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Three cool tricks in Kinkless GTD
Merlin Mann | Jun 26 2006
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1. "Hiding" fallow projects
In last Thursday's podcast, "Fallow Projects and the Bread Crumb Trail", I mentioned how I like to move stalled or clinically-dead projects off my immediate radar screen; it makes it so much easier to focus when only actionable stuff is being tracked actively. Anyhow, lots of people asked for more details on that, so here you go.
In kGTD, you want to create a holding pen for these sick animals by generating a new top-level Project and calling it, say, "Fallow Projects #" (or whatever you prefer, but do include the "pound") then scooting all those moribund projects thereunder. Cool enough, but, here comes the nifty.
There's an undocumented feature in kGTD (what, Ethan, now you're copying a1c0r?) that's not at all well known. If you type a pound sign ("
This is really useful in practice, because, say you have a project going great guns, with 5 sub-projects and manifest next actions popping up all over the place. But, then, for whatever reason -- perhaps the notional rodeo maiming mentioned in the podcast -- you need to flash freeze the project in situ for an unknown period of time. This solution lets you move things out of your way -- as-is -- so you don't have to undo all your work to date by flipping off individual contexts or, God forbid, deleting the projects and then needing to start over later. It's all still there ready to be reanimated simply by moving the sub-project out of the inactive parent. Sexy time.
2. Color your world
In "KGTD Settings," when you first set the "Calendars to Create or Sync with," you select the contexts that you want to appear in iCal as well as the names for each calendar. Handy enough. What you may not know is that, if kGTD is creating the iCal calendars from scratch, you can also select the color of each calendar as it will appear in iCal. Yay, pretty.
Just select the line with the calendar you want to colorify, and hit
While being semantically useless, it's a nice way to create visual similarity in related calendars. You could even use it as a kind of meta-category beyond what you do already with calendar groups. Maybe all the things you can do in a parked car are "Seagreen" and all the tasks that require a flat surface are "Darkslateblue." Be creative. Or, you know, just color for fun.
(NB: this only works when kGTD is creating calendars that don't yet exist in iCal. Use care when deleting existing calendars in order to play with this trick; remember "calls" can be non-kGTD appointments, right? Right.).
3. That curious "Twin" button
Averse as the average adult human is to reading documentation, it's perhaps not surprising that every single kGTD user I know (except you, of course; you're really smart) has no idea what that "Twin" button in their document bar does. Perhaps it generates a doppelganger, phones Hayley Mills, or adds a side-splitting DeVito/Schwarzenegger movie to your Netflix queue. Gratefully, "No," "No," and "Holy crap, no."
The "Twin" button is simply a fast way to move back and forth between a synced task's dual lives as 1) the child of a Project, and 2) a constituent of a given context-based list.
Remember the idea of kGTD is to plan in Projects and then work in contexts. But the occasional moving back and forth becomes a breeze when you place your cursor in any synced task then mash the "Twin" button. Try it. It's really cool, and now you'll be using it all the time, confident of no Schwarzenegger-related media involvement whatsoever.
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