Monday, August 13, 2012

GTDAgenda.com

I was recently contacted by Dan from GTDAgenda.com and offered a chance to use their software to help with my Getting Things Done fetish. (If you haven't read Getting Things Done by David Allen stop reading this, go buy the book, and then come back. I'll wait here. Seriously. It's great.).

Now, I'm not one to turn up my nose at something free and when it comes to GTD fetish-apps I'm right there with the best of them at collecting them, trying them, using them, and then, typically moving back to my moleskin cahier and google tasks lists. One paper option and one mobile option. That works for me because, honestly, it's not often that I'm on the phone in front of my computer when I need to capture a To Do. So, I jot it down and then transcribe it later onto the computer if I haven't just done it to get it off my list.

I like my online option to include something that works from a keyboard for those times I'm transcribing from my notebook. It's just faster to type on a laptop than a phone keyboard for me. I also like my online option to have working check boxes on the phone and background syncing to the web app so that I can check stuff off as done and know it's done no matter where I look. My needs are pretty basic.

GTDAgenda.com gave me a year long membership and I said I'd review it. I think it's a little early for a review but the thing has potential. It's not there yet, and the mobile apps are very much embryonic at this stage, but I can see the potential there.

One thing that scares me about it is it's incredibly complicated compared to my previous way of doing things.  I imagine I'll get used to it as I use it but there's a learning curve here... a steep one at times. That being said, the contexts bit that it does is far and away better than the way I was doing things before. I like being able to sort my list by context. A context in this context is something like @At The Office, @Shopping, @On The Phone. That sort of thing. So, if I'm shopping I pull up that list and there's my stuff I need to do while shopping. If I'm at the desk and have some phone time available I pull up either my @At The Office context or, if I'm feeling phonogenic (Yeah, I made that word up I think) I'll grab my @On The Phone list and make some calls to knock things out. Really nicely organized.

There's a project function where I can break a project down into Next action items and even assign those next action items to a specific date/time, context, and project. Therein lies the complication part. The part where I can sort it all nicely is great, but it's an awful lot of entering information in at first. It felt like more work to type it in that it would be to do it. That is getting better as I get better at it. Some of the problem was I created tasks and THEN realized I hadn't assigned them contexts or projects so I had to go in and edit those. The way to do that wasn't something that just leapt out at me. I posted on the forums about it and had an answer really quickly and after seeing it I realize how that could have been obvious to someone (but not me).

The thing I'm most looking forward to getting on the mobile app (I have an android) is recurring goals with check marks that you can set to do daily, weekly, monthly, and a number of times that month. I have store checklists that I have to do at each store once a month. This is perfect for tracking that sort of thing. Currently it's not working on the app but is supposed to be on the mobile version of the website. I won't lie. I haven't looked. I don't want to use an app and a mobile site and a full-fledged laptop site. I want the app to do what the app does and not have a kludgy work around. I'm told it's on the board and is coming soon so until then I'll just use the notebook and jot it down and transcribe it into the GTDAgenda.com website later.

One of the things I'd like to see and doubt I will, is the ability to drag and drop things from one project to another or one context to another. It doesn't seem to be written in a language that encourages that sort of behavior. The Google Calendar integration isn't working for me at all yet. It's possible my two-factor authentication is buggering that up so don't hold that against it until you try it yourself. I almost didn't mention it.

I'm really enjoying learning the product and will, when it's ready for prime time, suggest you go buy it. They have an affiliate program but I've not joined it. Any links to GTDAgenda on this post are simple links. If you buy something from them, or subscribe to their site I won't make a nickle. Once I think they're ready for prime-time I'll re-review them and I'll probably use affiliate links for that. They're not there yet though IMO. Tantalizingly close, but not yet. Also, I wasn't paid to write this other than they did give me their product and asked that I review it. They didn't say I had to say good stuff and I suspect anybody there reading this is going to call me an ungrateful schmuck for not being more glowing in my review. It's close. It's just not there quite yet... and some of it is complicated to me. But it shows real promise.

There ARE affiliate links in here, those David Allen links will take you to amazon and if you buy from that link I stand to make a pfennig or two off it. I'm serious. If you haven't read Gettin Things Done yet, you should.
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