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Getting Things Done (project_gtd) - Time Management Module

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Gopakumar N G's picture

Getting Things Done (project_gtd) - Time Management Module

One of the modules provided by OpenERP to improve your time management is ‘project_gtd’. This blog is an elaboration of OpenERP’s official documentation about the same module.

OpenERP’s project_gtd module was inspired by two books focussing on efficient time management:

  • Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen (2001), most often referred to by its initials GTD (trademark registered since 2005). This book is built around the principle that people should clearly write down all their outstanding tasks and store the details about these tasks in a trustworthy system. 
    They then do not have to worry about holding all of this stuff in their head. Since they can be quite sure that it is recorded safely, they can allow themselves to relax and so have the energy and time to concentrate on handling the tasks themselves systematically.
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey (1989) : the author advises organizations on the use of these practices, and reports on the productivity improvements in the organization that result.


For the purpose of organizing the work in the best possible way and for de-stressing register the tasks in organized system. For this purpose note down all the tasks that you want to do in a blank paper and for each task note the next action to do on an adjacent line, and rank it by the date that you will commit yourself to doing it. After doing this you will be feel better organized and considerably de-stressed.

Distinction between Urgency and Importance

The project_gtd module brings a separation to the concepts of Urgency and Importance.Tasks are no longer classified by a single criterion, but by the product of two criteria, enabling you to prioritise matters that are both important and urgent in a single list. 

Many managers with a heavy workload use urgency as their sole method of prioritization. The difficulty is then in working out how to plan for substantive tasks (like medium term objectives). These are not urgent but are nevertheless very important. If you are very well organized urgent tasks can be given lower precedence than important tasks. Take an example from real life as an illustration: the case of having some time with your children. For most people, this task is important. But if you have a busy professional life, the days and weeks flow on with endless urgent tasks to be resolved. Even if you manage your time well, you could let several months pass without spending time with your children because the task of seeing them is never as urgent as your other work, despite its importance.

In OpenERP, urgency is given by the Deadline of the task, and importance by the Priority. The classification of the tasks then results from the product of the two factors. The most important tasks and the most urgent both appear at the top of the list.

Organizing the tasks using Context and Timebox


The context is the environment in which you will deal with certain tasks. For example, you could define the following contexts:

  • Office: tasks that are to be done at your office (such as telephone a customer, or write a document).
  • Car: for tasks you need to do on the move (such as going shopping, or going to the post office).
  • Travel: for tasks that you can handle on the plane or in the train while you are doing travelling on business (tasks such as writing an article, or analyzing a new product)
  • Home: for tasks that can be done at your home (such as finding a cleaning contractor).

Contexts can be created in Project ‣ Configuration ‣ GTD ‣ Contexts


You then have to define the timeboxes. You have to complete the tasks in the time interval specified by a timebox. You usually define timeboxes with the following periods:

  • Today : for tasks which must be handled today
  • This Week : for tasks that have to be dealt with this week
  • This Month : for tasks which have to be completed within the month and
  • Long Term : for tasks that can be dealt with in more than one month.

A task can be put in one and only one timebox at a time. You should distinguish between a timebox and the deadline for completing a task because the deadline is usually fixed by the requirements of project manager. A timebox, by contrast, is selected with reference to what an individual do.

To define timeboxes, you can use the menu Project ‣ Configuration ‣ GTD ‣Timeboxes

The form view of a timebox is

Methodology and Iterative Process

The following systematic and iterative process can be used for organizing the tasks.

  1. Identify all the tasks that you have to deal with, including everything that keeps you awake at night, and enter them in Tasks, which you will find in the menu Project ‣ Project ‣ Tasks.
  2. Classify the tasks periodically, assigning them a context and a timebox. This indicates both when and where the task should be handled. If a task takes less than 10 minutes, then maybe it could be handled immediately.
  3. Everyday, carry out the following process:

    a. First thing in the morning, select those tasks contained in the current week's timebox that you want to deal with today.
        These are presented in order of importance and urgency, so you should select the tasks closest to the top of the list.
    b. Carry out each task, that is to say either work on the task yourself or delegate it to another user,
    c. Last thing, at the end of the day's work, empty that day's timebox and return all unclosed tasks into the week's timebox.

