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Please Help Me Choose and Transition To a Digital List Manager

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  • Please Help Me Choose and Transition To a Digital List Manager

    Dear GTDers,

    I have been GTDing for about 8 months. I started by reading David Allen's first book and then supplemented my knowledge with podcasts.

    I initially implemented GTD using a three-ring binder and binder-paper. This system has been working well for me; however, it is becoming inconvenient to carry around a relatively large binder, and I find that, as some of my lists get long (such as Someday/Maybe), it is getting tedious to easily see all of the entries. Moreover, I need a system that can allow me to easily input back-of-the-envelope project plans as a "note." Lastly, I think I have certain GTD habits in place (such as actually doing a weekly review on a weekly basis) that gives me the backbone needed to deal with some of the frustrations associated with electronic list-managers.

    As far as list-managers go, I have mostly been experimenting with Toodledo and with the just-released list-manager Nirvana.

    Are there any solid GTD setup guides for Toodledo? Do any of you find the limitations on the free accounts (such as the one week "expiration" date for completed actions) to be a serious hindrance? How does one manage projects under Toodledo? I plan on using "Folders" for my projects, and then sticking context-specific NAs into them. Is their mobile, browser-based client good enough? Are there any other free list-managers that are GTD friendly (I am a college student on a really tight budget.)?

    What about Nirvana? I have taken a look at it, and I am impressed by its uncluttered interface and streamlined performance. Should one have any concerns about using a beta product as a list-manager—especially if that list-manager may end up behind a pay-wall of some sorts (I guess one could always print his or her lists out to “save” them).

    Is there anything else that I should keep in mind?

    Thank you very much for all your help,
    Dave D.


  • #2
    Dave,

    I understand your search; I've been there. I've settled on Nozbe for now, but I'm always looking. Regarding the two you mentioned:

    -- Toodledo is quite cluttered, and the "sharing" features in it are awful.
    -- Nirvana has a chance, but it's still missing some key features.

    Here's a post I did a few months ago comparing 34 different web-based task managers. Hopefully it can help show you some new ones to check out:
    http://www.mickmel.com/blog/201001/w...gement-system/

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by mickmel View Post
      Dave,

      I understand your search; I've been there. I've settled on Nozbe for now, but I'm always looking. Regarding the two you mentioned:

      -- Toodledo is quite cluttered, and the "sharing" features in it are awful.
      -- Nirvana has a chance, but it's still missing some key features.

      Here's a post I did a few months ago comparing 34 different web-based task managers. Hopefully it can help show you some new ones to check out:
      http://www.mickmel.com/blog/201001/w...gement-system/
      Hi mickmel,

      I agree with you regarding Toodledo--it is very cluttered and cumbersome.

      How closely does Nirvana mimick Nozbe? It seems that their interfaces are somewhat similar (minus the sharing function in Nirvana).

      Dave

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by daveda View Post
        How closely does Nirvana mimick Nozbe? It seems that their interfaces are somewhat similar (minus the sharing function in Nirvana).
        It's getting pretty close. Nirvana was missing a ton of stuff (recurring events, etc), but they've done a lot of work in the last few months to get caught up. The lack of sharing is a shame, but it's becoming pretty close.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by daveda View Post
          Hi mickmel,

          I agree with you regarding Toodledo--it is very cluttered and cumbersome.

          How closely does Nirvana mimick Nozbe? It seems that their interfaces are somewhat similar (minus the sharing function in Nirvana).

          Dave
          I find Toodledo very flexible and usable, but Nozbe just seems terrible to me. Nirvana looks more a web version Of Things. Of course, I find the nifty new Omnifocus for iPad is also more Thingslike than it's mac/iPhone siblings.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
            but Nozbe just seems terrible to me.
            I'm curious what you didn't like about it.

            Nirvana looks more a web version Of Things.
            Very much so. People were quite upset when it first came out because it was SO similar to Things.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by daveda View Post
              Are there any solid GTD setup guides for Toodledo? Do any of you find the limitations on the free accounts (such as the one week "expiration" date for completed actions) to be a serious hindrance? How does one manage projects under Toodledo? I plan on using "Folders" for my projects, and then sticking context-specific NAs into them. Is their mobile, browser-based client good enough?
              Hi Dave,

              I'm using Toodledo for my digital GTD system and am also a member of the Nirvana beta test group so can comment on both of these systems.

              A few other posters have said that Toodledo is cluttered. If you have all the fields turned on and use grid view, it can be a busy-looking screen. However it isn't cluttered if you use multi-line view - I think it's pretty clean-looking. I posted some screenshots of my setup in another thread in the forums. Here is a link so you can see what I mean: http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthr...0276#post80276.

              My Toodledo is setup in the following way:
              • Folders: Next, Projects, Waiting for and Someday
              • Contexts: @Work, @Home, @Phone, @Online, @Errands
              • Tags: Business, Personal, Family (essentially my areas of focus)

              While you would vary your contexts and tags to suit your own situation, I would strongly recommned using these folders as they work well with Toodledo - it's easy to move a task from one folder to another (e.g. from Next to Waiting for) or turn a single step task into a project (i.e. parent task with sub-tasks).

              I use Appigo Todo on my iPhone which syncs with Toodledo and works great with this setup because the main screen of Todo is folder (i.e. list) based.

              I subscribed to Toodledo so that my completed tasks don't expire quickly and this means I also get the benefit of parent task/sub-task grouping which you won't get in the free version. At $15.00 per year, a subscription is dead cheap.

