Mike Bee asked in a comment on Experiment: Week-At-A-Glance :
“Do you still use your Bonsai system for organizing your closed lists? Any modification from the GTD Bonsai document you wrote?”
I was going to reply back on the article, but I decided there was more to answer this question than a quick comment would do. Here’s your answer, Mike:
The quick answer is Yes, I still use Bonsai, according to my document.
The long answer follows:
My closed list consists of two different types of tasks: those that are recurring tasks associated with daily life (what David Allen would call “checklists”) and those that come from my project work, which are stored in Bonsai. I find that if these two types of items are not presented in one application (the to-do list), I will forget one or the other. Bonsai tasks link in automatically, and I use a program called ReDo to automatically insert the recurring tasks.
Recurring tasks that occur less than daily are grouped to make implementation easier (in what David Allen would call “context”). For example, Mondays are my designated computer maintenance days. All computer maintenance tasks get done then, including weekly backups, applying OS patches, loading my MP3, updating my personal website. Once a month I burn a separate copy of the backups for off-site storage, and that task is placed on the first Monday of the month. Not all days have a focus like this, but it does consolidate the tasks and allow me to be more productive.
In my Bonsai setup, by default, unless something absolutely has to be done on a given day, items do not have due dates. But without due dates, they don’t appear in my daily to-do list, and could fall through the cracks.
The closed list form I talked about in the Experiment: Week-At-A-Glance article is used to give me an overview of my week. By entering my recurring tasks, I can see the loads on the days.
From here, I commit to working on my Bonsai items on given days. Using the closed list with the recurring tasks on it, I can see where I can do more Bonsai project work, and where I need to do less. Given the load on Mondays, I would not schedule “weed the back garden”, which would take more time than I have available. Likewise, if there is a Bonsai task that fits into a designated spot, I can put it in. For example, I could schedule “Upgrade Blog Plugin Z” on a Monday, when I will spend the entire evening at the computer anyway.
I find that the closed list is actually a tool I use to help me move forward. It keeps me out of the trap of not working on my projects because they are not in the to-do list for a day, while keeping my load from overwhelming me.