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How to Effectively Use the Agenda Views

Martin • October 14, 2020

workflow

The Agenda views in EasyOrg offer some powerful functionality to help you prioritize and plan your work week for maximum focus. We will show you how to use the EasyOrg Agenda to start off your week at warp speed, focus on what needs to be done and track your progress.

Prerequisites

You have an org-file for a specific project opened in EasyOrg and you have already added many TODOs that needs to be done to get this project moving forward. Typically you should use one org-file per major project. For the random administrative tasks that do not have a specific home I like to use one file for all of those which I call admin.org.

Set Priorities

Start by assigning priorities to each TODO you have in your file. You can do this in the Agenda view or List view.

Give the most important TODOs an 'A'. These are the todos which are really important for the success of this particular project.

Give the next most important tasks a 'B' and the rest a 'C'. Try to balance so that you have roughly the same amount of TODOs on each priority level.

By default there are three priority levels in EasyOrg, A, B and C. For bigger projects I like to assign four levels, A to D. Then the A and B TODOs are the ones which are important, the C's are nice to have done and the D's are to be considered for the future. Again, try to balance so that you have roughly the same amount of TODOs on each priority level.

You can do define the priority levels on a file level by adding the following line to the top of your file

#+PRIORITIES: A D C

or change it on a global level for all files in the Settings.

Schedule

Now it's time to schedule a few TODOs. With scheduling is not meant like setting an appointment, but you define a time (date) when you want to work on something.

By looking in the agenda view go through from top to bottom (make sure you have sorted by priority) and assign a date to a few of your priority A TODOs. You can assign them to today, tomorrow or any other date in this week. Try to spread it out over the week. Consider the time it would roughly take and don't be too optimistic. Things take usually more time than expected. If you have effort estimates attached to the TODOs then you can use that.

The time of the day is not so important, just select a date.

Now it's time to go to the Calendar View.

Check Calendar View and Get Started

After scheduling a few TODOs for this week you can go to the Calendar view and there you can now see the TODOs you have to do this week. You know exactly which one(s) you have to do today and what is coming up later in the week.

If you have done all the tasks for today you can move in a todo from later in the week and do it today instead or if you are running out of time you can change the date on remaining todos you have not been able to finish and schedule them for a later date this week. Or you might even remove it from this week in case you deem it no longer as important.

For every TODO you have finished you can mark it as DONE and add a closing note to it. You will now have a good overview of what has been done and what still needs to be done in this week. It serves as a good reference throughout the work week.

If you are running out of things to work on this week then you can go back to the Agenda View and and look for more high priority tasks to schedule for this week.

Repeat

Next Monday morning (or Friday evening or weekend) you start again by looking at the Agenda View (not the Calendar View). It will show you what you have scheduled for Today, if anything is overdue from last weeks and then the rest of the tasks in priority order.

When looking at the overdue tasks you can either assign them a new date during this week or remove the date completely or maybe even down prioritize them to a B or C priority.

Then walk through the list with the most important tasks higher up and assign a SCHEDULED date to any additional tasks you want to do today.

Now go to the Calendar View again and start doing what's under the Monday header.

TIP. The Calendar View is a great place to look at if you have to write a weekly report at the end of the week. You have a good summary of what you did and if you added Closing Notes you also have some more details to add in your report. No more sweating writing your weekly reports for your boss.

Update

Every month or so it's good to walk through the full list and check if you need to change the priorities higher or lower for some of your todos. As your environment changes, your knowledge changes and new TODOs are added, the priorities might change. You might in some cases even change the state to CANCELED or WAIT or even delete it.

Summary

Assign priorities in the Agenda View. Give a SCHEDULED date to the TODOs that are most important for this week and which you think you can finish in this time frame. Don't schedule too many. Check the Calendar View and start doing.

TIP. You should generally pick and schedule the most important TODOs, but out of them it's often good to select a few which you really feel like doing. It's also a good idea to pick a few which you dread and don't want to do. Do them straight after scheduling in the morning.

TIP. Sometimes you have difficulties to get moving. Then it's often good to pick something that is quick to finish so you gain some momentum and feel that you are moving forward. When going though the list in the Agenda View you can assign an effort in minutes to the TODOs you know will be quick to do. If they take 30 minutes or less they will show up under the 'Quick Picks' heading in the agenda View. Pick one or two from there and schedule them for this week to have something easy to chew on.