Tag Archives: tasks

Springpad Online Notebooks Review

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about a new productivity application called Springpad.

Springpad is one of the more interesting attempts at organization currently available from designers who wish to provide a fresh take on productivity software.

Although it is probably best taken as a single part of a total organizational plan the system is nonetheless a very impressive program which can go a long way toward providing users with a forum for keeping their thoughts and lists in one attractive and detailed place.

The software is exceptional and provides easy access coupled with pleasant visuals. Springpad’s designers have obviously spent a significant amount of time ensuring that their organizational method is both functional and graphically impressive.

Navigation of various Springpads and their editing or maintenance features is very well established and easy to pick up and get used to using while the aesthetics are all extremely clean and colorful, proving conducive to the experience rather than acting as an unnecessary level of eye-candy.

Design elements such as lots of open space and simple icons work together to create a beautiful home for daily list creation and editing.


Due attention should be paid to the unique Springpad system that has been developed here. The programmers have created their very own nomenclature and sorting method through their ‘springpads’— essentially any number of organizational pages and sections for users to customize. The developers have created a substantial number of Springpads with templates for popular organization projects (holiday shopping, grocery lists, weekly chores, medical check-ups and prescriptions, etc.) so users can easily pick a well-established outline for common work.

Aside from this, it is quite easy to learn how to make your own, specially tailored and completely personalized Springpads from the tools provided.

As mentioned before, Springpad is probably best taken as one aspect of a larger GTD (or other) productivity plan. Even from within this light the program still offers a fantastic option for any individual’s organizational system.


GTD devotees will most likely get the best mileage out of using Springpad as a temporary holding place for their short-term actions.

Springpads are great places to keep next actions or tasks which may have many different facets but still require completion within a small time-frame.

They can also be shared among other users or re-used when the situation calls for repeat access (like in daily or weekly actions such as meal preparation or regular work tasks).

Lastly it should be noted that each Springpad can have online features added in to enhance their usefulness. Through the addition of maps, location-based favorites (such as restaurants, hotels and more) or e-events, users can easily improve the functionality of every one of their lists and pages.

Springpad does a good job of keeping its users up to date on all company news, job listings and community information through their homepage.

Tutorials and in-depth guides to the system abound which help to ensure that even novices will have a painless process getting used to creating and editing their own Springpads. The hosted blog also helps in keeping all application updates and information in one place as well.

Users who try out Springpad are sure to be happy with at least some aspect of the program given the detail present in each organizational option intended by the developers.

Although it may ultimately prove to be a bit shallow on the whole for those who want a single resource for all of their productivity tasks, Springpad should still be commended for its inventive take on GTD software and organizational software in general.

Do you use Springpad?, If so, I would love to hear your thoughts on the application.

5 Vacation Productivity Tips

Vacation Productivity
I am going away tomorrow to Centerparcs with my family. I am looking forward to a nice week in the forest spending quality time with my family.

Like many people, I work hard and taking time out is quite hard due to the pressures of running your own business. However, bonding and spending quality time with your family is also very important and getting that work life balance is always key. I have four children so spending time with them is one of my main priorities but luckily I am home a lot so get a lot of time to spend with them.

Luckily, I have always been able to utilize my vacations as great “think tanks”. I always seem to come out of a vacation more energized than when I went in. Some of my greatest ideas have come out of being away on vacation.

I think it is the fact that I remove myself from my daily routine, so my brain is able to focus its thought patterns on other, more creative tasks.

I thought I would take the time to share what I consider to be five great tips for getting the most out of a vacation from a productivity point of view:

1 – Ensure You Leave With No Open Loops

Before you go on vacation, I feel that it is imperative that your Open Loops are closed.

What I mean here for those of you new to the term Open Loops is that you have to ensure your mind is free of niggling tasks that must be done before you leave. In the few days leading up to your vacation, it is very important to hone your productivity skills in order to complete the tasks that must be complete.

