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nathanb131

Posted: Mar 09, 2012



I did try Outline. I'm surprised it's written by the Bonsai creator. It's very slick. Though I think there are too many steps involved in checking off items or adding them. The way I use lists feels more smooth with Checkmark, on the Android anyway.

Right now I'm doing a lot of playing around with checkmark-gtasks to see if that's a viable solution to all my non-gtd lists (packing, books, etc). Though the best solution is one where 70% of the data entry and list structuring is done on the pc and just small adds and checking off is done on the phone.... Gtasks won't even allow me to collapse trees, that's annoying.

Maybe I will try to find my old desktop version of bansai from one of my ancient archives... But thinking of that is making me wonder if there's anything that will sync with the desktop version of listpro....
nathanb131

Posted: Mar 08, 2012



Found a pretty decent answer to my own question. I finally found several multi-level outliner apps in the market, but only 2 that were easy to deal with on the phone: Checkmark by Greenbeansoft and iRT Gtasks Outliner(in beta).

They both sync with Gtasks to store the lists. It's a little strange to have way more metadata on the mobile version of the sync than the annoyingly simple gtasks online. Also I hate that I can't 'collapse' trees in gtasks like these mobile apps do.

Since I always have gmail open I'm intrigued about using it as my list app, I've always avoided it for tasks but for lists with simple meta-data but complex outline structure it's actually very slick.

Also, both of these apps say they will sync with a desktop version of Natara Bonsai. Those of you that used to have Palm OS will remember Bonsai as a ListPro alternative that wasn't quite as pretty to use but more powerful. So I guess it's possible to have very close to a Palm OS listpro experience with these apps if you want to do desktop syncing again.
nathanb131

Posted: Mar 07, 2012



Dave, question for you. Have you found a list app after Listpro that not only allows multi-level outlining but collapsing of those trees? From all I see of Listmaster, it doesn't even support outlining.

For me, that is the killer feature of a really good lister. Because if you are going to bother with a checklist, then it should be pretty thorough. If it's going to be thorough then it will be really long and annoying to actually use if you can't collapse in the sub-items. If it's short...well then ANY app will do.

Example: Travel checklist. Ideally, it would be of major categories (like electronics, work clothes, gym clothes,toiletries, itinerary logistics etc). Because I don't like to forget minor things like fingernail clippers, it means a that this list is up to 4 layers deep and like 50 items long....

Do I stop and check EACH ITEM every time I pack? No way. It's just a reminder run-down, like the Checklist Manifesto prescribes. I loved how with Listpro I could quickly scan a category and it's subsets, checking off any stragglers, and then being able to check off the entire tree. Then collapse that tree...so I wouldn't have to scan through 50 items for missing checks on my way out the door. Instead, I just peak at the 6 or so major categories and if they are all 'checked' then I would KNOW I didn't forget a thing and didn't have to 'run-down' the list several times when packing.
nathanb131

Posted: Mar 05, 2012



1. Task templates with desktop shortcuts. This is how to balance having a really powerful system without having to pick many different meta-data options just to enter a quick task.
2. 'inbox' for quick un-categorized entry and also shows how many items are in that inbox.

These are about the only things I'd change about Ultimate To Do list. It would be very hard to improve upon that one since it gets so many things right. Though I think Toodledo/UTL is for people to create their own hybrid gtd system. If you are looking to do a more formal gtd app then needs are a little different.
nathanb131

Posted: Mar 05, 2012



Haha, good point. I happily pay decent money for good software. I should have said that I'm not paying more than $1 on a mobile app without trying it first. I'd rather have a trial on a $10 app than a no-trial $5 app. Though I guess there is the return policy. Anyone every use that as a way to test drive software?
nathanb131

Posted: Mar 05, 2012



I haven't read about anyone referring to parent and child tasks being able to be in separate folders. I found that out by accident once but don't use a separate folder for my projects list and therefore don't use it. Though for those that do like to keep a separate project list in a folder then you can still have your next actions both in a different folder and nested under that project by clicking on that tree view icon. Not sure how this translates to UTD on Android.

