Personal Productivity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people wanting to improve their personal productivity. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

If I have a long task what is the best approach. Put in Today's task list for many days until it's done or create subtasks like work some time in task A. The task A is a complex task that I can't calculate an accurate time to complete and then are the interruptions that don't let me finish the task on my schedule.

I use Things to manage my tasks and currently is the only introduction to GTD

share|improve this question
This post tells us that you have not spent any time researching GTD, which is all about breaking down bigger projects into discrete actions. – Tim Booker Mar 21 '12 at 10:13
up vote 4 down vote accepted

If it's a complex task, then by definition it can be broken down into subtasks. For instance, if you are writing a book. "Write the book" is a complex task, but it can also be broken down into smaller sections like "Create an outline", "Define the plot", etc..

Tasks can span more than one day, you just look at your task list, and if you are still working on the task, you keep it in the "now" list.

share|improve this answer

For intellectual, complex tasks, that cannot be divided into 'chunks', I usually create a 'schedule' list, and then, along the Weekly Review, I distribute them, programming x sessions of this or that in my calendar.

share|improve this answer

Strictly speaking, GTD doesn't have a "today" list. It has lists for contexts (locations or situations in which certain tasks for can be done, like "at home" or "on the internet") and it has a calendar (on which should go only those things that can only be done on that day).

That said, even with context lists, it can be sometimes helpful to break up a lengthy, homogenous task. For example, if you're reading a book for fun and working through it quickly, then just putting "read book" on the right context list is probably good enough. But if you're having trouble getting through it, you might find it easier to break it up into a series of tasks like "read 1 chapter", "read 20 pages", "read for 30 minutes", etc. That way, when you look at your list, instead of thinking "Read the whole book? I'll never manage that!" you think "Just read 20 pages? I can totally do that."

I strongly recommend getting a hold of a copy of the GTD book and reading it through at least once. Even if you (or your program of choice) doesn't do "proper" GTD, knowing the origins of the system makes adapting it much easier.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.