Thoughts on FacileThings?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC: Discuss Tools & Software for GTD' started by Lagerbaer, Dec 12, 2018.

  1. Lagerbaer

    Lagerbaer Registered

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    I tried the free month and what I like is that it has some enforcement for the GTD Workflow, and even walks one through a Weekly Review. Also nice is that it has Areas of Focus, Goals, Vision, Purpose built into it.

    However, I also find the interface sometimes a bit too restrictive. Things that should be simple (finish an action and then immediately add a new next action to the project that action belonged to) take many clicks in nested menus and screens. Plus, it's not the cheapest option out there.

    I was wondering if someone stuck with it for a longer time and wants to offer their thoughts? I haven't found much detailed discussion on it in the search.

    Maybe a simpler list manager would be better, but I'd definitely want something that lets me automatically link next actions to projects, because if I have to do that manually I know it's not going to happen.
     
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  2. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    I’ve looked at Facile Things but never tried it. The cost was just too high. It’s primarily a web app, and that typically means fewer amenities, along with the problem of access when there is no internet. There is an iOS app, but it is rated 3.2 out of 5, which typically means it is mediocre.

    I think you’ve identified what I see as a problem many apps have: adding a follow-up next action should be very easy, because it is so common. That’s why I prefer apps that can duplicate a next action in one or two clicks, presses or keystrokes across all supported platforms.

    One approach to project-next action association I have successfully used is to tag next Actions with the area of focus. For some apps, that allows for viewing related projects and next actions where associating projects directly with next actions would be clunky. This works well for me when there are 0-5 projects in an area, but would probable fail for larger numbers of projects per area.
     
  3. Hammer

    Hammer Registered

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    I have used Facilethings for over a year (just renewed for my second year last month). I am a refugee from the IQTell shutdown and tried several apps before deciding to stick with Facilethings (took me a bit to decide as I can suffer from paralysis by analysis).

    If you are in the project view when you complete a next action you can hit the + (Add Action) in the lower right corner of the screen to add a next action to that project. You can also enter some of the parameters for the next action in the entry box while you are first entering the next action (for instance - if you enter @name in the box as you start the description of the next action it will assign it to that person). There is a list of parameters in the help section - I believe they are all the same as you would use when creating a task by sending an e-mail to the system.

    The Android app has gotten better and is useful for basic functions when I am out and about. I also use an addon that lets me create tasks in the inbox using google assistant by saying "Collect" then whatever I want added to the text in the entry of the inbox. I use that feature at home with the google mini's that I have all over the house and when I am in the car through the bluetooth hands-free speaker.

    I use the notes on each next action to keep track of everything related to that item (e-mails sent/received, phone calls, open help desk ticket numbers etc.) I date and time each entry in the notes and enter new notes at the top (a suggestion I made was a button that would add the current date/time at that spot). I keep reference and other files on google drive and link the key ones into the next actions for quick access. You can link them into the program but I like having them in google drive as it is easy to copy a whole project folder for someone else. Another suggestion I made was to allow tags/notes/files to be attached at the project level without a separate entry (you can create a reference action and attach notes to it - that's the way I do it currently).

    I love the ability to use the people list for a quick way to find out what I am waiting for when I am talking to someone. I have their info entered into the system and use it many times as my contact manager to get their phone number to call them etc.. And right below their entry is a list of everything I am waiting for from them (that they have been tagged with). Makes it very easy to check on things and update the notes. If you create a people entry for them and tag them with an entry they can access the system through a web link even if they don't have FT.

    The developer added subprojects in the last year (1 level deep). They work great as only the next action in each subproject list is shown on the working list. Once you do one the next one in that subproject is moved up.

    I don't use the Kanban functionality but did play around with it to see how it works.

    There are some things I would change in the system (unless you write it yourself there will always be things you would do different :) ) but I am very happy with the program. The developer is great to work with and when I made suggestions he gave me an explanation on each item (will consider for the future, works that way because... etc.). I would suggest you reach out to him with an concerns - he is easy to work with.

    Before this gets too long (I can be VERY long winded) - I would be more than happy to help you with any questions or suggestions on how to setup and use the system (or anything else about FT for that matter) from my experiences with it. I can't say I always do it the correct way but I have it working and it is a key system for me (at this point I would be lost without it).

