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GTD roundup As you will see once you get to know me, I am quite the productivity and organization junkie. This doesn’t necessarily mean I’m productive and organized, but I know how I could do it.

Today I have decided to show you some free online (and one offline) GTD apps (Getting Things Done) so you can organize yourselves like true productivity ninja’s. While I am not saying GTD is the best method for everyone (despite its popularity), I think the groundwork is solid and the apps that have been developed are great for non GTD followers as well. I believe that only you can develop a truly good method that works for yourself. I hope you will find some of these tools useful.

Simple GTD

Simple GTD context

The name pretty much says it all. The bare-bones of GTD. A very clean, uncluttered interface, coupled with intuitive functions make this tool the best for you puritans out there. For my taste it’s a bit too simple, but I’ve heard around the net that this is exactly why people like it.

You can add projects, assign contexts to them and then view them in the next actions view. That’s about it, and for many people this is enough, no bells and whistles, but then no complications either. What I love about Simple GTD is that you can run the whole thing through the next actions view. You can add an action to any context, assign any project to it (or create a new one), and best of all, you can drag and drop between contexts.

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Summing up, Simple GTD is a no frills but very solid and very usable platform to manage your tasks. If you don’t mind the simple looks I think you will love it!

Task Toy

Tasktoy tasks Task Toy is an application that is much like Simple GTD in looks. To me it looks like one of those sites I wouldn’t trust, but I think that’s just the looks, underneath it’s nice and GTD.

The great thing about Task Toy is that it has a customizable link pane. Yes, this has absolutely zilch to do with getting things done, but I would definitely use it a lot. I go back and forth between my WordPress Dashboard, my project management app, and Google Analytics sometimes and it would be handy to have the links there, since I do actually close the browser occasionally.

It also has a projects pane and current tasks pane on the same window. I always value the ability to overview data, since that is sort of the point. If you would have a reference to all the data in the universe, but no way to actually find what you want, then you have no information.

In Task Toy you can add tasks in multiple places as well. The current tasks pane and the projects pane and best of all, you can also add tasks in bulk, or with much more detail. While this adds some extra over Simple GTD for example, I like it less for some reason. The three pane idea is good, but I think it could have been done in a much more streamlined way, for example why does the links pane take up 50% of the space, when it would need about 10%?

All in all, Task Toy has some added functionality, but feels more cluttered and navigation seems much slower. The effort to add extra info seems too much in this app to be worth it, even though you may need it.

Thinking Rock

Thnking rock contexts Australian-based Thinking Rock is possibly one of the best of the bunch from the functionality viewpoint. It looks, feels and acts good, and I really like the logo (the absolutely most important thing when organizing).

Thinking Rock appeals to me a lot because right from the start it feels as though you’re not managing your tasks and projects, but your whole life. This is probably due to the way you can enter tasks, the closest any app so far has come to the essence of GTD.

That essence is that you should get everything out of your head. Where most people go wrong (or where I don’t agree) is that this doesn’t mean that you should get everything out of your head, organize it, file it at once. Thinking Rock lets you collect your thoughts. Just type in a thought, type in the next, go off and drink a coffee, work a little, and type in others as they come to you. Processing these thoughts is a separate step altogether.

When you click on process thoughts, the first one you entered pops up and you can edit the details as you see fit. It is very true to the book, you can assign it to be done ASAP, or defer it, delegate it, store it as information, etc. You can view your info in any way you wish, export it, create reports (by project, by context, by date…) in pdf files. This piece of software works so well, is so elaborate, I’m very surprised it’s totally free.

I would recommend this to people like me who can’t stand if their system has a fault. If I can file and store 99% of my info I’m better off not storing anything, it just bugs me. With Thinking Rock, you will not be disappointed, if simple task management is not enough, I heartily recommend this.

Vitalist

Vitalist menu Vitalist is an online application that is again, very close to the essence of GTD. It is an improved version of Simple GTD and Task Toy, with a much improved interface (in my opinion), faster navigation and much more options.

My favorite feature in Vitalist is the Inbox (it seems adding tasks is a cardinal question for me). You can add tasks quickly and easily assigning context, project and due date. What I don’t like about it is that you can’t add projects here on the fly, you need to create them separately in the projects tab.

