I work in a P.A.R.A. method to have a structured way of managing my resources and tasks. When it comes to task management I also try to apply rules of “getting things done” (GTD). My tool of choice in this subject is Nozbe.
By default Nozbe doesn’t support nested projects and that’s on purpose. I wanted to stay with the tool that I’m used to, but also try out a new technique. I came up with an idea of prefixing Nozbe projects. Initially I tried to group them using project labels but that didn’t really work out for me. So currently for the P.A.R.A. Projects I add “P: …” prefix and for Areas I add “A: …” prefix. E.g.
- A: Health
- P: Birthday party
P-prefixed projects get completed, whereas the A-prefixed are likely to stay there for a long time.
To conform to the rules of getting things done I keep a single source of things to do – that is Nozbe. If I don’t know the project yet I put it into the Inbox. I regularly go through the tasks there and assign projects. I strive to stay on the inbox zero.
When I write a new task I write it in a way that is actionable. When I read it afterwards I know what to do, so I decrease the effort of doing it.
Don’t: “learn system design”
Do: “Make a research which books to read about system design”.
An exception are inbox tasks. For them the priority is to quickly get them out of my head, and I can refine the message itself later.
One habit that I also try to enforce is to go through the projects and the tasks within them regularly, and assign due dates to them so I can more likely complete them.
Here are additional tips that I use when working with Nozbe.
Emojis in project titles
Emojis in the project titles (Nozbe’s projects, not P.A.R.A projects) make it easier for me to identify projects visually.
I use categories to help me group tasks that span across multiple projects but have certain properties. For example I sometimes travel between cities to visit my parents. I have categories like “place: City 1”, and “place: City 2”. This can be useful when I forgot (or haven’t foreseen a specific date) to set up a date reminder for tasks and still I can have a quick look on things that I could do only in this city.
I also have another group: “action: Read” or “action: Buy”. If I have 15 minutes to spare at work or have some money to spend on things that I need (maybe not now, but soon) I can have a look at these categories.
I redirect some emails to a special email address so that they land in my Nozbe inbox, e.g. emails from my accountant.
I’ve been using Nozbe for more than 3 years already and I’m used to this tool. I use it everyday for both personal and work related topics. It’s embedded into my daily routine. I try to use some productivity frameworks on top of that such as P.A.R.A and GTD.
Therefore I prefix Nozbe Projects with “P:” for P.A.R.A projects and “A:” for P.A.R.A Areas.
I treat Nozbe as a single source of truth in terms of things to do. Whenever something bothers me I offload it into the Inbox which I’ll tackle later. My tasks are actionable so I know what is the next step.
To make things easier for me I add emojis to the project titles, use contextual categories and redirect certain emails to my Nozbe inbox.