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I've been reading GTD lately and it's absolutely a great and inspiring book.
Having made my home office space into a real Zen I want to start implementing GTD in my digital life but it seems very hard to find a good GTD tool that fully implements GTD. (even though there are a lot of tools out there)
The most interesting ones (each for different reasons) I've looked at so far are Thinkingrock, tracks and yagtd (the latter requiring most work before it does everything I need, but it's also the most easy to dive into the code base). I'm keeping my eyes open because there are certainly more things to discover.
Even though there are probably no applications out there that can do everything I want, I just wanted to share my feature-wishlist. These are the requirements I find that a really good tool should comply with:
In order of importance (sort of):
GTD has received a lot of hype, which made me sceptical at first but while reading the book it became clear the praise is deserved.
Right from the beginning you start learning many things, and throughout the book the 'eureka' moments keep coming. Even I who have been thinking quite a lot on how to organize my todo's, ideas and reference material am surprised by how much can be improved. There are some points that are not new and are also mentioned in other time management books (such as 'getting a clear head') but the great part is that GTD is not only about action management, but also about project planning, personal organisation, how to manage those ideas/questions/reminders that you come up with randomly, office organisation and so on. I was afraid that some things I do/need would not be handled in the book but it's definitely not the case. And everything is handled both in theory and in practice with a lot of thoughts, ideas and practical recommendations. David's advice after more then 20 years of productivity consulting/training/research is something that no-one should miss.
From a writers perspective: I find it also amazing how stuff that is so hard to explain is so well organized and explained in a easy to understand phrasing throughout the entire book. Not that I know much about this field but it's clear that this part of the book also has gotten a lot of work. In a few rare cases I found that some recommendations were not backed up enough but those were just details.
While reading the book (I haven't finished it yet btw) I spent several days cleaning up my room. I started using a filing cabinet for my reference material (placed very accessibly!), organized supplies and equipment on my desk etc etc. There is still some work to do but on the short term I want to have gotten rid of everything I don't need, and keep what I need in the places that make most sense for them, and in the end I want to know where everything is (so I never need to search) and there should be nothing where it doesn't belong...
My parents had to stop me from starting to clean up our entire attic... This book definitely has changed me. (those who know how I used to leave my stuff will understand ;-)
Have you looked at emacs org-mode? Even if you're a vi user I'd recommend having a look. It does a lot of different things, and it takes a while to figure out your personal usage pattern. One way to describe it is that it's a platform for maintaining hierarchical ASCII files, with the ability to associate arbitrary data and tags with each node of the hierarchy, and perform sorting and searching operations on the tree. So a typical use is that the hiearchy describes projects and the thing is used for project/task management, but it could also be your book collection/whatever. An important feature is that the metadata can be dates/time, and you can create a diary (agenda) from your files which incorporates entries with time information. It's got a very good mailing list, and the main developer will often implement a good idea in a short time, if you can't produce the patch yourself. I didn't know emacs lisp previously, but it provided a good excuse to learn.
Posted by Dan Davison on Wed Sep 10 17:48:56 2008
I've been thinking about GTD interfaces for a while, and I've come to the conclusion that much of the daily gtd work is managing relations between nodes ( usually n:m). I'm thinking especially about (un)linking actions to one or more tags, contexts and projects; and notes to one or more actions, projects and tags. With a GUI you can use techniques like drag 'n drop, select tags, toggle buttons, etc. Another important part is the 'next action' overview, where you should be able to filter your 'next actions' list by (de)selecting/toggling one or more tags, contexts and projects and see the resulting list in real time. These are all things that I think console applications are less suited for.
Having the features is one thing, but the actual interface to do it in is a totally different story.
Even though I'm a big terminal fan I think gui's lend themselves much better for this sort of operations. (that's also why I stopped using yagtd and switched to tracks - which doesn't have an ideal interface yet imho, btw - )
But I will definitely check this out. Seems like orgmode has good introductions and tutorials at http://orgmode.org/worg/org-tutorials/index.php (even a google tech talk)
I've never used emacs but now I don't have an excuse anymore for not checking it out ;-)
Posted by Dieter_be on Sun Sep 14 06:18:00 2008