What to know about GTD Setup Guides

About GTD Setup Guides GTD Setup Guides

The GTD methodology is software neutral. Some software will certainly work better than others, but it means that the apps you use for your GTD implementation are up to you. Over the past 15 years, we’ve built up a library of GTD setup guides for the most common software apps. Each guide goes through a rigorous vetting process by the David Allen Company team to ensure it will work well for a wide range of people. For us to write a guide, it also needs to be an app that has good traction in the GTD community, given the considerable investment of time, expense, and effort we put into each guide.


GTD & Outlook

The first GTD guide we ever created was Outlook® 2003 for Windows. We had some corporate clients using it and we needed to give them a good summary of our best practices for Outlook, so they could implement GTD throughout their organizations. By the way, that first guide was 10x the price we offer them these days, as we have streamlined how we produce the guides and can make them more affordable for more people. Since that first guide, we’ve created guides for Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016. The 2013/2016 versions have minimal differences (mostly cosmetic), so those are a combined guide.

Throughout all of those versions of the Outlook guide, we have recommended setting up Tasks using the master category list. That’s been a good, reliable solution for sorting Tasks and Notes. Until now. A big hole in the Outlook space for users has been syncing to a mobile device. Some third-party apps tried to fill the gap, but there’s never been a native solution from Microsoft. That changed this summer with the release of Microsoft To-Do for iPhone, Android, and Windows mobile devices. Finally! However, we quickly learned that our method of using the master category list wouldn’t work anymore, because the To-Do app doesn’t support the master category list (nor does Outlook online/365).

We’re excited to announce a new GTD & Outlook Setup Guide for 2013/2016 that configures Tasks in a totally different way than our previous Outlook guides. Goodbye mastery category list. Hello Task folders. But it’s not just Tasks that changed, but also what we’re recommending for Notes, shortcut keys, and more. If you have any interest at all in seeing Tasks in Outlook online/365 or your mobile device through To-Do, the new guide is definitely worth getting.


GTD Guides for Other Software

Not an Outlook user? We also have GTD setup guides for Things 3®, OmniFocus®, Nirvana® (coming soon!), OmniFocus®, Outlook® for Mac, iPhone®/iPad®, Trello®, Wunderlist®, Todoist®, Evernote® for Mac, Evernote® for Windows, OneNote®, Google Apps® for Android, Google Apps for Desktop, IBM Lotus Notes®, and BlackBerry®. See all of the GTD setup guides here.


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  1. There is a problem in the new Outlook setup guide. When instructing to setup the different task folders, it suggests “Someday/Maybe”. The Outlook Sync process does not like the slash ‘/’ character and causes the software to hang. I suggest changing it to “Someday-Maybe”.

  2. Hmmm. You’re the first to report that Bob. It synced fine in our extensive testing. Are you syncing to Microsoft To-Do? And, we’ll research this further on our end too.

  3. Try out the Nine app for Android. It gives you the full list of categories, tasks, email (convert email to task!), Calendar, and contacts. It’s like having the desktop Outlook on your phone and works great with the 2013 gtd for Outlook setup guide recommendations.

    BTW, the $10 I spent on the Outlook setup guide 2 years ago may have been the best $10 I ever spent. Thank you!

  4. You guys have just checked up that if you make a search with the title of the book at google the second link points directly to the whole pdf so you can download it there’s no need to buy (or sell). Protect your wp-content directory from robots 😉

    1. Hi Alberto, you may be seeing the sample pages (not the whole guide) show up in search. We also link to those sample PDFs in the store listing for each setup guide.

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