I like to prioritize the tasks that must be done before I go away and things that can wait. I do a pre-vacation review and get my task system in place with a clear defined list of actions that I must do in order to go away with a clear mind.

2 – Let People Know You Are Away

I always let people who may be needing me in the week I am away know that I am going to be away. This sets their expectations and removes the worry that you will get something to deal with that is urgent whilst you are away.

A very important thing to do is to set your Out Of Office Assistant letting people clearly know that you are away, when you will be back, who they can contact whilst you are away, and what they can do if they need to contact you.

Using a system like AwayFind is a fantastic resource for covering when you are on vacation. I have just changed my regular Out Of Office message to state that I am away on vacation with limited access to email, but they can still send me an urgent message through AwayFind if needed.

3 – Pack a Good Book

I love to read when I am away. I love biographies and anything which will improve my mind and motivate me. I have just finished reading Tycoon by Peter Jones and I am taking with me this time The Real Deal by James Caan. Book reviews will follow for both these books pretty soon.

Books ignite the spark in my brain and help me with my thinking. I normally pick up some little nuggets of inspiration from these books and it is always nice to see how other people made it. I like to read about success, motivation, and also people who are self made entrepreneur millionaires.

4 – Take a Notebook to help you Collect Your Thoughts

As I have wrote about before, when I am on vacation with an empty mind, I get my most creative thoughts. Because of this, and also the fact that I am not in front of my Mac all day it is very important to take a good notebook and pen with you.

I normally pack a couple of Moleskine’s and a few pens to ensure everything is collected. I always have my iPhone but seem to prefer paper based collection when I am away.

It is so important to collect and record these thoughts as soon as they enter your head. Once I return home, I enjoy recording all these into my GTD system to ensure that they are allocated and scheduled for completion when they need to get done.

5 – Enjoy Yourself!

Last but not least, Enjoy yourself!

You work hard, and you deserve a break! Too many times we are at work dreaming about being at home, and then when we are at home we are dreaming about being at work. It is important to utilize the time on vacation to recharge your batteries so you can return to the office energized!

Well, I will enjoy myself and I know I will have some great productive ideas that will be put to good use on my return.

Do you have any little tips and tricks for getting the most out of your vacations? I would love to hear!

Thanks, and have a productive week!

Top 10 Paid iPhone Productivity Apps

iPhone GTDI blogged earlier today about the new Using your iPhone to Get Things Done micro site that Apple had just released.

One of the items on the micro site is a list of the Top 10 Paid iPhone Productivity Applications.

I am presuming this is based upon data from Apple and download information over a time period. However it is worked out, this is great data from Apple as you can see what other people are downloading in order to use their iPhone and iPod Touch as a productivity device.

So, below is the list from Apple along with links to Productivity Apps in the iTunes store.

The big shock for me is that my favorite GTD app on the iPhone, Omnifocus, is not on the list!. Maybe the cost of OmniFocus puts people off, and also the fact that you do really need the Mac App as well in order for it to work to the full effect.

The only real GTD or Task based item on the list is Things, which comes in at number 8!. Maybe

The category within iTunes for Productivity is quite big and covers a lot of areas. It is however interesting to see which applications are selling the best from Apples point of view.

What do you think? Are you surprised by this list of the top 10 Productivity Apps?

Getting Things Done with Springpad

I have just come across Springpad via a Google Alert and thought I would share it all with you.

Springpad is a web-based life organizer that is based on free online notebooks, called Springpads. There are Springpads for most items from a Moving Checklist right through to a Daily Diary. There is even a GTD Notebook Springpad which allows you to organize your tasks in a system based on the Getting Things Done methodology from David Allen.

Check out the welcome video below from Springpad.

This does seems like a different approach from the normal web based organizers and one that I feel needs a more in-depth look before I make my mind up as to the value of the application.

I have registered for an account and I have added it to my review list so expect to see an in-depth review coming soon.

have you tried Springpad? I would love to know what you thought about it.

