Benefits of changing tools (for change sake)

rmjb

Registered
When I started GTD at the end of 2017 I started with a newly released app called Microsoft To-Do. It was early days for that app and it showed. ~6 months later I heard about Nirvana on a podcast and the description made it sound 100% aligned to GTD. I checked it out and quickly migrated to it, paying for it annually to support the developer.

Now 3½ years in I feel compelled to move back to To-Do. It has improved a lot since 2017/2018 and what put me over the top is the recently released (purchased and read) GTD Setup Guide for it. I want to move because I feel it will integrate better with my otherwise Microsoft 365 workflow, and it should allow me to collaborate with my team; Nirvana has 0 collaboration features. Also, the (lack of) pace of Nirvana innovation has always bothered me.

I sat down this morning to start the copy and paste of my 178 Projects over, and after completing 13, and figuring out if/how to keep the Areas of Focus mapping, and then what that would mean when it get down to copying my 224 Next Action/Waiting For items, I paused.

This change would be a drastic shake up to the workflow I've developed over the last three years. There are advantages to either system, and I'd be giving up Nirvana's established advantages to me for potential To-Do advantages.

My question is this: to those of you that have changed tools, what are the benefit of just changing? Does the act of changing the tool give you a fresh start? Or have you found that it caused more pain for little gain in the long run?
 
Last edited:

Ger80C

Registered
In my experience, changing tools is often cumbersome and does not provide that much of added benefit - unless you change the medium. I changed from digital back to analog a while ago, and that, while of course stirring and shaking up my "system" (don't overthink it, it's just a few lists!), was helpful. But changing from one digital tool to another? I doubt that I would really benefit from that, unless the digital tool I left lacked functionality, was deprecated or I was forced to leave it behind...
 

TesTeq

Registered
But changing from one digital tool to another? I doubt that I would really benefit from that, unless the digital tool I left lacked functionality, was deprecated or I was forced to leave it behind...
@Ger80C I can see a value if there is no possibility to automate the migration process. When you have to manually copy and paste each project (or retype) you can delete the old projects that are not worth this effort (of copying and pasting).
 

kelstarrising

Kelly Forrister | GTD® Coach
Over the past 25 years, I’ve changed tools A LOT. And even when I use a tool sometimes change how I set it up. It always injects new enthusiasm, after the initial transfer.

I’ve changed because I write all of the GTD setup guides and it can help sometimes to fully immerse myself in the tool. Other times I’ve changed just because I want to try something new.
:p

Changing tools can kind of be like that experience as a kid when you switch your bedroom around. It all feels fresh, fun, and new.

So that’s all to say, I’m a fan of switching tools when you want to try something new (within reason, because there are people who are never happy in their quest for the perfect tool).

I currently use Todoist, but Microsoft To Do is an excellent choice these days too.
 
Last edited:

rmjb

Registered
@Ger80C I can see a value if there is no possibility to automate the migration process. When you have to manually copy and paste each project (or retype) you can delete the old projects that are not worth this effort (of copying and pasting).
My weekly reviews should mean that my project lists are current though.
 

rmjb

Registered
Over the past 25 years, I’ve changed tools A LOT. And even when I used a tool I’ve change how I use it. It always injects new enthusiasm, after the initial transfer.

I’ve changed because I write all of the GTD setup guides and it can help sometimes to fully immerse myself in the tool. Other times I’ve changed just because I want to try something new.
:p

Changing tools can kind of be like that experience as a kid when you switch your bedroom around. It all feels fresh, fun, and new.

So that’s all to say, I’m a fan of switching tools when you want to try something new (within reason, because there are people who are never happy in their quest for the perfect tool).
Hi Kelly, I've read three of your set up guides thus far, they are well written with a common structure, making it easier to compare tools. Given your role you would also have a unique perspective. Thanks for the insight about the enthusiasm of something new.

However, what do you think are the wrong reasons to change your tool?
 
Last edited:

kelstarrising

Kelly Forrister | GTD® Coach
Hi Kelly, I've read three of your set up guides thus far, they are well written with a common structure, making it easier to compare tools. Given your role would also have a unique perspective. Thanks for the insight about the enthusiasm of something new.

However, what do you think are the wrong reasons to change your tool?
Wrong reason would be the quest for the perfect tool for GTD. Perfect will be different for everyone, but I’ve seen people over the years get into an endless quest and keep switching tools, so they never get to that delicious space of not thinking about the tool anymore.
 

Sojourner

Registered
I want to move because I feel it will integrate better with my otherwise Microsoft 365 workflow, and it should allow me to collaborate with my team; Nirvana has 0 collaboration features. Also, the (lack of) pace of Nirvana innovation has always bothered me.

