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  • So many software, which is best?

    Hallo everyone,

    There is so many software out there for a gtd approach, but which one or which setup is the best?

    I am looking into using Evernote for a part of my gtd approach. Especially the capture part as the one inbox.

    But after that i am lost in the big pool of software. Shall i use evernote for the rest aswell? It's oke for reference, projects and someday/maybe but less good for tasks and recurring tasks.

    Can someone tell me their setup? How do you guys do it?

  • #2
    Originally posted by raamklaza View Post
    Can someone tell me their setup? How do you guys do it?
    It depends of course; on your job, your preferences, maybe your skill on a computer, even things like what phone do you have, whether you get lots of paper in your job or if its all electronic, whether you have Mac, Windows, Linux, whether you travel a lot - and no doubt a thousand other factors.

    i like using Onenote and Outlook, that suits my work wonderfully. (See here). I'm sure others have systems tailored to their situation.

    Personally I had to play with lots of different ways of collecting/processing/organising/reviewing until I found a system that worked. Maybe think about those four steps separately?

    Comment


    • #3
      I would recommend Things for MAC. But your best off giving some a test drive see what suits you most.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by raamklaza View Post
        There is so many software out there for a gtd approach, but which one or which setup is the best?..... Can someone tell me their setup? How do you guys do it?
        The best one is the one that you enjoy, that performs the way you expect it to, that you have taken the time to learn and that works on your system and with your way of running your GTD life.

        For me that means Omnifocus on the Mac and iPod Touch for all my lists and projects, iCal for my calendar, AppleMail for mail, paper 3 x 5 notebook & camera for capture, Evernote for some project support materials, electronic and paper filing system for the rest.

        Comment


        • #5
          We've got a good number of apps on multiple platforms indexed over at GTD Reviews, with more to come, but I'd first make the recommendation that you get a full-fledged implementation of GTD going without use of extra technology beyond the paper system described in the book. Yes, there are several apps that can save you steps and sort by every way imaginable, but after using paper for a few weeks, you'll start to get a solid feel for what you'd like an app to simplify you.

          Evernote may do that for you, but you may find you'd prefer something with a wider range of GTD-specific tools, such as Omnifocus or Midnight Inbox.

          Just my two cents on the matter.

          Comment


          • #6
            Very strong second

            I very strongly second the previous post's recommendation of getting a fully-functioning paper system in place before doing a digital version. I base the recommendation on years of tinkering with different digital and analog "gear", trying in frustration to get it to work.

            After going back to a simple file cabinet, 5x8 notebook, and 3-ring binder, my system has worked better than ever. I have also learned some of the limitations of paper as well as digital and so any change in my system has to be carefully done.

            If you insisted on digital, then I would recommend plain text files and a well-organized folder structure in your computer. It is the most reliable and universal approach. Your lists can be backed up quickly and in a flash. They can be printed. They can be sync'ed more easily. There are no compatibility concerns. You can fit all of your lists on any phone and edit them on any computer.

            The rest is anecdotal:

            A typical scenario would be: find some new techno-gadget that promises the world. Some of the most fascinating ones were only available on operating systems I didn't own. I would then spend several days getting the new system fully in place... and then I would hit a roadblock... like I can't access the information unless I'm at my desktop, or it won't sync with my phone, or my laptop is cutting off the bottom half of each of the project plans, or there is some bug or glitch. Far too many times, I would then find that I could not export from this "new" system to the "new new" system that promises to address the bugs. In short, I could add up the time wasted just implementing systems with existing data and I would have lost months.

            I've tried Onenote, Blackberry, Word documents, PDF's, plain text, Outlook, databases, digital voice recorders, spreadsheets, and tried them in both Windows and Linux environments. There was always a glitch.

            Imagine my excitement when the piece of mission-critical data I needed was in a Onenote file and the only computer available did not have Onenote installed. Imagine how fun it was to learn an entire operating system, only to find that it was wholly incompatible with my phone and printer. Lastly, imagine how fun it is to rely on an Internet-based planner when you are in a rural area with no coverage, or a dead battery.

            This post was longer than I intended. I wanted to show that the recommendation wasn't based on whim.

