Windows and OSX. The winner each and every time was Wunderlist! I made a joke on Twitter that Lifehacker must be getting kick backs from them…Really, how can the same To-Do App be the best on each and every platform?
I tried Wunderlist and maybe I haven’t spent the time to appreciate it more? I saw it as a simplistic To-Do List app. Entering in data seems a bit cumbersome. I think I am spoiled with task entry on Remember the Milk. If I enter “Go on a mountain bike ride on Sunday” on Wunderlist I get a task that says that but has no due date. If I do the same in RTM, I get a task called “Go on a mountain bike ride” and it automatically puts the due date on the task.
I have to manually click the due date with my mouse pointer to create a due date in Wunderlist. I have to manually drag the task to a list to separate it from others. In other words, using #hashtags doesn’t seem to create tags that can be saved as Smart lists. The same goes for tasks that repeat. Wunderlist can’t manage repetitive tasks.
As for how it works for GTD, I see a few nice touches. You create manual lists and drag tasks to them. If you add tasks to your Inbox, and process them, you can organize your priorities quite nicely. One of the big ‘flaws’ of Web based To-Do Apps like Nozbe seems to be the difficulty in getting the Inbox to Zero. At least with Wunderlist you can drag them out of the Inbox to other lists. As for repeating tasks, David Allen says that you use a digital Calendar for repetitive tasks, so I guess you could use Google Calender for tasks that repeat, but why?
I just don’t get it? What am I missing? I get that it looks pretty, but what features make it the best?
Any of my readers using Wunderlist? What makes it a great GTD solution? I really want to know…
For those that follow my blog, you may know I use the Getting Things Done system by David Allen to try and organize my personal and business life. There are many different companies that are attempting to get it right by melding on online web interface with mobile access. I received an email recently from the developer of GTDagenda with some upcoming news. Here is what they have in the works!
We are expanding our product line with 3 new products: YouProjects, YouTasks and YouChecks. We’d like to have the best personal-productivity-suite on the web, and we think this move fits perfectly with our goal.
All three new products work on the same infrastructure as Gtdagenda, but they are simpler and targeted for SPECIFIC needs.
I have looked at all 3 apps and I like the concept! Many people aren’t looking for a full GTD solution, or care to implement that system. But there are tons of people looking for a useful ticklist, or want to keep track of various projects. I like youtasks. Making lists is fun, and youtasks is a simple way to keep track of various lists. I wonder if GTDagenda will be making iPhone apps for each of these, or if the mobile interface will be it?
I have commented on GTDagenda in the past. I notice that they have been putting some development effort into an iPhone and Android app. The iPhone app is $3.99, and looks really nice! One complaint I have is that their web interface needs a major update! For existing users, I suppose you are used to it, but if GTDAgenda wants to attract new users, they need some freshing up…GTDagenda charges for their service and has many price points for various needs. I signed up for their free account however I needed more contexts and projects, so I didn’t upgrade.
Great job though on coming up with a full suite of products for various needs!
What GTD solution do you use? If you are a GTDagenda user, are these new solutions useful for you? Do you see yourself using them to simplify the online interface?
I have been off Twitter for a while. Why? Well, a couple of reasons. One, I was going through a very stressful divorce, a change of job, baby, and pretty much anything else you can think of! What a year. Now, I’m engaged and excited as to what 2011 holds for me…Two, I have been slowly trying to regain a sense of balance where technology and family/friend life is involved. You can get pretty overwhelmed by the amount of information thrown at you on the interweb. And I used to use it as way to tune out all my real world problems and not deal with them…In getting back on Twitter, I have decided I am not going to follow every Tom, Dick, and Harry. Be more selective, and follow people and sites that I truly enjoy! And, use it to promote my site, of course. 😉
I can scream through pretty much all the same content in no time at all, and if something interests me, it only takes a few moments to get to the article. I feel up to date again.
So, as I said above, I have reclaimed my account. Follow me @larrinski.
I have to start by saying that Nirvana is in Beta, so updates may fix some of my issues…But here it goes…
Recently I ran across an article on my favourite site, LifeHacker...They mentioned a new Getting Things Done site running a Beta called Nirvana. Being a big fan of the 90’s, and loving Nirvana, I thought, hell, why not give it a try.
