Using Nozbe 2.0 to do TRO (an Advanced GTD-type Approach)

edited October 2011 in TRO General Discussion
Q: Does Nozbe 2.0 support TRO?

(TRO stands for Total, Relaxed Organization, which merges GTD principles with a Covey-type "big picture" approach. TRO delivers extra relaxed control with less effort than basic GTD.)

A: Yes! Nozbe 2.0 is TRO compliant. Here's how to think about Nozbe to get advanced GTD-type functionality out of it.

Doing TRO with Nozbe 2.0

A Nozbe TRO training has not been written, so you won't see it in the drop-down list of task lists when you first start your training. However, you CAN do TRO Online Training for Nozbe. Just select Remember the Milk (a similar task list) as your training tool, then adapt the training instructions as explained here. It's a pretty easy substitution to make because the two tools work similarly.

UPDATE: 10/12/11: Due to moderately increased demand, TRO training for Nozbe is in progress. Increased interest may speed the release of a Nozbe TRO training.

The Advantages of Nozbe 2.0

Nozbe 2.0 sports a clean, smooth Ajax interface and supports multiple contexts per action. It also supports a date and a "star" attribute for next actions. It has projects and subtasks, and you can drag and drop to reorder your actions.

The TRO Approach with Nozbe

Nozbe 2.0 does not have a ready-to-use second date field or Priority field that can be used as a "soft date" or "prioritization date." (One of those is important if you want the advanced benefits of Total, Relaxed Organization.) To address this need, you'll need to create special contexts called "This Week", "Next Week", and "This Month." These are explained below.

Nozbe also asks you to put everything into a "Project," even if it is only a one-step task. This means that the Inbox is a project. While it may seem odd for a moment to add projects to your Inbox, it's no big deal. Just click "Convert to Project" when processing the task if it requires more than one step. You will also need to create another special project called "Only One Step" for true tasks. When processing, move non-project, single-step actions into that project to clear your Inbox.

The free version is Nozbe 2.0 is too limited for any real use. You'll need the full version to manage your work and life.

How to Think of Nozbe 2.0

Once you've started TRO Online Training with Remember the Milk as your training tool (task list), start working through the training, and make these substituions.

The training speaks of "tags," but you will use contexts in Nozbe. Contexts apply to tasks (Next Actions). Nozbe "tags" apply only to projects, so they are not very useful for TRO.

When processing, use the Date field as your "hard date." Use the special "This Week", "Next Week", and "This Month" contexts as your "soft date," which you always assign to actions. These replace RTM's Priority 1, 2, and 3 in the RTM training instructions. There is no automatic validation to ensure that you assign these contexts to all your tasks. So, during weekly review, make a quick scan of all active Next Actions to make sure this was not missed.

Use the Star option to put additional tasks (Next Actions) onto your "Today" list from your Next Actions list during Daily Review. This replaces the Daily Review list in RTM. Then work from your Context lists during the day (but only pay attention to the starred items there).

Remember to move non-project, single-step actions into the "Only One Step" project when processing your Inbox.

Bottom Line

With these adjustments, Nozbe 2.0 will do a great job of managing your TRO tasks and projects.

Reply to tell us your experience with Nozbe 2.0 and TRO and ask us any clarifying questions.


  • Hi, confused - you mention using the Context lists during the day and only looking at the Starred items to replace the "Today" list in RTM. 

    Not sure what you're suggesting the Star is used for as it's supposed to be for Next Actions within a project. Are you suggesting using it as the "Today" indicator? Then I'd lose the ability to indicate on a complex project which action was next.

    Couldn't I just create another context alongside the "This Week", "Next Week" as "Today"? 

  • Additional information:

    First, you cannot do TRO with the free version of Nozbe. You must upgrade to at least the "Personal" version in order to get unlimited contexts. There isn't an alternative.

    Nozbe allows you to set multiple contexts for the same task. In this way, they are like the "tags" in Remember the Milk, and can be used to soft-schedule tasks the way you would in Things.

    Add four tags to Nozbe before you start processing: "This Week," "Next Week," "This Month," "Someday/Maybe."

    Create a project (the only one you should use if you are doing TRO) and call it "My Life."

    Delete all existing contexts during setup. To do this, click on the context (right side of screen), 

    Your "Unprocessed Tasks" list is your Inbox. All tasks go there. As you process them, the last thing you will do is move the task over to the project called "My Life." The task will leave you Inbox and join the list of active tasks. 

    For your daily review, "Star" any tasks with a due date of today which you will, in fact, do today. Your "next action" list becomes your "Must do today" list. 

    For your weekly review, you will need to scan your ENTIRE list.

  • The RTM training talks about setting up a 'unprocessed task list'. I was wondering how to do this with Nozbe 2.0?
  • In Nozbe, your Inbox is already your "Unprocessed Tasks" list. All tasks go in there to start with.

    As you process tasks, the last thing you will do is move the task into your "My Life" project. Just drag and drop it. The task will leave you Inbox and join the list of active tasks. 

    (This extra step is needed because Nozbe has no way to automatically remove tasks from the Inbox or Unprocessed list.)
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