  4. Repeat the same process each week and each month for the respective timeboxes.


Do not confuse Agenda and Timebox. The idea of timebox is independent from that of an agenda.Certain tasks, such as meetings, must be done on a precise date. So they cannot be managed by the timebox system but by an agenda.The ideal is to put the minimum of things on the agenda and to put there only tasks that have a fixed date. The timebox system is more flexible and more efficient for dealing with multiple tasks.

Enter all the tasks required by project. These could have been entered by another user and assigned to you. A task could be:

  • work to be done,
  • a short objective, medium or long term,
  • a complex project that has not yet been broken into tasks.

A project or an objective over several days can be summarized in a single task. You do not have to detail each operation if the actions to be done are sufficiently clear to you.

You have to empty your Tasks periodically. To do that, use the menu Project ‣ Project ‣ Tasks. Assign a timebox and a context to each task. This operation should not take more than a few minutes, because you are not dealing with the tasks themselves, just classifying them.

Then click on Plannify Timebox. This procedure lets you select the tasks for the day from those in the timebox for the week. This operation gives you an overview of the medium term tasks and objectives and makes you review them there at least once a day. It is then that you would decide to allocate a part of your time that day to certain tasks based on your priorities.


Start by taking the first task from the list (because the tasks are sorted by priority), up to the number of hours in your day. That will only take a minute, because the selection is not taken from every task you know about in the future, but just from those selected for the current week.

Once the timebox has been completed you can start your daily work on the tasks. For each task, you can start work on it, delegate it, close it, or cancel it.

At the end of the day, you empty the timebox using Empty Timebox. All the tasks that have not been done are sent back to the weekly timebox to sit in amongst the tasks that will be planned next morning.

Do the same each week and each month using the same principles, but just using the appropriate timeboxes for those periods.


  • Reduction in the number of tasks and objectives that were forgotten.
  • Reduction in stress because people felt more in control of their situation.
  • Change of the priorities in the types of tasks carried out daily.
  • More notice taken of the urgency and importance of tasks and objectives in the long-term organization of time
  • Better management of task delegation and the selection of which tasks were better to delegate.

Anonymous's picture


First i want to say sorry for wrong comment here. The above link you answered good. I am creating moudle in openerp using python. I have doubt in that. Because I want to download file from server to local using http request. But I don't understand. My moduel is lead. lead contains controller as you said. In openerp has xml file. then how to create form id and form action. can you exmplain?

my mail

Shenoi's picture

I often find myself saying I

I often find myself saying I don't have the time. Recently I have found that using a task list and time management software is the most useful technique to manage proper schedule and priorities.

Then, I started to try those techniques. I review my task list and recorded time details on every night as I need to prepare for the next day. I have found by doing this I free up most of my time to catch up on other tasks. Also I will find more time to look into other projects as well. I prefer using Replicon ( ) for both project and time management.

Anonymous's picture

I spend a lot of time on

I spend a lot of time on social media, but I mostly use it for official purpose. I don't track how much time I spend on it though. Sometimes there are things that need to get done on time. If once I decide that something needs to be done on time, I will use my rostering app to track my work schdule.

miltonlab's picture

Hi friends, a have a question

Hi friends, a have a question about Project Managemente en OERP 7:
How can i atach documents on Tasks? I installed the kwnoledge .. module but i don't get it?

Gopakumar N G's picture

To enable attachments install

To enable attachments install the module "document".

seo toronto's picture

Way cool! Some extremely

Way cool! Some extremely valid points! I appreciate you writing this write-up and the rest of the site is also really good.