GTD with Things

Wow, it really took a long time to write this entry. I have now been working at Purple Scout for around two weeks and it has been really good. I have a fantastic team to work with and I have already done some good work (in my own humble opinion). I have also had the chance to really start using GTD in my daily life (it's hard to organize your life when you only play video games, which was what I did during my vacation). So far I am very pleased with it, but the test of time will really show if it reduces my stress and improves my efficiency.

I am using Things from Cultured Code as my organizer software. It's a very clean software that implements the basic lists from GTD (Inbox, Next, Someday, Scheduled, etc). It also have a very flexible tags system that I use for a number of things and most important it has iPhone synchronization.

I use the iPhone application as my on-the-go collector. Most things I have to do pops up in my head when I am taking a walk or sitting in a meeting, in true GTD style my brain is stupid as well, so I just flick up my iPhone and scribble a few words in there. I concentrate to get a reminder mostly in the iPhone because it doesn't take that long to do that way and then expand on it when I sync it to my desktop client.

Collection with the desktop client is also very good, when I identify a task I just press my globally recognized shortcut (meta+ctrl+space) and it brings up a dialog where I can enter my task.

Things has the concept of Areas of Responsibility and Projects. I use the Areas as "larger projects" that can have several sub-projects. For example is 'Home' one of my areas, in there I can have projects like 'Redecorate the room' which in turn can contain specific tasks. Another area is "Work" but I also have a area for one of the bigger customers we are working with, since we are running ~8 projects together with this customer. Important to note is that tasks that are organized into a project can not be scheduled, they can only be 'next' or 'someday' as far as I understand it, but tasks that belong to the area directly can be scheduled. I am not really sure why this is, or if it's a bug.

When I get to my organization phase I first scan items that should be put into projects and put them there and then areas. I don't have item outside any area. Tasks that goes into projects get the tags of the project so usually I don't have to apply any extra tags to these tasks, but since areas doesn't have tags I have to apply them to these posts. The most common tags for me is "work" and "home" because when I head over to the "do stuff" phase I can filter my things based on tags, which removes a lot of distraction "now I am at work and can only see things I should do at work" works great for me.

Things isn't without flaw, the things that annoys me most are:
  • Pressing the icon in the dock doesn't bring up the minimized Things window.
  • Synchronization with iPhone only works over wifi and you have to be on the same network. Also if your firewall/router/switch for some reason filters bonjour (mDNS) it will not work (I had to fight the system administrator at work for this).
I hope these issues will be addressed in future updates of things.

That's it for today, next entry will probably be about SCRUM, since we just implemented this at work.

1 comment:

dannielo said...

For implementing GTD you can use this web-based application:


You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
A mobile version is available too.