Some days ago I was questioning myself about the utility of tagging everything we find. Today I found a good application of tags when I was reading Getting Things Done. There is what David Allen wrote in his explanation of “The Next Actions List(s)”:

“[…] If you have only twenty or thirty of these, it may be fine to keep them all on one list labeled “Next Actions,” which you’ll review whenever you have any free time. For most of us, however, the number is more likely to be fifty to 150. In that case it makes sense to subdivide your “Next Actions” list into categories, such as “Calls” to make when you?re at a phone or “Project Head Questions” to be asked at your weekly briefing”.

There is a good utility of tags: a way to dynamically categorize or multi-categorize resources.

  • Resources. Anything; in this case the resources are items list.
  • Categorize. A way to classify a resource under a tag, a keyword or a folder name.
  • Multi-categorize. A way to classify a resource under multiple tags, keywords or folders names.
  • Dynamically. The system, and not the user, will put the resource in the good categorize(s)

GTD software that manages “Next Actions” lists would probably benefit by implementing a tagging system to handle this feature. The users’ experience would be enhanced. They would only have to put some keywords to a “Next Action” and this “Next Action” would by classified automatically by the GTD system. This is, I think, the good way to use tags. However, I beg you not to share these tags over the Internet. I do not think that I really want to know what is the most popular “Next Action” that Internet users have to do today or yesterday.

However, it is just the perception I have of this tagging hype. Am I right or totally off the track?

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2 thoughts on “Tagging for Getting Things Done – What could be an application of tagging for me

  1. I believe your idea of tagging is the basis for what is known as the GTDMail system. Gmail allows you to tag (or as they say: label) emails with many different categories. Then you can click on a label to display all the emails (ie: next actions) in that category. You can even limit to emails that have more than one particular tag (ie: @HOME and -2MinuteOffense).

  2. Hello Nels!

    Thank for your input.

    Good point, it’s another good example of a good use of tags. However, my questions are more about the “hype” of aggregation of these tags by private networks then publishing them on a website. I am really not sure that this practice really add something to the users’ experience. I do not know for others but personally I never really get any satisfactory outcome by using such services except for few technorati visitors.



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