One of the gems I found laying in my Instapaper unread folder this weekend was Caleb McDaniel’s article on how he’s using “Notational Velocity, Simplenote, and Merlin Mann’s QQ Trick as a Replacement for the GTD Application Things.”

I won’t be leaving OmniFocus any time soon, but this is truly an ingenious use of Notational Velocity:

Let’s say I need to go to the library to pick up a book on hold. I create a note in NV called qq Go to the library to pick up book. Within the note body I might put the name of the book. I would also put an @work hashtag to tell me this is something I need to do at work. If there is a due date for the task, I’ll type due() and put the deadline in those parentheses.


Now, if I want to see all of this week’s tasks, I enter qq @tw in the search bar, and only those tasks are shown. If I want today’s to do list, I search for qq @to and I have a tidy little list of tasks. I can also filter by any other string. If I want to see all tasks to be done at work I search for qq @work because I put that context in the note body of all my work tasks. I can search for qq @work @tw and so on…

If you’re looking for a brilliantly free GTD system, you really should check out the whole thing.

It also occurred to me that since each task is a single text file, you could use OS X smart folders as “perspectives” that display meaningful groups of tasks (e.g. everything due this week, everything in context “@work”, etc.).