To answer the forum question, I prefer to just have projects as the parent task in my next actions lists. I found that defining every task as either a stand-alone next action OR part of a bigger project would make my system confusing because I wanted to see all my next actions in the same list regardless of dependencies.

I used priority filters for this. Like setting a -1 priority to a project (parent) in my next actions folder will hide this from most of my views. But all the child tasks have that icon indicating if they are part of a project or not and I can just click that to quickly see the 'tree' view and all the sister tasks with it. Very often I manage really simple projects by just replacing the text of the current finished task with the next step with the list of 'steps' within the notes.

Like what would 'mow the lawn' be if your mower needed gas or a repair? Normally it'd be a simple next action but in this case it depends on one or two things. Is it really worth a goal or category designation? To me, this is what a toodledo project is, just a better defined task. I'd either put in a task as 'get mower gas:mow the lawn', or enter 'get gas' and put in 'mow' in the comments to remind me it's part of a slightly bigger picture. If it required three or more things with different opportunity windows and contexts I'd create dependent tasks.

Larger projects, like 'build a garage' or 'landscape the yard' would require their own habitat though. So that I don't constantly wonder if a project is 'big enough' to warrant a folder, I'll just link to One-Note or a document for that sort of stuff, so the 'project' is a placeholder task in toodledo with generally the current next action listed with it's title.

I'm amazed at how disciplined or organized some on here are to maintain way more organized systems than mine. I've just found that making 'projects' an informal part of my task lists (either as parents or defined in task notes) keeps my lists fluid and functional for me.

Just an FYI, my system (always evolving of course):
Folders:
Home-all non-work projects and tasks
Work-all work projects and tasks
Money-I put due dates in here, otherwise I don't want to see my monthly bill-rundown reminders amongst my general lists for personal and work tasks.
Someday/Maybe-self-explanatory
Routines-I don't want my intentions of taking out the trash every thursday to clutter up my scheduled start dates from the first three folders so this is where those non-critical habit forming intentions go. Packing lists and other checklists go here too in the form of notes.
Fitness-Same as above, specific to fitness.
Infotainment-things to add to 'to watch, to-read, to-listen etc'

I use Ultimate To-Do list for Android and really like Rapid-Fire tasks to enter some pre-defined tasks to save the time of picking categories and folders for common entries such as work-today and home-this week.


This message was edited Mar 05, 2012.
nathanb131

Posted: Mar 05, 2012



Thanks for the video link. It was really helpful, wish it showed more about nested outlining and hierarchy organization within the lists instead of just how robust it is with item options. That may be the best capacitive touch screen option we are going to get. What I really liked about listpro was that I could enter in new items 'inline' without having to pop open the line entry. Then I could easily drag and drop single or multiple nested items around the hierarchy with my stylus. That was such a nice combo of ease of use and powerful capabilities.

I think I just might try evernote with shortcuts to lists on my Android for now. I hate the idea of dropping $7 on an app that is rock solid but I won't like the way it feels enough to actually use it like I did with listpro.
nathanb131

Posted: Mar 02, 2012
From Topic: Braindead Tip



Got it, so if someone was a strict Dave Allen disciple, they consider context, time, and energy. Braindead is for low energy/motivation then?

That's intriguing...maybe I need to implement that. At times when I'm not motivated, I avoid my lists knowing that they are full of guilt of things I SHOULD be doing but don't feel like. Maybe filtering by 'braindead' at those times would be a good mind-trick to still find productive uses of my normally wasted time. Like right now...
nathanb131

Posted: Mar 02, 2012



Thanks for the post Christina. I'm a tinkerer too but keep coming back to Toodledo/UTD.

Responses to your post:
-40,000 business contacts.... oh. my. god.

-Do you REALLY still use a Palm for lists? I still have my old beloved orange treo 680 and have often considered knocking the dust off it just to use listpro again for certain things. Then I come to my senses and try to get my 'droid to do that...then I get sad because there isn't an alternative.

