Getting Things Done with GTDNext
These days, every man and his dog is using an app for task management. There is undoubtedly a time and a place for pen and paper – for goodness sake, the retro chic alone justifies it. However, the weight of advantages that now come with software based task management is overwhelming and this is where GTDNext comes in. GTDNext is a web based implementation of the infamous Getting Things Done (GTD), and quite a nice one at that I have to say. Is it really right though for your tasks, my tasks or the aforementioned dog’s tasks? Let’s review.
I like the interface for GTDNext. Everything is clearly laid out with three primary regions,
- Left side: Main menus for projects, next actions, lists etc.
- Middle: Task list
- Right side: Task details
Critically, the usage of the interface is fast and fluid with no noticeable lag. Phew! Always a concern for web based systems.
The main menu section gives one click access to the main lists you would want to access such as inbox, scheduled, someday etc. These correspond directly to the naming in GTD so anyone familiar with the book will recognise these immediately. Next actions and “Focus”, can also be selected. The “Focus” list in this case is the method used in this app to highlight tasks for immediate attention. Next actions will take the sequentially active subtasks from each activity and provide them in a single list.
The centre region allows for task entry and manipulation. In general it is very good. GTDNext simply adopted the method people would generally use to enter outlined text as a basic for entering tasks and forming task hierarchies. So, you enter Task A, hit enter, hit tab and you get a subtask of Task A. I miss some basic features here though such as copying and pasting of tasks and also the ability to select multiple tasks.
The right region for the task details is nicely laid out. It allows for entering dates, notes, tags, uploading files etc. The task can also be files in one of the lists in this area such as Scheduled or Someday. Some critical information may be missing here though such as Responsibility. So, if a task is assigned or waiting for someone it would be nice to indicate who.
The task details tab can also be hidden for an uncluttered view of the main task list.
Features and Functionality
Maybe I start with the things I like with GTDNext before covering some of the areas where I think some improvement is possible. As mentioned fast and fluid task entry and creation of task hierarchies. I would say a must for any task management app. If too much time is spent waiting on the software to do basic things it will not be used in totality and the whole exercise of software based task management starts to lose meaning.
I like the ability to flag/focus items. I often use this approach for highlighting my daily hitlist so nice to see that. It is also possible to over-write the systems natural tendencies and force tasks to be next actions.
Now some difficulties I see with the functionality.
- I want to be able to link local files and I only see the option of uploading filed. Since this tool is not yet collaborative, it is not necessary to upload files if all are accessible locally.
- As mentioned, some basic task details are missing such as responsibility.
- Cannot select multiple tasks. This is a nice time saver with my current task management tool so would nice to have for any web implementation of such a system.
- At present the real advantage of a web tool has not been implemented – Collaboration. GTDNext is still a solo task management tool.
- It is not possible to have different contexts for subtasks. The “Areas”, section of the main menu allows for different contexts to be entered. However, it is foreseeable that subtasks will have different contexts. They may not all be executable within a single “Area”.
- No import option available. How to get a large set of tasks into this system for anyone wanting to migrate?
- No copy/paste for tasks seen. How to replicate?
- No custom filters available. This is a nice feature in other solutions where complex search filters can be created to give whatever view of the tasks you want. Not here.
Many other online task management solutions offer Android or IOS apps to be able to access your task list on the go from a native interface. Not GTDNext, well at least not yet. At the moment then it is limited to a browser interface which is not the most efficient in many mobile situations.
Pricing for GTDNext is quite simple. They offer a free account, J, but with some limitations L . These limitations are 4 areas/contexts and up to 200 projects and actions. You can upgrade to a premium account at $4/month or $29 per year with these restrictions removed and additional archive and restore options.
GTDNext is a promising web based system but at the moment I feel it may be falling between chairs. There are a few tried and trusted ways to attack the market for task management software such as,
- Local software. Some examples include my favourite Abstractspoon todolist or if you are an apple fan there are options like omnifocus. Some synchronisation is also possible with mobile apps.
- Web based todo lists. Too numerous to mention. Any.do, wunderlist, todoist, any.do etc.
- Web based task management for team collaboration. Quite a few also in the marketplace already. Some examples include planio, HiTask and Producteev.
At the moment GTDNext is not quite any of these. It is web based but with no mobile apps at present and with no team collaboration. So, it pretty much dictates that you need to be at your computer to use it. That is also fine but if I am to be desk bound then my preference would be to have a local software solution.
I like the GTDNext interface but as mentioned earlier I would like to see a few more features enabled to really make it a better office solution. So, looks good but I think development still necessary. I wait and see what the team can come up with. Anyway, have a go yourselves and let me know your opinions.