...Areas of Focus mapping, and then what that would mean when it get down to copying my 224 Next Action/Waiting For items, I paused.

My question is this: to those of you that have changed tools, what are the benefit of just changing? Does the act of changing the tool give you a fresh start? Or have you found that it caused more pain for little gain in the long run?
While it will be a little painful, I think you have compelling and valid reasons for a fresh start and new perspective with To-Do... better workflow integration and collaboration. If the new tool will not only allow you to practice GTD but also provide additional work related benefits, then I think it's probably worth the it in the long run.

I used to be a "perfect" tool chaser and finally settled on Nirvana, as it fit all my core needs. While you consider it's "(lack of) pace" bothersome, I consider it the stability and familiarity I needed in a tool for something so essential in how I function. Areas of focus were a big part of that. I like having my personal and work areas separated. I only use GTD for my individual work responsibilities, and we have other tools we use for team collaboration.
 

bishblaize

Registered
I love changing tools. Its like painting the walls of your house, it may not be materially different, but it keeps you interested. I don't change my task manager any more, but email app, notes app, browser, file manager etc I change quite often.
 

thomasbk

Registered
Wrong reason would be the quest for the perfect tool for GTD. Perfect will be different for everyone, but I’ve seen people over the years get into an endless quest and keep switching tools, so they never get to that delicious space of not thinking about the tool anymore.

YES! This is an underrated point. Not thinking about the tool removes an external friction point between you and your system.
 

Christian_A_UK

Chief Experience Officer, UK Based
For me, changing the tool can break the cycle of "routine" for me and just give me that lift to discover & learn again. Routine can of course be good but sometimes, it brings a bit too much comfort for me, when I want to be really highly engaged with what I am working on.

I'd echo Kelly's point about To-Do and having also integrated it to be closer to my work 365 tech stack, it is definitely helping me reap the collaborative benefits with my team (that Nirvana also never game me). Ditto to the point of changing A LOT though, as I am definitely as David describes, always reacting to the next high tech shiny bauble!
 

Ariadne Marques

Registered
I've changed from Evernote, to Todoist, Nirvana, and back and forth over the years. I learned a lot when I moved to Nirvana, it gave me a clear sense of how next actions, projects, and areas of focus could be well integrated into a digital app. I think that when I stop worrying about the tool or when the tool becomes invisible during my workflow, that's when my GTD system shines. I love Nirvana, and it may sound silly, but I miss having emojis and colours! Sometimes I look back to Todoist and feel I want to get back to it, just for the looks. Then I decide against it because I've been there before and the change was not super successful.

Now, recently my workplace announced they will (finally!) migrate from Google to Microsoft. I already have all my personal stuff in Microsoft and so I'll be 100% into MS environment in the next couple of weeks. I'm testing out MS To-Do and honestly, I'm enjoying it. In this case, I would migrate to To-Do because of the compatibility with my work systems and the fact that I can have 2 separate accounts: a work and a personal account in To-Do. I was kinda "forced" to use Google Calendar all these years (for both personal and work) because of my workplace (I could never get proper sync between my personal Outlook and Google work calendar, so I had them all in Google). My system has always been a mix of Google and Microsoft apps.

I got excited by all the discussions about MS To-do here in the forum, and what is driving this migration for me now is integration. Oh, and also, I can have some emojis and colours :)
 
Last edited:

FocusGuy

Registered
I practice GTD since 15 years. Many time I switch of tools. I finally stick from time to time to Omnifocus, Things and Nirvana. Changing of tool helped me to a better understanding of GTD. It's also cleaned my systems and was fun to. But now, it is over.
I Finally decided definitivly to stick to Omnifocus. I choose it because I know how it works "by heart". At a glance I can make perspectives and it is indeed a great software. Of course it may be a bit old fashion. If I compare it to things 3 it is not as sexy. Anyway it is not so crucial. I think we can spend hours and hours finding the right tool (there are so many software, it is juste incredible) but the most important is not trying software. The most important is to be able to do the job easely and fastly with à tool you can trust. Of course I could use GTD with paper too. It would be may be more complicated for me. I dont know if Omnifocus will ever be there. They a working on OF4 (VS 3) . I tried the IOS version and found it more complicated and less easy than IF3. But it is still a beta. So for the moment and I thing for a long time I will be using Omnifocus juste because I am accustomed to it and it works very well.
 

PeterW

Registered
I’ve mentioned this in another thread but will do so again here. Just be careful that you’re not changing tools because of lack of engagement with the content rather than a problem with the tool itself.

While new systems may seem fresh and give you some initial enthusiasm, if your projects and tasks/actions are repelling you from taking action (ie because they’re not well defined, lack verbs, not broken down enough into discrete actions) then a new tool won’t solve that.
 
Top