Mind Map Application MindManager Updates to v8

Mind Manager 8
Mind Manager, what I consider to be the best Mind Mapping application has just upgraded to version 8.

At this point this upgrade is only for Windows users so if you are a Mac user like me, you have to stick with the version 7 for Mac until version 8 comes out. The Windows version of Mind Manager has always been a lot more feature rich than the Mac version and I have found myself using the Windows version in VMware when I have needed to use some of the more advanced export features of the Windows Mind Manager application.

So, what is new in Mind Manager 8?

  • Mindjet Player
    Communicate your vision and ideas with the world by transforming your map into a fully interactive Adobe PDF file. Or publish it as an interactive Adobe Flash file to a Web page or blog. Recipients do not need to download and install any software – most desktops are already equipped for consuming these standard file formats.
  • Automated Task Management
    Get a quick overview plus ongoing progress on all project tasks—automatically. Visual cues and status indicators allow you to quickly determine the status of critical activities. View the ripple effect of any changes to a map and even run “what if” scenarios to see the resulting outcomes.
  • Integrated Microsoft Office File Editing
    View and edit attached Microsoft Word, Excel, Project and PowerPoint files within MindManager. No need to disrupt your focus by constantly switching between applications – it can all happen from your map. Please see MindManager 8 system requirements for details.
  • Integrated Web Content
    Content  Fully leverage the incredible information resources of the Internet by initiating Web searches right from a map. Real-time search results will appear whenever you view your map. Build your own Web service to add information from your company’s information systems.
  • Embedded Web Browser
    View Web pages and Adobe PDF documents without leaving your map. You’ll retain your train of thought by staying focused on work at hand.
  • Database Linker
    Display real-time information in your map from databases, Excel spreadsheets, CRM systems and other company resources. Just imagine how much more productive and focused you’ll be with your most critical business data right at your fingertips.
  • Powerful Search
    MindManager now lets you search through your maps and all attached documents with ease. Or use one of today’s popular desktop search applications. Rest easy, knowing any bit of information you may need is just a quick search away.
  • Mindjet Connect Ribbon Tab
    Enjoy fast access to all Mindjet Connect features and management utilities.

Quite a few cool features in there. What interests me the most and will be the reason I upgrade is the addition of the MindJet player. I can now create Mind Maps and embed them into a website. This is going to be awesome from a usability point of view, especially for my Mind Mapping Certification site at www.mindcert.com.

Mind Manager 8

You can see an example of the MindJet player by following this link to the MindJet website. The sample map shows you some of the features of Mind Manager 8.

Getting Things Done GTD with Remember The Milk

Remember The MilkRemember the Milk is a task management application which enjoys some of the widest support options of any similar program. It fits in nicely with the Getting Things Done methodology as it combines many of David Allen’s key concepts into one tidy, convenient app which can greatly encourage better productivity and lower stress for its users.

From the Remember the Milk Website:

Take your tasks anywhere with this feature-packed application. See tasks located nearby, add and complete tasks on the go, organize upcoming tasks, and sync it all seamlessly with Remember The Milk.

The program hosts excellent visuals and functionality. Everything looks superb and the layout of every tool has been properly developed to encourage ease of use and a genuine desire to come back to the system daily.

Every version of Remember the Milk has been given due attention too which means that whether you’re accessing it via a computer, Blackberry or iPhone, the same convenient navigation and solid layout will be represented across the board.
Remember The Milk
Remember the Milk uses the same design ethic embraced by so many other GTD developers by keeping everything as simple as possible.

All of the most common features necessary for proper implementation of the GTD system are represented here. Perhaps one of the most interesting (and innovative) features is the “Locate Your Tasks” option which places your various tasks on a Google map for easy access and grouping.

Little touches such as this go a long way toward extending the functionality of Remember the Milk as well as helping in setting it apart from the competition.

The program allows for other important features too. Tasks can be designated for reminders (issued by various SMS platforms) or easily synced and shared with as many collaborators as are desired.

