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Web App Review: Doit.im Brings a Cross-Platform GTD Experience To The Masses

Web App Review: Doit.im Brings a Cross-Platform GTD Experience To The Masses
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I try very hard to not stray down the path of GTD web apps as it usually leads to me thinking that some other app is better for some other reason and I change my whole entire system over to find that it really has nothing to do with the system in the first place. But, there has been one GTD application that has caught my eye for at least the past year because of its ubiquity and general adherence to GTD principles.

Doit.im is available on the web, on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows, and with a Mac client coming soon and is a full-featured GTD task management app.

I’m not all about making a system into a GTD system; I’d rather have a system that was built with GTD in mind and that is why we will be taking a look at doit.im and how it stands as a full project and action management solution.

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First Impressions

    Like I said before, I have been watching doit.im for about a year or so now and have seen new features and tweaks added to the app as the time has past. The app definitely tries to take the idea of GTD and automate it. You will find the normal “Inbox”, “Someday/Maybe”, and “Waiting For” categories as well as the use of the “Context” and “Project” terminologies. The app’s layout is clean and there are two different versions. The older version takes a “wired notebook” type of look, that in my opinion is annoying. The newer beta version has a sleeker and more clean look and is the one that I have used more. I will say that neither are completely appealing to me.

    One thing that I noticed right off the bat was that the app seemed very slow when accessing online. I tried Safari, Firefox, and Chrome with none of them being noticeably faster. It looks like the developers need to work on the speed of the web app. I found that the beta version was much slower than the “older” version of the app.

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    Where Doit.im lacks in speed and looks the app makes up for it in organization and work flow. Actions and projects are easily added to your lists and applying context and projects to tasks is easy as well. Scheduling tasks for a specific due date works well and adding repeats and reminders is just a click away.

    The one thing that I can’t wrap my head around is how the inbox is handled. My idea was once you added a context or a project to a task that the task should be removed from the inbox and be considered “processed”. This isn’t the case. It appears that you have to either schedule or move the task to Someday or Waiting for to get it out of the inbox. Not necessarily the most intuitive thing, but once you get the workflow down, it shouldn’t be that big of a problem.

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      Features

      Doit.im is absolutely full featured and I would consider it to have almost everything that a GTD practitioner would want in a system including:

      • Cross platform goodness (available on the web, Windows (Mac coming soon), iOS, and Android
      • Creating tasks with context, due date, repeats, reminders, and project criteria
      • Allows for totally separate projects to sort by
      • A nice calendar view to see when stuff is due
      • Ability to create custom tags and contexts
      • Full sync with web, Windows, Android and iOS clients

      The only real feature that Doit.im is missing for this GTD geek is the start date field. I have confessed my love for start dates before, and without them my system starts to feel weak. For some this may not matter at all though.

      Mobile Apps

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        The mobile interface for Doit.im has vastly improved for both iOS and Android since the last time I have looked at it. The design is clean and unique and gives the user access to the most use features of any GTD app; the inbox, context lists, projects, due and scheduled items, waiting for, etc. The app also has a cool new way to add tasks with the “Quick-add” feature which gives the user a task entry bar with the task attributes in button form below the entry box. It’s a super fast way to add new actions to your trusted system.

        The app syncs very quickly and gives the user the option to sync after a certain amount of time or even a “Real-time Data Uploading” feature. This pushes the updates directly to the server as you make them on the device. The developers of Doit.im have made a compelling UI and experience for the mobile apps. In fact, I prefer the mobile apps over the web app.

        Wrap-up

        Like a said before, searching for better GTD apps can turn into an unhealthy obsession. Us GTD geeks like to look for new shiny tools more than we like to use them. I have drawn my line in the ground with OmniFocus, mostly because if I could I would change my tool every week. But, if you are a GTD practitioner or a new GTD wannabe and are in need of a cross platform, full featured, task and project management app, Doit.im is extremely compelling. Plus the app is free online and in the respective app stores. Try it out and see for yourself. While you are at it, let us know what you think in the comments section.

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        More by this author

        CM Smith

        A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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        Last Updated on July 21, 2021

        The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

        The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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        No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

        Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

        Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

        A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

        Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

        In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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        From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

        A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

        For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

        This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

        The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

        That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

        Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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        The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

        Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

        But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

        The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

        The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

        A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

        For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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        But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

        If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

        For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

        These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

        For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

        How to Make a Reminder Works for You

        Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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        Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

        Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

        My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

        Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

        I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

        More on Building Habits

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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        Reference

        [1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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