David Allen’s Getting Things Done task management techniques have become incredibly popular, inspiring Mac software developers to build applications that help users manage their lives and their ever growing To Do lists.
These applications assist with the capture, management and completion of tasks. Many include iPhone applications that offer syncing and other iPhone specific features, not found in their Mac counterparts. This roundup will focus on five of the most popular tools, each with a different approach and style.
Available on both the Mac and iPhone, Things is an elegant, yet somewhat new application for task management. This application offers a great way to view and organize projects, and a simple way to tag, file and schedule tasks for the future.
Their iPhone app is well designed, but lacks some features available on the desktop version. Also, syncing between the iPhone and the Mac requires a Wi-Fi network, which can be limiting for those who are always on the go.
Price: Mac $49.95 / iPhone $9.99
Developer: Cultured Code
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later / iPhone OS 2.2 or later
OmniFocus is another application which offers both iPhone and Mac versions. It is one of the most developed and powerful applications available for managing To Do lists, but it can be seen as too structured or overwhelming for some individuals without extensive organizational needs.
It also offers the widest options for syncing to external applications, like iCal. Their iPhone application has some breakthrough features, like displaying tasks you need complete based on your location and syncing your tasks through a MobileMe or WebDAV server.
Price: Mac $79.95 / iPhone $19.99
Developer: The Omni Group
Requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later / iPhone OS 2.1 or later
The newest application for task management on the Mac, The Hit List, has yet to reach version 1.0. The interface seems more similar to Things than OmniFocus, but integrates new features like a built in timer. The Hit List also integrates smart folders as well as iCal syncing into this great application. They also have promised that an iPhone version is in the works.
Price: (Pre-order) $49.95
Developer: Potion Factory
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
This older application is undergoing a refresh, and is still in Alpha (Pre-Beta) testing. The interface is not nearly as slick as Things, OmniFocus or The Hit List, but provides for a quick and easy way to enter in tasks and manage To Do lists. iGTD2 also offers multiple ways to view your tasks, called Workspaces, and offers synchronization between both iCal and MobileMe. The biggest selling point of iGTD2 is it’s price.
Price: Free, donations accepted
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or later
Midnight Inbox provides more of a step by step system for organizing tasks. This very structured environment is great for those who prefer to follow the GTD system religiously. For those who like more breathing room, this might not be the best choice. It does offer a different interface approach and options to add notes and alarms.
One of the most interesting features is it’s ability to tell if you haven’t been working on what you had prioritized through their Yak Timer. They are in the process of developing version 2.0 of the software which should be released soon, as well as an iPhone component.
Developer: Midnight Beep Softworks
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4
Each application offers a different approach to Getting Things Done. Whether you prefer the unstructured style of Things (like me), or a more rigid system for input like Midnight Inbox or OmniFocus, you’re on your way to getting organized and complete tasks, on your Mac or on the go.
Feel free to let me know how you get things done on your Mac or iPhone – are you an advocate of an application featured, or do you prefer a traditional pen and paper?