1) Do you mainly use TR for work, personal, or both?
Work and personal life are blended for me, so both.
2) Do you use just one data file or do you separate them?
Work and personal life are blended for me, so just one.
3) What are you contexts? If the list is too long then some primary examples would suffice.
Calls, Car Errands, Email, @Computer, Home, <school>, <other>, Walking Errands
4) What are your topics? For example do you use general topics like Work and Personal or do you have specific topics like Work - ClientName.
Fairly general topics that attempt to break down into categories what I spend my time and life energy on: Administration, Computer, Education/Self-improvement, Family, Finances, Friends, House, Leisure/Travel, Personal Care, Photography, Spirituality, Writing, <dog>, <church>, <school>
However I often forget to assign a topic to my projects and actions. I almost never use the topics for sorting or filtering actions, so I'm probably not making the best use of the Topic field.
5) Are your projects highly hierarchical such as Work->Clients->ClientName->ProjectName->Subproject or is it more flat? If it is more flat do you organize it some other way, perhaps with topics, or do you just not need the extra logical levels?
Somewhat hierarchical. So far I've never had a need to go more than two levels deep though. An example: top level project "Settle Into House"; some subprojects include "Get shelves built in garage" and "Get curtains" with several actions within those projects.
6) What screen do you spend the most time in?
Actions. I use this screen almost exclusively. I sometimes find myself wanting to do a brain-dump in Collect Thoughts first (e.g., when I come back from a few days away from my computer when I've just been jotting notes to myself on a piece of paper), but usually I want to jump right to putting my thoughts into projects and actions. It's one less step, so it's quicker.
7) What options do you use for the review actions screen? Specifically do you like to only see ASAP items mainly or do you see everything but rely on sorting or colorization to differentiate?
I usually view all actions that are still "To Do." I used to sort by Action Date, as I had relatively few ASAP actions. But now that I have so many of them, I'm finding that isn't a great way to focus my energies on the ones that are most important. I have yet to develop a new way to use TR to take advantage of the new features (Priority, Due Date). To be honest, I've been cheating by using a separate file, a Word document, as my "Today" to-do list. Each evening before I go to bed, I copy actions from TR into today.doc that I decide I want to do the next day, and I take that list with me for the day and try to get as many of those things done as I can. I wish I could use TR to do this, have a checkbox that I can turn on and off with each action saying "this is one I'm going to focus on right now" for example, and print out a list of those checked items. I could probably use Priority to accomplish this, but it seems like too much work. A really quick way to review my Actions list and tick the ones that I want to address now
would be very handy.
8) Do you leave TR open all the time? If so do you minimize it?
Yes, as soon as I run it once in a Windows session, I leave it on until I shut down. I ought to have it start at Startup time, but I haven't done that yet. No, I don't minimize it. I cycle through it and all the other applications that I have up and running at the same time. I always run all my apps in maximized window mode, so it's irrelevant to me whether ones that are not the foreground app are minimized or not. I rarely minimize any apps.
9) Do you use another system or program to record thoughts and then import them into TR? If so, what system(s)?
Sometimes I take notes on paper when I'm away from my computer (I like to use my Moleskine for that, but sometimes I forget to bring it with me, so any scrap of paper or the back of an envelope will do).
Before I discovered TR, I used to often take a mini tape recorder with me in the car so I could record thoughts to myself as they occur to me. Then I would dump them into a Word document I got back to the computer, ideally every evening before going to bed (a habit I learned from GTD). If I were still doing the tape recorder thing now (which I intend to get back to), I would dump my taped notes into Collect Thoughts.
10) Do you use the iCal synchronization? If so, with what program(s)?
But I do use Calendarscope
as my calendar program, and I do wish there was some easy way to tie it together with TR. As it is now I just copy/paste back and forth between the two. In some ways, I prefer that level of control rather than automatically having ALL my scheduled tasks from TR in my Calendar. That might clutter it too much. I'm OK with checking both programs every day to see what is on my schedule for the day.
11) How do you deal with things which could be done "whenever"? Are they ASAP, inactive, scheduled, etc.?
I usually start out with them as inactive, but then if I see they've been sitting around for a while and I really want to do them soon, I reassign them to ASAP or schedule them for a particular time. I'm not entirely satisfied with the way I'm doing this, but at least it's better than my old system in which these things would never get reviewed and never got done.