@Gardener: Very interesting system! Thank you so much for sharing it in detail.
I just tried setting a Start Date on an Outlook 2003 task, but it requires have a Due Date too. Setting the Due Date to "None" wipes out the Start Date too.
@Solyanov2011: Agreed about protecting time for key projects. How to do that is what has people split. Some say to use the calendar, as you suggested, and others somehow manage to sort their Next Actions to keep the key priorities top of mind.
Calendar does make sense to me, and I've done it in the past, but then I stumbled on the same issue I'm having with task lists: overscheduling.
Overscheduling happens because:
* I rarely know how long something is going to take (unlike a conference call, for example). Most things take longer than I guess.
* I get too ambitious (and too fearful that tasks not on the calendar won't get done)
@olivialowrie: Yeah, I'm realizing so much of this is about experience. The more we plan and fail to meet the plans, the better we learn to adjust. Thank you for sharing how you've improved at this.