“Quick Add” makes the addition of new information incredibly simple and convenient and the ability to customize your priorities goes a long way toward helping to make the whole package come together.

Remember the Milk allows users to group their various tasks into any number of categories such as headings like “personal”, “work”, “call” and more.

The ability to customize your lists into as many or as little grouping as desired is something that will no doubt be very welcome to those using the application and it really helps to expand the user-base from people who only want to use the program minimally to those who require the presence of very in-depth choices.

If there is a major drawback it is really only in the download for iPhone users which requires a small payment to take advantage of. This shouldn’t prove much of a problem considering the incredibly diverse number of options which can be taken advantage of however.
Remember The Milk
Remember the Milk is accessible through offline Google pages, Google Calendar, Gmail Gadget, Twitter and Blackberry phones. The latter is perhaps the best salve for users who don’t have an iPhone but still wish to make use of the program while on the go.

The blog and help sections of the main page go a long way toward providing a solid support basis for the application as well. While a forum would be a welcome addition, Remember the Milk has such a robust blog archive that almost every question and scrap of news regarding the system can be quickly and easily accessed.

Overall Remember the Milk is certainly one of the best task management applications currently available for users to get onto no matter which version of the service used. The aesthetics, functionality, loads of essential features and great range of support all add up to make Remember the Milk stand out from the crowd of similar applications.

As part of writing this review I signed up for an account with Remember the Milk and I am trialling it aside my usual application, OmniFocus.

It will be interesting to see how I get one with Remember the Milk and I will report back with my findings.

What do you think, got any comments about Remember the Milk or cool tips for using it for Getting Things Done? I would love to hear from you so please comment below.

reQall iPhone To-Do and Reminder Service Productivity App

reQall iPhone AppreQall is one of the most effective Apple iPhone and iPod Touch productivity applications currently available for users to bring into their day-to-day life.

It effectively combines several different organizational features into a single, extremely handy app. The program is completely free of charge as well and this is definitely something that should propel it to the forefront of similar productivity systems.

The application acts as a to-do list coupled with a quality reminder service. reQall lets users either speak or type their tasks into their iPhone and then store it for a later time.

The reminder function can be set for specific dates, hours and minutes before signaling users that it’s time for them to check off or start carrying out an action.

Reminders can be issued through various options including email, text message, instant message, calendar alert or a computerized voice. The flexibility inherent in using these functions is what makes the program really shine however and users are likely to return to reQall just to play around with the various options.

If for no other reason than the free download, reQall is a great option for busy iPhone and iPod Touch users to check out. It has enough features and customization to warrant regular use and is extremely well polished and developed besides.

From the reQall website..

reQall for iPhone gives you a voice-to-text recorder, task/shopping/idea manager, reminder service and memory aid all in one. It will improve your productivity and change how you remember. Just say what you want to remember; reQall for iPhone will manage the rest.

As with most of these tools, there is also a fully featured Web Application where you sign up for a free account and the data is synced between your iPhone and reQall.

reQall also supports the Blackberry platform as well as the Apple iPhone.

It is a great time to be a Productivity Blogger and iPhone owner, there is so much available right now!

Review of the Nozbe GTD and Productivity Application

NozbeNozbe is a great tool for both strict Getting Things Done adherents and those looking only to provide some better structure for their work and life.

The website and program are both well developed and feature a solid spin on David Allen’s teachings as a way to increase overall productivity while lowering your stress.

The site initially appears pretty cluttered but once you’ve navigated yourself into signing-up and getting into the heart of the system, Nozbe offers one of the best online GTD options currently available.

Everything is visually based to a degree not found in many competitors and this goes a long way toward maintaining functionality.

The only drawback to the entire approach is that it takes a little while to truly figure out the program and start really using it to its full potential.

While Nozbe has a lot of the bells and whistles often lacking in GTD sites or software, this positive trait is often something of a double-edged sword navigation wise.


