Over the last couple of years there has been an explosion of different swiss-army-knife applications. These are the programs that blend tasks, notes, clippings, ideas, etc. all in one place. Perhaps this is a good approach as you have everything in one place, easy accessible and easily searchable. It’s minimalistic approach that has a merits but taken to extreme can hinder the effectiveness rather than help it.
My preference is to keep tasks and project list separate from other elements of my system as and it’s not because GTD principle says so.
Having a dedicated system/application to manage task switches my brain into different mode a doing mode. When looking at all the item in my Remember the Milk account I focus on the outcomes and completions. I purposefully look for items that I want to accomplish in a given moment. The items in my RTM account mostly relate to specific actionable things, there is no more thinking required.
If I decide that I need to do something then it can only go into one place – my tasks manager. Although I use other tools like Evernote or Moleskine notebook they have completely different purpose. I see them as containers for my thinking, notes, scribbles and sketches. But once an action has been defined it will end up in RTM.
Structure and binge
Task manager provides a solid structure for managing tasks and actions that I or others have committed to do. Rather than chase things around places, I have one location to refer to.
From time to time I like to tackle a large number of small actions that have accumulated in my lists. I call it a binge action day. A dedicated task manager is perfect for such occasion.
Not all work
As I try to keep every tasks and action there I always come across a variety of things todo. Just work would not be too encouraging and I’m pretty sure I would avoid the application like a plague. Instead I have fun, tricky, odd tasks which make the process of using RTM much more pleasant experience.