use only one word for each context, I suggest you to capitalize the first letter.
The context is a tag that indicate in what place do the thing, or when do it. So, if you are in a store you have to read all the @Buy items.

Each item must have a context and only one one.

Make a blank line then write your @Tel items, then make two blank lines (this increase the readability when you have a lot of things to do) and write your @Web items, ecc…

See the example:

@Buy @Home @Office @Tel @Web

- @Buy 1l milk, 2 lemons, chocolate.- @Buy An iPod.- @Buy 2 new Moleskine (one slim and one big) and a flicker.

- @Home Repair the chair.

- @Tel Elisa for the appointment of Monday 13 November.- @Tel Marco in order to set a meeting with Company S.p.A.

- @Web Renew the Backpack login.- @Web Make a review of www.ontiles.com

Every item start with a line, a single space, only a single context and another space. Yes, only one context for item. If you have more contexts for each item you have not efficient contexts, so reorder them.

Use only one line for each item; this is very important because it is easiest to use and it obligates you to write good items: the better todos are short!

When you do an item you can simply eliminate it or put an “x” before:

- @Buy 1l milk, 2 lemons, chocolate.x @Buy an iPod.- @Buy 2 new Moleskine (one slim and one big) and a flicker.

If you like to remember old things done, copy it in another file (history.txt). In my honest opinion using an history file is not useful and distract you: the mind have to look at the present, not at the past.

In the next part I will tell you about projects.


2 Risposte to “GTD in a text file, the Muzzarelli’s version – part 1”. Tutti gli utenti che hanno commentato hanno accettato le note legali.
  1. Anonymous scrive:

    I know you said you were not hip on online version, but my program GlueyNotes ( http://glueynotes.com ) is almost exactly like you are describing here.

    I am glad to see I am not the only one who touts the text interface!

  2. Davide Muzzarelli scrive:

    Well done Rob!

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