Mastering dates: calendar, deferred and deadlines. Use the right date for each need

Calendar actions

Calendar actions are actions that need to happen at a given day/time. For example: some appointment, a meeting, etc.

For configuring an action as Calendar in Zendone you must click on "calendar" and configure its attributes.

In addition to the date, calendar actions can optionally have:

  • A duration
  • A time (if not set, it will be considered full-day)
  • Can be repeating

When Google Calendar integration is enabled, Calendar actions will sync with Google Calendar: a new event will be generated in google calendar for each action with a calendar date created in Zendone. The time and duration will be synced too when they are set.

Due dates / deadlines

While not considered in the original GTD proposal, a common need when managing actions are due dates (also called deadlines). This means that some action can be performed as soon as possible (it's a next action), but it has to be performed before a given date. For example, you need to send a report and you have 1 full month to prepare it. Any day is good to work on it and you can use normal GTD criteria for deciding on it, but what it's mandatory is that you send it 1 month from now.

For configuring a deadline for an action in Zendone you must click on "Next" and set a deadline.

In addition to the deadline, you can configure:

  • A time
  • Can be repeating

Start dates (deferred actions)

Another common need when working with actions, not considered originally by GTD, are start dates. Sometimes, you want to capture some specific action but you can't start working on it until some given date (they won't be active until that date). For example, imagine you can't pay your taxes until the 1th of April. You want to capture that commitment but there is no point in having that action around until that day. You can use an start date to reflect that.

When the day arrives, those actions became next actions. They can have a deadline too. For example, with the example of paying your taxes: the start date might be the 1st of april and the deadline the 30th of june. Between those 2 dates, the action will be a normal next action you can work on, as any other action.

To defer an action you must click on "Deferred" and set a start date.

In addition to its start date, you can configure:

  • A deadline
  • Can be repeating

Recurring actions

As mentioned above, recurrence is supported for all the dates we manage. So you can make calendar actions or deferred actions recurring, being start dates supported too:

  • next actions with deadline
  • calendar actions
  • deferred actions (with or without deadline)

Ticklers

GTD also talk about ticklers, but not when talking about actions, but as an incubating system for stuff you might want to review in the future at a given date (it might end up being an action or not, you don't want to decide now). Zendone 2 tries to faithfully enforce this approach with its support for Ticklers. They will be moved to your inbox when the date arrives, and then you decide whether they represent an actionable item or not. When Evernote integration is enabled, a reminder in Evernote will be created for them.