Pinterest Stumbleupon Whatsapp
Ads by Google

Getting things done or GTD as it is more commonly known as, is a methodology that helps you get your work done and over with in a jiffy while attempting to avoid evils like forgetfulness, tensions and of course procrastination.

David Allen, author of Getting Things Done mentions that the best way to manage tasks is that one needs to move the tasks out of one’s mind onto some external source where they can be filed to be accessed later and appropriate actions can then be taken according to the tasks. This external source could be anything that works for you. From files to trays to Excel sheets – anything.


If you would rather use your computer for getting things done, PlanCake is an excellent candidate for the tool of choice. Designed specially with GTD in mind, you would need an account to get started. Creating an account requires only your email address and password, no additional details are required. Once you activate your account you can start working with PlanCake.

As PlanCake strongly favors the GTD methodology as the best way to manage tasks, it focuses on getting things off your mind and into the system. Your account’s homepage shows you a list of overdue tasks, and the tasks that are due today and tomorrow. You can quickly add new tasks using the “New Task” button.

best way to manage tasks

So far so good but the real power of PlanCake lies in the fact that you can quickly dump in tasks (in other words get them off your mind) and then categorize or prioritize them later. The PlanCake inbox serves as the holding place for everything you need to do. PlanCake gives you a special email address, unique to your email account (find it under settings) and any email sent to this address will be stacked as a task in your PlanCake inbox.

Ads by Google

So as soon as you get an idea, an invite or remember a task, shoot off an email to PlanCake with the idea/invite/task as the subject line and an optional description as the message body. The next time you are on a computer or can access PlanCake, you can take time and quickly prioritize and assign deadlines and contexts to all the tasks in your PlanCake inbox.

best way to manage tasks

PlanCake also incorporates GTD’s other mainstay – the contexts. Contexts let you categorize your tasks based on where you are most likely to complete them. Making a call can have a “phone” context, shooting off an email can have a “phone” or a “computer” context and so on. You can assign contexts to your tasks easily with PlanCake simply by placing a check against the required context.

best way to manage tasks

PlanCake also offers the magical %% operator. “%% computer” in the task name would add it to the “computer” context. “%% next monday” will set the task due date to the following Monday. You can find other useful shortcuts in the PlanCake user guide. You can also download and install PlanCake on your personal server if you so please. PlanCake requires PHP5 with MySQL. Other details can be found on the download page.

If you have read David Allen’s book and tried to cook up a system based on his ideas on your computer then PlanCake is a Godsend for you as one of the best ways to manage tasks. It does everything you could have dreamt of. If on the other hand you don’t know a lot about GTD, then we suggest you have a look at PlanCake’s excellent user guide.

PlanCake is great, works nice, has plenty of shortcuts to keep the nerds interested and makes managing your work and tasks even easier. The only downside I can think of is that the name reminds you of pancakes and you might feel hungry as a side effect of prolonged use!

Are you a big GTD fan? What software tools do you use for managing your tasks?

  1. David Wang
    April 6, 2010 at 5:55 am

    I modeled my own tool called Simplizt after David Allen's GTD system as well. Please check it out at http://www.simplizt.com. After using the application, shoot me an email and tell me what you think, whether you love it or hate it! davidw[at]simplizt[d.t]com

  2. David Wang
    April 5, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I modeled my own tool called Simplizt after David Allen's GTD system as well. Please check it out at http://www.simplizt.com. After using the application, shoot me an email and tell me what you think, whether you love it or hate it! davidw[at]simplizt[d.t]com

  3. Jonathan Bennett
    April 1, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Sounds useful. I've mostly stuck to basic to-do lists and checklists to get things done, but I'll check this out to see if it helps.

  4. Yk
    April 1, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    Good article. I also like Plancake very much. It is much easier to use than a lot of other tools. It is interesting that it is open source so I can even help to make it better.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *