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Palm PDA and Lists: A better way than using To-Do’s or Memos?

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  • Palm PDA and Lists: A better way than using To-Do’s or Memos?

    Hello,

    I’m new to GTD and I’m eager to implement David’s strategy. My life is quite “mobile” so I must use my Palm PDA to create and maintain my “Lists.” By lists I mean my Projects, Next Actions, Waiting For, etc. I also sync with my desktop (Outlook).

    However, a Palm does not have a good system for maintaining lists, sub-lists, and sub-sub lists. For example, if I have a “Next Actions” list, then inside that I have “Agendas” and the inside that I’ll need about 30 names. It’s a list, then a sub-list, then another sub-list inside.

    What would be perfect would be Windows “File Explorer” and Word docs. However, Palm PDA’s do not have a “File Explorer” type folder structure or the Word program.

    If I’m going to be viewing these lists every day, I think there should be an easy way to structure this List, Sub-List, Sub-Sub-Lists in a Palm PDA. It’s a very basic system structure; I don’t see why Palm doesn’t create something like this.

    I’m not too keen on using David’s strategy of using Palm’s To Do’s for all my lists. He suggests to create a Category “@Agendas” then each person is listed as a To-Do and the things to go over with that person are Notes attached in the To-Do.

    I don’t like this "To-Do" strategy because my Outlook sync will only allow 15 categories and Palm's "To Do" program was not really intended for this “keeping lists” purpose.

    Memos will not work because I can only have 15 categories and there isn’t any kind of “note” field in “Memo.” Therefore, the “@Agenda” (with 2 more sub-lists) way above would not work; it only will work in “To-Do” because of sub-sub lists.

    Is there something better for a Palm PDA?

    Thanks,
    Otto

  • #2
    Look at Memoleaf

    You might want to look at Memoleaf from Redwood Creative Consulting. It allows you to search or filter from a series of memos based on keywords in the first line (title).

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Otto2005
      Is there something better for a Palm PDA?
      I use NoteStudio on my PC and Palm, and it works very well for my needs. There's also an active forum of users, many of whom use GTD and have developed some add-ons and so forth for doing GTD with NoteStudio. The software's a tad expensive, but I've found it to be more than worth it to me in terms of my own productivity.

      -- Tammy

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Otto2005
        My life is quite “mobile” so I must use my Palm PDA to create and maintain my “Lists.”
        Why must you use a Palm? A paper binder or Hipster PDA is just as mobile.

        Comment


        • #5
          I'm using LifeBalance from llamagraphics. It supports hierarchical to-do lists (eight levels deep), and also has the notion of assigning a "place" to a task, which can be used as a GTD "context". There is a "place" view where you can see all the tasks assigned to that "place".

          LifeBalance isn't perfect, and from time to time I look around for something better. But it has this essential feature: there are Palm, Windows and Mac versions and they all sync up seamlessly. I use a Mac a home, Windows at work, and the Palm everywhere.

          LifeBalance is not a GTD-specific tool, but it is readily adaptable to GTD. Here's how I organize my task outline:

          - At the top level are "Areas of Focus" (I have a dozen, such as "Self", "Family", "Home", "Work", etc.). Also at the top level are "Someday/Maybe" and "Checklists".

          - under each "Area of Focus" I have four sub-tasks, named "Visions", "Goals", "Active Projects" and "Routine Maintenance".

          - The "Someday / Maybe" task is assigned a zero importance, which means items under this area do not appear in the context lists.

          For each task under the "Active Projects" area, I assign the project to context "Projects", and then create sub-tasks for the project assigned to real action contexts such as @Calls, @Home, etc. The way LifeBalance works, a task doesn't appear in a context list as long as it has incomplete sub-tasks. So during weekly review, I just have to look at the "Projects" context list -- it should normally be empty, and if it isn't, then I have a project with no actions. So I know I have to either create an action, or mark the project complete.

          The "Visions" and "Goals" don't represent actions to do, but if those sections are empty I know I have some thinking to do. I also review them during weekly review to keep my active projects focused on what's improtant to me.

          I used to keep the Active Projects directly under the Goal they supported, but I found the hierarchical list got too deep to work with. And anyway, not every goal has an active project, and some projects support more than one goal.

          LifeBalance also supports repeating tasks, and assigning due-dates to tasks.

          I find the user interface kind of clunky, and it's irritating to have to switch to outline view to create new tasks. It's a little sluggish on the Palm, and I find the whole "balance" concept pretty much useless. But it's the best solution I've found so far for my specific situation.

          Comment


          • #6
            I have recently been using Bonsai and find it to be a great program. It synchronizes nicely with its palm version and you can set up multiple categories and keywords and filters for everything.

            http://www.natara.com/bonsai/

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the help

              I figured there was some good software for the Palm that fit well with GTD. Thanks for the help. If you know any other useful software for the Palm for GTD please let me know.

              Thanks,
              Otto

              Comment


              • #8
                I've been experimenting with using DateBook5 and icons as a way to extend my categories.

                I may not be clear at explaing how I do this, but will try:
                My to-dos are handled by Datebook5. I assign them context categoriesfrom the 16-category Palm category list. Those are @office, @home, @errands, etc. That way I can do a quick check of any context, quick reviews. etc.

                But to keep track of specific projects and multiple agendas, I assign a unique icon for those. Then I set up a customized view in Datebook5 that searches for that icon. The view can be saved and you can have many saved, or even just do one on the fly.

