fredag den 23. maj 2008

Selecting a GTD application

I'm reading the book Getting Things Done. It's about keeping all todos and projects under control so you always know (or have the right basis for deciding) what to do next. It looks promising yet challenging to keep the system going and stay in control.

With its focus on lists and filing systems, the method is practically screaming for IT support.

Being a software developer, my first instinct was of course to write my own application for this. Should be fairly simple, and then I could get all the features I wanted. But even with the promise of "stress-free productivity", it seem unlikely that I would find the time to finish such a project to a decent level of completeness. So I've been looking at other options.

I have a collegue who uses Outlook to manage his tasks GTD-style and that could be an option for me as well. But I am resisting Outlook somewhat, mostly because I want to keep track of both work-related and private tasks, and I don't want to need to use my work laptop to manage tasks when I'm not working. Some of the alternatives store all data in a file that can easily be carried on a USB stick which would allow me to move between computers.

I've been looking a bit at Thinking Rock. It follows the GTD methodology very closely, making questions like "is it actionable?" explicit. After an initial doubt, I think I like that concept. But TR doesn't really do PDA synchronisation; There is a "pocket pc companion" that allows you to export the task list and view it on a Windows Mobile deveice, but you can't do changes on the run and sync them back.

Since I have already ordered a PDA (a HP iPAQ 200 series) to support my efforts to get things done, the lack of synchronisation is a dealbraker.

So I think I know how I will proceed: I will use Pocket Informant on the PDA for now. And maybe sync it with my work Outlook, and then just manage the non-work stuff on the PDA instead of my home PC.

I haven't ruled out the thought of attempting to add some sort of PDA synchonisation (maybe using Funambol or ActiveSync) to Thinking Rock to combine a powerful PC app with the convenience of a PDA. It would be an interesting challenge, but would take some time away from getting (other) things done...

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