So, off I went to the site and requested an invite using the LifeHacker invite code. Once I got the invite(it took only a few minutes), I logged in. The first thing I noticed was the e-mail style layout. If there was one thing I liked about my brief Gmail-GTD experiment, was it’s e-mail familiarity. There are a few different style setting in the preferences. I went with the Mac looking one(of course, lol). Here is a screen shot of the interface…
In comparison to Nozbe(my main GTD app), the interface is beautiful. Nirvana is very Web 2.0. Your action items(tasks) are drag and drop. You can select multiple items and move them with ease. This is assuming you aren’t using IE8(I use it at work…). Nirvana has implemented keyboard shortcuts much like Nozbe, so it is easy to navigate around, create new projects, new tasks, etc…with the press of a button. The overall desktop app experience is there for sure. In fact, if you use Mail.app on the Mac, Nirvana will feel almost second nature to you. Sweet.
On to the nuts and bolts…
There are a few interface things that drive me nuts though. Once you have completed a task, the item grays out, which is great, but it stays in your project or Inbox FOREVER, unless you manually move them to the Archive. A pain in the ass…Yes, you can go to the top of the page and select “Archive Checked Items”, but why bother. The point of a list is to complete it and get it out of your sight. Nirvana, you need this to be automatic, or at least sweep it everyday, ala Nozbe…
Another bone to pick, is their implementation of the Next list. IMO, your Next item list should be everything you need to do Today(filled in from you scheduled items) as well as your next action on your projects. Nirvana is working on this after getting tons of feedback from beta testers. Currently everything labelled with a Star, moves it to today, not Next. You may have an important task that you wish to label but it may not necessarily be due today.
You can choose to hide your projects and/or today from Next, but if you select your projects to show, it shows all your action items, not the next one to be done. What is the point? I think they understand that this currently is not working, so a fix is in the works. Good job! I love when developers listen to feedback, interact with the community, and keep everyone up to date on updates!
On to the way Nirvana does their Waiting for and Schedule. In one word, fantastic! Waiting for has a great assign feature. When you move a task to this list, a screen pops up to assign a name to it. You can even attach an e-mail address, so when you do your weekly reviews, if the item hasn’t been dealt with by the person, you can click the link and a new email is created with the task title as the subject line. Very nice.
One thing I really like, is the ability to create a due date on a task and move it to Scheduled. If it was in your Inbox, it is moved to the list. Out of sight until the due date. This solves the problem in Nozbe where you have an individual task you need to accomplish, but want to move it out of your inbox, and don’t want to assign it to a project. If you have a task in your projects and drag it to your Scheduled, it stays in your project but flags the item with a due date tag. This helps keep all your tasks of a project at hand to review. Contexts…I am quite disappointed with them so far in the beta. You can add them to a task(Nirvana calls them tags, much like Twitter), and they will show up at the top of that particular list. The problem lies that unless you have the tag cloud activated in your preferences, you have no way of sorting your tasks by context! This is one of the key strategies of GTD…If I am at the phone ready to call someone, I want easy access to the @phone context. Not to hunt around throughout my various projects, and inbox to see all the people I need to call. The tag cloud needs to be more fleshed out. A bigger aspect of the UI. I would really like to see them have the ability to drag a task to a context to tag it, though the developer mentioned to me that this was not currently in the works.
The last thing that Nirvana needs to work on(and badly), is the mobile app. They haven’t got an iPhone app like Nozbe or Remember the Milk yet, so they have written a mobile version of the site that runs in Safari. One good thing to say about the look, is that it looks a lot like the desktop. Very nice. Simple. But there are problems brewing…Where the hell are all the contexts? Again, not a major focus in the beta. On the home page of the mobile app, that don’t have a sort by context selection. Bad. Take a lesson from Nozbe and link all the contexts/tags to the home page. When I am out and about, I need my GTD context to be easy to access. Until this is fixed, this is a deal breaker for me…
Nirvana is beautiful and does some things extremely well(waiting for & scheduled to name a couple). They need to work on auto-hiding completed tasks, contexts all around, and Next for sure. I am going to keep my eye on it over the next few months to see how some of the bugs and interface quirks are handled. I especially will keep the mobile app in my radar. It needs work but has potential…
The beta is free for you to try out. Nirvana haven’t set up a pricing structure yet after the beta ends, and once I find out, I’ll update the blog with information.
