In my quest to find the “perfect” GTD system for my use, I’ve decided to actually try a few todo systems for a week at a time until I find the one that I like the best.  I’ve got a rather complicated workflow that I need to support. Some things I’ve come up with as prerequisites are:

  1. It has to be cross-platform.  At work I use Linux, at home I use Mac, and in meetings I use my iPhone and pen/paper.  So I need to be able to add tasks in any environment, and get access to my information at any point as well.
  2. It has to be fast.  If it takes too long to enter data, it’s not worth it.
  3. It has to be flexible.  There’s no way I’m going to be able to develop the proper system right off the bat.  I’m expecting it to modify and change over time, so I want it to be flexible and easily scalable.
  4. It has to be fun. If I don’t like using it, I never will.
  5. It has to be visually pleasing.  Seems shallow, but when I look at it I want to think “woah momma!” not “oh grandpa, put your pants back on”.

Thanks to a quick email by the developer of http://gtdagenda.com who is doing a great job of getting the word out about his system, I’m making it my first pick to try using a GTD methodology for my work.  I’ve been using it for day and a half, and will post the results of my findings over the course of this week.  Since I’m learning this software as I use it, I’m sure there are going to be things I discover or things that power-users can tell me that I’m not aware of.  If you have particular tips and tricks about various softwares, please let me know!

This isn’t a full review, just some first impressions based on using it for the past day and a half.  Your mileage may vary.

GTD Agenta – First Impressions

My initial thought as signing up was that the website itself does a great job of giving you an overview of how the tool works.  It’s got screen shots, breaks things down into sections, and a quick read gives you the basics of how you can use gtdagenda rather quickly.  It even gives some examples of how to impliment GTD and ZTD with their tool.  Very handy!

Below I’ve listed some Pros and Cons based on my initial experience.

Pros

Dan (the developer) is very responsive. I’ve emailed him a few times and he’s been very quick to get back to me with responses and notes.  I’ve certainly used other software where the developers take a long time to get back to their users, or never do.  Dan responds personally to email, and also does a great job about getting the word out about GTDagenda.  He obviously is very passionate about it.

Eventual IPhone application (no ETA). One of my requirements is an iPhone application that syncs with the tool.  Currently GTDagenda has no iPhone app, but it does have a mobile version that works pretty well.  Unfortunately, I’m often in meetings where I have no internet access, and need to be able to have something local that I can sync with.  Dan has mentioned that there is an iPhone app on the way, but there’s no ETA on it.

Context/Projects list on right is very nice. I really like that on the right hand side of the screen are you list of contexts and projects.  You can quickly filter by either of these and each one shows you how many tasks are in those contexts or project.  Cool!

Projects with tasks but no “Next Action” flag turn red. This is a great way to make sure that all your projects can move forward.  Super awesome fantastic!

Interaction is relatively fast, no long redraw time . While not the speediest web app, it’s certainly no dog.

Checklists.  A great way to help you form productive habits.  Like going to the gym every day.  Nice.

Calendar on the sidebar. I like the calendar on the right to quickly see what’s due or done on any given day.

High Level Goals. Basically this is like grouping the projects into bigger projects. Handy for doing things like “Projects – Mine” and “Projects – Others” for projects you’re responsible for, but other people are doing them.

Email Notification – you can have GTDagenda email you every day with your “next actions”.  Nice!

Cons

No current iPhone app, only web access. If you work where you have spotty access, this limits ability to use GTDAgenda

Only 1 context per task. I like to use multiple contexts to handle people, departments, locations, etc

Can’t assign a “person” to a task. For example, if I’m waiting for John to finish a shot, I want the @waiting for context, and the @john context.

Very linear workflow.  You MUST create a project and a context before you create  a task.  If you’re in the middle of creating a task and then you need to add a context, you loose your task creation.  This really inhibits my workflow.

No quick way to add a task. You must be in Task/Next Action, or project pages.

Adding contexts and projects wasn’t intuitive right off the bat. The first time I wanted to add a context I had to hunt around to find it.

UI seems a bit messy. I prefer the clean UI of Todoist

Date due can’t have a specific time, only a day

Not “AJAX”ey enough. This is totally subjective, but I prefer the interaction of Todoist.

Can’t reorder tasks on Today. If I have a whole bunch of Next Actions, I would like to be able to look at them and then order them in the order I want to attack them.

No automatic assignment of Next Action. I would like to be able to automatically assign the next todo in a project to Next Action as soon as I complete the current Next Action.  This way I can stay in the Next Action page and just keep cruzing instead of having to then go over to the Projects page, set my next action, and then head back to the Next Action page.

Difficult to separate various tags in page lists. When looking at my list of things to do today, it would be great to easily see what I’m waiting for, what’s a @work task, etc. Having colored lines for specific tags would help this workflow.

So there you go.. first impressions after using the tool for one day.  I’ll keep on it for the week and then see how it goes with my weekly review at the end of the week.  Thoughts?  Suggestions? Opinions?  Send ’em my way!

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4 Responses to GTDAgenda – first impressions

  1. K.C. Murphy says:

    so, surely you have tried reQall? MOST awesome on the iPhone – all verbal input (voice recognition and voice to text), emails you, texts you, sees where you are and suggests things based on locale (if you want it to)… it is most awesome. And free for basic service. I dunno what gnomes are sitting around waiting for me to record a todo, but the recognition is unbelievable. Check it out! http://www.reqall.com/

  2. fsanges says:

    Hey Jason, you might want to check out Life Balance. It works with mac, windows and iphone, I know you want something for linux too, but I think you might be able to run it with an emulator or something similar. Anyway here is the link -> http://www.llamagraphics.com/LB/index.php

    Good luck with the research!

  3. Pascal says:

    Why not try Remember the Milk (www.rememberthemilk.com) it has got apps for iPhone/Gmail/BlackBerry.
    And it is free! (although iPhone/Berry sync isn’t)

    I have tried so many apps, but they didn’t stick. RTM is the Google of online to-do lists!

    While you’re at it. For archive/snippets/articles purposes I use Evernote(www.evernote.com) (PC/Mac/iPhone).
    Basic is free and sufficient for normal use.

    Also applicable for GTD style lists.

    Don’t geek out in search of the best tool. Pick one after a short test period and stick with it!

  4. frankEnjoy says:

    Not all comprehension.but seem very interesting!!! I want to try it rightnow!!!
    Thank u Jason!!

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