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Is there a "vanilla" iPhone approach to GTD?

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  • Is there a "vanilla" iPhone approach to GTD?

    For years I was on a Palm/Treo platform, and made great use of its "vanilla" app suite, especially syncing to Palm Desktop from which I did my weekly reviews. Even with the 15 category limit, I was able to get my best GTD system working using the memo app sync'd to Palm Desktop. (I always did more with the memos as a list manager rather than a Tasks/ToDo app.)

    Now I'm on an iPhone, and am struggling to put together a good system again. I've got all of these old memos that I've migrated to Awesome Note, which syncs with Google Docs. That works pretty well as a capture tool, but Google Docs is not very handy for my weekly review. I'm not married to those tools, and could try something else, but would prefer to stay away from proprietary data formats, if possible. My iPhone is sync'd to Outlook, so far just email & contacts (not tasks or memos).

    -Mark

    P.S. In between the Treo and iPhone I used a Blackberry for a year. Though I loved the device in many ways, I never managed to get a satisfactory GTD system working with its native apps. Weekly review of my many imported Treo notes was especially challenging. Though I think I'll stick with the iPhone for a while now, this multi-device experience over the past three years makes me value plain text or multi-platform solutions. You never know...

  • #2
    What are you seeking in your GTD system on the iPhone?

    A few questions:
    1. What desktop platform are you on?
    2. Do you want to sync your Tasks via the cloud or would you prefer to sync it over WiFi to your desktop/laptop
    3. Awesome Note offers GoogleDocs and Evernote access while also providing a decent ToDo list (no Context or Tags though) so what isn't working for you with aNote?
    4. Are you interested in using web based services like Toodledo or Remember the Milk or any of the other similar services out there?
    5. How important is a full fledged GTD system for your needs? On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest)

    Maybe by answering all or a few of these we can help guide you toward a solution which suits your workflow. I've tried and used nearly all the major ones on the iPhone.

    Hope this helps.

    Cheers,

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    • #3
      I switched from a Windows Mobile device to the iPhone as was surprised to find that there was no built-in task app. While the iPhone supports Exchange for Calendar and Contacts, tasks are not supported.

      I searched the app store and finally settled on Appigo Todo - it provides (in my opinion) a nice combination of power and simplicity through a well-designed UI. I sync Todo with Toodledo in the cloud and I use Toodledo at work and home.

      Toodledo provides the ability to export tasks in a few formats (e.g. CSV, XML) so your data is not locked in a proprietary format - you can get it out easily if you ever wanted to migrate to something else.

      I don't use Outlook for tasks any more - I simply don't need to and think my solution works better anyway. Note that it is possible to sync Toodledo with Outlook via a free third-party utility and Appigo also has their own Outlook sync tool which uses wifi.

      Appigo Todo has a free "lite" version which will give you a good feel for how it works.

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      • #4
        Get an iPad and then get Omnifocus for your iPhone and the iPad and synch them. Read the "white paper" on Omnifocus at the Davidco site.

        rdgeorge

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        • #5
          Originally posted by policarpo View Post
          What are you seeking in your GTD system on the iPhone?

          A few questions:
          1. What desktop platform are you on?
          2. Do you want to sync your Tasks via the cloud or would you prefer to sync it over WiFi to your desktop/laptop
          3. Awesome Note offers GoogleDocs and Evernote access while also providing a decent ToDo list (no Context or Tags though) so what isn't working for you with aNote?
          4. Are you interested in using web based services like Toodledo or Remember the Milk or any of the other similar services out there?
          5. How important is a full fledged GTD system for your needs? On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest)
          Sorry for the delay in replying. I appreciate your help & insight. What I'm seeking on the iPhone is the "ubiquitous capture" part of GTD (both tasks/projects/next actions, as well as reference info in memos), since I have it with me all the time. If it can be used for processing these items, or weekly review, that's a bonus--not strictly necessary. However, I DO need to be able to process the iPhone items on my desktop. That's where I've got my physical desk & inbox, a large screen, and so on.

          1. I'm on a Windows platform.
          2. Both sync over cloud or to desktop could work. (Preference to desktop, but ok with either.)
          3. AwesomeNote is working pretty well as a iPhone capture tool, including the sync to GDocs (haven't tried Evernote). But GDocs isn't working well as a weekly review platform, as there's too much clicking to open folders & files, then go back, and so on. I find it cumbersome. (The fact that I've always had my projects & next actions in simple memos rather than a specific Task app may be complicating my life--let me know if you think so.)
          4. I'm averse to web services only due to concerns about slowness like I'm experiencing on GDocs, as well as locking up my data in a proprietary, for-fee website. But if they really work well, I guess I should consider it. I've downloaded ToDoLite, thinking I might experiment with its connection to ToodleDo.
          5. Full-fledged? Hmm, I guess not TERRIBLY important, since I don't even use @contexts like David does, and I'm struggling to get a weekly review working again. Call it a 5 on your scale.

