I’m in search of a task management system that will suit the needs of david allen model Getting Things Done. I’ve completely given up on OmniFocus. The Desktop product is tired and dated and clearly doesn’t fit with the rest of the line. Further, I’ll be waiting a long time a I suspect for the ever elusive OmniFocus 2. Unfortunately, OmniFocus no longer works for me.
I felt this to be not what GTD is all about at all. For the system to be effective, we have to trust the system. The reason for this is we are turning over to our trusted system our work. To feel at ease and know everything is going to operate well we need to trust that system. It’s only in this way can we relax as we will feel at ease that everything is in the right spot.
There are better Options
Rather than struggle on any longer with OmniFocus I decided it was time to move on. As I’ve discovered, there are better options that are cost effective.
I recently wrote about one product I came across called Firetask that was built to be a projects oriented GTD system. This is a very modern system with a nice clean look founded on the principles of IOS 7 and Mavericks. I quite like Firetask but I’ve come across a system that works better for my style.
The one thing I missed in Firetask is task dependencies. Certainly there are project based dependencies but I also like working with task based dependencies also. The Firetask crew is planning on building in simple dependendencies but I decided to continue to look.
The Hit List is a Hit
A development team had recommended the Hit List to me a while back but I resisted looking at the product in depth as you have to pay $20 per year for sync. This struck me as a lot on top of the price of the product so at the get go I didn’t look at the product.
However, as I read about the product I felt that it would work the way I like to work. I took to the Hit List instantly. This was not only the perfect GTD system for me but it was one that worked and made a ton of sense. In a nutshell, I liked this system immediately. It was a fluid, flexible and easy to work with system that just made sense.
This was GTD as good as it gets. GTD was never about having something so complex you never got anything done. It is just the opposite. It is all about Getting Things Done so that you have some free time for yourself.
The Hit List Helps me Get Things Done
One of the things I immediately noticed about this system is how easy it is to learn and more importantly understand. Added to that is the fact that the system can be almost entirely keyboard driven. The commands made sense and I just wanted to use them rather than the mouse as it was just so efficient.
It certainly helps to know GTD but that’s a necessary precursor to the use of this system. The second thing I immediately took to is any task could have dependencies and of course be a part of a project. The creation of tasks and children of tasks is so natural and easy. Yet, it makes everything you have to do so much more understandable.
The system can have both contexts and tags for organizational purposes and start times and due times to create some structure. You can even measure how long it takes you to carry out a task if you want.
It has a tabbed interface which allows you to view your data in a variety of ways. Sync is available but for the iPhone only. There isn’t an iPad client. That’s the only thing missing for me. Although I primarily use my Mac I spend a lot of my time on my iPad as that’s what I like doing my reading and research on.
GTD is about Letting Go and Flow
GTD, the model, is very much about letting go to your trusted system so that you don’t have to retain all the stuff that has to be done in your mind. In practice, it is impossible for anyone to retain all the stuff they have to do. We can only retain about 7 or 8 things at a time. For many people without a good system they revert to such things as sticky notes which can and does lead to chaos.
GTD is also very much about flow. If you have a sound system that you trust it should just flow one thing to another. This not only provides structure but does allow you to get things done and have some time to relax. In fact, while you’re doing things you should theoretically be able to relax more as your system maintains all the stuff in a logical fashion that you need to do.
The Hit List wins on both counts. This is what I’d call a good, flexible and modern GTD system. It works with you and not against you. It doesn’t encourage you to put needless tasks in there just for the sake of putting todo items in it but I suppose you could if you wanted.
What it does do is provide you with a system you can trust and one that works with you. It seems to have been designed to be intuitive enough that you can dig into it fast but it is a rich system in terms of functionality. It is often difficult to cross that bridge. Often systems are one or the other but not both.
Although there is this added cost for sync this would not be necessary for everyone but I’m sure it is for the majority. What I have observed about sync is that it is fast and flawless. I’m sure the developer could convert this over to iCloud if he wanted to but regardless the system in its totality certainly works for me and it does it well.