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How to Zen Things Done?

Out of curiosity, @ctietze, in your Zen Things Done (ZTD) post here on zettelkasten.de, you mention an ”inbox”, but going from your notes on paper to organizing your tasks, could you describe more in detail what system you use? I would like to keep things as simple as possible and sympathize a lot with your ’software agnosticism’ philosophy. I would not like to become a ’slave’ of one particular software (or caught up in the process of trying to find the perfect one) for my task management, but rather stay as software independent as possible.


  • @joachiedere can you elaborate what your inquiry is about? This part is a bit vague:

    going from your notes on paper to organizing your tasks, could you describe more in detail what system you use?

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

  • Hi @ctietze! Sorry for the vagueness, what I meant was how you get things done, going from notes on paper to supposedly writing things down in a calender with reminders, and setting and individual goals on various level. What tools do you use for these tasks and how do these tools communicate with each other?

  • I'm not using anything fancy. Per the basic GTD workflow:

    I capture notes on-the-go on slips of paper that I intend to process in my system and then toss away. To keep a cohesive list, I'll occasionally resort to a note book, as I did recently when I helped my grandparent move to their new home.

    I process the notes from my inbox (i.e. my desk, where I toss the pieces of paper on to) and track tasks and projects in my Emacs Org mode files. These are plain text and super versatile. Learning the editor is a steep learning curve, but free-form mixing of long notes and pieces of code and task names into a single document outline is great. I loved OmniFocus for its power and simplicity, too, and can recommend that app as well for les tech-savvy folks. I have a very simple life and work, so there's not much I need to organize and keep track of. Mostly development journals, roadmaps, and task lists. Appointments and things I really need to have pop-up notifications with sounds and phone vibration for, lest I forget, go into my iCloud Calendar and Reminders lists outside of Emacs. (With recent updates to their platform, Apple has made Reminders and Notes good enough for some people as well, especially for simple workflows.)

    I don't do goals anymore. When I journal, I write about goals a bit, but they are not formalized in my task lists. Themed milestones may be, though, to better group open tasks for app development. That helps to keep track of things because I can think of task clusters as little cohesive storylines.

    Author at Zettelkasten.de • https://christiantietze.de/

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