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GTD on a Nokia E71

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  • GTD on a Nokia E71

    I've been using the newest communicator from Nokia, the E71, for the last 2 weeks, and have been trying to incorporate it in my GTD implementation. Below are my findings, for anyone who may be interested in purchasing it.

    First off, some comments about the phone:
    - one of the best smartphones I've had and I've had plenty, including HTC KJam, its ancestor the Nokia E61, HTC S620 (Tmobile Dash), Blackberry Curve, HTC Touch Dual etc.

    - I personally find it's perfect as a phone, which was my main requirement (and the reason why I've left HTC and windows mobile). Nokia knows how to make good phones, with good reception, great battery life of 3 days, great design (slim and light) and sturdy.

    GTD aspects:
    I use Outlook as my main GTD application, where I keep all my appointments, tasks, contacts, notes. I sync my phones with Outlook for the purposes of portability.

    The important thing to note is that, as far as GTD is concerned, the S60v3 software of Symbian it carries is handicapped in some respects:

    - Syncing: Nokia PCSuite synchronizes very well, without conflicts. Unfortunately, it does not synchronize categories in tasks.

    - Contacts: work very well, and easy to use on the phone. Start typing the contact name or number and the list filters through.

    - Calendar: the calendar aspect works well for me. This includes time-specific appointments (doctor's appointment) and day-specific (change car oil today). I get all my appointments and whole-day tasks as inputed into Outlook, with reminders and all other details syncing perfectly back and forth.

    - Tasks: this is where things get complicated:
    1) PCSuite and Nokia E71 do not support task categories
    2) You cannot have tasks with no due date. All tasks without a due date are assigned by default today's date, when you first sync.

    To work around the tasks issue, I do two things:
    1) I separate my tasks in two types:
    - the ones I will work in the current week are assigned a current-week due date and thus will appear in my tasks list on the phone, on the day assigned.
    - The ones in my F and S/M list are assigned a future date, so as to not appear in the current day's list on the phone. I review the due dates during the weekly review, accordingly.

    I don't have tasks with no due date.

    2) for location specific tasks (such as @out) I include the @out in the task description. For example, a shopping list for the supermarket appears as:
    @out-Supermarket: 1) milk, 2) bread, 3) cookies, 4) ...

    I can search all calendar items using the Search feature of the Nokia E71 for all @out items, and thus get to my supermarket list easily.

    For my other contexts (@h, @c) I use outlook anyway to find my N/A. So the important actions to get to, from a portability point of view when I am out and about, are the @out actions.

    When I add a task while on the go, it syncs with no category. I then process those categories with no task after syncing, or during the WR.

    ------------------

    I know it sounds like a cumbersome system, but in reality it works well for me. The important thing is that I have a dependable phone first, which can secondly assist me in my GTD implementation. I went for a Nokia due to this dependable aspect, which I found was not the case with Windows Mobile phones.

    By the way, it appears that 3rd party applications for Calendar and Syncing are in the works, and should be appearing soon. So there's still hope to fully implement GTD correctly in the near future, without the work-arounds.
    Hope this helps someone.

  • #2
    Nokia E71 / GTD

    Next week I will begin my own Nokia E71 / GTD journey. I am thinking about a full mobile setup - not connected to any desktop computer.

    In my opinion Nokia E71 is now the best smarphone on the market. iPhone functionality seems to be a joke in comparison.

    Comment


    • #3
      TesTeq,

      As a phone, this will be one of the best you've had. Hands down!!! Like I said, it's slim (10mm thickness = as thin as the iPhone), light, great keyboard, excellent reception, fantastic battery life (4 days for me), all kinds of connectivity (GSM, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth). Plus it has the user-intuitive interface from Nokia that is easy to use and love.

      As a GTD implementation device though, it's crippled in one specific domain, like I said.. It is let down by the Sync app and the Calendar application, more specifically the Tasks section of it. That's why all the work-arounds outlined above.

      I look forward to hearing how you will be implementing GTD on the Nokia E71 and including it in your routine...

      Loukas

      Comment


      • #4
        It appears that PocketTorch has released AquaCalendar (which supports categories) and, more importantly, AquaSync which syncs the categories through PCSuite.

        AquaCalendar

        AquaSync

        I'll need to put this on my list of projects and try it out... If it works, it will be EXCELLENT news for users of S60 devices who want to implement GTD.

        Comment


        • #5
          I am very interested in Nokia E71, because of it's ability as phone. But I have been put off, since categories won't synchronise. I am very interested to hear about how 3'rd party application, aquasync and aquacalendar works out.

          The work-around for tasks seems to be very good, even if it seems odd that tasks can't be without due date. I am wondering if its possible to assign shortcuts on hard buttons to new tasks or notes for example.

