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GTD & Macintosh iCal

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  • GTD & Macintosh iCal


    Anyone using Mac's iCal in conjunction with GTD process? How's it going. I haven't figured out how to integrate the two, but I'm a newbie to GTD. I read 2/3 of book and took seminar in DC March 07.

  • #2
    I have been using iCAL but the task list is so weak that I've had to go back to Entourage. I hope the next iteration of the OS will see improvements to the iCAL Task function.


    • #3
      I use iCal. I happen to love iCal as a calendaring application.(I've got my work calendar, our work "public" folder, my personal google calendar all in one app- plus I can keep track of sports schedules too) That said, it doesn't quite meet my needs as a task app. It's awfully close, especially with various applescripts or add-ins to transfer items from Apple Mail.

      So, I use the KGtd add-in for omnioutliner.

      It syncs back to iCal (and there, the pda).


      • #4
        Originally posted by 3103 View Post

        Anyone using Mac's iCal in conjunction with GTD process? How's it going.
        I have used a number of tricks to make ical display what I want when I want it, but it is really a much better calendar than task list. Task list printing is very bad. If you have only one computer and don't sync to a handheld, do yourself a favor and look into some of the good GTD-oriented task list apps for the mac. Some of the freeware and low-cost shareware ones are quite good. If you have two computers and/or sync to a handheld, your options are much more limited. That is my situation, alas.


        • #5
          Originally posted by 3103 View Post

          Anyone using Mac's iCal in conjunction with GTD process? How's it going. I haven't figured out how to integrate the two, but I'm a newbie to GTD. I read 2/3 of book and took seminar in DC March 07.
          The one magic thing about iCal is the connection you can make with Mail Tags and Mail ActOn. These are two shareware additions to Mac Mail that let you do all sorts of groovy things.

          My favourite groovy thing is that you can go through your mail, and messages that you want to do something about/with, you can tag them as belonging to projects, and create ToDos in iCal. You can also name the email by the description of the NA, so when you look at your ToDo list or your Action mailbox, you see all the NAs, not the original titles.

          I get particularly excited about it because email is about the hardest form of input to wrangle effectively, or at least that's what I hear from most people (including myself).

          Check 'em out: they're very funky, very neat, and they work like a dream.


          • #6
            A number of the folks here who use iCal find that there is a work-around for the limitations of the task list.

            Use the Professional, Personal, etc. calendars for all appointments, not tasks.

            Create empty calendars for your contexts (@Calls, @Desk, etc.) Do not use them for appointments, only for inputing appropriate notes on the task list.

            Then, when you check or uncheck these special calendars on the calendar bar, the task list will reflect only those tasks in each calendar, which will correspond to your context lists.

            A slight refinement is to create a GTD calendar group for the dummy calendars that are actually task lists. That way you can check or uncheck them all at once as a way of clearing the list.

            All this said, task management is weak in iCal. However, given the convenience of being able to sync with multiple computers and your .Mac Disk, I found that I like it better than using dedicaed task applications.



            • #7

              Thanks for this.

              I would use only iCal if they would just strengthen the Task functionality. I love the calendar and the ability to sync wth .Mac, but do wish we could get the programmers to give us a little more so we could leave Microsoft out of the PIM equation.

              We'll see in a few weeks, hopefully!


              • #8
                I personnaly don't use ical for task

                Personnaly i don't use iCal for task even with the last version of OSX and of iCal.

                I just use for meetings and use software like Omnifocus to keep track of my task (the software was made to implement GTD method on mac).

                There is also another software that seems promising call "things"

                So far, theses software don't sync with .mac but they sync with iCal Task so it allow you to use both worlds !


                (nb sorry, english is not my main language)


                • #9
                  This thread is ~2 years old and iCal has made some major improvements over that time. I am having some Task issues via Sync with my BlackBerry Storm 2. It works, but it resets my completed task on sync which defeats the purpose of using portable and laptop application. Anyone using iCal (OS 10.5. and Tasks for GTD currently?


