From the annals of #GTD

David Allen replies to a new GTDer who is worried about spending too much time on the lists that are essential to successful GTD:

 If by “maintaining” the lists you mean, “write action reminders down in a retrievable place that you’ll look at when you need to,” then it’s not going to take you nearly as much time, effort, and stress as filing it in your head, constantly feeling pressured about what’s in there, and having the thought occur again (and again, and again) in your mind because it doesn’t trust your system



I’ve promised my employers a management plan memo in the next few days. This will serve as the initial road map for how I might bring some quality control to the practice of law. It is all well and good to spout aspirational platitudes, but it is quite another thing to put the proverbial money where they proverbial mouth is.

I think, in their short term, I need a more diffuse monitoring system. I continue to believe that the “task” is  the correct conceptualization of our unit of work. As a result, task management may be, temporarily, set up outside the existing (potentially inadequate) law firm practice management software. That may ruffle feathers, but it will give me a modicome of control, both symbolic and actual.

All the deliberate steps and implementation are bound up with the assertion of confidence. It should be no fiction. I’m taking control.

Stuff like this makes me want to start my own business

I am SUCH a sucker for fancy task management applications.  This one is team-based, which means I have no use for it my button-down-Outlook/proprietary unnamed legal software work life.  But when I see stuff that looks this good and this easy to use, I can’t help but fantasize about implementing it to lead my own team of creative bad-asses to glory – in the law or wherever!  Here’s the New York Times article and below is the promo video.  It’s called Asana.

I’m going back to @6Wunderkinder for task management

The more complicated my life becomes, the more I absolutely depend on task management.  That is not specific to software of any particular kind.  Its about making lists of specific, bite-sized, action items that can be accomplished in an orderly fashion.  The theory is that, with the formation of well-managed lists, the brain is freed up for unbound creativity.

Countless software developers seek to exploit the absolute right-ness of lists and GTD theory with varying success.  The benefit for me is that the excitement of gadgetry and the beauty of design will draw me in to interacting with my lists and promote focus and productivity.  The apps, in short, can be a major boon to getting things done.

At work, I am forced to use Microsoft Outlook.  If it were my business, I would implement a different, customizable solution, instead of the one-size-fits all approach of Outlook Tasks.  But I’m not that high up in the food chain.

In my personal life, which includes a zillion things i need to keep track of for the new baby, music, taxes and finance, social gatherings, and other stuff, I can go whatever direction I please.  My requirements, however, are rigid – cross-platform and cloud-based.  Google would seem a natural, but their task management application is simply a poor appendage grafted onto Gmail.  Astonishingly disappointing.

Before I got forced into Outlook, I used Wunderlist and it was brilliant, though not terribly pleasing to the eye.  After Outlook, I left poor Wunderlist on the side of the road and started with Any.Do.  The latter is a gorgeous Android app that alleges sync with Google tasks.  I love love love the design of Any.Do, but the sync is questionable at best, and there is no app for iOS or Chrome or Mac or Windows.  They say it’s coming, but I’m not seeing any product development or even app updates.

I’m going back to Berlin.  Wunderlist really does have it all, and the appearance is somewhat custimazable to make it a little more pleasing.  I realize the interface may never be ‘slick’, and maybe that’s just not the German way, but this company is going places and they’re delivering everything I need to get things done.

Multi-platform task management


As my move to a Windows 7 work computer gets closer, I’m looking to tighten up my task management.  I think there may be software implemented by the office that all eight of us will use, but I can’t necessarily count on or wait for that.

Some time ago I switched from the gorgeous native Mac app ‘Things‘ to the equally lovely web-app Flow.  Flow is basically Things in the cloud.  As far as I know, Things still doesn’t have a viable cloud sync, which means that mobile device must be synced over wi-fi.  That’s an embarrassing state of affairs.

Flow is pretty much perfect task management, but its expensive: $10 per month or $100 for the year.  But it’s so nice to look at and the platform is so solid and there’s no worry about switching from Mac to PC.  And when users clamored for repeating tasks, they got right to it.  There is still no native iPad app, but I’m sure this will be remedied in short order.

Flow greatest strength may be it’s collaboration facilities.  This app/service is all about teams of people in different places working together and getting the shit done.  Unfortunately, my use of task management is just for me.  So I never had any opportunity to take advantage of the amazing team features in Flow.

Enter Wunderlist.  This is, to be sure, not nearly as sexy as Flow and doesn’t have any of the collaboration potential, at least not yet.  But it is perfect for my purposes.  Free cloud based service – always synced.  Free native apps for iPhone, iPad AND ANDROID!  I never dreamed I would have viable task management on my Android phone, but now it works perfectly.

If my employer implements/mandates task management software, I will still use Wunderlist as a backup and for my personal GTD.