          /Axel

          Comment


          • #6
            Per,

            To answer your questions:

            Originally posted by Per View Post
            I am very interested in Nokia E71, because of it's ability as phone. But I have been put off, since categories won't synchronise. I am very interested to hear about how 3'rd party application, aquasync and aquacalendar works out.
            Haven't tried it yet, because I've been busy with other personal stuff (Getting actual Things Done - rather than tinkering! ). Will report back when I have news

            The work-around for tasks seems to be very good, even if it seems odd that tasks can't be without due date. I am wondering if its possible to assign shortcuts on hard buttons to new tasks or notes for example.

            /Axel
            To be honest, it's a hybrid implementation on the phone. However, it works for me because my main station is my computer where everything is categorized properly.

            The reason tasks can't be without a due date is because, the first time you sync, all tasks with no due date are automatically assigned today's date. So you end up with 200+ tasks with the date you first sync'ed.

            Then, in the future, any tasks with due dates before today's (eg. today we are the 26/8/2008, any tasks before ie 25/8, 24/8 etc) will appear on TODAY's calendar day view. Not convenient...

            So I have to shuffle my tasks a little more. So what?

            Finally, you can assign 4+2 speed buttons. The 4 are the typical (Home, Calendar, AddressBook and Mail) and the two are the Left and Right soft keys. If you press and hold the Calendar key, you get a New Calendar Event menu. The homescreen is quite customisable.

            Once again, the best GTD implementation on a mobile I ever had was with Windows Mobile (a smartphone - the HTC S620). Categories, events, Tasks, the lot. It crashed occasionally though, was sometimes slow to pick up calls or connect to my bluetooth, and had a battery life of max 2 days with MSExchange always on downloading emails. I was worried I wouldn't make it through the 2nd day, if I forgot to charge at night. This is the usual experience of Windows Mobile phones.

            Thus, as a phone, Nokia is better, for the reasons outlined above. Great battery life, snappy, VERY good reception ... did I mention battery life? (I currently get 4 days, with 2 bars remaining!)..... Alas, you have to put up with the workarounds.

            I'm happy with mine so far.

            Hope this helps.
            Last edited by Loukas; 08-26-2008, 09:09 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              "Notes" or "Active Notes" for NA lists.

              I am investigating "Notes" or "Active Notes" functionality usage for NA lists. I do not know if one can synchronize the notes with desktop computer but I do not plan to synchronize my Nokia E71 with anything.

              Comment


              • #8
                Tried them and they work like a dream

                Originally posted by Loukas View Post
                It appears that PocketTorch has released AquaCalendar (which supports categories) and, more importantly, AquaSync which syncs the categories through PCSuite.

                AquaCalendar

                AquaSync

                I'll need to put this on my list of projects and try it out... If it works, it will be EXCELLENT news for users of S60 devices who want to implement GTD.
                I have the programmes you mention and they work like a dream. Perfect for maintaining categories. Extremely recommendable.

                By the way, I also have the Nokia E71, and it is a fabulous phone. Props to Nokia. Keep your eyes open for the E72 and E75 that are coming out in the "near" future.

                Comment


                • #9
                  symbian GTD app similar to smartertasks

                  Originally posted by bheetebrij View Post
                  I have the programmes you mention and they work like a dream. Perfect for maintaining categories. Extremely recommendable.
                  1) @bheetebrij
                  do you think you could do a small review of the way you use them?

                  2)
                  Is there a symbian app similar to http://www.smartertasks.com/screenshots.php . It is a simple task list manager where you can quickly cycle using the d-pad between different @agendas. I think it could be pretty much enough for an efficient gtd implemenation

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    GTDMobile free symbian GTD app looks great, any experiences?

                    http://code.google.com/p/mobilegtd/

                    screenshots with explanations:
                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/12505600@N08/1279030251/
                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/12505600@N08/1279030509/
                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/12505600@N08/1279141203/

                    http://code.google.com/p/mobilegtd/wiki/BestPractices
                    Last edited by tempdavidco; 09-24-2008, 10:09 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      how to use AquaCalendar

                      Originally posted by tempdavidco View Post
                      1) @bheetebrij
                      do you think you could do a small review of the way you use them?
                      Sure thing.

                      You have to install on your phone AquaCalendar and AquaSync. With AquaSync you also get a little executable for the PC that hooks into Outlook. AquaSync always needs to be running - no problem, as it starts up automatically as soon as you start up the phone.

                      After that you can use categories the way you want. The process is basically that the two plugins add [category] after the entry once you give it a category. This way AquaCalendar and Outlook can talk to each other while maintaining the categories. It does this for all calendar and task entries. Not for notes, though.

                      Aquacalendar allows you to give colours to the different categories and has many different views. I think everyone can find a comfortable way of working with it.

                      There isn't really much more to it. Hope this helps. If you have any specific question, please let me know.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        aesthetics issues with

                        Originally posted by bheetebrij View Post
                        I have the programmes you mention and they work like a dream. Perfect for maintaining categories. Extremely recommendable.