                For example, the agenda for my husband is a saved view, searched by the icon I assigned to his "stuff" - be it travel info or something I need to remember to tell him. Since Datebook5 lets you show only to-dos or only appointments or both, this can be sliced and diced pretty finely.

                I also use bonsai to keep my Project Lists in, and can export any particualr item as a task in Datebook5.

                I love the combo of Datebook5 and Bonsai, and they even sync almost seamlessly to the Outlook I use at work.

                HTH,
                emkay

                Comment


                • #9
                  You say you want to implement David's strategies, yet aren't too keen on his list management approach. You say you want to handle lists, sub-lists and sub-sub-lists better.

                  I've been down that road, and have tried Bonsai, ListPro, LifeBalance and many more. I've used Datebk5 and others, and now I am have returned to the starting point, although only now do I recognise it for what it is worth.

                  My advice is you don't want sub-lists or sub-sub-lists. Aim for the zen experience of simplicity in your list management. Use the plain vanilla approach that David suggests, get to know it, and later on when you really know it, then change it if you still feel inclined.

                  I wrote a post on this topic on my blog some time ago - its called Shu-Ha-Ri and GTD, and is a reference to a martial arts metaphor that suggests we should learn something in depth before trying to test it and change it.

                  In essence, you want to spend more time working IN the system, rather than ON it.

                  Cheers

                  Des

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mondo
                    In essence, you want to spend more time working IN the system, rather than ON it.
                    Des, I couldn't agree with you more. I also have a post about this on my blog, but I take a slightly different approach. I spend a lot of my downtime on the mailing lists and places like this site, and it seems that GTD users (me included, for a while) are constantly trying to hack their system, to find the perfect system in their mind. Use the categories in the plain vanilla apps, and try it out - it works remarkably effectively.

                    I find that the majority of people are in fact trying to find a way to manage projects - the big driver seems to be some way to manage parent and child actions. If you really feel you need that, fill your boots. I don't feel that I need it, and that one NA at a time for each project works.

                    Just my $0.02 ($0.1945874 at current CDN->US exchange).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mondo
                      In essence, you want to spend more time working IN the system, rather than ON it.

                      Cheers

                      Des
                      This is the essence. Unless your job is a productivity consultant, fiddling with your system is a waste of time.

                      Originally posted by mondo
                      My advice is you don't want sub-lists or sub-sub-lists. Aim for the zen experience of simplicity in your list management. Use the plain vanilla approach that David suggests, get to know it, and later on when you really know it, then change it if you still feel inclined.
                      Plain vanilla is the way to start. David has decades of experience teaching this stuff to people Follow it.

                      It takes months, if not years, to incorporate GTD habits into your lifestyle. Over the years I have clicked on the various links posted to this forum. Almost all the time, I have decided it wasn't worth the overhead to make the change from what I had.

                      After two years of doing GTD, I decided I wanted sublists and subsublists. But I agree that it would be a major error to start with anything but plain vanilla.

                      The three-year evolution of my GTD lists has been: Excel spreadsheet, plain vanilla Palm with plain vanilla Outlook, Outlook with GTD Add-In, and, finally, where I am now, which is Achieve Planner, a hierarchical Outliner.

                      I read of people who try a few different software applications or paper systems a year. In a sense, they are getting things done. But they are not getting important things done. I always try to ask myself exactly how much will this new tool help me and how many hours will I have to spend learning and implementing this new tool. Usually, costs in time are much higher than the time savings they bring.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        One would think the folks at DavidCo would be planning a PDA app that would work seamlessly with Outlook and the GTD plug-in. Any word on such a possibility? I know I would pay a premium for this functionality.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Plain Vanilla questions

                          Thanks for the "Keep it Simple" tips Martin and Des. I have a strong tendency to overcomplicate things. I overcompicated my investment strategy and it become a nightmare to manage.

                          One quick question though: When you mean Plain Vanilla Palm, do you mean something very similar to the David Allen Article (on his website) titled:
                          "Palm organizer - How David uses his.PDF"?

                          Or are you suggesting something even more simple than that?

                          Thanks,
                          Otto

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by hey4ndr3w
                            One would think the folks at DavidCo would be planning a PDA app that would work seamlessly with Outlook and the GTD plug-in. Any word on such a possibility? I know I would pay a premium for this functionality.
                            Why would he do that when he suggest that you use the plain vanilla pda software?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi

                              Bonsai has already been mentioned and I'm justing seconding that - I have a number of outlines set up and use it for next actions, checklists, reference lists (e.g. wine I like, coffee I like, recipies, etc), capturing higher horizons of focus etc etc. Bonsai allows you to attach notes to items so you can actually store a lot of info just in a "notes" outline.

                              Palm PDAs now come with the excellent DataViz Documents to Go, which allows you to edit word documents and comes with a rudimentary file manager (you view documents by category, essentially giving you a single folder level). If you aren't trying to get too complicated it should suffice, if it doesn't you may want to consider a small laptop.

                              As has been mentioned already, one danger of outliners like Bonsai is that you can get into projects, subprojects, and sub-sub-etc. I went down that route and realised that I was trying to keep "project support material" in the next action outline. This outline now has everything either at the top level or one level down (NAs relating to a project) - for a simple project (series of NAs) this is sufficient, any larger projects have a project plan in either Word or Excel.

                              Regards, and good luck,
                              Tony

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