Todd Hoskins chooses and uses tools and products that could belong in an entrepreneurial business toolkit. He’ll be checking out how useful they are to folks who would be their customers in a form that’s consistent and relevant.
Cool Tool Review: GTD Software
A Review by Todd Hoskins
Are you a taskmaster?
If you’re like me, the answer is “sometimes.” Becoming focused on tasks and ferociously managing a checklist of To-Do’s has some risks including:
1. You forget the big picture. Vision and purpose disappear, and you adopt the perspective of the mouse rather than the eagle, moving from one crumb to the next.
2. You get overwhelmed by the amount of tasks to be done. Losing sight of priorities and limitations, you shut down, or do the easy/fun/random task rather than being focused and thoughtful.
3. You tackle the urgent rather than the important. Eating only when you are starving leads to peaks and valleys in energy, and creates a domino effect of bad habits.
4. You do what everyone else needs you to do. Not paying attention to your own needs and desires leads to resentment, depression, and lifelessness.
5. You rebel against obligation. Some addiction or distraction pulls you away from responsibility and you play the proverbial round of golf while the mortgage is 60 days overdue. The internal cry of “F*** this!” is a sign that some combination of risks 1,2,3, and 4 are demanding your attention.
The reason David Allen’s Getting Things Done system has become so popular is that we all get overwhelmed, lose focus, and find less satisfaction in the “raking leaves syndrome” of working than we want. Also, the concept of Getting Things Done is meant to be applied to your whole life, not just your job or business. It’s a great feeling when we are moving towards goals, personally and professionally, and on a daily basis enjoying the sense that “I was productive. I was focused. I did what I wanted to do. I did what I needed to do. And I am moving towards accomplishing what is important to me.”
The psychological basis of GTD is simply that we spend too much of our time with too much information in our head. The key is to get it out of our head, and onto paper (or software). Leo Babauta provides a great introduction here. The checklist by itself fails to recognize that many tasks must be done to complete a project (“Buy vacation condo” and “Send email to Dad” are not comparable). Ideas become projects that then are broken down into tasks. Then, the tasks must be prioritized and put in context – What can be done at home? On errands? At the office?
For me, GTD was a godsend. I juggle fatherhood, multiple clients, creative projects, websites, relationships, social events, and domestic activities. “Getting it all out” in order to get it done forces me to reevaluate what I’m doing, and lets me occasionally experience the bliss of flow.
So, after some research and conversations with other GTD believers, I can recommend the following software on their respective platforms.
Mac: OmniFocus is the favorite premium offering with lots of slick features, but for the money (donationware), the best is iGTD. “It works how I think,” said one user.
PC: Avoid the Outlook plug-ins, as they tend to make email the primary focus rather than an additional feature. Nozbe is built for individuals and organizations, and also works with Evernote. Nozbe also has an iPhone and iPad app. For installed software, Wieldy is nice and simple. I tried it, and found it useful, but I’m too dependent on my mobile device, and I prefer the cloud over a local program.
Android: ActionComplete gets the nod. The coolest feature is that it can be location-enabled. reminding you of tasks based on your geographical coordinates (You are close to the dry cleaners!)
Summing Up â Is it worth it?
Enterprise Value: 3/5 â GTD does not resonate with everyone, therefore it’s hard to implement for large organizations. Look at Nozbe. Also, Backpack is a good enterprise tool and GTD-friendly.
Entrepreneur Value: 5/5 â Focus. How many entrepreneurs do you know who need focus?
Personal Value: 5/5 â Getting your life in order + making dreams a reality!
Let me know what you think!
Todd Hoskins helps small and medium sized businesses plan for the future, and execute in the present. With a background in sales, marketing, and technology, he works with executives to help create thriving organizations through developing and clarifying values, strategies, and tactics. You can learn more at VisualCV, or contact him on Twitter.