Dave and I are on a quest to find one, thanks for the pointers Dave!

I actually LOVE MS OneNote and use that for my business notes. When at a PC (I have a tablet PC :-)), it's the perfect personal note wiki. This alone has tempted me to go to Windows Phone...just for the native one-note integration. I was very excited that MS FINALLY came out with the Android client. It's good for reference, but isn't quick. Something like that at least needs shortcuts to get to individual pages. It doesn't, yet.

In my trials I have found that I need customization with a limit. Like you CAN use evernote for a complete, bulletproof gtd. Read their message boards, there are some very rock solid systems! But to do that you need discipline to set up your system and work it and trust yourself to be disciplined about it.

I'm not disciplined enough for that. That's why I'm drawn to things like Toodledo, which gives be structure so that I don't go down too many tangents but the freedom to tweak as much as I want. UTD is the perfect sync for that.

So for high level thinking, life plans, long term reference type stuff (and client notes for work). I prefer OneNote.

For mid-level GTD stuff, it's Toodledo/UTD. By the way, I didn't realize UTD had a desktop sync, I may need to check that out...

For 'working lists' like movies, books, groceries, packing lists, routines etc etc... I'm still looking. This needs to be quick, ubiquitously synced, structured, and enable outline nesting. Dave's got me tempted to try Evernote for this again. But for those of us that were spoiled by listpro on palm, everything just feels inferior in some way.

I was really excited about Wunderlist/Wunderkit as a low level lister...but it's set up as a to-do thing, not a list thing, and doesn't allow indenting. I use it now for a few lists just because I like it, but in the long run it won't do.


This message was edited Mar 02, 2012.
nathanb131

Posted: Mar 02, 2012
From Topic: Braindead Tip



Can you explain what you mean by 'braindead'? Would that be your 'note to self' random ideas to be reviewed later?

For my low priority tasks I generally put a negative priority on it and most my lists are sorted by priority.
nathanb131

Posted: Mar 02, 2012



I did look into Listmaster for android. It looks like it might be good enough. Though $7 without a free trial version? That's pretty steep!
nathanb131

Posted: Mar 02, 2012



Thanks for the response Dave.

What I miss most about my old Lispro/Treo combo was the quickness. Back in the day, I could jot that quick entry into the list with so little time and attention with that quick OS, touchscreen and keyboard combo. It was perfect. It spoiled me.

Of course modern smartphones are better in other ways, but this isn't one of them. It wasn't until I went to a Blackberry for work that I realized how killer of a combination a keyboard and resistive touchscreen was for something like Listpro.

I only use Wunderlist for a few working lists just because entering ONE quick item at a random time in the day is the best I've found (for android). You are right though, it is way too simple for us OCD gtd'ers for the other stuff.

I've revisited Evernote a few times and maybe I should again. It just doesn't 'feel' right to me and I don't really have a rational reason for that. I really love OneNote and it's hard to use something else as an 'anything you want it to be' wiki after using OneNote. I love evernote's entry and access ubiquity and frequent updates. But like almost all other modern smartphone apps, there's a hint of lag to it that bothers me.

It's frustrating. Four years ago I had a really nice reverse-checklist for groceries in ListPro. It had all my normal items that I could filter by store and section and I could just flag what I needed for the latest trip. Now, I'm back to just using an electronic version of a blank sheet of paper (wunderlist) just so I can quickly enter something. Sure, there are dozens of specialized grocery listers on Android that do this. I really liked Grocery IQ.... but I got tired of the forced closes, the intermittent lags (probably when loading ads)...just all the extra stuff I didn't need.

Packing list.... same thing too.

Sorry for the rant, I am glad that I'm not alone in this!

I did stumble across My Life Organized. http://mylifeorganized.net/ It has a listpro like design but might be too gtd specific to work as a real checklister.

Do you think it's just an interface limitation for capacitive screens that we can't have a quick but robust checklister which allows seamless indenting?


