David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” (GTD) is a very popular model for sustained workflow while realizing the potential for stress relief. By Getting Things Done we’re both productive and free up time either for other activities or relaxation.
I’m not going to spend much time explaining David Allen’s model as I’ve spent a fair bit of time exploring modeling, workflow and GTD as a model for a productive workflow. However, in the model, key to it’s effectiveness is having a trusted system that you can count on to enable your activities. Further, these tools must be trusted so that you can let go of the things you need to organize to the tools. It’s only when you can let these things go to your trusted system that you can achieve true productivity and relax. In GTD the common wisdom is that our brains are really only good at remembering 7 or 8 things. By letting it go to our trusted system we can truly become productive while at the same time relax.
In Search of a New System
I used to be a die hard OmniFocus user. However, I’ve lost my enthusiasm with OmniFocus. Their inability to come out with OmniFocus 2 for the Mac has left me cold. Instead, they came out with OmniFocus 2 for the iPhone. I see this as problematic from a number of angles. OmniFocus for the Mac is old and tired. OmniFocus for the iPhone was a fine product. The system I trusted I can no longer trust. This is a major failing in the GTD model and now I have to find a system I trust and like.
Number of GTD based Systems
There are a number of GTD based systems from Things through to Taskpaper. Even the release of 2Do has elements that could make it a GTD based system. In my testing of these systems though none grabbed me and none measured up to OmniFocus. Even though OmniFocus is old and tired it is still a very capable system. Yet, Omni the company is not able to come out with it’s successor. I suspect there’s more to the story than meets the eye. Regardless, I and many measure a GTD based system on the back of Omni.
Along came FireTask
In my search for a new system I literally stumbled across Firetask. This is a fresh, Mavericks and IOS 7 based system. Far from a version 1 system, it obviously has some miles behind it. I discovered it had been revamped for the new OS’s. It’s a great looking system.
I have to warn you now that Firetask is a system that I have newly discovered. Yet, I have a sense for these products of all kinds. This is a nicely, polished system that has a great appearance and way of working. Unlike Omni, it is quite intuitive. It’s also incredibly fast and nimble something which Omni is not.
Firetask as GTD System
My concern here is not the bells and whistles of Firetask or which button you press to get it to do X,Y or Z. First is this a capable GTD system. I would have to say at, first blush, this is a fully capable GTD system and one that you can easily get your mind around. It has been built from the ground up as a GTD system.
Billed as a Project centric GTD system it lives up to it’s calling. All tasks belong to a project even if it’s a miscellaneous project. This is a quick and robust system to work with. It however, works with one of the traditional approaches to Task management. It sports priorities and reminders.
I love it. It is a very fresh, minimalistic but feature rich GTD system that has just one component of traditional task management and that is priorities and reminders.
This is an easy system also to work with. You can quickly build your tasks up and assign them to projects. Yet, should you need to it takes nothing to reassign them to different projects. So the critical criteria of a project oriented system is met.
Sports Contexts and Tags
Another critical component of GTD is that of contexts. We do tasks in the context of a place, thing or activity. By supporting contexts, it is easy to grab your contexts, throw tasks together based on context and see, as an example, if I have a phone I can easily work on this group of tasks in these various projects. Efficincy now we’re happening.
Firetask ends my Search for a replacement to my OmniFocus
My search for a system to replace the system I relied upon so dearly has ended. It has stopped with Firetask. I like this system. I like the look and the feel of the system. Most of all I like it’s capabilities. It is, in my view, a powerful yet intuitive and friendly GTD system.
Firetask’s capabilities are further extended out with tags. Tags in fact can help manipulate an entire project. They provide an additional way to pull together components of a project. Tags are not generally found in GTD systems but they are in this one and they are used expediently.
Firetask Smokes It
Firetask does in fact smoke it. It gets the job done in a great looking system. Omni folk would have to do a little work adjusting to Firetask but honestly not much. Anyone versed in GTD, a GTD system or better still both will take to Firetask with no problem.
Just to add one little word on this find of mine. The name Firetask emanates from the concept that when a project is overdue it is on Fire. Overdue tasks are clearly but not garishly marked as overdue. However, you know that their overdue and they need tending to.