It features Actions, Waiting, Someday, Ticklers, Reference and Search, plenty of options to categorize and sort by importance. I find it useful to be able to view these separately, since my important actions should not be cluttered with stuff that I may or may not want to do, or things that are in that project, but will be done in October 2040.

Sadly, Vitalist is not totally free for unlimited use. You get a lot for free, 10 projects, contexts and contacts (each) and functionality like exporting to ical, emailing tasks an so on. Without upgrading you miss out on uploading files, sharing, support and SSL security. Check out the full features and pricing, but I assure you the basic free account is still very much usable.

Remember The Milk

Remember the milk task This unique online app (my favorite web 2.0 app of all time) is not a GTD tool as such, but it can be used to manage yourself in that manner in an instant.

Remember The Milk has some great features like geo-tagging tasks, easy sharing of whole lists or just tasks, email reminders every day, and so on. The best feature is the Smart List option. If you search for all tasks tagged with “Work” for example, you will be shown all these tasks. You can save this generated list as a smart list and you will always be able to view them. It will be dynamic, so all tasks deleted and created with the tag “Work” will be shown accordingly here as well. You can also create tasks in a smart list, these tasks are then automatically tagged with “Work”.

If you need to have the GTD feel, you can treat your lists as projects, your tags as contexts and importance as a way of sorting by date. This way your tasks will be color coded, as well as being ordered by importance, how cool!

Remember The Milk is for those people who like the idea of GTD and want to follow it, but don’t necessary need @ symbols, ticklers, delegation, information and so on.

So what should I pick?

If you want me to answer that question you better have a gun in your hand. I think you should try them all and see which works best. The simple ones are not really fit to handle large amounts of tasks and a large variety of task types, but elaborate management systems like Thinking Rock and Remember The Milk manage simple tasks and projects fine.

These are all fine pieces of software and picking on will depend largely on personal preference. If you don’t feel comfortable, just switch, and share with us your thoughts and experiences!

  1. Alan Watts
    December 4, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    Guys if you're interested in task manager tools check out this new one http://dooster.net

    It is amazingly simple and I have fallen in love with it

  2. Mitch Gordon
    June 29, 2009 at 11:13 am

    As another alternative, try http://funkytools.com. Free and full-featured.

  3. Lilla
    July 18, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    I'm using taskwriter.com . Still low on features, but it seems they are developing it actively.

  4. Dan
    May 20, 2008 at 10:43 am

    Now Gtdagenda has full Someday/Maybe functionality, you can easily move your tasks and projects between "Active", "Someday/Maybe" and "Archive". This will clear your mind, and will boost your productivity.

  5. dan
    May 6, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    For implementing GTD you might try out this new web-based application:

    Gtdagenda.com

    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.

    As with the last update, now Gtdagenda has due date for tasks (you'll see in the calendar on the right if you have tasks due today), task notes, and Email & Print support.

    Hope you like it.

  6. IbeFredrick
    April 5, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Have been investigating all the Task Managers in the above article and comments. I selected ToDoist due to its multi-level subtask capability.

  7. Ammon
    January 3, 2008 at 2:17 pm

    My GTD app du jour is TaskPaper from Hog Bay Software. I did a TaskPaper review a while back and while it's hardly the most feature rich of the many GTD apps out there, it's the easiest to learn and use.

  8. ~Lynne~
    December 16, 2007 at 9:44 am

    Well, I'm obviously new here. I just happened upon this site about 45 minutes ago.
    I must say, the comments make for an interesting read.
    Even more so, the website. I haven't seen the old version, but what I have seen of this version today is well....pretty awesome.
    I realize I don't have a "HORSE IN THIS RACE"....*(LINDA: that means I'm not "involved" LOL!!), However, my view is, you lose 1 and gain 10! Meaning, good or bad...publicity is publicity!
    So if someone wants to complain its going make others "Curious" and check out the site for themselves. Either way, it brings attention to the site....And Well...Isn't that the whole point!!!! LOL!!

    (Side Bar): I LOVED the bantering back in forth!!! Way to defend your site and team member's!!