This message was edited Mar 02, 2012.
nathanb131

Posted: Mar 02, 2012



Dave,

I also miss Listpro. Was my favorite app on the treo and am still looking for it's replacement with Android. It was quick, intuitive, and robust. I kept my shopping, packing, routines, gift ideas, music/book, etc etc. Now it's many years later and all that info is in separate platforms.

Because there isn't a good alternative, it has forced me to consider what a 'checklist' really is in order to decide where to store it.

I've categorized what used to all be in Listpro as such:
-Routines
-Tasks
-Reference
-Working Lists

-Routines: This thread and that book are generally about routines. A list of things that guides you through a process or keeps you from forgetting something. For me, those don't necessarily need to be 'checked off', just referred to. Therefore they can usually just be text. Like if it's a packing list, do I really need to be able to check off 'socks' instead of just seeing the word in order to prevent me from forgetting to pack them? I keep a 'routines' folder in toodledo for this. The 'checklist' can be a note if it's just something to be referred to intermittently (like trip-packing). For recurring lists I want to pop onto my radar like regular tasks (like weekly cleaning), they are tasks in that folder and the list is in the notes of that task. These won't change much, just evolve slowly over time, so that don't have to be that easy to get to and quickly edit (like a grocery list does).

-Tasks: General GTD. Obviously I use Toodledo for that.

-Reference: This is where I miss Listpro the most. There was just something about it that made it so fun to list everything in there. Now my music-to-get, movies-to-watch, books-to-read, want-to-do etc reside in different places. My 'inbox' for this is in a toodledo folder called 'infotainment'. Currently I use Amazon wishlists for most of this...though I'm not sure I'm completely happy about that.

-Working Lists: Now here I'm talking about shopping lists and stuff like that. Lists that are constantly being added to and used (but in a different way than tasks). Sure this could also be contained within the notes of a weekly 'grocery shopping' task. The problem is friction. I need to be able to very quickly jot down line items in lists like that because they occur to me randomly and if they take more than a couple of clicks to enter then I will NEVER enter them! Toodledo (and all it's Android clients) is just a little too cumbersome for me to add 'apples' to my grocery list when it occurs to me.
I want this to be a real checklist, not just a text note. Don't want it to be robust-but-cumbersome task manager....
My current solution for this is Wunderlist. The web and android interface are a joy to use and oh so simple! I love to use it so much that I took a whack at putting my gtd in there but that didn't fly. But I still use it for groceries and things like that.

Though I'm still looking for that listpro replacement so I can converge some of my info back into one thing... it's almost silly to see that there are so many powerful list programs out there but after listpro they just don't fit right.

Thanks for the link, I'll check that out.


This message was edited Mar 02, 2012.
nathanb131

Posted: Jan 04, 2012



Jeff,
Nice post, I think your experience mirrors many of ours. Like you, I've gone away and came back to TD with UTL on Android several times because the alternatives always have features that are lacking.

I will admit that I only skimmed your post and intend to come back to it but I have two observations:

1.Task ordering- I have struggled with this myself where I waver between ordering the list or just filtering by due date, start date, priority rating, context, etc.
I'm not sure this is a feature that would be good to be in the practice of using if it exists. First of all, it is against core GTD principles to try to order your lists. According to Allen, it's much more important to have complete lists than to try and prioritize from 1 to 20 because a main goal of GTD is to avoid constantly prioritizing the short-term urgent over the long-term important.
IF it is important to you to use contexts, categories, priority, etc, then I think that manual ordering within those filters would tend to override the whole point of even bothering to organize by those other aspects.
The only time I'd want to fiddle with ordering was if I was using a simple system like Wunderlist. The more complex your system (the more fields you select when entering the task) the lower your need to manually order your lists should be.
Like you, I am also uncomfortable with only having un-ordered lists and like to use a pseudo-priotization method to keep me focused. For this I like Linenberger's spin on GTD: http://masteryourworkday.com/blog His method prescribes setting start dates for short term task targeting.