    Scott
     
  4. clango

    clango Registered

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    I read somewhere:

    “One of the awesome features of Nirvana for your GTD implementation is the ability to link projects to their related next actions. Not many software apps do this as easily or elegantly as Nirvana.”
     
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  5. mcogilvie

    mcogilvie Registered

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    Nirvana started out looking very much like Things, and still shows some sign of that influence. For example, the Focus section works very much like the Today section of Things. It may or may not fit your workflow, but Things 3 is perhaps the most elegant task manager ever. Nirvana has evolved into its own, and seems like a good choice.
     
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  6. zaneta

    zaneta Registered

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    Thanks @Lagerbaer & @Hammer for sharing. I'm thinking maybe the structure in FacileThings may give me the structure I need, especially for weekly reviews.
    Though how does agendas work? maybe its cause I've overlooking it though i cant see how they are done besides making a next action and assigning it to a person
     
  7. Hammer

    Hammer Registered

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    If you are talking about a meeting agenda for meeting with a person there is not a seperate function/feature for that. The way I handle that process is to create a document in Google drive and link to it as a reference item in the system. If you put a tag on it with the person's name (for instance #scott) you can use the global search and find it easily. You can then pull it up by clicking the link and make changes etc. as needed. You could also create a new action with the person's name and use the checklist section for each item you want to cover.

    For spur of the moment meetings (or talking to someone on the phone etc.): if you open the Organize drop down and select the People option then pick the person you are talking to you will see the items you have assigned to them in a list below. You can open any one of them from there and make notes/changes etc. I love this feature :)

    Also when you are in the person list you can see the number of items you have flagged as waiting for a particular person next to their name on the left side of the screen.

    I hope that helps - if I answered the wrong question please let me know :)

    Scott
     
  8. zaneta

    zaneta Registered

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    Thanks @Hammer that was really useful, just what I wanted to know :D
     
  9. Gnopps

    Gnopps Registered

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    FacileThings is a great system, very well into GTD. I've used it on and off and would like to use it a lot more. However what always disappoints me with the system is that its interface is too slow when working with tasks and projects. It seems like the system is more built towards working with fewer big tasks rather than many small tasks. I prefer to work with many small tasks and then the overhead per task is too big with FT (things like setting start date, moving into project). I've voiced this to the creator but I got a feeling he was not on the same track.

    That said, the system is wonderful and I really recommend it. I keep subscribing to its product updates, hoping to be able to come back.
     
  10. tbologna

    tbologna Registered

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    My favorite thing about FacileThings is that, with it's integration with Evernote, it is essentially an entire GTD implementation in one place. I prefer Nirvana for lists and it's snappy UI but honestly the lack of reference integration is keeping me from fulling leaving Evernote. Of course its app still leaves a bit to be desired but it's actually really great. I can still send literally everything to evernote, and with the integration it pops up in my FT inbox for clarification and even changes the tags in my Evernote.
     
