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Discussion Forum > ToodleDo and Randomizer Lenten Challenge

As with a few others, my observations more-or-less as they happen.

Review of Method:

Main task list, including recurring, is in ToodleDo. Sort by Priority then due date, or calculated importance. They give similar results. Priority gives me a better feel for tomorrow's important tasks. Can tweak priority and due date if needed, but only moderately.

Not restricted to it, but if I don't do one of the top 10 or so, ask myself why not.

Randomizer to break ties, especially if the tie threatens to let in distractions. (Yes, sometimes making the choice is what triggers the procrastination.)


Many low-priority tasks are hiding at the bottom of the list, where they don't distract me. On a paper list, they are the only things left on the early pages, and seem more important than they are.

Higher importance tasks get seen much more often.

So far, I'm still cherry-picking the easiest, but once I'm done on this site, the only things left are not fun.
March 2, 2017 at 20:22 | Registered CommenterCricket

I skipped a step. It's supposed to go into ToodleDo, then each morning I'll copy the top several onto the page for the day, as a way of reinforcing them. It's also easier to check that list than sign in to the app.

What did I grab? My paper book, and wrote it under tomorrow, as in DIT.

It's things like this that make me believe in God, at least as some sort of benevolent guiding spirit (who is laughing that I'm not doing this to be closer to God, but as a purely practical exercise).

(Side-note: Native Americans and Africans do not see the gods as benevolent spirits. Some are, but many are tricksters, such as Coyote, Raven and Anansi. In the unsanitized tales, they don't care if their tricks hurt or help, so long as they find it amusing.)

If not for the challenge, I wouldn't notice I wasn't sticking to the system, and would think the system was working really well. I also wouldn't have noticed myself using a bit of DIT.

Prediction: At the end, I'll decide to keep short-term tasks on paper, and only use ToodleDo for repeating and longer time frames. I might even give DIT another try. After the challenge.
March 2, 2017 at 20:56 | Registered CommenterCricket
Three days in a row that I haven't completed the tasks TD says are the most important. Tasks that I agree are at least as important as everything else on the list.

The biggest one is accounting. Sigh. I'm going to risk a poor night's sleep and do some after supper. (Yes, focusing on accounting or programming disrupts my sleep that night. Very annoying, since I can usually focus very well at that time of day.)
March 5, 2017 at 23:47 | Registered CommenterCricket
Day 6, and I've yet to finish a day with everything in the top section finished. Sigh. Part of it is emergencies. Part of it is lack of energy and focus. Maybe that 80 hours a month on that video game was more about my energy levels than addiction to the game.
March 6, 2017 at 18:58 | Registered CommenterCricket
Day 10.


Yesterday I made it down to two tasks with the highest importance. I'm learning a lot about how little I work on those important tasks. My time log (kept separately) will be informative.

I'm sometimes worried about the tasks lower down the list, so added "oldest priority 3", "oldest priority 2", etc. Those tasks are priority 4 (of 5) and repeat every 2 days. Good enough settings to start the experiment.

Most tasks are entered into my notebook rather than ToodleDo, since it's much faster and easier. Every day or three any undone tasks get copied into the program. Repeating tasks are entirely in the program. They go on tomorrow's page, as in DIT.

Today's list is still copied from ToodleDo onto today's page in my notebook, beside the time log. I'd said this earlier, somewhere. It helps me focus, and gives me a chance to add up the time estimates, as a sanity check.

The program would do the sanity check for me, If I entered everything into the program, and time estimates, and changed the way I use stars (or added a Today tag and did an extra few clicks for filtering). Not quite worth it for me. It takes only a few minutes to add them up on paper.

The Hot List feature might be worth trying. It's a combined filter, where you set the due date, whether star matters, and priority.

ToodleDo is very nice for finding the choosing task. Usually I sort by calculated importance, sometimes by priority or date. On the computer, I can sort by three fields, but only by one on the tablet and phone. Even with that, I've used Randomizer a few times.

Problem: ToodleDo didn't create a new fish tank cleaning task when I finished the previous one. (Fortunately, the last cleaning was preceded by a memorable-enough event.) And, here it is on the computer. Sync problem? Still, if I can't trust it completely, it's not useful.

Other Observations:

I spent several days tempted to switch to DIT. The only reason I didn't was the challenge. I did, however, implement a bit of DIT. I try to write things down before doing them. The urge to actually switch systems has gone.

Watching that urge come and then go would not have happened without the challenge. I've experienced urges to change system rising and fading before, but it felt different not having the choice.

I've also thought more about different systems. I'm not sure if this is due to other events, or the restriction of the challenge. One of them felt familiar, like I'd put a lot of thought into it before. I had, under Halves. I didn't try it back then because of some potential problems Mark pointed out, but I may have found a way around them. There's now a new post in that discussion.

Halves with multiple time frames is in first place for what to try next. A different time frame for each pass. (Yep, there's another post on multiple time fames, which can be applied to any system which pre-selects a group, as opposed to a chain.)

I'm curious what I'll learn next from this challenge, and whether I'll continue to learn for the entire six weeks. I expected that two weeks would be more than enough, but now that I'm actually paying attention rather than planning the next move, I think the entire six weeks is worth it.
March 12, 2017 at 1:19 | Registered CommenterCricket
Yesterday, I tried using stars to mark the day's work, so it would add up the total goal automatically. Most of the things I'd wanted to do already had stars, so it wasn't too bad.

It didn't work once the day got going.

One-off tasks were removed from the total, since I filtered out completed tasks. Time remaining went down. Good so far.

Repeating tasks with stars, though, didn't. I marked it done. That line disappeared. Tomorrow's occurrence appeared, complete with star, so total work remaining didn't go down. So, remove the star, see work remaining go down. Happy -- but it's one more thing to turn off today, and then turn on again when planning tomorrow.

(Yes, I do need daily repeating tasks in the list. Not all of them, but some. My routines aren't quite firm enough. I've seen routines that quietly worked for months suddenly disappear, and I don't realize it for weeks.)

Enough reporting. Back to work.
March 13, 2017 at 17:19 | Registered CommenterCricket