An all-in-one GTD App?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss Tools & Software for GTD' started by Jimhardie74, Nov 22, 2018.

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Do you use the GTD system enough that you would make use of an all-in-one GTD software/app?

  1. Yes

  2. No

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  1. Jimhardie74

    Jimhardie74 Registered

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    As every person who has been in the GTD community for more than 1 week has probably realised, in order to set up a 'high tech' productivity system requires that you link multiple softwares together. You have your reference material in one place, your emails in another, your lists in another, your calendar in another, your alarms/reminders in another, your capture tool in another.

    Some softwares will combine a few of these things. But I am really struggling to find an app that combines all of them.

    Thy only things that I have found are:

    - Microsoft Outlook (which is not particularly intuitive, when it comes to using it as a streamlined system and doesn't have a corresponding app, requiring that you use 3rd party apps)
    - Lotus Notes (which is only available to corporate clients, not individual consumers).

    I'm getting by just fine with my current system. But I'm waiting for the day that Todoist, Wunderlust, Anydo or Nirvana allow you to start receiving and sending emails from your inbox (perhaps using IMAP).

    I would love to keep this thread open for any suggestions on apps that offer an all in-one-solution or any updates on new apps that come out.

    And if any of you think that you would be interested in purchasing such an app - please just leave a quick thumbs up in the comments - who knows, maybe if we get enough people then some software developer will finally take on the challenge of the (no-doubt long awaited) complete GTD app.
     
  2. TesTeq

    TesTeq Registered

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    Why do you limit your perfect GTD tool to this functionality? Wouldn't you like to have some word processing, spreadsheet and presentation creation? And mind-mapping? And some image processing to create pictures for your e-mails and presentations?
    My take on this is NO! I prefer the "one good tool for one job" approach.
     
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  3. aderoy

    aderoy Registered

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    I tend to follow the UNIX way - each app does one thing well, not everything poorly. This way I can use what I humbly think is the best e-mail client, word processor or list/task manager for the way I think.
    Hmm that being said, EMACS may be all the above yet would not wish to use as primary word processor (bad humour/pun). ORG mode comes close of course. Would not wish to suggest EMACS Org-mode for everyone of course, does not do mindmaps, FreePlane works well enough in that function - which I can link from within EMACS to the mindmap files.
     
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  4. clango

    clango Registered

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    as David Allen say....You can do anything but not everything ....
     
  5. Oogiem

    Oogiem Registered

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    Not me! I can't imagine that any software that tries to do all of that wil be any good at any of it. Besides. I like compartmentalization. I like to do my e-mail on one machine, my shopping list and checking off done tasks on mobile devices, review on my main machine and so on.
     
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  6. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    I think there has been a shift away from all-in-one programs towards programs that transfer information in simple, robust ways. A good example is iOS share sheets. Unfortunately, some key apps tend to be in only rather than bidirectional. For example, there are a lot of reasons you might want to export a calendar entry in various formats. However, all-in-one programs historically have been even worse in sharing data.
     
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  7. John Ismyname

    John Ismyname Registered

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    Maybe I'm dating myself here ... I remember when having and using a ink-and=paper DayTimer was state-of-the-art in being organized! I adopted the best parts of other paper-based systems (PriorityManager, Franklin, Covey) into my own paper-based system. I scoffed at software based systems because of the lack of portability (pre internet and pre-small.cheap laptop days) and lack of being able to modify to suite my way of doing things.

    While Ms-Outlook is my GTD platform, I use spreadsheets and ink-and-paper for higher altitude GTD as this is impossible to fit into a software system.

    Finally, there is the issue of making GTD portable to the every day carry (EDC) level. My GTD platform was originally a 3-ring binder with a zipper case. Now, it's a laptop. While the laptop is smaller and lighter than the 3-ring binder, I want to have elements of GTD on my smartphone-Android, which may not work on an iPhone. Thus, I have my own way of taking GTD down to what I can carry in my pocket in a way that I can synch with my "mother ship" GTD platform.

    There is no way that a singular software system can do this. The more one relies on GTD, the more one has to cobble together seperate software systems and self-integrate them.
     
  8. RS356

    RS356 Registered

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    For some of us it still is! I go back and forth between paper and digital. Digital is great for search and information storage, but for speed and flexibility, paper is a clear winner. I use and rely on both.
     
  9. AFG

    AFG Registered

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    I would love to have such an "all-GTD-in-one" app.

    But I am not holding my breath.

    But I would want it on all the platforms I use regularly - Windows PC, iPhone, Apple Watch.

    But I would like to be able to store data in the cloud to share with coworkersvia a web interface.