            Hope this helps,
            JohnV474

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JohnV474 View Post
              I very strongly second the previous post's recommendation of getting a fully-functioning paper system in place before doing a digital version. I base the recommendation on years of tinkering with different digital and analog "gear", trying in frustration to get it to work.
              I would agree on the start with paper, but I would disagree that you can't almost immediately need to jump to something else. For me paper lasted about 2 weeks before it became totally unworkable.

              My first digital incarnation was LifeBalance, that did fairly well until I got sick and then fell apart. I knew the LB system was not working but had no time or energy to make any change and GTD went by the wayside. When I got well I looked again and the previously eliminated program Omnifocus, due to complexity became what I decided to use. Since then the only tweaks have been to get a portable version with an iPod and better learn how to use the package to it's fullest.

              So I'd say start with paper, and as one of the major tasks figure out your must haves for any system. Then when/if paper becomes unworkable for you you have a list of necessary conditions to sort you system from.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Oogiem View Post
                I would agree on the start with paper, but I would disagree that you can't almost immediately need to jump to something else. For me paper lasted about 2 weeks before it became totally unworkable.
                It's not that he can't, but I think when you want to, that's the most important time to discipline yourself not to go digital - whatever the resistance is will be there when you go digital in some capacity. If you figure out what that resistance is and overcome it, you're digital implementation will go DRAMATICALLY more smoothly.

                Just my opinion

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                • #9
                  Start with paper. Read the books carefully. Get the System Guides and the new PDF setup guide. Get familiar as much as you can before going digital.

                  Omnifocus is fabulous, and I submit that what OS and software you have a work really does not matter, if you truly want to use the best GTD implementation possible, and are willing to invest a bit of time and money as an investment in yourself.

                  I will repeat - it does not matter what OS and software you have at work, if you truly want to use the best GTD implementation possible.

                  rdgeorge

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Back to OP's question

                    The previous replies have merit; a paper implementation needn't last long even though it's a good starting point.

                    When it comes to software, I can't tell you what would be perfect for you, but when you do make the choice, there is one main consideration: will your lists be available to you when you need them?

                    Specifically:
                    * do they depend on Web access? Are you often in locations without Internet access? Are they available offline?
                    * do they sync/update automatically or easily? Example: computer to phone, phone to home computer.
                    * If you use a smartphone to carry your lists, how is the battery life? Could you access your lists if your phone was dead?
                    * Are they dependent on having access to a computer? Can you add to them or refer to them when you are on the go? (e.g. Outlook)
                    * Are they dependent on a website not crashing? (e.g. Evernote or online to-do lits)
                    * Are they dependent on a particular type of software in order to read your files? (e.g. OneNote)
                    * Have other users had issues with trying to use the same software you are in that way? (e.g. Blackberry cuts off lists longer than 4k characters... roughly 50 full lines of text).

                    What we are looking for is any way that your implementation can leave you stranded. (Of course, paper can do this too in its own ways).

                    You want to be able to make and refer to lists very quickly and ad hoc, whether a grocery list or a list of urgent phone calls to make. If you can't do those in a way that is quick and enjoyable, you will more likely resist fully implementing the system.

                    For many people, their particular (custom-tailored) combination of digital and analog works best. I prefer a digital Contact list in my phone, but I use paper for most Collecting. In digital, I strongly prefer .txt and .pdf files, as they are universally readable. Even Word documents can be surprisingly hard to access.

                    Hope this helps
                    JohnV474

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Start with email

                      I personally would have never implemented GTD if I had to use a paper based system. It just seems way too complicated to keep up to date. Maybe I don't completely understand it since I went straight to electronic.

                      I feel the base of a good system starts with where you get most of your inputs. For me, that is my work email account. From there your list manager should follow. The first most likely candidate would be your email software, Lotus Notes or Outlook for example. Once you get implemented with one of those systems, you can then better understand your requirements and better choose a different software if you decide you need more or different functionality. For me, I liked portable lists and wasn't able to do that with my Lotus Notes setup. I choose Toodledo because I can access it anywhere I have a web connection and installed ToDo on my iphone for a little easier list management. I am not happy with my action support when the support is an email, but this works for me now. I hope eProductivity will one day have better mobile support. I did a trial some time ago and it was a fantastic system for keeping supporting information together and being able to view projects for missing next actions in a glance.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        orgmode and text-only approach

                        In case you look for a digital approach rather than analog way, offering enough flexibility, I strongly recommend OrgMode, basically this is a "major mode" for the Emacs text editor.

