How to use the ’Today’ view
August 6, 2009 by Ryan Heathers
I think we get this question frequently for two reasons. One, because people want to use the Today view to track all their due dates so that nothing urgent slips through the cracks. Two, because the process by which items appear on the Today view can seem a little magical at first.
Let me address the first reason. The Today View's power lies in its flexibility. Each day you have varying levels of energy and focus. Maybe you have a big surprise drop into your lap that completely reworks your plans for the day. Maybe you're feeling burned out and you need to rethink how much you can actually accomplish today.
Making the Today view display all your upcoming items would rob it of its clarity. You need to see only the things you have chosen to get done today, rather than see a cumbersome list of items due at various times. Too much distracting you from the things you want to accomplish today.
The Today view is especially flexible because you can add and remove items from it with ease. Speaking of which...
Ok, so how do items actually appear on my Today view?
Glad you asked. There are three primary ways.
- Drag and drop on the Today view
- Click the Little Green Flag
- Due Dates (nope, not a contradiction!)
First way, drag and drop. Highlight an project or action and drop it onto the Today View button.
Second way, highlight a project or action and click the Little Green Flag in the menu bar
Third way, certain items with Due Dates will also automatically appear:
- Items that have today as an explicit Due Date
- Items that are overdue (i.e. have an explicit Due Date from the past)
- In Advanced mode, Tickler Items that are coming due within 14 days
Notice how the Due Date items that do appear automatically are only ones considered to be pressing items. Keeps the clutter away.
Remember too, that you can easily remove items. Easiest way is to highlight the item and click the Little Green Flag again. Or get really drastic and select the "Clear All" button.
Let me say one other thing: When you flag items for "Today", you're not removing them from their original project or action list. They still live there. You're just creating a dynamic link to the original item and the link only appears on the Today View. Add an item to the Today View? You're just creating a link. Remove an item from the Today View? You're just deleting a link. Your original item is always intact.
Best Practice Tip:
You've probably heard of the Weekly Review. But have you tried a "mini-daily review"?
As the name suggest, each morning when you prepare for the day, take a few minutes to glance over your complete inventory of projects and actions. You only need to linger long enough to get a sense of what commitments are in front of you.
Then, grab the items that need to get moved forward most urgently. Drag and drop them on your Today view or just click the Little Green Flag.
Additionally, you may find it helpful to clear out any lingering Today view items from yesterday- using the "Clear All" button - before you start your mini-review. Begin each day with a clean slate. Then figure out what you can accomplish during the time you have.
After that, it's time to just execute.
Tech note: How items appear on the Today View