  11. Brian Cohen

    Brian Cohen Registered

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    I have been demo'ing FacileThings for the last week or so, and am absolutely LOVING it. Last time I tried it was several years ago, back in the "orange" UI day :). It has come a long way. The work over the last year (I've read thru the blog posts) on the UI/UX improvements, to me, have made the go-to GTD web app, if you want to follow the methodology to as close to DA's vision right now.
    I do not find the Web UI slow, it is more then acceptable. Highlights for me:
    • I love the Capture feature, and hitting the Ctrl-Enter for quick capture. Granted much of my capture happen with quick Evernotes (more on Evernote in a bit), Braintoss, Siri (via email), email capture etc. But the web capture is simple and easy, allowing for quick entry
    • You can use email like many other task managers to get "stuff" Captured. Specifically though, an email can contain a list of items in the body of the email that become next actions. You can also send actions directly to your next actions/calendar actions via keywords in the subject. https://facilethings.com/learning/en/tutorial/the-email-as-a-capturing-tool. The body of the emails will come in HTML for clear viewing.
    • Clarify section is is wonderfully done. It does force you to clarify each captured item one at time, no "bulk" clarifying here. You can though, do a Capture-> Clarify right from this section, they call Clarifying external things, which simply means you did not go directly thru the Capture section first
    • Markdown in the Notes section of actions
    • Separate Notes, Email, and Evernote sections for tasks. So you can have the email in the Email section, yet add notes to the Notes section, and they are separate
    • Support for Google Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive file attachments
    • Full Checklist support in actions. Can have saved Checklists to load in to save time.
    • How FacileThings differentiates Calendar actions from Next Actions when adding dates, and also how the two panes in the Engage section really allows you to take advantage visually of the differences in their meaning. If you put in the FacileThings Calendar, it's a hard deadline (and will sync to your Google Calendar if you configure it). You can give dates also to the Next Actions, which they call an expected deadline, or soft deadline. And if you add times to the Calendar actions, they are shown in the Engage section in the correct order.
    • 2-way Google Calendar sync with any item you mark as a "Calendar" task. Once disadvantage to FacileThings is there are no push notifications (web/desktop or mobile), but for these calendar tasks that are in Google Calendar, your calendar program(s) of choice can serve the notification reminders.
    • Evernote integration is stellar. Inbox processing from Evernote, Reference material for projects can be linked to Evernote notebooks, etc. All Evernote attachments, formatting, etc come thru.
    • I love how Routines (repeating actions are done) as a separate entity. Recur on date or completion. Flexible weekly and monthly recurrence options.
    • Project implementation is stellar. Actions, Calendar items, Reference Materials (via Evernote or other links). In Progress, Waiting, Completed projects. Sub-project support.
    • Areas of focus linked to Projects (add a project, it adds the respective Area to your action)
    • Support for horizon 3-5 (Goals, Vision Purpose). Very few apps have this...
    • Tagging support, with a special tag for "People". Which is implemented with the Waiting For list.
    • The Weekly Review section is phenomenal, totally textbook to DA's suggestions. I like it better than Omnifocus's implementation by a mile. It walks you thru everything.
    • Analytics section is AWESOME. Very unique, take a look at the attachment here
    • Support built into your account. Meaning support tickets are under your Account, so you can see them easily. And they get back to your promptly

    The mobile app (iOS in my case) is not great, but it is functional. I do not really use it to Clarify (although the functionality is there), Organize, or Reflect, but rather more to Capture and Engage, and it works fine there. The development team has said they are going to continue to improve it, so I have confidence in its future.

    Overall, I am really blown away. I didn't think I would like it as much as I have. Between FacileThings, Google Calendar (which I use anyhow) and Evernote, this is the system for me. I will be paying for the service starting in October. I encourage anyone serious about having an computer based GTD trusted system to check it out.
     

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    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
  12. Chris Austin

    Chris Austin Registered

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    I have tried Facilethings in the past...I also really like their implementation of GTD. I'm not crazy about the UI and feel that it takes too many clicks to get to some places, namely your lists and projects. I also wish they had some varying color themes...the pale green and white gets boring. I also wish they had a third panel that opened when you click on a task, rather than the screen switching, it feels unnatural in terms of how to get out of it. I'm sure, knowing how hard core the developer is with GTD principles, probably has it set up that way so you can properly engage with that one task...which is great, unless you are just trying to quickly scan for some things.

    I think they do a good job with projects, I like how all contexts (Waiting, Next, Someday, Reference) associated with that project show up within the project page. I also like how you can "pause" projects.

    I have been pretty steady with TickTick for the past year, mostly because it is so flexible in its set up...I do wish they had start dates though.
     
  13. Geert De Vooght

    Geert De Vooght Registered

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    I have had a paid subscription for Facile Things for about a year and a half (in spite of it being quite pricey). I really really wanted to like it because it has some tools to guide you to a good GTD implementation (e.g. Weekly Review section, Analytics, the Engage view with reminders).

    But in the end I had to admit to myself that because of the less than ideal UI (lots of mouse clicks, lots of different screens, old and new layout intermingled in the web app) and the very strict adherence to every aspect of GTD (e.g. the inbox won't let you process items in the order you want), it created too much friction, and I didn't use it consistently enough. I have read somewhere that you should be able to easily maintain your system even when e.g. you have the flu and are not in peak mental conditon, and that just wasn't the case for me with Facile Things.

    Recently I have switched back to Nirvana (which I had already used a few years ago). Nirvana is not as feature rich as Facile Things, but it also has a great GTD implementation and is very easy to use. And with the lifetime subscription offer, you can't beat the price.
     
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