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Posted April 11, 2007
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Getting things done with Mori

Over the past few months, Mac apps like Midnight Inbox, Ghost Action, What ToDo and OmniTask have gotten a lot of attention for their support of the Getting Things Done (a.k.a. GTD) methodology.

icon for Mori Although I’m a half-hearted “follower” of GTD (call me Reform GTD), I haven’t talked much about any of these because I already have the perfect app for planning and organizing my life: Hog Bay Software’s Mori.

I started using Mori about six months ago, on Khoi’s recommendation, and it’s been great. Ask Justin or Jonathan or Eric — I rave about this app.

Following is a hopefully brief summary of the ins and outs of how I use Mori to get things done (lowercase).

Actions

Actions are the heart of my process, and Mori handles them beautifully.

I deal in two kinds of actions:

  1. Unscheduled, project-specific tasks
  2. Next actions; this is like my rolling to-do list

Next actions come from project lists, my someday/maybe list, or directly from my inbox. Anything in “next actions” is something that I will do ASAP.

I have a master “next actions” list in Mori, and each action has four columns — flagged, title, tags, and time. Tags is the cool one (I added this via Mori’s custom columns feature), because I can tag actions by context or project — e.g. @work @home or @work waiting or @work fb — and then filter down the master list into context- or project-specific action lists.

mori actions list

This is where Mori really shines, and why a paper-based approach to actions doesn’t cut it for me. The ability to tag, sort, filter and otherwise manipulate a list of actions is powerful and very effective — I can easily narrow my focus, or broaden it, when necessary.

(Just as I was finishing this post, I noticed Hog Bay released Mori 1.6, complete with built-in tag support.)

Projects

I’m pretty liberal about declaring something a project. A cluster of related tasks, an ongoing thread or pattern, a theme — these are all projects to me. And duration doesn’t matter… some projects last 6 months, some last 6 hours.

Having lots of projects means it’s more likely that everything will have a place. For example, let’s say “write blog post about cat food” is an action. As soon as I add “research recall” or write down a few notes on the subject, it becomes a project. I “upgrade” from an action to a project and suddenly I’ve got a place to collect loose ends. (Mori lets you convert an Entry into a Folder simply by dragging other Entries onto it. It’s brilliant.)

mori nestable entries and folders

In my project folders I keep:

When I’m working actively on a project, I move to-dos into the Next Actions list and tag them appropriately.

Someday/Maybe

Someday/Maybe is the place for all the things I might do someday, maybe.

I keep a huge nested list of ideas and postponed projects in Mori. And with the entry-to-folder conversion trick I mentioned above, it’s easy to cluster related content. (For example, I’ve got a lot of ideas for my site reader application; not so many for the mechanic my friend Mike recommended.)

Reference

I have a small bundle of “reference” materials that I refer to frequently, but aren’t actions or projects. Hard to describe exactly what this is (for me), but here are some things in my reference folder in Mori:

It’s really not very exciting.

Archive

The Archive is where old projects go to die. If I think a project is going to come back (someday, maybe), I don’t put it in the archive — I put it in Someday/Maybe. But when I’m certain a project is done, dead, over, I put it in the Archive.

This allows me to refer to old projects (almost) as easily as current projects, but if I don’t need them, they don’t “bug” me.

The rest of the puzzle

I left a lot of connecting pieces out of this post; I barely mentioned inboxes, processing, or planning models. I’m not a die-hard GTD’er, but I’ve picked up a number of tricks from the famous book and Mori was flexible enough to accommodate me.

Whatever your method for getting things done, be sure to give Mori a shot.

my default actions view in Mori