What Makes a good GTD List Manager?

Kelly Forrister, one of the coaches at the David Allen Company, recently offered a list of criteria to use when choosing your GTD app.

With such a great list from one of the experts, we thought we’d take a few minutes and show you how we’ve implemented those features in Enleiten for you.

Key features to look for:

  • Sorting lists by context – many programs have a “category” feature that will easily support this.
  • Ability to assign a due date – not forcing it on all of them, but allowing it for those that need it.
  • Portable for on the go access – can be synched to a handheld or printed.
  • Easily accessible – less than 60 seconds to get something in/out.
  • More attractive to you than repelling – you’ve got to like the system your entrusting your brain to.
  • Doesn’t force priority codes – if you know GTD, you know that forcing priority codes is old news and rarely accurate anyway.
  • Place to capture additional notes – attached to an item to capture relevant info related to the item.
  • Ability to search and sort in various ways.
  • Robust enough to handle all of your stuff.

So, how do we do it (as well a sneak preview of what’s to come)?

Contexts:

Add as many contexts as you like to your tasks or projects.

If a project is assigned a context, every task in that project will inherit that context, too.

When you want to work from a context, just click on it in the lefthand navigation bar. You’ll see all tasks in that context, arranged by project. In the table view planned for our next release, you’ll be able to reorder these on the fly by due date, alphabetically, and secondary contexts.

Due dates

Datebook.png

Dates aren’t required. But any task or project can have a due date. The due date adds the task to your next actions list, even if that task isn’t at the top of its project list.

Datebook view lets you view everything with a deadline. And selecting a past date lets you review your completed activities to see how you’re doing.

As a bonus, projects and tasks can be flagged with a start date, so you have a built-in tickler file. If the start date for a task is in the future, it won’t appear in your next actions listing until the date you’ve selected.

Portable

Right now, you can choose your views, print those, and take them with you. In upcoming releases, we’ll be giving you even more flexibility for GTD on the move, including SMS notification, customizable RSS feeds, customizable daily email notifications of your next actions list, and mobile access.

Accessible

We’ve been working hard on creating the kind of accessibility Kelly recommends in her post. Right now, the quick add field makes it possible to jot down thoughts instantly, without leaving your working screen, and process them from your inbox. Processing your email? You can forward your actionable emails to your Enleiten account.

Processing is quick, too – drag and drop to projects to sort your tasks, or even drag and drop to a contact to delegate.

drag.png

Getting to tasks is quick and flexible – next actions, context lists, and project lists are available with a quick click or two.

Attractive

We’ve tried to keep our application sleek and clean. We’ve got plans in the works to allow more flexibility in the appearance of your account, but those are admittedly a little further down the road than development of other features. I love watching tasks disappear as I finish them. And for a little extra motivation, I love being able to view everything I’ve already completed on a project to show myself how much I’ve accomplished.

Priority

If you want to prioritize, you can. In project view, just drag and drop tasks to reorder them. The one at the top of each active project will appear in your next actions list. If you want even more prioritization, you can create a context for each level you want. Tasks and projects can have as many contexts as you need, so working from a priority list won’t interfere with other ways to access your task lists.

Capture additional info

Every task has an optional task detail field for adding as much information as you need. You can also use the comment feature to add notes as you go.

Capture detail.png

Search and sort

Find your tasks the way you want – by project, by context, or by deadline. The table views in our next release will let you sort on the fly to find the right tasks quickly. A full-featured search is on the way too, so you’ll have even more options when we roll that out.

Robust

We’ve built Enleiten’s personal project manager to handle your tasks, whether they’re simple or complex. For large projects, you can use contexts to group sub projects, too, and keep you individual project pages manageable. We believe we have to use our own software deeply, every day, to make it right. We’re a small team, but we run our company off our own system – in addition to our personal lives. We released this beta version because it was finally robust enough we knew we could rely it, and we believe it’ll work for you too.

Accounts are free, so sign up and give Enleiten’s web app a try.

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