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Starting GTD and learning new software at the same time?

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  • Starting GTD and learning new software at the same time?

    Accd to how I read Mr Allen's book, he sounds like he thinks its easier if you go ahead and choose your tools and imput GTD right from the beginning into them. He does also say, however, that if you haven't yet chosen your tools that you can start with pen and paper and move into your tools later.

    As I've stated ad nauseum on this board (sorry guys) my husband and I are definitely going to try this program, actually have both started on the initial collection now, I've decided to go ahead and start total implementation right away and DH will follow as he finishes the book (he's started listing the new things that are coming up in a GTD way, but has not yet captured all the open loops).

    We have decided to definitely go with software for him. The few scheduling tools his PDA came with just are not sufficient to handle his typical day or commitments. We've looked into both LB and MLO which seem highly recommended on this site, and though I'm reading on the MLO boards about extra features that have converted many LB users and even that some have tweaked it to use on their palms if I am understanding it correctly, it seems that LB is the established program for the tools we currently have.....Outlook and Palm.

    Considering their is a learning curve for both GTD and any new software you start to use, would you recommend downloading the trial, doing his initial dumps, etc into it, and starting both GTD and new software together? I ask because it always seems better to me to "start as you mean to go on" but with the awkwardness of GTD in the beginning, do you think it's too much to learn both at once? Also if MLO is the way GTD-users are kind of moving because of the support, features, and quickness of the updating, if we were to wait that might be more of an option than it is for us now....just don't know if that really matters.

  • #2
    Changing tools is a pain in the neck, so you probably want to start with a system you can at least tolerate. You probably also want your initial system to be as simple as possible: there will be plenty of time to add bells and whistles later, and GTD itself has enough of a learning curve without adding hugely complicated software on top.

    I don't use LB, or MLO, or the GTD Outlook add-in, so I can't comment on any of them. I would say, however, that it would be incorrect to conclude that the "GTD community" has formed a consensus around any particular tool. There are some very vocal LB fans here, but there are also plenty of people who use plain vanilla Outlook, plenty of people who use index cards, and so forth. DA himself used just the native Palm applications for a long time.

    My advice would be to start with the tools you already use. Once you've got a system up and running, you'll be in a better position to assess what features you do and don't need, and to invest money and time in tools to give you those features.

    I would also suggest that you ask your husband what tools *he* wants to use. It's pretty clear from your posts that the two of you approach organizing differently, so it seems very likely that your perfect system would be horribly uncomfortable for him, and vice versa. The best system is the one that he uses. There's no way for us to tell, secondhand and over the Internet, what that system would be.



    • #3
      First of all, yes, I would definitely recommend learning the software and GTD at the same time.

      Second, the MLO versus LB question. I don't think the number of users will matter to you for this kind of software, but LB is a stable, mature app with a relatively large user base, while MLO is a new app with a small user base. A few LB users have switched to MLO to get the additional features they wanted, but LB's forum has over 2400 registered users, while MLO's has under 350. Both numbers are puny compared to the number of Outlook users, if only because of its widespread corporate use thanks in part to Microsoft's mighty marketing. (Though Outlook does have its good points, don't get me wrong!) Over 11,000 people have looked at Bollinger's Custom Project Form for Outlook right here on this forum.

      Both LB and MLO have excellent support. There are some differences in features. IMO, MLO has a faster, better-designed desktop interface, while LB has better core functionality. But probably the most important difference for you is hardware/platform/software compatibility. As of today --

      MLO --> PC, PocketPC, Outlook, MindManager
      LB --> PC, Mac, Palm

      Notice that neither application is very compatible with both Outlook and Palm. This may change as soon as "early next year" when the new Palms with Windows Mobile ship. LB developers say that they plan to support the new Treos with Windows Mobile soon after they ship.

      Basically, if your husband is committed to his Palm and wants to use one of these applications starting immediately, LB is the choice. With LB on his desktop as well, he could maintain one LB file for his own system, plus another for your joint information about business projects.

      If later you wanted to switch from LB to MLO, the switch shouldn't be too hard. Both import and export XML, and MLO imports LB data specifically.

      I really like some features of MLO, especially on the desktop, but as long as I stay with Palm, I will keep working from LB to get things done. How long will I stay with Palm though? I don't know. . .