    ~MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL~

    ~LYNNE~

  9. Linda
    December 15, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    quote: "That was awesome!"

    ~~~~Thanks Aibek! And true!

    quote: "If anyone is curious what the definition of cheesy is…scroll up and read Linda’s post. THAT is cheesy…insert smiley face here."

    ~~~~You tell 'em, G. Law!...(btw one of the future projects we have in mind is an official MUO Pin-Up Calendar...featuring all of our really, Really, REALLY "cheesey" (translation: fabulously good-looking) guys...wearing little but their best "cheesey" (corny) grins...
    now how do you like THAT for progress?! But don't say anything to anyone, ok? Between the Groupies and the MUO Fan Club, the guys already have a hard enough time getting anything done around here! If this leaks out...it'll be all over!)

    (Aside to G. Law: You know we're not really upset with you, right?
    That we're just being silly and having some fun? )

    Which brings me to the last sentence of Jerse's original comment:

    quote: "So goodbye makeuseof.com and thanks for all the fish."

    ~~~~Now what the heck is THAT supposed to mean?????

    (All right you guys...don't you all make me have to look it up...!)

    • Aibek
      December 16, 2007 at 10:09 am

      ~~~~Now what the heck is THAT supposed to mean?????

      I think he is still here, both he and us knows that MUO is THE ultimate source for free web apps.

  10. G. Law
    December 14, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    Mark - I never said the cheese factor was bad, just that it existed...something Aibek felt compelled to agree with apparently. Moving from more underground to more mainstream. Again, nothing bad. It's great for business and expansion. What happens when a band goes from being undergound to becoming more mainstream? Some of the original fans feel they have lost their edge/their sound changed/"corrupted" by the corporate suits, even while the band now gets exposed to millions of more fans who get to enjoy their new, upgraded sound.

    If anyone is curious what the definition of cheesy is...scroll up and read Linda's post. THAT is cheesy...insert smiley face here.

  11. Linda
    December 14, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    Ok, I guess nobody is going to clue me in on how these "cheesy"
    comments relate to MUO posts or anything else MUO...(really, guys...at the risk of sounding just plain stupid... I just plain don't get it...)

    So, I broke down and went to OnlineSlangDictionary.com and looked it up...(yeah...it was there...and derivitives thereof!)

    First I came across the word "cheese", which is used here as a noun:

    Definition: AN ATTRACTIVE MALE, as in "I'm going to the party to find me some cheese."
    (So does that mean "cheesey" would mean "really attractive"?)

    WooHoo!!! GUILTY AS CHARGED!
    (Well hey...if the shoe fits...)

    Yep...I've seen them all, folks...and I'd have to say that...with the exception of 'yours truly'...
    all of these guys around here are "real purdy!"

    Next was: " cheesed off ", an adjective:

    Definition: ANGRY OR ANNOYED. Origin: possibly British.
    Example: "He was cheesed off when he _____________(fill in the blank)
    and took it out on everybody else."

    You know, I just don't think we can take credit for this one...
    that just does not sound like ANY of us...
    we're all a fun-loving bunch...slow to annoy...and even slower to anger...

    (but come to think of it, it does kinda sound like somebody else... ya think?)

    Then there was: "cheesey", an adjective.

    Definition: IN POOR TASTE; LAME, CORNY, as in,
    "One of the comments MUO received was really cheesey."

    Well, I just don't think that one applies either...
    I mean MUO never publishes anything "in poor taste"...agreed?
    And surely nothing "lame"...(I mean you can't very well MakeUseOf something "lame", can you?)
    Ok...so maybe sometimes we are a little bit "corny"...sorry...
    we're just trying to lighten things up a little.

    And, last but not least, was "cheesing", a verb.

    Definition: TO SMILE WIDELY. Origin: the standard photographer command, "Say cheese!" used to elicit smiles, as in, "When he saw her he started cheesing."

    (Well now, that example sounds pretty lame to me... but as far as the definition goes, I guess I'd have to say once again...GUILTY AS CHARGED! I guess we all have been known to
    "smile widely" on occasion...

    • Aibek
      December 14, 2007 at 2:42 pm

      :-) That was awesome !

