Getting Things Done (GTD)

December 6th, 2009

I have recently read David Allens Getting Things Done with great interest and immediately saw the benefits from following the GTD method. A top priority for me was to find a suitable GTD tool that works across Windows, Mac and iPhone in order to be able to collect and capture my ideas and actions no matter where I am. I looked at the following tools:

Let me share my thoughts on these before I tell you what system I have started to use.

Text file with synchronization using tools like Dropbox:
This tool option involves updating a simple text file and then storing the file using Dropbox. In this way I can access the text file across my computers and my iPhone. But a text file does not make it easy to follow the GTD system since it is difficult to do the weekly review and restructure actions and projects.

GTD for Lotus Notes:
There are several GTD systems for Lotus Notes. I know of the eProductivity suite by Eric Mack (but have not tried it) and the GTD standalone template by fellow IBMer Brett Philp. I have tried the GTD template by Brett Philp (downloaded from an internal IBM site - I'm not able to find it on the internet no more) and it is a very useful Lotus Notes application for GTD. However, in order to satisfy my need of cross system support I would need a Domino server that I can access from both work and home - across several computers, and I do not have access to such a Domino server. Furthermore, the application does not offer iPhone support.

Remember The Milk:
Remember The Milk is an online task management system that offers web access across systems and iPhone support. So it looks like a very promising tool for GTD. The free version offers an iPhone web interface. Access to the tool from a native iPhone app is only possible as a paid user. Using Remember The Milk for GTD requires that you use the tool in a not so logical way, as far as I can see from the blog post on "Advanced GTD with Remember The Milk".

Toodledo is similar to Remember The Milk in being an online task management system that offers web access across systems and also iPhone support in form of a free native iPhone app. From the Toodledo GTD discussion forum and from the Toodledo GTD overview page it is clear that Toodledo was created with GTD in mind.

As you might have guessed from my walkthrough above, I have started to use Toodledo as my GTD tool for my implementation of Getting Things Done.  I use the web interface when at one of my laptops - and use the iPhone app when on the road. I use a setup in Toodledo inspired by Toodledo user Proximo which he has shared in the Toodledo GTD forum. This setup makes it easy for me to mark actions as next actions (by giving a task a star) and makes it easy to get an overview of my work and home next actions (by using saved searches).

Besides using Toodledo I have achieved inbox zero (at work and at home) and keep track of mail actions in Toodledo and by moving mails to either actions, waiting for, and someday/maybe folders.

What GTD system do you use?

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9 Responses to “Getting Things Done (GTD)”

  1. Brian O'Dnovan Says:

    I am a GTD newbie. I bought the book and read most of it (not yet at the end). It really sounds like good common sense and I have so far focussed on processing my email rather than reading it. Once I master this habit I am going to try to learn the weekly review habit.

    I have installed Toodledo on the recommendation of Sacha Chua, but have not yet moved over to it because I live too much of my life in Notes.

    Do you have a pointer to Brett Philp's template - I would be interested to have a look at it (I am insure IBM so an internal link is OK).

  2. Per Henrik Lausten Says:

    Hi Brian, you're right: GTD is common sense that has been structured into a structured system. We all manage some kind of to do lists and know the effect of having an overview of tasks for a project.

    Great to hear that Sacha has recommended Toodledo. I was not aware that Sacha was a Toodledoer. I just checked her blog and can see that she has entries on GTD and Toodledo. It does look like she has gone back to Emacs as her GTD system of choice, though.

    I know that Brett Philp's template is on our internal TAP. So go to the TAP site and search for GTD.

  3. Dan Says:

    I would recommend checking out for an online GTD manager.

    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.

  4. Alex Says:

    Where can I find Brett Philp's GTD for Lotus Notes tool?
    It has vanished.
    Kind regards,

  5. Per Henrik Lausten Says:

    Hi Alex, I downloaded Brett Philp's GTD tool from an internal IBM site - I'm not able to find it on the internet no more. So I can not help you with a public download site.

  6. Alex Says:

    Hi Per,
    Feel free to mail it (files) if possible.
    alex.verhoeve @ (without the spaces). Gmail can handle quite big files.
    Would be much appreciated.

  7. Brian O'Donovan Says:

    BluePages telles me that there are three people named Brett Philip in IBM. Do you know which should I ask about the GTD template?

  8. Per Henrik Lausten Says:

    Hi Brian, the GTD template is on our internal TAP:

  9. Thomas Byrdal Says:

    Hi Per,

    Interesting article. I will probably go with the toodlido application. So, expect me to drop by and learn from the master in the near future 🙂