GTD capture tool for busy professionals?

Hey folks, wanted to see if you guys have had a similar experience before. Basically, I have a bunch of different inboxes where I receive a lot of tasks in a bunch of different formats.
  1. Email inbox
  2. Company chat
  3. WhatsApp chat (from customers)
  4. Clickup (company tasklist manager)
  5. Personal to-dos (todoist)
For my process today, I use todoist as my capture tool. I first breakdown my todos into smaller tasks before I schedule/work on them, but that ends up fragmenting the information all over the place. There have been occasions where I have missed things, which is frustrating. So I'm looking for a tool to connect it all.

My ideal solution would be a capture tool that is connected to all 5 above "inboxes" and be the one command central, where I can link and check off each items. In the case of email and WhatsApp, I'd ideally be able to link directly from the task to the email thread or conversations. I've looked around but haven't found anything that quite matches what I need. Would you guys know if there is such a solution out there?

I've been thinking about buildling a tool to solve my own problem. But I wanted to see if there is any interest out there for a similar tool as well, and collect a few more usecases. Let me know if you would be willing to chat.

Cheers,
Jason
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Todoist can link to email on an Apple device, but I don’t know about other platforms, or about WhatsApp linking. My own feeling is that the comprehensive solution you want would most likely be fragile and ephemeral, sort of like writing an income tax app in Perl.

P.S. Truffles and avocado?
 

bishblaize

Registered
Sounds like you're looking for something like Hook.


May not suit you as its Mac only and doesn't work with Todoist. (Todoist doesn't have a native app on MacOS). It works by making links between items on MacOS. An "item" can be a lot of things - a webpage, an email, a document, a calendar appointment, a task in Omnifocus, and so on.

When I get an email that has a task in it, I press a keyboard shortcut and then it creates a new task in Omnifocus. Then when I'm in Omnifocus I can press the same shortcut and it will open the email again. Same goes for files, messages and other sorts of support materials. You "attach" them to your projects/NAs with a keyboard shortcut and then you can open that item again straight from the task. You can move it around or archive it and it'll still open it fine.

Over time this becomes a real lifesaver. Some projects I have will have 5 files, 3 calendar appointments, 5 emails, 3 web pages of research and so on all attached to the project. So when you're trying to work on something, instead of having to fish around or rack your brains for where something is, you can just pull up a list of everything in a quick list.
 

mcogilvie

Registered
Sounds like you're looking for something like Hook.


May not suit you as its Mac only and doesn't work with Todoist. (Todoist doesn't have a native app on MacOS). It works by making links between items on MacOS. An "item" can be a lot of things - a webpage, an email, a document, a calendar appointment, a task in Omnifocus, and so on.

When I get an email that has a task in it, I press a keyboard shortcut and then it creates a new task in Omnifocus. Then when I'm in Omnifocus I can press the same shortcut and it will open the email again. Same goes for files, messages and other sorts of support materials. You "attach" them to your projects/NAs with a keyboard shortcut and then you can open that item again straight from the task. You can move it around or archive it and it'll still open it fine.

Over time this becomes a real lifesaver. Some projects I have will have 5 files, 3 calendar appointments, 5 emails, 3 web pages of research and so on all attached to the project. So when you're trying to work on something, instead of having to fish around or rack your brains for where something is, you can just pull up a list of everything in a quick list.
I think this is a bad idea for most people. Omnifocus and Things and several other apps are already happy to store links to web pages, email, et cetera, and this works well across Apple devices, except for cases where an iOS device doesn’t have access to the Mac file reference. Hook is Mac only, and who lives that way now or forever in the future? The more you rely on a 3rd party solution like Hook, and the longer you stay with it, the more pain it is when you have to give it up.
 

Jim

GTD Ninja
I use TaskPaper, which is extensible, using AppleScript or JavaScript.

I have coded a dialog box in JavaScript, triggered by a keystroke, so that I can capture a task or project at any time, in any app.

UCT.png

For some types of captures, I have separate scripts that capture specific data, and then formats the data as a task.

For example, here is what I can grab from a selected e-mail in my Apple Mail.app:

- From: John Forrister → 9/2/21 → Magic! → message://%3cSA0PR18MB34531FBE8B88B141BEFD16069ACE9@SA0PR18MB3453.namprd18.prod.outlook.com%3e → @start(2021-09-02)

The "message" link is a live link to the e-mail in my Apple Mail.app. All of the data in that task (from/date/subject) is drawn from the e-mail itself. The start date is a tag, which can be use for searches and such inside of TaskPaper.

If an app has an AppleScript dictionary, you could script it to do something like the above example.

I hope that helps!
 

bishblaize

Registered
I think this is a bad idea for most people. Omnifocus and Things and several other apps are already happy to store links to web pages, email, et cetera, and this works well across Apple devices, except for cases where an iOS device doesn’t have access to the Mac file reference. Hook is Mac only, and who lives that way now or forever in the future? The more you rely on a 3rd party solution like Hook, and the longer you stay with it, the more pain it is when you have to give it up.
> I think this is a bad idea for most people. Omnifocus and Things and several other apps are already happy to store links to web pages, email, et cetera, and this works well across Apple devices, except for cases where an iOS device doesn’t have access to the Mac file reference.

