Getting Things Done…at last

July 3, 2007

Too many things are asking for attention in my head. When I go to bed my head is still buzzing with things to do or finish, which does not help falling asleep…

In the past I used the Task application on my Palm to scribble things I had to do. However lately I stopped doing that, especially at work, because most of the time I’m behind my MacBook, where I used Stickies. Using Palm Desktop & Palm Hotsync on my old XP box did not help the integrated experience either ….

After reading Merlin Mann’s 43folders about Getting Things Done I decided to investe some time in it.

I bought the audiobook Getting Things Done by Dave Allen and listened to it while driving to work. It sounded sensible, so I decided to see if I could have an integrated experience where stuff is not floating and rotting all over the place. Virtual stickies, real stickies, Task Application, mail, paper, MY HEAD, MY HEAD.

I decided to have a go at GTD. I’m an Omni fanboy, but OmniFocus is not yet released so I used iGTD as a GTD tool. BTW OmniFocus has to be a lot better than iGTD for me to buy it…

iSync, HotSync, BlueTooth

First I installed Palm Desktop on my Mac and configured iSync to synchronize over BlueTooth then enabled Palm OS syncing in iSync. This will install the iSync Conduit in Palm HotSync. With this you cannot only Sync your Palm with your MacBook to the Palm Desktop calendar application, Palm Desktop task application etc. It also syncs with Mac’s iCal and the Mac Adressbook application. Sweet!! So no need to use the Palm Desktop applications anymore (perhaps for installing new Palm applications). Just use iCal and AddressBook. It syncs 2-way. And if you select in iSync “Put events created on Palm into:” to @inbox it will make the integration with iGTD smoother. However to be able to do this iGTD should be installed already.

If I now HotSync my Palm it syncs the Calendar and Tasks with my Mac (over BlueTooth) and vice versa of course. That’s nice.

iCal, iGTD, Mail and MailTags

I installed MailTags to Apple Mail since this will enable the iGTD integration. After enabling the mail integration in iGTD, whenever I receive a mail which needs my attention later I press F6 and it ends up in iGTD (and then iCal and Palm whenever I sync).

When entering a task in iGTD it will be synchronized with iCal and vice versa.

Hitting F6 when in a browser will create a task in iGTD with the current URL.

Hitting Apple-Space to enter QuickSilver, doing the dot maneuver to enter Text Mode. Scribble something, do the TAB and add it to the iGTD inbox.

Perhaps it sounds a bit overwhelming (or not), but it feels very natural once you start using it.

From my Palm, my Apple mail, just free format (QuickSilver or F7 Quick Enter), my browser or iGTD itself: with a few keystrokes I got it stored in iGTD and it syncs across the applications (Palm, iCal and iGTD)

However I set the iGTD syncing to “sync when losing focus” otherwise I would need an extra manual iGTD sync.

In practice

So when:

  • I’m asked to give my Divemaster number and insurance number in the swimming pool, I scribble a task on my Palm…. and forget about it
  • I receive a mail, which I should review later and act upon I press F6 inside Apple Mail…and forget about it.
  • I receive a IM message saying I should look at S3browse. I briefly look at it, decide to give it the attention it needs later, press F6 in my browser….and forget about it.
  • Suddenly think that I should really check the ATG Cactus patch. Hit Apple-Space to select QuickSilver, do some neat key presses and …forget about it…

A simple Sync on my Palm and everything is Synced and I can review it later.

Sweet Mac integration.

Let’s see if I get more things done…. Less insomnia would be nice too.