Nozbe has a lot of great features worth taking advantage of however and, as mentioned above, it hosts some uses that other GTD-centered apps and sites lack.

Users can input their projects, to-do lists, next actions or group tasks as is to be expected but Nozbe also offers a little bit more than the usual fare.

Simple touches like the ability to share files among a group have a lot of potential for making the system far more viable than the more self-sufficient options out there.

Nozbe allows file attachment to tasks and projects as well which is extremely handy for organizing the clutter which can be associated with different work into one place. Images, text documents or little scraps of information (like Notepad files) can all be grouped into one place, an invaluable feature to be sure.
Mobile options are also fantastic to see present here. Nozbe hosts support for iPhones, regular cell phones and a variety of browsers (for both Windows and Mac operating systems).

This attention to compatibility and ease of use is a great implementation of David Allen’s recommendation for portable, PDA-like organizing and Nozbe users should be able to get a lot of mileage from it.

The platform is a bit visually scattered compared to other GTD applications as mentioned before but anyone impressed enough by the huge amount of things done right at Nozbe should be able to get over this and take the time to find their way around.

In terms of a general criticism this should be made clear, although it also shouldn’t be taken as an entirely negative report on Nozbe considering how much it does right.

Perhaps the most enticing aspect of the platform is the innovation that the Nozbe team brings to their system. Although there are better options out there, none of them quite have the scope of vision presented in Nozbe’s mobility, sharing and file attachment details.

These alone make figuring out the sometimes muddy interface worth the time and effort in the end.
It’s difficult to recommend Nozbe for everyone considering how many other fantastic options are out there that succeed in aspects focused on in its overall service.

When you log in go the Nozbe system, there are a collection of videos showing you how to start using Nozbe right through to some advanced uses of Nozbe.

Just the same it is one of the more unique GTD applications currently available and its visual approach coupled with the mobility options makes Nozbe a system at least worth checking out.

For some, the site may be too much trouble to have any real, lasting worth but for others, Nozbe could be exactly what they’re looking for.

I am an affiliate for Nozbe, so by you signing up, you do earn me a small referral fee.

Nonetheless, it is worth signing up to a free account and seeing how you get on.

Do I use Nozbe?, No I don’t. OmniFocus is the GTD app for me because my profile does not really fit a web app.

Did you enjoy this review? What are your thoughts about Nozbe? I would love you to comment so we can start a discussion.

GTD Mind Mapping Tasks on the Apple iPhone

iPhone Mind MappingA while back I blogged about a really cool Web 2.0 application called MindMeister.

MindMeister is an application that allows you to create Mind Maps online. Now, I love Mind Maps and I Mind Map everything I can. They are such a cool way to logically plan everything from a complex project, to what to buy people for Christmas. I have over 1,000 Mind Maps that I have created in my personal storage that date back to 1999.

Now, I use Mind Manager as my application of choice. I use this both on Windows and on my Mac.

Here is a bit of blurb about MindMeister.

MindMeister brings the concept of mind mapping to the web, using its facilities for real-time collaboration to allow truly global brainstorming sessions.

Users can create, manage and share mind maps online and access them anytime, from anywhere. In brainstorming mode, fellow MindMeisters from around the world (or just in different rooms) can simultaneously work on the same mind map – and see each other’s changes as they happen. Using integrated Skype calls, they can throw around new ideas and put them down on “paper” at the same time.

So, MindMeister have now updated their little GeistesBlitz widget to run as a Yahoo Widget, iGoogle Gadget or as an iPhone Gadget.

Now i know a Mind Map is not the true implantation of the GTD methodology, but it is a great way to collect your tasks in a easy to use graphical manner. Nozbe have implemented their app with an iPhone web front end and called it iNozbe.

I have checked it out myself and played with it. It gives you a nice little interface where you can very quickly enter information which is saved to the Mind Map of your choice. I have left it open on my iPhone as a separate window, and this seems to get around having to authenticate everytime.

Be sure to give this a go as it is a great free way to collect tasks on your iPhone.