                        Using Emacs can sound scary to some, that may have experienced it as developers, because of its learning curve (extremely powerful, extensions via modes like orgmode..., but so many features, with so many shortcuts), and Emacs is often seen as a text editor for coders only.

                        but:
                        • Orgmode made it a really impressive tool as: planner, outliner, markup language (export to pdf through latex, html), capture tool (remember mode), clocking tool, blogging tool and so many other options.
                        • It is text-only, so will continue to be accessible in many years, can be loaded/edited by any text editor on any platform, even when you don't have Emacs installed, no compatibility, conversion, migration issue you can faced with proprietary issue.
                        • OrgMode author (Carsten Dominik) is just brilliant, you can have a look at his talks on OrgMode, I especially recommend the one given at Max-Planck Institute at Coln early this year.
                        • A great community (you can browse the mailing list on Gmane to get an idea)
                        • Myself i am working on Windows platform where Emacs is supported (easy to install version), but Apple users have a version adapted to their platform called Aquamacs
                        • Concerning Emacs for non-programmers, I recommend the reading of Emacs for Writers by Randall Wood
                        • Free Iphone app for OrgMode called MobileOrg available, and I think Android one is on the way
                        • Extension is available to integrate OrgMode with Toodledo

                        Last still concerning the text-only format, it makes it extremely portable (Windows at work, Mac at home, phone on the way...), combined with synchronization tools like Dropbox you just get ubiquitous capture tool, info in the cloud, and can also be edited anywhere with just a notepad.exe (or text editor in your cellphone) when not connected to the internet and sync'ed back later...

                        Now an easy trap where to fall (basically the same as the quest for perfect tool for GTD that will never end), is once you decide to stick with one (let's assume Orgmode and text-only format), to spend too much effort on the customization of the tool (and believe me it can be really huge) rather than doing things, so for this I would say:
                        • once you managed to apply GTD in the analog world (pen/paper based) and you need to digitalize it given your computerized activities
                        • try to strictly adapt the pen/paper approach to the text-only format as a start, previously you had something working, no need to reinvent the wheel, use OrgMode to improve it, automate some parts, and it won't work if the process isn't yet clear for you (if you haven't practice GTD in the analog world successfuly for some time)
                        • then have a look at few blogs on using GTD with Orgmode, Charles Cave has a really nice one, later you can also have a look at this one called "My Life in Plain Text is really huge not specific to GTD, but goes really in details in what can be done with OrgMode.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Seconding JohnV474's suggestion

                          Originally posted by JohnV474 View Post
                          The previous replies have merit; a paper implementation needn't last long even though it's a good starting point.

                          When it comes to software, I can't tell you what would be perfect for you, but when you do make the choice, there is one main consideration: will your lists be available to you when you need them?
                          Rather than jumping from system to system, i'd encourage you to turn this selection process into a project with a very clear sense of what a successful outcome would look like.

                          Like many other on these boards, i've spent lots of time (which i don't regret) trying out various systems: paper, web-based, application-based, iPhone, etc. etc.)

                          What i didn't do, though, and would if i was to have my time over, would be to set out specific criteria from the start that i could use to contrast and compare what i found.

                          In other words, spending time figuring out what you need, want (and are prepared to live without) can make the process a whole lot easier.

                          These criteria don't need to be complex, but they should help focus your thinking. Questions you might ask yourself could include:
                          • how easy is it to get info into the system?
                          • how easy is it to stuff out of it (exporting lists, printing, etc)?
                          • do i need to be able to sync across multiple devices?
                          • is the software visually appealing?
                          • is there reasonable support?
                          • is it secure?
                          • how much am i prepared to pay?

                          Obviously this list could go on and on, but the point is that it is much easier to find something when you know exactly what you're looking for.

                          Best of luck with it.

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