                        By the way, I also have the Nokia E71, and it is a fabulous phone. Props to Nokia. Keep your eyes open for the E72 and E75 that are coming out in the "near" future.
                        I'm pretty happy with the Nokia e71...feels nice, looks nice and can do a lot of what I need and a whole lot more. I'm now trying to set it up for GTD... I've downloaded the demo of aquacalender and while I can see that it will work with the GTD system... it is really ugly. I'd love there to be a switch that makes it pleasing to the eye, but I can't find one... in fact its pretty tricky to find a lot of the switches inside aquacalender (im not a techy... i just wanna gtd). Part of the reason I bought the e71 is that aethetics matter to me, I'm really not keen on making the e71 ugly... i don't s'pose there is a more aesthetically pleasing GTD friendly program I can put on the e71?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My Experience with E-71

                          I have had an E-71 for about three months. I moved from a Motorola Q9 that was an absolute disaster. I researched the market very thoroughly and in the end the main contenders were the iPhone, E-71 and the iMate 9 series. I am extremely happy with the E-71!! Many of my friends who use the Blackberry phones gave me strong insight into these models and put me off getting one. The iPhone is ok but is left way behind on build quality that distinguishes the E-71 and iMates. THere is the issue with Task categories but that is not a game ender. I have used the GTD system since 2001 and the absolute best handheld tool I have used (I still use occasionally) is the Palm TX. It wins hands down; it is robust, has a big screen, solid software and provides so much value add when you include SmartList, Documents to Go and Beyond Contacts. In my coaching practice this toolset has had the best results for busy people insisting on an electronic solution. I loathe the day that Palm ditches their OS although I fear that day approaches.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A 6-mth update on the Nokia E71

                            Since everyone is so keen on the Nokia E71, I will give my thoughts six months on.

                            Strengths
                            = it's a GREAT PHONE
                            - excellent reception
                            - excellent battery life (4days+)
                            - great form-factor, great in the hand, robust design and solidly manufactured
                            - good Contacts application with all details you could need (besides categories)
                            - improved CALENDAR application over the E61, with some additional views

                            Drawbacks from a GTD point of view
                            - the TASKS application

                            Essentially, I couldn't get over [b]two major weaknesses[/u], for me:
                            1) no category synchronization
                            2) all tasks with no date default to today's date, during sync.

                            The 2nd one was the killer for me. I was able to cope with no categories by putting a prefix in front of each task such as

                            @c Google Nokia E71 GTD

                            and then using the excellent Search function of the phone to find what I wanted.

                            But not being able to have "undated" tasks was killing me:
                            1) I had a large number of undated tasks in my Future and Maybe categories that I had to manually "put" in the Future.
                            2) Also, tasks appear in the Calendar on their due date, so I would end up with 100+ tasks (all my previously undated tasks) on today's Calendar date, which would then be transfered to tomorrow as the date changed, etc.
                            3) Finally, and most importantly, I kept moving current tasks from one day to the next when I didn't finish them on the day, and had to give them "due dates" even if they didn't have one, just to keep the system working. Not very GTD, and counter productive for me.

                            To give an example, say I run out of index cards and was planning to buy them THIS WEEK, but not today. I had:

                            @town Bookstore: buy 3x5 cards

                            I would put them on Thursday, when I'd be in town. Then if I couldn't pass by the bookstore on thursday, I would move them to Saturday, then Monday, then..... Whereas in my "regular" GTD system, I would just have an @town category, with all items that needed to get done when I was in town shopping. Nit-picking, you might say, but a lot of my @c, @h etc tasks are like this, I'd like to do them this week but not necessarily on a specific day.

                            So, I ended up giving the Nokia E71 to my brother. I now want a Windows Mobile phone which fully syncs with Outlook. As I like full QWERTY keyboards, I'm most likely to go with the Palm Treo Pro, which has had very good reviews.

                            So there you go. My second foray into the Symbian S60 operating system didn't end well again (the first was with a E61). The form factor is GREAT, but the software lets it down for GTD purposes - in particular the task list.

                            On a final thought, if you are using a combination of GTD and "Do It Tomorrow" (Mark Forster) where you assign dates for tasks, then the Nokia E71 might actually be best for you, as it forces you to assign a due date. It just wasn't working for me in this way.

                            Hope this helps, and sorry for the long post.

                            Loukas

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Loukas View Post
                              A 6-mth update on the Nokia E71

                              So, I ended up giving the Nokia E71 to my brother. I now want a Windows Mobile phone which fully syncs with Outlook. As I like full QWERTY keyboards, I'm most likely to go with the Palm Treo Pro, which has had very good reviews.
                              Windows Mobile seems to me to be the lowest-regarded smartphone option. A good friend of mine has a Windows Mobile phone, but he hates all the problems he has had with it. As soon as it is out of contract, he is getting an iPhone. Palm is supposed to reveal a new line very soon, so I would wait a while if possible. I have noticed that media reviews are most often unreliable guides to whether people will buy and like a consumer electronics product.

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