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          • #6
            Perhaps it's obvious, but my experience of migrating my GTD data (~300 lists) from Palm to Blackberry in 2008, then over to iPhone again in 2010 burned me a bit. I didn't end up losing any information, but both processes took a long time, and I lost functionality. I think I'm going to be on the iOS platform for a while, though (like I was on Palm for nearly a decade).

            Comment


            • #7
              I've recently been experimenting with 2Do and Toodledo. When I get some free time I'll post some of my findings:
              . Best practices when processing tasks on the desktop
              . Using Firefox with Styles to make Toodledo look better
              . Going Pro with Toodledo ($15 a year is cheap)
              . Keeping the Toodledo Calendar in 2Do and never touching it
              . Using AwesomeNote with Evernote (my centralized Reference Capturing Tool)
              . Synching only what you want to Toodledo with 2Do

              I would go ahead and buy the full version of 2Do now. They've made the app a Universal App for iPad and the price will go back up.

              I'll ping you later today or tomorrow with some more details.

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              • #8
                I keep thinking of things to add. We use Outlook at work, and I really live in my calendar. So that's one thing I'd always have to maintain--hard landscape in the Outlook Calendar, sync'd (using Exchange? I don't know about these things) to the iPhone's calendar app. That part is working great as-is, and I don't want to change it.

                If there was a good way to manage my tasks and memos in Outlook, syncing them to the iPhone, that would also be good. Not required, just seems like an obvious suggestion or request.

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                • #9
                  I think that a vanilla approach is a great ideal to shoot for. If your life is going into GTD, then you need to know you can get it out.

                  As well as my email inbox, I have created an email alias to act as a Collector. Now, whenever I have a thought, I fire off an email to my collector. I can do this when I'm out with my iPhone or at my home computer or even at the office computer.

                  Then I can do my processing by reading through the mails in my collector and pushing them to other mailboxes. I have a mailbox folder for each GTD context and so assigning an action to a context is just moving a mail to a folder, which the iphone does easily. If the message needs a computer, I push it to a "For Processing" mailbox and pick it up at the desk.

                  I have mailbox folders for Someday-Maybe, Tickler, Reference, etc. All searchable.

                  This handles my mobile processing and half my main GTD. On the computer, I manually create projects and areas of focus in Excel workbooks. Since my messages are stored in IMAP email and Excel workbooks, I feel i have good ownership of my own data. I could migrate to another IMAP provider, another mail client, or between Mac/PC/Linux all with accessibilty to my simple lists in Excel. The key point about Excel is that the format is "too big to fail". Governments and enterprises would collapse before you would lose access to data in that format.

                  I think there is potential in learning some scripting in Excel and Outlook and be able to create some automated operations to move stuff between my action lists in Excel and my mailbox items. I could put keywords in email subjects to trigger moving data around my projects, or create a custom Excel ribbon just for GTD.
                  I also use the iPhone's calendar a lot and have each calendar mean a different thing. Everything in the Action calendar should have a beep 5 minutes before and an email the day after. This is something else I would like to learn scripting for.
                  Last edited by pxt; 09-29-2010, 06:50 AM.

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                  • #10
                    Thanks, pxt, the arrangement you describe is simple and very appealing. I'm going to explore that.

                    Do you have any ability to view or work with with Excel files on your iPhone, or is that strictly on your desktop? I see how it should work fine from the desktop, though the use of Gdocs for the spreadsheets might offer the best of both worlds.

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                    • #11
                      It's called Things, and policarpo should know that better than most

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by alsa View Post
                        It's called Things, and policarpo should know that better than most
                        Well actually I've been using 2Do for the past 2 months since I do most of my stuff while mobile now...and need to sync between my iPhone and iPad.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MarkEJohnson05 View Post
                          Thanks, pxt, the arrangement you describe is simple and very appealing. I'm going to explore that.

                          Do you have any ability to view or work with with Excel files on your iPhone, or is that strictly on your desktop? I see how it should work fine from the desktop, though the use of Gdocs for the spreadsheets might offer the best of both worlds.
                          Hi Mark,

                          I don't use my iPhone to work with my Excel files, at least not so far.
                          I have just found the apps a bit too clunky.

                          My number one use of the iPhone is as my mobile Collector.
                          Then the second use is for processing collected notes into contexts.

                          Then I sit down at my laptop to get into projects and fine control.

                          There are a lot more synergies I want to explore, but then it all starts to get away from the keep-it-simple principle. Generally I find I do better by just improving my understanding of GTD than to get more technical.

                          I see what you mean about Gdocs, but do we come back to the issue of ownership?

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