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I've read about the concepts of urgency and importance, but I'm struggling with the actual mechanics of tracking these things.

How should my todo list be set up? Should I have multiple lists? Basically, let's say I have 3 items I have to do:

  • book ticket for my friend's wedding 8 months from now (important, not urgent)
  • spend the $5 credit at some store that is expiring in 2 days (urgent, not that important)
  • organize that box of old wires (neither important nor urgent)

Where, exactly, would these items go?

Tangentially related is the concept of picking due dates. Clearly the second item (store credit) is due two days from now, but how should I go about selecting a due date for the first (plane ticket for 8 months out)?

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GTD itself does not classify tasks by Urgency and Importance - that lifehacker article proposes the old urgency/importance matrix as an alternative to GTD.

In GTD, urgency and importance are considered when selecting which action to do, but only after considering context, time available, and energy. You only consider it in the moment of deciding, you don't annotate your lists with it. See chapter 2 of the book.

(Although many GTDers like to layer a bit of urgency and importance onto their lists. I've been known to use the "Flag" and "Due" fields in Omnifocuse myself!)

If you were implementing such a non-GTD scheme you would probably want four lists (one each for UI, UNI, NUI, NUNI).

You pick a due date the date the task is due. In one sense the latest you can possibly buy the ticket is the day of the wedding. You probably want to add a buffer to that to be safe. I do find, though, that having a due date that I know I could let slip a bit is deadly for my productivity!

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Sorry, my question was misleading - I'm not (necessarily) trying to use a GTD-like approach. And right, the strict due date would be the day of the wedding (or the day before). But a reasonable one would be quite a bit before that. An even more reasonable one would be relatively soon - but then I'll constantly push it back. – Jer Apr 11 '14 at 15:30
Yes, that is the difficulty with softer due dates. Bad things don't happen if you let them slip. – Graham Hill Apr 14 '14 at 8:25

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