  12. vinod
    December 13, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    Thanks for the list. I prefer ToodleDo over others these days.

  13. Daniel
    December 14, 2007 at 5:00 am

    Hi G.Law!

    I don't know if the cheese factor applies to me, but I will do my best to uncheese myself, although I won't give up Mozzarella.

    I think the cheese factor for me comes into play because I really am quite fond of the apps I reviewed. I will actually go an pick on some services in the future :)

    Thanks for you input!

  14. Linda
    December 14, 2007 at 4:32 am

    Could you all please clarify what you are meaning by "cheesy" and "cheese factor" here?
    I realize they are slang terms; I'm just wondering how you are applying them to MUO.

    (Aside to Aibek:
    1. Improvement is good; change can be good; expansion is usually good.
    Expanding on the original concept of MUO can't help but be great!
    2. If you don't run across a few dissenters along the way, you probably aren't
    sticking your neck out far enough.)

    • Aibek
      December 14, 2007 at 10:18 am

      Thanks for the kind words. I especially like the 2nd one.

      As I told to Mark earlier, negative comments are the first sign of major growth.;-)

  15. G. Law
    December 13, 2007 at 7:18 pm

    I think I know what Jerse is getting at.... First stumbled across the site a few months back and was so intrigued I took the time to go back and skim every post. He's talking about the "cheese" factor, in which the applications, new writers, etc. seem to be extremely cheesy and the growing exponentially. Maybe you guys are just running out of applications? But, I won't take as far to stop checking in with you all...everyone has to go mainstream and sell-out eventually, right?

  16. Karl L. Gechlik
    December 13, 2007 at 10:31 am

    Great post Daniel and welcome aboard MUO!

  17. Evangelist
    December 13, 2007 at 7:33 am

    Another worthy is toodledo (www.toodledo.com).

  18. james
    December 13, 2007 at 1:23 am

    iGTD is extremely popular and free - I think the best by far available for Mac OS X. A commercial program, OmniFocus, is being launched early next year and will no doubt have a huge following.

  19. Linda Martin-Peoples
    December 13, 2007 at 6:27 am

    Well Daniel...you're not going to rest until you force me to get organized, are you?
    Actually, the thought has been coming to mind more and more lately, usually precipitated by the mountain of paperwork on my desk...but so far, that's all it's been...just a fleeting thought.
    Now I see I have no alternative but to check out some of your recommendations!
    (Thanks! I needed that!)
    ~Linda~

    • Daniel
      December 13, 2007 at 10:15 am

      Hi Linda!

      Of course I'm not going to rest! ;)

      Please do share how it goes :)

  20. Jamwal
    December 12, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Another noteworthy mention would be http://todoist.com/
    Recommended.

  21. Brainiac
    December 12, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    EXCELLENT comparison !!!
    I am going with Simple GTD.
    p.s. good start

  22. Jerse
    December 12, 2007 at 8:23 pm

    I think I'm finally done with this site. Ever since you guys changed the site's "look" it hasn't been the same. And there hasn't been any worthwhile links in weeks.

    So goodbye makeuseof.com and thanks for all the fish.

    • Aibek
      December 12, 2007 at 9:03 pm

      wow...that came out of nowhere. I appreciate your feedback, but it would be much more helpful if you gave us some details.

      The change in "look" was necessary in order to improve navigation and integrate additional sections. It happened less then 3 month ago, and our traffic almost tripled since then.

      As about your comment "And there hasn’t been any worthwhile links in weeks.". Well, I don't know what to say, I can't tell you that it will get better because we are doing our BEST.

      If you want to talk about it in detail shoot me an email aibek[_at_]makeuseof[_dot_]com

    • Linda Martin-Peoples
      December 13, 2007 at 6:21 am

      Hey Jerse!
      Maybe I haven't been here long enough, but I can't tell if you are serious,
      having a bad day, or if this is some kind of private joke among you and the guys...(?)
      (Everyone knows MUO rocks!)
      ~Linda~

  23. Daniel
    December 13, 2007 at 12:47 am

    Thank you, i hope to just get better :)
    Jamwal, thanks for the recommendation, I know about todoist, I will try it in much more detail and perhaps we shall live to see a review yet!

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