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Remedial Help with GTD Implementation and Software Tools

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  • Remedial Help with GTD Implementation and Software Tools

    I am looking to change my GTD implementation, hopefully for the better and for the long term. I know there is a tendency amongst the GTD set to constantly churn thru variations in GTD implementations. I am guilty of this in the past. So I am well aware of the time and effort involved. However, I do think I have a legitimate reason to "redeploy" or "reorg". A brief history

    Long time GTDer with Microsoft Outlook, Palm, then Palm Treo. I was able to use Outlook via work, cradle sync 2 pcs then eventually graduated to wirelessly sync and Remote Desktop to my Exchange server for everything. Relatively small company so I didn't feel any risk in combining home and work on one platform. I was both office and mobile during the day so the combination worked very well.

    9 months ago, consulting company bought out by bigger consulting company, Treo goes away, replaced by Blackberry. Role changes to become that of a consultant in the field. Not 100% comfortable combining work and home in same system. From there I experimented with a few implementations: Paper based using Moleskine notebooks while also using a bit of Outlook then Lotus Notes (client). Finally, I found Todoist a web hosted tool. I've looked at Thinking Rock, Life Balance, various GTD wikis but stayed with Todoist. I've also allowed my calender to spread out over between Outlook, Todoist, Google, paper based, my head.

    Paper was tedious with my handwriting and the physical effort to maintain but it did prove I could be effective with it.

    Todoist is has been usable, I've messed with the implementation within the app a few times. It is usually available wherever I am desk bound. However there is a risk that a client may not allow outside connectivity (especially with state government). It has very flexible sorting, tagging, labels, etc. one of the better web based GTD tools.

    The new company Exchange server and Outlook is an option. I am less concerned about combining work and home now. But I do not have remote desktop ability. My laptop may not always have wireless connectivity at a client. Web Outlook is brutal and not very friendly. Blackberry is a Pearl so the keyboard is not a full qwerty. It's ok for updating and referring to Next Actions. I've underused this for the entire time I've had it but a few tests this week show that it is helpful. I know its not a good capture device though.

    My ideal implementation would include the following

    1. Hierarchical Next Action / Project application
    2. Available to sync with Blackberry
    3. Integrated with Calender and Email (Outlook work, gmail home but overall email volume is < 20-30 a day now)
    4. Calendar - 1 source
    5. Flexible sorting and viewing
    6. Easy to input
    7. No additional cost (well I am willing to spend a little to get the right tool)

    I realize the Blackberry may be a limiting factor on what tools I can use sync into it. I don't see many apps that sync to Blackberry's except Next Action and may be one other tool.

    Any suggestions or examples of similar implementations would be appreciated.


  • #2

    If I understood correctly, one of your concerns is syncing BB with Outlook. I have had no problems in doing so. Using BB Pearl (AT&T) and Outlook 2003, running desktop 4.3 on MS Vista. The only thing that does not sync is the categories, however once you decide on the appropriate categories (@calls, etc), then you just make sure the same is on both your PC and the BB. I am syncing the calendar, address list, task list and notes.

    I have followed the GTD white paper on setting up Outlook. I do not use the add-in as I find the setup to do everything that I want.



    • #3
      Ranny, thanks for the reply. I think what I was trying to convey was my hesitation to go back to Outlook. I was hoping here might be a "better tool" with the ability to nest tasks and projects. After sending I did realize my syncing of tasks is working fine between BB and Outlook. My hesitation to use Outlook stems from a few scenerios that probably won't occur too often and I now fell are not showstoppers. They are
      1. Storing personal stuff on work outlook
      2. Being disconnected from Outlook while at a client
      3. Using a "flat" Project and NA list as opposed to a nested hierarchical Project and NA List

      After thinking about this some more I belive Outlook will work for this
      1. Just get over putting most personal stuff on outlook (exception is my very detailed music and guitar studies - I'll try Thinking Rock for this - more on this below)
      2. The BB view of tasks isn't as great as Palm or DateBk but I is usable as a way to view. In a pinch I could see using it to enter an idea for a project or NA. Web outlook which is usually available at clients is also a way to enter new tasks/projects. I can clean up the entry and categorize later when I have a direct connection to Outlook.
      3. Much of my day to day work projects can be organized in "flat" manner via Outlook. My r&d on other tools like Todoist has also taught me more about tagging and labels. This could be added to projects and na's when needed in Outlook

      While Todoist could nest projects and tasks I never felt that I had the right level of visibility into all of my commitments. Also, while using Todoist I disconnected from using my Outlook Calendar and taking advantage of the BB access. Even after actually looking at Todoist's mobile page I think I will be switching back to Outlook for most of my GTD implementation

      For some personal stuff like my guitar playing I am going to try out Thinking Rock combined with a paper based journal. I may put some type of place holder project in Outlook just to remind me to include this in my weekly review. My music projects lends themselves to more hierarchal views and they are less date driven. By shear volume I would clutter up my work Outlook too much with music related projects. I also found that firing up Outlook to track my progress on learning cool guitar riffs is not exactly inspirational.