              Originally posted by daveda View Post
              What about Nirvana? I have taken a look at it, and I am impressed by its uncluttered interface and streamlined performance. Should one have any concerns about using a beta product as a list-manager—especially if that list-manager may end up behind a pay-wall of some sorts (I guess one could always print his or her lists out to “save” them).
              Nirvana does have a very nice interface and they are definitely moving in the right direction. However they are still missing some key functionality that I cannot do without, e.g. repeating tasks, task reminders, ability to sync with a native iPhone app (this is a biggie), ability to accept larger messages for their email-to-inbox feature, ability to accept attachments on email-to-inbox, smart lists (i.e. saved searches), bulk editing of tasks, etc.

              I have no doubt that they will get there eventually, the developer seems very responsive and they have a great user community. I wouldn't be concerned about it being in beta - they seem very reliable and plan to be around for the long run. And you can now email out your entire task list in a format that would permit you to take your data with you.

              A minor criticism I have of Nirvana is that they are trying to adhere so firmly to GTD concepts that I feel they could be making the system a bit too rigid in places. There have been some lively threads in their forums about what is/is not "GTD".

              On the other hand, one area in which this "rigidity" is a good thing is project handling - Nirvana does it well and keeps the user from making a mess of what can be a complex process. Toodledo's openess makes project handling a bit weaker - it can be made to work well but you do have to understand how the parent task/sub-task relationship works and how sub-tasks are displayed/not displayed depending upon your filter settings, etc. So it's a bit easier to mess things up if you don't know what you're doing.

              Good luck with your selection. It's nice to have some choices out there.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by mickmel View Post
                I'm curious what you didn't like about [Nozbe].
                Visual clutter and general usability. A potentially long sidebar of projects on the left, calendar and contexts on the right. I don't like icons instead of words for contexts. The list of actions in the center of the screen is itself too cluttered. iPhone/iPad apps appear to have gotten off to a rocky start. And of course, the annual subscription price is very high relative to perceived value, and to the marketplace by any measure: annual cost comparable to a new copy of the Home addition of Microsoft office (including Outlook), roughly 3-5 times comparable web services or a paper calendar.

                Comment


                • #9
                  As a different approach, you could use Omnifocus on an iPad regardless of the OS your company uses. With the wireless keyboard you can enter stuff quickly. With Mobileme you have backup in the clouds, and instant snyching to other devices.

                  Weekly reviews would become far easier.

                  Just a thought.

                  rdgeorge

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    mcogilvie -- Those are all very valid points.

                    A potentially long sidebar of projects on the left
                    I like them on the left, but I agree that each item takes up WAY too much space.

                    I don't like icons instead of words for contexts.
                    I don't use contexts (virtually all would say "computer"), but I can see your point.

                    iPhone/iPad apps appear to have gotten off to a rocky start.
                    Agreed, but they're quite solid now. Of course, I'm on Android and they don't have anything there yet...

                    And of course, the annual subscription price is very high relative to perceived value, and to the marketplace by any measure: annual cost comparable to a new copy of the Home addition of Microsoft office (including Outlook), roughly 3-5 times comparable web services or a paper calendar.
                    Like you said, it's all about perceived value. For $0.25/day, I think it's an incredibly good deal. When you're talking about streamlining your time and saving hours every year (with any product), I don't think an extra couple dollars/month is a big problem. The issue is whether or not it'll actually help you save time.

                    If you found a product that serves your needs better and also costs less, that's always good.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Hello,

                      I thought I'd write-in thanking everyone for their input. I have decided to transition to Toodledo. I'm slowly moving one list after another into the cloud. I have decided to start with my less-heavily-used-and-relied-on lists first. So far, I like the flexibility offered by Toodledo. It is becoming more intuitive, and the keyboard shortcuts are very useful for getting things done quickly. Finally, I haven't completely written-off Nirvana; I'm going to keep checking it to see how they structure the free vs. pay-for versions and what features the developers add. Overall, though, I prefer Nirvana's hardcore approach to GTD.

                      Many thanks,
                      Dave

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I favor a simple list manager and to me, nothing has yet beat the Palm. I REALLY liked the ability to lookup and import a contact phone num or email address into a task while entering it. I have not found anything else with that function.

                        I really want to be able to sync\backup with Outlook or a web interface. It's just an easier environment for data entry and cut & paste from emails into tasks.

                        I'm working with Shuffle and RTM right now. Shuffle is much simpler and quicker. It also allows you to add a project or context while entering a task. RTM requires you to go back to the home screen and go explicitly set up new lists. RTM premium does allow you to sync with the web interface, but so far, entering a task on either RTM interface is so much more time consuming than on Shuffle that I find it frustrating to use.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Anyone looked at My Life Organised Lately?

                          Hi i am also looking for a new digital tool, i used MLO a few years back and it was very good. I also want to plugin my Blackberry soon to be Android. I will now have a look at Toodledo i am a big Google Apps user also.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Going Digital

                            I've been using OneNote as my primary system for keeping resource materials, keeping track of projects etc. I had created a dashboard for tracking next actions, now, next, someday/maybes as well as @waiting fors. It was a pretty impressive one sheet if I do say so myself. People who saw it were jealous.

                            While I still use OneNote for projects and resource materials, I've been using "Nirvana" for a little over a month and while it is still a work in progress, I've found it so helpful that I've moved away from my home brew system. I will love Nirvana more once theirs an app for the iPhone...but online access is still better than nothing. When I used my OneNote dashboard, I used to save it to google docs and be able to view it from my iPhone. The Nirvana approach is much better and will be perfect once that iPhone app is released.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I've been using Nirvana for 6 months now as my main GTD tool. IMHO, it rocks in GTD There are some stuff missing, but the team is really commited to hear from its users, and do a 100% GTD tool.

                              ToodleDo is way out of what I look for in an app... to confusing and ugly. I like the tool the way I like my mind, clean and simple

                              Comment

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