    But I would hesitate to become dependent on a proprietary data format. To become dependent on a company that is likely to fail, and whose monetization

    The closest thing I know to such an "all-GTD-in-one" app is GNU EMACS org-mode. But emacs falls short wrt one thing I require - bitmap manipulation - as well as wrt platforms and sharing. After that, it is just a matter of elisp programming.
     
  10. bcmyers2112

    bcmyers2112 Registered

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    I take issue with the wording of the question. To me, asking whether one "use(s) GTD enough that you would make use of an all-in-one GTD software/app" implies that someone who says "no" is less dedicated to GTD than someone who says "yes." I rely on GTD 100% as my total life management system, I practice the system in its entirety as presented in the book and I do not wish for an "all-in-one" software solution.

    This is based on my experience. Years ago I was an early beta tester for an all-in-one cloud-based GTD software solution called IQTELL. If their forum was still online you'd be able to find a lot of highly positive and enthusiastic comments from me, at least in the early days of my involvement. Over time, however, I realized I was more in love with the idea of IQTELL than the reality.

    Ultimately I think IQTELL was overly complex to the point that I found it to be a burden rather than an enabler. It also did too many things not well enough. Clearly it also wasn't profitable enough, as the service was shut down in 2017.

    I've found that diligently applying GTD practices serves as the glue that enables me to integrate information from multiple systems and sources (both digital and paper) in as stress-free a manner as possible. Having gone down the path of chasing magical software unicorns, I can tell you that faithful practice of GTD has proven to be the better way for me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
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  11. Geeko

    Geeko GTD since 2017

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    I also prefer the unix-approach: “one tool that does one job very well”
    You would have to create an email client that is better than thunderbird/outlook/mutt/… with an image processing that is better than photoshop/gimp/… and a mindmapping tool that is better than MindManager/freeplane/… – I think you get the idea ;)
    The more interesting part is to link all these tools in a way that you can work them easily – and to sync these between all your devices. My tools of choice here are CardDAV and git. Someone else might like to use Dropbox or iCloud or something else.
    I like the idea of being able to tweak my system exactly to my needs. I think an all-in-one-app would be a much too rigid construct.

    Cheers,
    Tristan
     
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  12. OF user

    OF user Registered

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    Best solution for that is...paper. Is far more flexible than any app you will find. Apps are great for repeatable commitments but they are also manageable on paper.
     
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  13. Sarahsuccess

    Sarahsuccess Registered

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    I would paraphrase the question:

    Do you use the GTD system enough that you would spend time daily on, and have sharp edges between the 5 stages of workflow?

    The 5 stages are Capture, Clarify, Organize, Review and Do. I would have the Workflow chart available when I am clarifying and organizing. (Appendix vi in the book Making It All Work, or pages 120 or 139 in the book Getting Things Done)

    In clarifying, I'd ask myself 3 questions: "Can I do anything about this?" (Is it actionable?)", "What is the larger outcome (project), if any?", "What is the next action?"

    In Making It All Work by David Allen on page 111 it says, "Once you really integrate this clarification process into your life-and work style, you will find yourself comfortable with a wide range of tools that can genuinely work for you. If you haven't applied this process, nothing will seem to serve you very well."

    I agree with what others have said here. It's more important to use tools that do each specific task well. It is our brain (for better or for worse :) ) that "link the multiple softwares together" and is the manager.


    On another note:

    RS356, how do you find paper good for speed and flexibility? I like paper, but I find that digitally it is easier to review lists (check off tasks done and add new), and to choose daily tasks. I'd appreciate specifics/details/feedback from you or anybody who finds paper speedy and flexible and functional as a gtd tool. How do you handle it when you have a page with 5 tasks done and 5 tasks not completed and a page of newly added tasks?


    Thanks,


    Sarah
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  14. OF user

    OF user Registered

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    Let me start by saying that the digital tools (ok, some of them) have great sorting and filtering abilities and are great for repeat tasks but you are limited by what the software offers and what your screen displays without scrolling. If you have tons of tasks, you also have to have a lot of faith in your system because you can never view everything. Plus, most of them offer much more than is needed for GTD. Ever notice that the GTD field guides rarely use all of an apps features when recommending a setup, except maybe the Outlook setup.

    Paper does require a lot of thought but as your GTD practice changes (hopefully improves) you can easily make changes with paper rather than have to switch to another digital tool that seems to now fit better. Granted, paper users will switch binders, move from bullet journals to planners, and really explore what I call the hobby part of GTD but it is truly optional. I am never overwhelmed with paper. I have a short list of projects I work on intently and I put the rest in a parking lot (different than someday/maybe) although S/M is there for long-term parking. Get one done, one moves from the parking lot into the short list. I use paper checklists to perform daily tasks. I can even do some "filtering" by using asterisks (and other symbols) and highlighting along with parenthetical information. Or I can create as many contexts as I want to keep what I am looking at short.

