I have spent a lot of time writing about GTD or “Getting Things Done“ task management and the tools that are available to support that. There is a tool however, that would fall outside the purview of GTD Task Management however, still having the power to make things nicer. That is, whether you use GTD as your model or not, you are better equipped at Getting Things Done if you have a tool to assist. In this case here, I want to write about Swipes, a streamlined yet powerful system for managing your tasks.
One of GTD’s Most Annoying and Time Consuming Problems
The principals of GTD are sound. However, when people go to employ the tool they often get carried away with the implementation. One problem is they get so obsessed with what they have to do and every nuance of the project they begin writing everything down.
One immediate problem is if you are constantly writing down what needs to be done how do you get to everything. The second and possibly more serious problem is the clutter it brings to one’s visual field. Where do I start; am I starting with the most significant item and the one that needs addressing now or the one that seemed to be that when I started.
Clutter is a serious problem. If you’re looking at too much not only do you have an obsessional problem with writing out your tasks, projects and contexts, when you go to look at your task manager you can easily become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of tasks. Which task is important; what needs to be done first; how do I find that first item and on it goes.
Some GTD programs have the ability to prioritize so that you are looking at that which you felt to be the most important. However, things change and in the world we’re in they can change at lightening speed. It’s almost impossibly to keep on top of it.
Swipes addresses these two problems very well plus it has the kind of functionality that can grow with you. Swipes encourages one to write down that which needs to be done. It discourages you from writing down every minutiae. This is the first thing it addresses and it addresses this well.
Secondly, Swipes allows you to move things out of your visual field till later. What you can end up with is a very clean and precise visual field. You avoid distractions as you are dealing with what you need to deal with now.
Swipes can be static if you were to make it so but it doesn’t have to be that way. You can always make adjustments to your progam. In fact, something so simple can be ever so powerful. Swipes allows you to defer items removing them from your visual field till you’ve decided you should see it again. If you need to defer the item once again you can do so. If the item just sits there, it can become distracting and if too much sits there to be done, overwhelming.
Swipe away till Later
You can easily complete an item when it’s done by swiping to the right. However, if you swipe to the left, you can defer the item till a later point in time when you can actively work on it. Reducing the amount of work in your visual field can be accomplished by a number of programs, but Swipes does it very easily.
When the item’s time has come about it reappears. Say at this point, you still decide it can wait while you take care of more pressing problems. Swipe it till a different point. You can even make the time more spot on by holding the item you’re going to Swipe and then setting the timer till that point which feels more correct.
Creating, managing and doing your tasks is a very quick when working with Swipes. One of the catch phrases in the productivity world these days is focus. Swipes inherently allows you to focus on that which you deem deserves your focus now and moving items out of the way that can wait. This reduces distraction, tension and increases focus and thus clarity.
Not for Everyone Yet it is a Good Tool
Swipes is not for everyone of course nor is it the right tool for all activities. However, given its cross platform nature and its intuitive operation, it can be an excellent tool for many. On top of that, the creation of the item is exceedingly fast.
Outline the task that needs to be done, state the steps in the task as actions and complete them accordingly and once the full task is completed mark it so.
Integration with Evernote
One of its very cool strengths is its integration with Evernote. Swipes can talk to Evernote and Evernote tasks. When creating a note in Evernote, should it require that something is done, create an Evernote task with checkbox and then in the tags area tag it as Swipes. Swipes will go out to Evernote and import these items in as tasks.
When you complete an Evernote task, you do not have to go searching around Evernote for the task. Simply complete the task in Swipes and it will mark it as done in Evernote. Here not only are you adding a note to explain something but should the note infer something needs doing you can bring easier management to this process by incorporating Swipes. Here you have a free flowing system providing structure to that of the creation of Notes in Evernote thus enhancing your productivity substantially.
A Unique tool for the Times
Swipes brings a very unique approach to the management of tasks. You get things done in a very efficient way without overwhelming yourself.
If you’re very used to GTD programs though, this may seem quite foreign. In reality, you can manage a lot with Swipes but if you’ve used say any of the major GTD programs, it will take a while to adjust to Swipes as your first inclination might be there is not enough horsepower here to manage getting the job done.
In some cases, if the project is of a very complicated nature, another tool, like OmniFocus, might be more appropriate. However, that’s if you know OmniFocus and can resist going to town writing out tasks for every little thing however, even if you do, as long as you know how to filter items carefully so that you’re not overwhelmed by a sea of todo’s, the program can be very beneficial. Knowing how to master OmniFocus in this way though is no small task.
I have seen Youtube videos in which the title might include something like OmniFocus Ninja tricks to get something done. Swipes either makes you a Ninja almost from the get go or it is just not a program that even begins to need this word to describe how to effectively use it.
Knowing that we’re in a world that requires assistance for controlling it; that requires the use of these kind of tools to Get things Done is more than half the battle. The other part though is being able to effectively use the tool to truly assist in the process. This often requires trying different things to determine what works best for you and just using it. If it’s right, the outcome will determine that. You’ll know whether Swipes fills the bill for you or whether you need to apply something different. Regardless, know that there are a slew of tools to aid in the process, use that which feels right and the rest will take care of itself.