2. Inbox: You submitted an example of defining subtasks and then having them wrongly still be in the inbox. To me, once you defined those tasks under the project, I immediately thought "oh good, they skipped the inbox". So your dilemma confused me.
I think of the inbox as my lazy box, not the only-point-of-entry-for-every-item. Its for stuff I jot on the go but don't want to define at that time. If I take a few more seconds to define the item (by choosing folder, project, context, start date, etc etc), then it automatically has bypassed the 'inbox' and is IN the system where it needs to be. For me, the inbox is not a specific folder or other type of container, it's a filtered view of anything with no context, no priority, no folder, no project, etc.
Remember, GTD was born of a paper system. 20 years ago your entire 'trusted system' wasn't contained within your little pocket notebook. It was in your desk back at the office or home. In those days, the BEST you could do was maybe note how you were going to define it once you got back to your system to properly file it. Whether it was defined in your head or not still didn't prevent it from living in your inbox until you could properly put it in it's place. Now we DO have the entire system in our smartphone. So the inbox idea is important as it enables us to lazily jot down thoughts and ideas but if we are able to define it upon entry then it skips the 'inbox'.
nathanb131

Posted: Jan 04, 2012



I don't understand why you are choosing to use RTM specifically because Toodledo doesn't have it's own branded app.

Is it because you are looking for ALL features to translate to the mobile experience?

Is it because you don't want to pay for a separate app if you are already a paying premium customer?

It's not my intention to be trolling here, I'm honestly just trying to understand it to know if I'm missing something.

The ONLY reason I use toodledo is because of the customization options. The online experience is ok but there are other websites that are a better online UI (like Wunderlist, RTM, Producteev, etc). If I want an easier-but-SIMPLER system then I wouldn't be here.

I understand if you don't like the idea of the mobile app to be missing some features of the online app. But even so, isn't it STILL far more features than the alternatives?

As a made up example, lets say RTM has 12 features you like in terms of different fields to tweak, organization methods, etc. So their mobile app has all 12. Awesome. But compared to RTM, Toodledo has 18 features you'd want in an 'ideal' system. There might not be an official mobile app syncing ALL 18, but there's a handful that are still more than the 12 max that you'd have with an RTM-mobile combo.

I use Ultimate To-Do list and find that the syncing is rock solid and it actually has a better UI than the web-site. I haven't personally ran across a feature that isn't matched. Especially since it supports custom views. Reading this thread has shown me that the 'due-after' function isn't supported. Never even knew that existed until now. I'm finding it hard to imagine why I'd personally use that instead of 'start date' but that's cool if someone values it. But what OTHER service even has that in it's main offering, let alone mobile?

Also, in my experience, there are a lot of services who's 'official' mobile app is way worse than some 3rd party options. A few examples for me would be Outlook syncing, Google Calendar, Picasa. I'd be willing to bet that if Toodledo ever did release an android version that I wouldn't like it nearly as much as UTL or DueToday. Maybe it'd be the best but I doubt it, based on how mediocre their web interface is!
nathanb131

Posted: Oct 29, 2011



My Android has this as a native function. I have the Droid3 and maybe this is an update for Gingerbread (v2.3). But just holding down the search button brings up the voice control and 'note to self sends it to gmail'....

However, I didn't think of the ability to autoforward... That saves a step, thanks!

I recently started using an app called Rapidfire Tasks which automates specific email-to-task/note services. It has toodledo, evernote, and a couple other options. You can create an icon shortcut for specific entries, such as grocery list, to-do-today, to-do-next-week, inbox note, someday task...etc. So instead of opening evernote or toodledo and then selecting the appropriate fields you can just hit that particular icon and only have to type the entry without having to specify due date/folder/urgency etc etc.

I love the ability to customize and overcomplicate with toodledo but sometimes this creates a lot of resistance to easily entering a simple little item without the fear of it falling through the cracks. Having these pre-configured quick entry options really helps!