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Delete or modify completed tasks?

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  • Delete or modify completed tasks?

    I'm in my fledgling months of implementing the GTD way of life. My primary tool is Entourage on my Mac, and I'm using the Projects & Tasks.

    I really enjoy checking the completed button on tasks. (so sad that it's come down to this )

    anyway...here's my question:

    When completing a task, should it be marked so and a new task created
    or,
    Should I just modify the existing task to be the next NA?

    Creating a new task retains the records of tasks completed, but is that useful, and isn't it more efficient to just revise each NA as one moves forward??

  • #2
    I like paper for my Next Actions, there's the satisfaction of checking off each box and having a list of what I did at the end of the day/week/month/year. It keeps things chronological so I know what I did when. It creates an audit trail, and more importantly, it creates a sense of well being knowing just how much work you do each day.

    I don't know how Enterouge works, but I'd recommend checking them off and creating a new Next Action.

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    • #3
      Hi Mo.
      Probably depends on your tasks.

      "Call and thank Aunt Julie for wedding gift" might just get checked off.

      However, on a task which is one in a series associated with a project, and which has a natural next task, I like to just change the title to the task.

      Say the project is BUY NEW CAR, and I just finished the task of R&D WHICH CAR TO BUY. Sort of pigpog style, I would name my task:

      NEW CAR: R&D which car to buy.

      Then, after I had finished that, and was on to "Test Drive Cars", I might change the title to

      NEW CAR: Test Drive Cars. And in the note section of the program (I'm not familiar with Entourage, but I assume it allows you to have notes?) I would put, 3/3/05: decided to buy Toyota 4Runner. [This sounds silly for a project like buying a car, but it comes in really useful on work related projects.]

      As you finish each phase of the project, you make a little note, and pretty soon you have a running history of the whole project, very very very useful, especially in CYA situations. Unfortunately, it deprives you of the "cha-ching" of marking the task completed, which is sad. But hey, overall it works best for me.

      Hope that helps.
      Taxgeek

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      • #4
        I do the same thing as Taxgeek. It works well for me.

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        • #5
          an easy method on Palm and useful

          I have my context lists in Memo which automatically orders them a to z. in any category After completing an action, I put an X in front of it and that moves it down to the bottom of the list (not many project names if you use pigpog method or n/as begin with anything between x and z). If I am at my desktop I use the datetime stamp shortcut (it works when you are in edit mode) just after the x. If I have to verify that I did something I can use the search function and confirm that I did it and when I did it. I can't figure out how to do this on the handheld. so on the handleld I type in the date if I think I might need it. You can also copy this action with the annotation to your project notes whether you keep them in Memo or To Do (Tasks). If you have an extra category free in Memo you could keep it for completed actions and just send them to that list but I would use an x or something and the dts. -. If you use the PigPog method, meaning each project has a unique short identifer you can readily see how many things you have done per project. By the way, you can keep a log this way too

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          • #6
            I check them off - I've always been the type that enjoys crossing things off lists. You shouldn't feel bad about enjoying that feeling! Part of GTD is being attracted to it.

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            • #7
              I cross them off also. I just like the feeling of marking something "completed". It's nice to know that I have a record of it in case I need it as well but I've rarely had to use it.

              One advantage is seeing how much you've accomplished when you do your Weekly Review. It can give you a good feeling when you've had a good week.

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