My Review of Nozbe

**Update September 26, 2010**

Since writing this review, I have been researching other GTD solutions.

 

See my new articles about:

 

 


 

 

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Over the last few months I have gone through a hell of a lot of changes in my life. Divorce, new relationship, baby on the way, new career, a stepson, blended family…A whole lot. It has taken its toll on my memory, and I have been trying to find a reliable way to keep it all together!

I have tried to get notebooks, day-timers, write lists(using Evernote), putting entries in Outlook or Gcal. None of it seemed to work. So, off to “the google” I went to see what people are doing to get shit done. Luckily for me, Google gave me Nozbe. The name didn’t attract me much (kind of weird…), but when you go to the site, the first thing it offers are videos. Great introduction videos.

Nozbe is based on the book by David Allen, called Getting Things Done(GTD). It was recommended to me that you read the book first to understand the concept, but how am I supposed to get stuff done if I have to read a book first? I am just too busy to do that, so I have opted to read it as I go…

Nozbe offers a free account with up to 5 projects and 5 contexts. I upgraded to the solo account that gives you up to 100 projects and 50 contexts. If that means nothing to you, then get on reading GTD to understand. If you can get by with 5 projects and 5 contexts, then your life is far simpler than mine and, I hate you…

So, how do I use Nozbe to get things done, and don’t forget things? Well, Nozbe allows me to either e-mail or text myself New Actions into my Nozbe inbox. Everyday I review my inbox and add due dates & times, what context it is(phoning, errand, etc…), and if it’s part of a project I am working on(moving, baby, work). The next item in a project, or something that is due today is starred and is part of my next actions. So, if my partner says, ‘remind me to call mom tomorrow night’, I grab my cell and text myself to username.pin_code@nozbe.us, and it goes into my inbox. Later that day, I sort it and add the due date. I then add my Nozbe calender to my Google Calendar that emails me in the morning with my daily schedule…Slick. You could even have Google Calendar text you a reminder throughout the day, but if you have a regular system in place that you can review, you may not need it.

Image representing Evernote as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

Nozbe also works with Evernote by integrating any tagged notes you make and they are added to your Nozbe projects. So, if you have a big project you are working on, you can write a large note in Evernote and it will be automatically added to your Nozbe project if you use the same tag as project name. I have used this feature for my partner’s notes in Evernote for our upcoming baby. She makes(and loves) lists, so I tag them, and they auto populate into my projects for me to review. I then can create new actions as I go along to move her list along. For instance, she wanted me to remember to get ear plugs for the hospital on the list, so I created an action to buy ear plugs, applied the @errand context, and the next time I went to the store, I looked up all my errands, and lo and behold, I remembered to get them…Getting Things Done…

One thing that needs some work in Nozbe is it’s heavy reliance of the Inbox to store Action Items. If a task is not part of a project you can drag to, then it just sits in your Inbox. Not good if you follow GTD like a bible. You are supposed to get your Inbox to ZERO…But in Nozbe you can’t if the Action Item is not part of a multi-part project. I created a Personal Pending Project to throw all these single action items. But unless you tag them with a context and maybe even a calendar date, they can go ‘out of sight, out of mind’…

Looking at the flowchart, we see that the item is either part of a project(move it to a project or create a new one), or you need to Do it, Defer it, or Delegate it. If you defer it you add it to your calendar, but in Nozbe once you add a date to the action, it still sits in your inbox…Same thing goes with tagging it as a Next Action as the flowchart says to. If you Star it, it still sits in your Inbox. They need to fix this as it doesn’t follow GTD…It works well if you add all your single actions to a “Pending” Project, and then Star them all but this is a hack to make it all work…

Nozbe is a good GTD system with a strong following, and a nice mobile iPhone app. It does a great job implementing contexts, but really needs to get away from it’s reliance on the Inbox.

How to you use Nozbe to GTD? Let me know, by leaving me a comment!

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5 Replies to “My Review of Nozbe”

  1. Hey, I have tried using ToDoIst and Remember The Milk and have lost patience with them both. I will certainly give Nozbe a go. Have you tried omnifocus, out of interest?

  2. I have tried Omnifocus and it is great too! The problem I have is that I use multiple machines, different operating systems(OSX, Windows XP Pro, and Linux), work in an environment where I am unable to install anything, and use my iPhone to keep myself up to date when I am out and about. So I need an app that is a more cloud based web app. If you are strictly OSX, then I recommend trying Omnifocus. One of my favourite OSX developers is Omnigroup! There is a great PDF on their site all about using Omnifocus to implement GTD.

    http://www.omnigroup.com/ftp/pub/software/MacOSX/Extras/OmniFocus/GTDandOmniFocus.pdf

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