I’ve been using the Getting Things Done and 43 Folders method to organize my life for a almost a decade now. It’s definitely a system that works for me. I’ve tried in the past to rid myself of the paper aspect of this method and make it electronic without success. A few months ago, I decided to try it yet again. I’m a loyal reader of the Good Experience Blog. Their GoodTodo list is the electronic tool I chose to try this round.
I’m happy to report that I’ve finally found a method that allows me to go paperless.
The single best feature of GoodTodo is that I can email action items to the list. I can email to firstname.lastname@example.org and it posts it on today’s todo list. I can also use tomorrow, friday, and specific dates to get it there. If I’m emailing someone else, I just BCC my goodtodo and the follow up reminder is set. Attachments to emails stay with the todo and I can attach files to existing or non-email todos also. My scanner has been getting a workout lately.
Here are the other great features of GoodTodo:
- Super clean user interface
- Most things on the site are text, so I can use Firefox’s find-as-you-type to click links instead of reaching for my mouse
- Web based so I can get to it from a variety of places
- Uncompleted todos roll to the next day automatically
- It’s really inexpensive – $18 for 6 months if I remember correctly
I had some initial reservations:
- During the trial, I was limited to 10 new todos per day. It took me about five days to get everything in there.
- I wish I could see the first few words of the text after the title. I might not be so geeked about the super clean user interface, so I’m not sure which I’d like better
- I originally didn’t like that I couldn’t see which future dates had todos in them. Since then, I don’t care. It has an excellent search feature and it turns out that’s all I needed
- I want new todos to be put at the bottom. But I can sort by dragging and dropping, so this is less of an issue
- It didn’t mirror my custom GTD system, but I was willing to try it anyway. I’m glad I did
I customized the 43 folders method because it wasn’t working just how I wanted. Instead of one folder for each day and one for each month, I went to a five folder system: Tomorrow, This Week, This Weekend, Later, and Someday Maybe. Most of my tasks don’t require they be done a particular day, so the five folders more closely mirrored my actual workflow. Some tasks did, however, and I missed being able to file them on a particular day.
With GoodTodo, and my implementation of it, I get the best of both worlds. All added items go to
- Today – the equivalent of my inbox
- Tomorrow – the equivalent of my folder with the same name
- Friday – Formerly This Week
- Saturday – Formerly This Weekend
- Sunday – A combination of Later and Someday Maybe
- A specific date – for those items that require it
I don’t like combining Later and Someday Maybe in Sunday, so I’m working on a different setup for that. I do like that on Monday I’m forced to review all of the Later todos. I’m supposed to be reviewing them once a week anyway, and this is a great system that allows me to do it. I should probably post my Someday Maybe items to the first of the month, which would force me to review them every month.
If you’re looking for a good online todo list, check it out.