One of the interview questions I ask prospective students is, “If I asked one of your friends to describe you to me, what would they say?” If I answered that question I would hope that my friends would say that I am organized. I love being organized. I wouldn’t say that I am obsessive or unhealthy about my organization but I am proud of it.
With the above in mind I read David Allen’s Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (GTD) this summer, and coupled with the addition of my beloved iPhone, have taken my organization to a new level. The purpose of this article is not to share the ideas behind Allen’s work, although I must say that I am a BIG fan and have adopted most of what he suggests, my purpose today is to wax poetic about 5 reasons why I love of the online to-do list called Toodledo.
1. Implementation of GTD
Toodledo, http://www.toddledo.com, does the best job of implementing the GTD model online. For a great summary of the GTD method you can check out this article. The first step to GTD is to create an inbox with everything that you must accomplish, whether that is now, next week, or next year. After you fill your inbox you need to schedule those to-do’s that you cannot get done in 2 minutes and this is where Toodledo shines. When creating a task there are a couple of steps that by default will need to be filled out: Name, Folder, Context, Due Date, Repeat, Repeat From, and Note. This follows along the GTD system nicely and where Toodledo shines is the To-Do List which allows you to sort your to-do’s by Due Date, Folder, or Context. Overall it’s elegant and very simple.
2. iPhone Application
Now that have an iPhone 3GS I make it a prerequisite that all online applications have iPhone App companions. Toodledo has an excellent iPhone App that syncs the online version and iPhone version seamlessly. If I enter a to-do on the iPhone it appears without problem online and visa versa. The iPhone App also lets you sort or filter your tasks by Due Date, Folders, or Contexts. Both the online version and iPhone App let you “star” those very important tasks that must have your attention. The iPhone App is also very customizable.
Toodledo online maintains a Forum that I have found very helpful. Major topics include News, Questions, Tip & Tricks, Time Management, GTD, General Off Topic, Developers, and Third-Party Applications. The Forums are robust, timely, and very helpful.
Toodledo online has a menu item entitled Scheduler which is best explained by their website:
The Scheduler is useful for when you are feeling indecisive or don’t have the energy or motivation to be as productive as you could be. All you need to do is specify how much time you have available to work and Toodledo will tell you what to do.
Toodledo analyzes your due-dates, priorities, task lengths, modification dates, and other characteristics to determine the best use of your time. If you have 2 hours free, Toodledo can pick the tasks from your list that will be the most effective usage of your time. Be sure to estimate the length of as many tasks as possible, because if the scheduler does not know how long a task takes, it may not be able to accurately schedule your time.
Let me just say that I love Scheduler. I don’t use this all time but there are certain times, e.g. only have a certain amount of time, overwhelmed and not sure what to do next, or during the late afternoon when I’m low on energy and don’t want to think. At those times in particular Scheduler gives me that little push to get one more thing done that day.
Toodledo online allows you enter Notes with each to-do. While I don’t enter extra notes with each to-do it has been very helpful when I’ve used this feature. Another bonus is that the note will be synced with the iPhone App so I can have all of the information I need while on the run.
I’ve tried other GTD online systems including Nozbe and Get It Done App and while I thought both products were good and would definitely make some people happy I simply preferred the combination of features available with the online and iPhone App version of Toodledo. There are many more features than I have listed and I would love feedback from any one else using Toodledo or anyone using another product that they have found helpful.