                  • #10
                    iCal Weak for Tasks

                    iCal is very weak for task management. Entourage is ok. Depending on your preferences a number of folks use either Omnifocus or Things. Both seem to be pretty strong task managers and both have their fans. I suggest trying them both out (I believe they can both be downloaded on a trial basis).



                    • #11
                      Whatever you do, don't use Entourage. Omnifocus is a log-cycle better for tasks and lists. It co-exists just fine with iCal, but you can also assign deadlines to NA's if needed.



                      • #12
                        iCal would work for GTD Tasks if it simply added a "category" function.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kelstarrising View Post
                          iCal would work for GTD Tasks if it simply added a "category" function.
                          I don't quite understand what you mean by "category", Kelly. When I was using iCal for lists, I used a different calendar for each context, and had separate groups of calendars for events and todo's. It seems like a pretty vanilla GTD approach. Not that I recommend iCal now.


                          • #14
                            Ahh, hadn't thought or heard of anyone doing it that way. I'm referring to the To Do that comes with iCal--there are fields for a To Do to capture due date, subject and such, but nothing for a category. So if someone were trying to use that one To Do list for all of their stuff, it would be one giant list.


                            • #15
                              Let me clarify and provide some background. It may shed light on my desired outcome. I've almost finished David Allens book, so want to start out correctly in terms of GTD tools.

                              I used to use Palm Centro and Agendus which synced my ToDo and Calendar from iCal. Agendus for Palm has the ability to snooze alarms beyond a single choice (ie 10 minutes) which I used all the time. Whether it's right/wrong to snooze to the next day in terms of GTD is another thing, I'm a GTD newb. I found that setting a reminder the day before, snoozing it until the evening before helped me plan for the next day very well.

                              I sync my calendar with other family members using BusyCal/BusySync and they rely on the alarms on their computers too. They are without alarms for the time being while I get this sorted.

                              I would have an iPhone, but no AT&T where I live. When it came time to upgrade my phone, VWZ no longer carried Palm (which I've used for years and have heavily invested in software apps) so I got a BlackBerry Storm 2. Back to square one.

                              Agendus for BlackBerry does not allow custom Snooze, but when I sync with my Mac, it respects the alarms set on my laptop (iCal).

                              PocketInformant for BB does allow for custom Snooze on my BB (and has GTD mindset built-in), BUT when I sync with my Mac it sets the alarms to OFF for all my calendar and tasks. I've learned to live with that and rely on my alarms on my phone. While it has Projects and Context, the only way I can see to sync (in the definition of making the content of device 1 the same as device 2, not the physical act of moving data back and forth) is to use Categories as my Context (which is fine with me).

                              Here comes the real issue. When I check a task as completed on my BB and sync it unchecks all my already completed tasks. Now I have a pile of uncompleted tasks on my desktop and regardless of the desktop GTD client I'm using, I've now got tasks that were completed marked as incomplete.

                              Here was workflow (before discovering GTD). Using iCal I had a separate calendar for each "context". Sports, Home, Work, Medical, etc... and I had both Calendar and Task items in each.

                              Since I will rely on my phone in my workflow, desktop applications are secondary to me. I'm testing OmniFocus, Things, HitList, Midnight Inbox and they each have their strengths and weakness, but none of it matters if my BlackBerry and Mac can't play nice with each other.

                              Yes, I've contacted the vendors of the programs in question (Agendus, PIBB, and MarkSpace) and there doesn't seem to be any resolution.

                              I'm evaluating RexWireless and Next Action, but again if the status of completed tasks is flawed, neither application does me any good.

                              So my fundamental question is: Is there anyone with success syncing BlackBerry and Mac? It's not really an issue of the GTD methodolgy, it's really about syncing my tasks between phone and desktop without them getting "tampered with".