Could be, but it's similar to what the OP asked for, which is why I raised it. Anyway, Hook creates links for vastly more items than MacOS does out the box, it formats them into human-readable form & it gives you an interface for them all. So its not really comparable with the default options.

> The more you rely on a 3rd party solution like Hook, and the longer you stay with it, the more pain it is when you have to give it up.

You could say this of any app. I'm happy to use things that make life easier now, even if it might not be here in 5 yrs time.
 

snfuod

Registered
Hey folks, wanted to see if you guys have had a similar experience before. Basically, I have a bunch of different inboxes where I receive a lot of tasks in a bunch of different formats.
  1. Email inbox
  2. Company chat
  3. WhatsApp chat (from customers)
  4. Clickup (company tasklist manager)
  5. Personal to-dos (todoist)
For my process today, I use todoist as my capture tool. I first breakdown my todos into smaller tasks before I schedule/work on them, but that ends up fragmenting the information all over the place. There have been occasions where I have missed things, which is frustrating. So I'm looking for a tool to connect it all.

My ideal solution would be a capture tool that is connected to all 5 above "inboxes" and be the one command central, where I can link and check off each items. In the case of email and WhatsApp, I'd ideally be able to link directly from the task to the email thread or conversations. I've looked around but haven't found anything that quite matches what I need. Would you guys know if there is such a solution out there?

I've been thinking about buildling a tool to solve my own problem. But I wanted to see if there is any interest out there for a similar tool as well, and collect a few more usecases. Let me know if you would be willing to chat.

Cheers,
Jason

A capture tool to me is what I use to capture stuff to get into my inbox. I have several inboxes too. Might be worth to decide if chats are really inboxes though, or just view them as conversations. It depends, I guess.

I kind of get what you’re going for, but to me it sounds more like you need to empty your inboxes or a regular basis and when doing so decide what the stuff in them means to you and if there’s actions to it and such. That’s not capturing, that’s clarifying. No need to capture what’s already in your inbox. Don’t forget the two minute rule when processing. Maybe even give yourself five minutes, if there’s a lot of easier customer questions in WhatsApp or similar. No need to burden your lists with loads of easy to-dos.
 
Last edited:

rmjb

Registered
I think your search for a capture tool is on the right path. What I have found is that I do not want to have too many inboxes to clear. You listed five, which would be too much for me.
Keeping in mind the first phase of GTD, during capture, you may not know if what you've encountered is actionable, but you know/feel that you should capture it. Later, when you're in the clarify mindset you might realise it is or it isn't, after which you can organize it or trash it.

With this in mind, I use a tool on my phone called Napkin Note. It is very simple: you enter/paste some text and click send. Alternatively you can record a voice note or attach a pic and click send. This then sends it to an email address you choose.
How I use this is if I see anything, in any stream, that might be actionable, I pass it over to Napkin Note. This gives me the comfort that it's captured and that I'll see it when I get to clearing my email.

It reduces my Inboxes down to my two email addresses, work and personal. I don't use the Inbox in my GTD tool, I don't leave potential next actions in WhatsApp or my work's task management tool. It's all captured that way.
 

timstringer

Registered
I think this is a bad idea for most people. Omnifocus and Things and several other apps are already happy to store links to web pages, email, et cetera, and this works well across Apple devices, except for cases where an iOS device doesn’t have access to the Mac file reference. Hook is Mac only, and who lives that way now or forever in the future? The more you rely on a 3rd party solution like Hook, and the longer you stay with it, the more pain it is when you have to give it up.
It's worth noting that, where possible, Hook will store links that work on mobile devices. Among other things, Hook makes it quicker and more convenient to create these links.

For example, I can use Hook to create a link between an OmniFocus action and a document in Craft (my notes app of choice). The OmniFocus notes field contains a craftdocs:// link and the Crafts document contains an omnifocus:/// link. Both of these links will work whether or not Hook is installed.

Linking to files and folders doesn't work very well "out of the box" on the Mac and is essentially non-existent on the iPhone and iPad. This is one area where Hook shines. I can Hook, for example, an OmniFocus project to a folder that contains project-support documents. This link currently only works on the Mac and relies on having the Hook app installed because Apple doesn't currently provide a way for developers to support file/folder linking on the iPhone and iPad. The information is still be accessible on mobile devices (assuming it's stored on a shared/cloud location), it's just not as convenient to get to.

On a side note, the developers of Hook are actively working on supporting Hook on mobile devices, working within the limitations that iOS and iPadOS provide.
 

Murray

Registered
With this in mind, I use a tool on my phone called Napkin Note. It is very simple: you enter/paste some text and click send. Alternatively you can record a voice note or attach a pic and click send. This then sends it to an email address you choose.
Napkin Note sounds very similar to the app Braintoss, which is a key part of my capture system. Sounds like it's working well for you.
 
Top