Getting Things Done Software Systems (Part 1 of 2)
Native Windows (offline-capable) software
While there are a great number of ways to put a Getting Things Done
system into action on a Windows PC, I'd like to compare and contrast
the benefits of using native Windows software like Outlook (arguably
the most popular personal information management software on Windows)
and handheld computers (in this case a Pocket PC) versus using online
web-based software. Today's post will focus on the "offline" native
Windows and Pocket PC software.
Quick Overview of GTD Concepts
If you've read the Getting Things Done book, or are already familiar
with the system, feel free to jump to the next section.
Almost all geeks that are interested in any way in productivity and
productivity software have probably heard of GTD, or Getting Things
Done. GTD is a productivity system developed by David Allen for busy
executives, which has achieved a certain cult-like status amongst
geeks. Many popular blogs like 43Folders and Black-Belt Productivity
have popped up over the past few years and have become extremely
successful discussing different approaches to the GTD system.
In it's most basic form, GTD is a system for helping to collect,
organize and act on your thoughts and outstanding "to-do" items. It
can be implemented completely using paper and pen, but obviously this
isn't what appeals to most geeks.
Briefly, GTD teaches you to collect all of your incoming information
into a single location (inbox), then deal with each incoming item
only once, choosing exactly what to do with each item at that time
(processing). Note that it's important to note that the act of
collecting should be separated from the act of processing - this
seperation is an integral part of the GTD system. Finally, GTD
teaches you to perform a weekly review, to ensure that all of the
tasks you are tracking are up-to-date, and that you have a sense of
everything you are attempting to keep track of. For a visual
description of this process, you can download a free PDF. To download
this PDF, you will need to register with a valid email address. (I
know - PITA).
Finally, what is the point of all this? Getting Things Done's main
point is that if you can collect all of your outstanding to-do items
and random "oops, I should..." thoughts and write them down in one
location, your brain can relax and stop trying to track them all.
This allows you to actually focus on what needs to get done. There is
also an element of determining which project a given task belongs to
(or if it is itself a project), and what context the task can be
performed in. The concept of contexts is another discussion
altogether, but it's important to keep it in mind since there are
varying ways to track context in different software applications.