Let me know what you think of Nirvana! What have you liked, disliked, want added? And of course, Nirvana has very active developers that listen to your feedback. Go ahead and use Nirvana, go to their public discussions section and be part of the beta community! They are looking for feedback.
Please check out my newest posts about GTD solutions, what has worked and why I have moved over to Remember the Milk…Not to take away from Google Apps, as it may work well for you! The best part of choice, is to be able to make one…
A few months ago I wrote a review on Nozbe, an online website and cloud service that implements the GTD theory. I really got excited once I installed the iPhone app for it. Anytime I had an idea, reminder for myself, etc…I would just grab my iPhone and open up the Nozbe app. When I was on my computer, either at home or at work, I would just log into Nozbe’s website and off I would be running. It was working fine except for one thing… I really wanted an integrated system that used GTD for my physical reminders as well as all my emails.
I own my own domain(you’re at it, my friend…), and I use Gmail’s service Google Apps for my e-mail. The service is free for me(Standard Edition), but the features are outstanding. Over 7Gb of storage, integration of IMAP, and Gmail’s excellent implementation of labels and filters. On top of that, one little feature in Contacts that I will get to in a minute.
One thing Nozbe has been unable to do, is attach an e-mail to an individual action. You can attach them as a note to a project but not to the actions. This is key to integrating reminders about emails you receive. When I get e-mails, I decide what I want to do with them. Using GTD, if it is less than a 2 minute time frame, I just deal with it. Longer than that, or at sometime in the future, I need to get it out of my inbox, and someplace I can retrieve it later.
So, digging around, I found this great article about how to implement Gmail with GTD…The process is the same under Google Apps too! Wherever they mention using email@example.com just replace the gmail.com part with your domain name.
Here is my set up…First up, Setting up Labels
I have set up 13 “contexts” as seen in the image(not including the projects). I have 13 Contacts created that when I email them, the item goes directly into my context label and avoids my Inbox. In truth, I have only 12 contexts but have set up one as a Work_Inbox so I can send or forward myself a wide range of reminders to later sort out into actions. So .work_inbox isn’t a context, but an inbox labelled as a project. Any work emails that I want to deal with later but haven’t set up a new project for, or really don’t have time to think about go directly there. This keeps my personal Inbox separate from work and easier to sort out and allows me to stay on track at work and not spend my day reading personal e-mails! Fire things directly there to organize when I have a few minutes…
All the projects go directly to the top of my labels by adding the period to the start. Everytime I have a new project, I just create a new label starting with “/.project_name”. One thing that is great about Gmail is it’s ability to add(or remove) multiple labels to an item. So, if I am working on a project, I can add multiple actions to one project(like calling a client, e-mailing my boss, looking up a policy), and then Star my Next Action items. Once done, I remove the Star and context label, I can then go back to my project and label the next action item to progress through the project. It is so easy to either look at my projects view, or my contexts view.
Here is a Starred item showing one of my projects at work and the multiple contexts attached to it…
You can see that it is the Horton project, it has a context of @office, and I am Waiting for someone to get back to me. One of the great things that differs between Gmail and Nozbe, is that this item is a full e-mail containing all the details for this particular action. I don’t have to go searching for a note attached to the project(like Nozbe) to reference what I am waiting for…
The next big step to make reminding yourself easy is, Setting up Contacts.
Create a new contact and label it the context you wish your action item to go to. As an example, I have a contact labelled “Call” that routes all e-mails to it to my @call context and skips the Inbox. A pretty simple process really. One step that I did that went a bit further than the David Allen article is that I created a new group in my Contacts to keep track of all these Contacts. That way it is easier to find them in my hundreds of contacts I have in Google Contacts if I need to check out one of these “fake” contacts.
Lastly to tie the whole system together, Setting up Filters!
I set up my filters almost identically to the article except that I didn’t have anything in “From”. That way if I am sending reminders from any email account, whether from my personal email address, work email address, or from any future unknown email, I don’t need to amend my filters.
Once everything is set up, the system works great! It works for me at home, at the office, and on my iPhone(Gmail on the iPhone via Microsoft Exchange). With Gmail’s huge storage, permanently archiving all my messages and reminders, and it’s powerful filters, using Gmail as a GTD solution is a no brainer!
Don’t forget to leave comments about how you use GTD in your life! I’d love to hear about it…