Geek Love: Getting Things Done


Confession: I have been a Getting Things Done addict for a while. I read the book and have tried to follow some of David Allen’s rules of organizing. Sometimes, it works, sometimes it doesn’t. However, what it does allow for is procrastination that feels very worthwhile. Call it Not Getting Things Done. I am what you call a GTD hobbyist. This is someone who spends inordinate hours messing around with the various GTD applications on the web. Because I am a MAC user, this means I can’t use Outlook, as Lifehacker has suggested in this post. I can, however, use Entourage, but after I had spent several months converting everything over to Entourage, getting my calendar and contacts synced, I was forced to quit when my database became corrupted.

Though, I like the concept of simple pen and paper, I don’t like rewriting stuff that needs to get carried over to the next day, and reorganizing the list. Yes, I know, this post is unbelievably geeky. Hold on, it’s about to get worse.

I really like Actiontastic, a really bare bones application, but didn’t like that it didn’t print out. Also, the creator hasn’t updated the application in a looooong time. But it was great to use with Quicksilver, another really geeky third-party app that’s designed to make your life easier.

So, I turned to IGTD, which is my current app. This too, hasn’t been updated in a while, and tends to be buggy and a bit complex. Also, not one of my emails to the developer were ever returned. However, it syncs to mac mail and Mailtags (I know! I might as well just stick a pile of pens in my pocket and write “Dork” on my forehead), and iCal, which in turn syncs to your phone. And it prints out.


But in my quest for collecting all ideas and notes to self, I tried out a few others: Evernote is pretty full featured, and there’s also the fast-and-loose idea grabber called Shovebox. I can’t figure out how to set keystrokes to Evernote to capture a webpage that I might want to blog about later (which I can do on iGTD), so I don’t think this will work. Still fiddling, though. Dejumble lets you add tasks pretty easily, but it doesn’t let you change iCal tasks, which is a downer. It has a nice onscreen display but if you have several different calendar working as “contexts,” you have to sync and print them one by one. Verdict’s still out on that one.


There are a couple of online-only apps that people like. I’m not a fan of those simply because of the lack of syncing and integration with mail. I tried Remember the Milk which was pretty and easy to use but want hardware syncing abilities and again abilities to add emails from mailtags directly into the application. Ditto with ToDoIst. I’ve never tried Toodledo but this is another online app that people are fans of. I should note that most of these apps are free or relatively cheap, but the most full-featured GTD app, Omnifocus, is also the most expensive at a whopping $79.95. However, it does all the things you want it to do—the main downside is that it’s almost too complete and you can feel overwhelmed when using it.


Another similar, full-featured app is Things. It’s in beta mode and will eventually cost $49. It syncs nicely with your iPhone, uses tagging technology, and looks and works a bit like a more sophisticated version of Actiontastic. Journler is another full-featured app, but I haven’t really gotten
around to taking it for a full-spin. It allows you save web pages,
photos, and links. It’s relatively cheap.

A pared-down simple text app is Task Paper. At $18.95, it’s a bit overpriced, however, for those who want to use pen and paper but have crappy handwriting like me, it’s a nice app. It’s made by the people who created one of the most awesome writing tools of all time, WriteRoom.

However, the downside with trying out all the fantastic apps, is that you spend more time planning how you’re gonna get things done than actually getting anything done.


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