The only GTD app that really matters is between your ears. Your brain is where the critical work of GTD takes place, where amorphous stuff is processed into projects and next actions, someday/maybe list entries, areas of focus, etc. Your lists and other aspects of your GTD ecosystem are just containers for that thinking. As long as your systems don't get in your way, and reflect back at you what you need to see, when you need to see it, your systems are good. If your systems support you in attaining maximum efficiency with minimum stress, they are good. If they do not, they are bad.
That is why when faced with the long involved threads about what tool to use to manage GTD I try to explain how I use my tool of choice and why I picked that one so that if others have similar ways of thinking and similar needs they can see if my tool will work better than a tool they are using now but don't like.
I went through many iterations of GTD tools,
Daytimer Paper calendars
Covey paper planners
Simple lists on paper (which I hated and only stayed on long enough to try the next computer app)
Evernote (for less than a week)
and finally my perfect for me app Omnifocus
But the "app" that matters is my improved understanding of the practice and power of thinking in GTD terms about all my commitments. IOW my brain and what I've learned.
I've been struggling on and off with GTD since 2007 (with many months-long stretches where I wasn't practicing GTD at all). One might wonder why I wouldn't have thrown in the towel by now.
Before long the most complicated, messed-up aspect of my life at the time became the one that was the least stressful, and the one in which I was most in control. I never forgot what that felt like. I knew if I could make GTD work in all aspects of my life I could have that feeling most of the time.
So one might wonder, why is it that nearly four years later I haven't done that?
Struggling on and off with GTD: I would say it differently: Struggling with your life. That is difficult for all of us, and it takes common sense, a clear head and confidence. GTD is one possible description of how common sense can be imposed. GTD is not Life. If you fail with GTD, it is OK. If you fail with your life, it is worse.
No tool will help if you are not able to honestly answer:
- Is it actionable?
- What's the Next Action?
- What's the Successful Outcome?
Exactly. That is true common sense. Age-old and proven, and an essential part of the great GTD wisdom package. It is simply something you need to consider whatever task methodology, religion or political direction you favor. Universal wisdom: What do you need to actually do and what good does it bring you? And GTD and other methodologies contain additional useful wisdom of a universal nature that you can follow piece by piece, if you prefer, but I think you are wise to hang with the GTD community.
The problem is that over-organization is as harmful as under-organization.
I had been using a web-based solution that touts itself as the "everything in one place solution." Its makers promote how "flexible" and "customizable" the solution is, and how it integrates email, Evernote, tasks, projects, reference materials -- pretty much everything in your life. And they claim it follows GTD principles, although I would now dispute that there is anything about the system that is uniquely "GTD-ish".
It seemed at first like I was in heaven and I became a passionate and vocal supporter. After using it for several months, however, I realized that my productivity had ground to a halt and in all phases of my life I was in crisis. I didn't want to believe it was because of the complexity of the app, because I had fallen in love with its promise. Unfortunately its promise didn't live up to its reality.
I realized I needed to simplify, simplify, and simplify some more.
I am advocating for simplicity in one's GTD systems because I have directly experienced the power of that simplicity. It frees the brain to do the thinking that is critical for transforming stuff into something defined and useful, because you're not distracting your brain with list managers and other support systems that require a great deal of thought to use and maintain. Such simplicity also reduces the risk that one will fail to update, maintain, and use one's GTD systems.
I think you are talking about IQTELL, and I too think IQTELL is extremely clunky. I experimented with it for less than week and gave up. Another one I struggled with for a week and gave up on was MyLifeOrganized.
Have you looked at any of the mid-range (only "half-complicated") apps like Nirvana or Doit? I think both of those are approximately equally good, and I have recently moved over to Doit. The simplicity in both of these apps is very nice, but also sets irritating limits sometimes to what you can do, but I have found acceptable workarounds for all that in both apps, something I did not manage with the much more customizable IQTELL or MLO.