Big Rocks, Things, and More ALMOST Getting Things Done (Part 1)

It’s that time again. I have some “downtime” and I fill it up with websurfing, tinkering and tweaking systems…anything other than establishing and diving into My Practice (spiritual practice) during this time of great transition. But life will be kicking it up many notches in under a week, so now is the time to dial-in any altered or new systems.

What I’ve recently done is find the balance between a paper-based or computer-based system for my getting things done life. Starting my pre-doc internship in a couple weeks, I’m sure I’ll have to create a system for that “place,” too. Overall, I’m getting it. OmniFocus was too much of a techy solution, a distraction. iGTD used to be my choice, but I like what iGTD2 has to offer but I’m not running Leopard. Things used to seem like it wasn’t enough, but it’s simplicity has been helpful for me to de-tether from my computer. I’ve enjoyed taking notes via pen and paper, so I’m keeping that part alive and well, too. No export of any sort for Things?? Uggh, but that’s ok for now. I’m desiring an iPhone, but I’m not sure that’s going to happen just yet either. Kick me down an iTouch, someone!

Enough of that intro. What I’ve been trying to do is incorporate the Covey and ZTD Big Rocks theme into a GTD app. Using Things, I think I was on to something. Here is what I came across:

I can set a due date (or not) for a recurring to-do (like my Big Rocks idea). Now, I don’t have to. They will be created weekly if there are no due dates. If they have a due date, they will be due on their particular day, AND they can be created X days before they are due.

Therefore, if I have a weekly review day set, say a Sunday planning session set, I can set the create date to X days before so they all fall on the same day. For example, Monday’s will be created 1 day before, Tuesday’s 2 days before, and so on. Then on Sunday, they all pop up at the same time.

Regardless of the due date or not, I like only seeing one week’s worth of Big Rocks at a time, AND I also like have the week’s Big Rocks out at the same time.


I’m going to start experimenting with this for 2 weeks.This first week I’ll set:(1) No due dates, and (2) Create another dummy group of them with due dates.The second week I’ll (1) Keep the same thing and see if it gets screwed up.

Update 1: Hrmm…Problems so far:1) I see the “Test” to-do even though it’s supposed to be created next Sunday. Does this mean the NEXT to-dos are created this coming Sunday? Not sure if the default for Things is to create a to-do item as soon as it’s, well, created, versus being created for the first time at some point in the future.

Update 2: So it’s Sunday. And what’s in the “Today” focus area? All 5 Test Big Rock entries for the 5 days of the week. They have the correct tag, they have the correct amount of “days left” until due. BUT, what I really wanted was for them NOT to come up in the “Today” area unless it was, well, today. I don’t want to see Monday’s until Monday, although I do want it created and hanging in the “Next” area so I can review the week on Sunday or whenever. I want “Today” for DOING, not planning. Hence, only one day’s Big Rocks entry per day.

What I really want are two options where there is currently only one: The first would be to select if each copy has a due date. The second would be to then have it created X days before due. That way, it would be created, but not necessarily relative to when it is due, but…what?

Now, one plus that I’m realizing with these 5 “Today” entries looking at me: in terms of any type of weekly review done, say, “Today,” (multiple uses for “Today” – doing AND reviewing???), I have all of the days of the week just waiting to be filled in. But I suppose I don’t know what Big Rocks I’ll want to tackle for the rest of the week on Sunday. Hell, I can just look under “Next” and select my tag “Big Rocks” for the reviewing/planning.