Using the Mac as your digital hub makes you more productive. It can also make you happy.
Getting things done is one thing. Feeling good about doing your work is something else. Enter the ultimate free Mac tool for efficiency, productivity, and plain old fun.
Here’s the deal. We live in busy times and we lead busy lives. There’s a lot going on and it’s becoming more difficult to keep track of what needs to get done each day.
Can your Mac help? Yes, there are tools that not only help you become productive, and stay efficient, but some of them can make you happy. No, it’s not a magic digital wand application on your Mac. I wish.
Yes, you could spend a ton on Microsoft Office, learn all the intricacies, but, trust me, it won’t make you happy. As much as we like SOHO Organizer, or Circus Ponies Notebook, or Hog Bay Software’s Mori—all which are great tools which will get more work done—they won’t make you happy, too.
You see, all those tools are complex, with so many bells and whistles that you’re likely to blow a gasket heading for the workplace casket, not to mention the fact that they all cost money.
Time is money, but wouldn’t it be great if you could find just the right tool to give you more time, and more money? It’s not only possible, it’s the only way to fly in today’s overly complex digital world.
With just a Mac and not much added to it, there’s tools, utilities, applications, all of which keep you busy—learning, using, maintaining. Is there any way to create a simple center that controls, manages, and reports on everything you need to do?
Yes, yes, a thousand times, yes. Did I mention that iGetting Things Done is free? iGTD is one of those rare Mac utilities that just gets better, keeps on giving back to you, and, ta da!! Doesn’t cost a dime.
iGTD seems to get a new feature or two every week, and this process has been going on all year, so it’s developed into the one tool on my Mac that’s open. All. The. Time.
What is iGTD and what has it done to my Mac?
If you haven’t heard of or read about the Getting Things Done methodology, do yourself a favor and check it out. There’s half a dozen great GTD utilities on the Mac—only one is fun.
iGTD is fun. But something that’s productive, useful, efficient, and fun comes at a price. Fortunately, it’s not money. It’s thinking. We live in a multi-tasking society and we’re all guilty of doing more, juggling more, and enjoying it less—more so than ever.
So, what’s with all these digital tools on our Mac? Shouldn’t they be making life easier? They’re not, which is why you have to try iGTD, try GTD, and try to Think Different by working different.
Basically, GTD is a method for action that lets you move the many daily tasks on your list out of your mind by recording them somewhere else. That’s iGTD.
Then, your mind is freed up and doesn’t have to remember everything, so you can focus attention and effort on actually performing those tasks—but not in the modern multi-tasking way.
iGTD doesn’t request that you set up priorities on a do list. Instead, iGTD asks you to create a context for action. Telephone calls. Downtown errands. Email. Reports. Then, when it’s time to act, that’s what you act on, not 27-eleven other things at the same time.
Once you get it, you become much more efficient, your mind doesn’t worry about what it forgot to do, you get more done, and you feel better about it. That’s GTD, and iGTD helps you get there.
#1 – Start up iGTD and set up some simple “contexts”. These are places or situations where you work on your tasks—office, phone, home, computer, etc. You can even set up sub-contexts to be more specific with tasks.
#2 – Guess what? Projects will never go away, except iGTD lets you work on your projects when it’s best for you. Add as many projects as you need. Each project will have some tasks, right?
#3 – Now, think about tasks. How would you prioritize them, sort them, and which “context” should they go in? See? It’s a different thinking process.
#4 – Put tasks into the iGTD inbox. This isn’t email. It’s the entry point to sorting through all the action items you have so you don’t have to keep them in your head. Trust me, that makes for relief, which makes for efficiency, which is the start on the road to fun and happiness.
#5 – Play some tricks. Your Mac collects stuff that we try to keep track of. Email, web page links, reports, etc. Add what you need from your Mac’s other applications right inside iGTD.
iGTD integrates with Safari, Firefox, Mail, Entourage, NetNewsWire, TextEdit, EagleFiler, and many other productivity applications.
#6 – Export tasks to high heaven (well, to HTML, Excel, or text files). Everyone needs a list of what to do and when, right? Wrong. It should be when to do what.
I lied. It’s not just 6 ways to be productive and happy using iGTD on your Mac. There’s many more. I didn’t want to scare you with a big number.
#7 – Review and process. iGTD makes it easy to store tasks in their proper context so you can focus your attention on doing the work when it’s best to get it done, and not try to remember sixteen other things at the same time.
That means you’ll need to review your contexts and projects and tasks. iGTD makes that part easy with a few point and clicks to filter your lists.
The Mac is all about smart folders and tags these days. We tag our email. We tag this and that. We group things into smart folders. iGTD does that, too.
#8 – Sync me, baby, one more time (sung to the tune of Britneys’ big hit…). iGTD will sync with iCal and your .Mac account. Sweet.
Where’s the fun come in? Create contexts, set up projects and tasks, work them both within the contexts, and you’ll find you are doing more in less time, and don’t have the stress of dealing with all that detail you couldn’t remember anyway. That’s fun.
Also fun is using iGTD to crank through your tasks, mark them off the list, and use a single click to see what you’ve done. That’s fun. See? Productive, efficient, fun. Would I lie to you? Wait. Forget I asked that.
iGTD’s interface is totally Mac-like. The toolbar on top lets you do the basics. Create a context, drop in projects, add tasks, mark completed or change status, review, archive, and sync. iGTD has a handy menubar tool to make it easy to add tasks to specific projects.
Set priorities, change context, set a start and due date, add notes. Easy and intuitive, but it’s a change in thinking—don’t think do lists and priorities in the same way as you’ve struggled with for years. Think contexts first, then add projects and tasks, and work the contexts according to your schedule.
Remember, iGTD is free, so you don’t have much to lose and much to gain. The developer has a forum and a wiki to help get you started and to answer any questions.
iGTD and GTD is a bit of a paradigm shift, but it’s a worthy change. Did I mention that it’s free?