I still remember the GTD craze a few years back. David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done” became the “bible” for too-many-things-to-do-too-little-time-to-do-it types of people who seemed to dominate the working landscape at the time. (I almost thought that there was even a cult worshipping GTD).
“Our brain is designed for short-term problem solving.” That’s what my GTD-obsessed friend always says, “To get things done, free your head from clutter and put it into a “reliable” system to be processed.”
Many GTD-ish applications – both in the Windows and Mac world – popped up here and there claiming to be the ultimate life management software. Some managed to stand out among the noise, but most are disappearing quietly and have never been heard from again.
The Basic Requirements
The reason why most applications failed can be explained using only one word : useless. They are either too simple that it seemed ridiculous to use it instead of a simple text editor (or maybe a piece of scrap paper), or too complicated that the learning process scared most users and forced them back into using a simple text editor.
So in order not to be ineffective, there are requirements for these apps to fulfill:
- Simple enough to be understood and used in one go.
- Advanced enough to provide convenience for the users.
- Could be accessed quickly.
- Could accept instant input anytime and anywhere.
The closest thing to GTD perfection – in my humble opinion – is Things. But since the app went out of beta (and turned into paidware), I started to look for an alternative. Tried iGTD for a while but it’s too complicated for a simple guy like me.
I just need something that a little bit better than pen and paper.
How To Get Rid Of The Anxiety
Meet Anxiety – a lightweight to-do management for Mac. It’s not perfect, but I’ll survive.
The feature I like most about Anxiety is the ability to synchronize with iCal and Mail. And since iCal can be synchronized with my mobile phone using iSync, I can easily open and add tasks on the go.
The first thing is to adjust the preferences. Open it by going to Anxiety â†’ Preferences menu (or Command+Comma).
There are several adjustments that can be made via the “General” preferences,
and “Appearance” preferences.
Then I think about several “conditions” – to be translated into calendars on iCal – to classify my tasks into manageable chunks. For example, the task of “Research for Anxiety” could only be done with an internet connection, so I will put this task under “Internet” as the condition.
Now I’m ready to empty my brain. Anytime I remember any tasks to be done, I will just focus on Anxiety, hit “Return”, and:
- Type away at the task
- Choose one of the iCal calendar in the “Add to” options.
- If there’s no calendar that fits the condition of the task, just add a new iCal calendar by clicking the small dark icon next to “Add to”. My friend advised me to add “@” sign in front of the customized calendar. Something like “@internet”.
Whenever I finish a task, I will then put a check in the box and the task will go away. Yay!
Despite a few drawbacks, like the inability to show the due date or the absence of system-wide shortcut keys, I found Anxiety to be very useful to me.
What about you? What is your favorite GTD application? Please share using the comments below!