    I have gotten over the urge to rewrite lists unless the page looks horrible, and i find that rewriting a page just cements what is on the page in my mind. The key is my system is very flexible. I certainly cannot say it is faster than digital but it is fast enough. I will also say that I can more easily overcome resistance because I can track how many times I looked at an item and did not work on it. Trickier to do digitally.

    I certainly enjoy paper better but that is my choice and my preference. If you have an interest give it a try. Start by printing your digital output and working with it if you want to try it without a wholesale change. Hope I answered your question. I was certainly long winded enough.
     
  15. OF user

    OF user Registered

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    One other thing. The latest "paper craze" is to combine digital and analog tools, which we all probably do, especially as part of collection. However, I have not been able to make this work for me. I tend to be drawn to paper and I move away from my digital repository. Be interested if anyone has gotten this to work. Also, this could be the subject of a future webinar.
     
  16. Sarahsuccess

    Sarahsuccess Registered

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    Thank you for your reply.

    I agree with all the "cons" of digital tools that you describe.

    Thanks for your explanation of how you use paper and the benefits.

    As I get better at all 5 stages of workflow, I might make better use of paper. (I thought I was stalling before the "do", but now I realize I wasn't clarifying correctly).

    I appreciate the length and detail of your reply. Perhaps long, but not long winded for me.

    thanks
    Sarah
     
  17. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    I've worked pretty hard at GTD, but I'm still far from where I want to be. A lot of my problems have to do with paper- I am just bad with it. I'm part of the cohort who made the transition from all paper to mostly digital. A lot of the paper is pre-GTD and pre-internet, so it's kind of a disaster. Eventually I will get it under control.

    On the other hand, I'm very good with digital. I have what I consider to be a simple, flexible workflow. I can move seamlessly between the five stages. I don't need a lot of tools. Fundamentally, it's my calendar and my list manager, Things 3. I do have other tools for reference storage, mind mapping et cetera. I'm never tempted by paper except for stuff coming in and out of my system.
     
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  18. John Ismyname

    John Ismyname Registered

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    Great post, OF! You are not “long winded”, you are thorough and insightful!


    I have been a hybrid user for 18 years. If you do the sang thing for long enough, you eventually come back in style!


    Seriously, for higher level tasks (like planning a year or decade out, paper is the way to go. As part of my morning ritual, I write out my goals, objectives, tasks, by memory and imagination into a notebook page. There is something about an empty sheet of paper that stimulates my creativity and imagination!



    I need a digital GTD platform for “low level” planning and execution. Outlook lets me manage little tasks, big projects, objectives, appointments all from one application. This is a necessity for me.


    My main GTD inbox is my e-mail inbox(es). We all see the reports of how the average white-collar worker spends more than ¼ of their work time on email and gets over a hundred email a day. The better one’s email system integrates into one’s GTD system, the more efficiency is created.


    For me, it a necessity. An analogy would be trying to have a drink of water from a fire hydrant– there is so much water coming out of a hydrant at such a high pressure, it has to be connected to a tool – firehose , to make it functional.



    The digital tool has to be filter and sort and the GTDer has to be able to use these functions. For example, I have a master-task list of everything I want to do in my life – from taking the trash to the street text Tuesday (repetitive weekly task), to vistiting Hawaii (someday / maybe) and everthign in between. While this is pages long, I only scroll through this as part of my weekly review. My daily task view in Outlook fits nicely onto a single screen. The TITLES of each of my context lists (i.e, @ office, @errands, ect..) – I can’t see the contents unless I click to drill down.





    You hit upon the hardest part of a digital tasking system – the lack of resistance to not completing tasks on the day you commit to them! Back in the day with my paper-based system, I had to manually re-write all of my incomplete tasks to a date in the future. Thus, everyday I said I would do something “tomorrow” and failed, I would have to face the fact I planned to do more than I actually could and be more realistic about what I can accomplish in a day. With my digital tasks system, my incomplete tasks carry-over automatically. While this is convenient, the ‘reality check’ of over-estimating is gone.

    This is true for any paper or digital GTD system. For critical tasks, I use my Outlook tasks system above and I write the task on a paper recipe card that I clip into my manilla 1-31 file for that day. This double-check system for critical items makes me trust my system completely.


    As an added bonus, a digital system can be backed up. Back in the day, my paper based organizational system were to have been lost or stolen, it would have caused a big problem. On one memorable and recent day, my laptop, holding my GTD platform, died. I went to my Android phone as a back-up and it appeared not to be working. (it was actually just the charger.) My back-up was my print outs, which I did not do frequently enough. I went to a meeting 50 miles away only to find out is had been changed to a phone meeting!


    My learning experience from that was to use the Gmail suite (calendar, contacts, tasks) to transfer between Outlook and my Andorid phone, which I resisted this for privacy reasons.
     

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