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Leo Things Done

September 20, 2013
tags: leo, productivity, gamification, lifehack, experiment, moleskine


Recently I've felt torn between the million and a half projects I have on the back burner at any given time. I do too many things, and it's becoming apparent. I find myself needing a way to keep organized, and to better motivate myself to balance the load. I've read up on GTD, ZTD, Pomodoro, etc, and found them lacking, or over structured. Additionally I failed to see how they would help me. I've decided to come up with a scheme that is tailored to the way I work, and the way I accomplish things.

What I've come up with, and intend on starting soon, is a system I'm calling LTD, or Leo Things Done. I know, catchy. Whatever, it's just a name. This post describs the basics of what I'll be trying out over the next month or so... and seeing whether or not it works for me. I'm not advocating this system for anyone else's use, but if you decide to try it, let me know how it goes.

The system

LTD is a combination of parts of ZTD and GTD, with some Gamification bits thrown in. On top of it all, it uses Leo to maintain itself. Or, at least I hope it does.

What you need

  • A computer with Leo
  • A small pocket notebook (I use Moleskine squared notebooks -- I'm not pretentious, they just fit nicely in my pocket, and I like grid paper)
  • Pen/pencil
  • Willpower

Setting up Leo

The core of this system is Leo. The todo.py plugin needs to be enabled, as it will be used for priority and due-date storage.

A .leo outline with the following chapters should be kept:

  • Recurring (for daily, weekly, monthly, etc. tasks)
  • Long-term Projects
  • Notes
  • Ideas
  • Points

Within each of those chapters, create the following 3 nodes:

  • Work
  • Responsibility
  • Leisure

Using the system

Use the Notes chapter to scribble down notes that are related to tasks. You can clone from notes to a child of a task if you wish, to keep yourself organized.

Use the Ideas chapter to scribble down ideas that are unrelated to current tasks. Ideas are always good to keep in mind, because in the future they may be promoted to tasks, once you have the time to approach them, or the desire to do something new.

Use the Recurring chapter for daily, weekly, monthly, etc tasks. I suggest using @daily, @weekly, etc directives in headlines to remind yourself. Feel free to use todo.py to set due dates and priorities, as well. When you finish a task in the Recurring chapter, create a copy of the node you've finished, set the due-date on that one to a proper value, and then set the priority to "done" with todo.py. A priority sort may be in order.

Use the Long-term Projects chapter to keep yourself on track with the long term projects you're working on. Projects are made up of multiple tasks, so each project should have a master node (i.e., Long-term Projects->Leisure->Write that novel), under which the tasks reside.

Additionally, each task is either @major or @minor. When you complete a @major task, award yourself 3 points (in the "Points") chapter of that task's type (Work, Responsibility, Leisure). When you complete a @minor task, award yourself 1 point. Projects consisting of multiple tasks have an additional completion bonus of 1 point for each task encompassed in the project itself (regardless of @major or @minor status) , but this is not earned until all tasks are completed.
Should you let a task with a due date pass uncompleted, you lose 3 points if it was @major, or 1 point if it was @minor.

The notebook is to keep in your pocket at all times. You use it to jot down notes and ideas.

Each day, your flow should be like this:

  • Skim through Recurring lists for applicible @daily, @weekly, etc. and do them
  • Skim through Long-Term Projects lists for something to work on, if you have the time. Work first, then Responsibilies, then Leisure.
  • Transfer notes and ideas from your notebook to the outline
  • At the end of the day, write a short report consisting of completed tasks for the day, and change in Points values. Feel free at this time to clear out "done" items.
  • Rescan and reprioritize/modifiy due-dates on tasks as necessary

Additionally, I'm going to try to do once a week consolidated reports on this blog, to give me a public platform. Peer pressure is fantasitc, and I've always wanted to get into journaling, but have never had the pressure or drive.

Value of points

This needs work (as does the rest of the system, I'm sure), but points are good for two things: Time and Money.

When cashing points in for Time, each Work point is ~1 hour, and each Leisure and Responsibility point is ~30 minutes.

When cashing points in for Money, each Work point is $2, and each Leisure and Responsibility point is $1.

When you use points, deduct them from your outline totals. Use common sense, though. Time and Money are to be used for things not in your task lists... Time and Money spent in your task lists doesn't have to be accounted for. Nor does sleep, or nightly entertainments (TV, video games, etc) -- those are beneficial. Weekends are up to you as to how you handle them.

That's it, so far...

I'm going to get going with this starting next Monday, I think. My first task will be inputting all my tasks... I think that's going to be a @major job.

Thanks for reading!

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