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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The task to end all tasks: GTD

I'm about 1.5 days into my 3 month leave (it actually started on Friday, but I'll take that as a day off. I used it to clean the house a bit). I decided that the #1 thing I need to do is to get GTD going. With every task in my head, I tried to break down step by step until I got to the "next action." And the next action was always "get my GTD system working." So here goes.

I had tried a few times with a few tools, but it all fell apart. I looked online for help, and there are a LOT of GTD lovers out there (not even counting Jason and Scott, who commented on this blog). Here are two of the posts I found:

I then took an inventory of the tools I had:

  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Google Notebook
  • Toodledoo plus iPhone app
  • Gmail
I was already getting overwhelmed and starting to overanalyze. So then I figured out what really needed to be done. I needed something to collect materials (inboxes), sort/organize into categories, allow me to use it on my iPhone, and a place to store reference and someday/maybe items. Then I tried to figure out which tool was best for which "job to be done."

Then I had the relevaltion: the thing I really need is something to sort/organize. I could always collect "inbox" stuff from a bunch of different sources, just needed to keep a master list handy so I don't miss any. For sort/organize, Toodledoo, OneNote, and Google Notebook were all fine. For on the go for my iPhone, Toodledoo had a really good iPhone app that I had already bought. For someday/maybe and reference items, OneNote was the best because it allowed you to type anywhere you wanted and clip screenshots. OneNote really fits my "scattered thinking" style, so I was just about to choose it until I realized that it's a Microsoft product, and I was really close to switching over to a Mac!

So I'm going to give Toodledoo a renewed shot. I just wish I had done this when my free trial of "Toodledoo Pro" was still going, because it allowed you to do "sub-tasks." That would be extremely helpful for me to define steps to get me to a next action. Anyone have thoughts on if the upgrade is worth it?

There's only one thing I'd like to be able to do that I haven't figured out how yet. It's if I take a picture of something, what's the best way to get it into my workflow? Toodledoo doesn't support attachments via email, and OneNote doesn't allow you to get emails.



Jason Cohen said...

Stop using Google Notebook!

I made the mistake of using it to organize thoughts for blog posts and now I have hundreds of notes and it's SLOW and difficult and annoying.

Yes it's available everywhere, and no I don't have an alternative yet (switching costs!) but I hate it.

Word of caution...

Dale said...


Thanks for the heads up!

dannielo said...

For implementing GTD you can use this web-based application:


You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
A mobile version is available too.

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