InBox To Zero Achieved
I’ve finally achieved Inbox To Zero. It’s a state of bliss that probably won’t last long. A big part of getting to here involved not using Email as a To Do list. I’m a big GTD groupie (Getting Things Done, by David Allen) and following those ideas really helped.
Here are some of the tools I used:
- OmniFocus - I just started using this GTD software. At first, I thought OmniFocus was too complex and tasks would slip thru unnoticed. But once I learned the power of its Perspectives, the software becomes incredible. Before, I had tried many other GTD tools such as Toodledo and my own custom-coded php/mysql solution. But OmniFocus syncs to all my Mac’s, iPhone, and iPad over a WebDav server and has so many more features. Its easy to add tasks from anywhere and its context and project taxonomy matches the GTD approach better than anything else I’ve seen.
- Sanebox - Technically, my Inbox is zero. But, I’ve still got hundreds of emails setting in other mail folders. Sanebox helps get the lesser important emails out of the main inbox. I’ve scanned these other folders, so I know I’m not missing anything essential and I’ll get to the emails in these other folders one by one later.
- Evernote & Dropbox - I put certain types of reference material into these boxes, where they are easier to find.
Two GTD observations for those that follow GTD and won’t make any sense if you don’t.
1. The idea of Contexts has changed since the book came out. Contexts used to be places like Home, Work, Errands, or People/Agenda’s where certain tasks could only be done. But, computer work is now done everywhere, at home, work, or even when traveling. I still find some of the Contexts useful, but the nature of work has changed them.
2. Some GTD systems let you classify by tags or keywords and others force you to pick a specific Context for a Task. I’ve tried both, but like using Contexts more. But, I’ve also discovered a hybrid system that uses both.
Let’s say I want to know what tasks I should do over the weekend. Weekend isn’t a project or really a Context by GTD rules. And it doesn’t really make sense to give weekend tasks a start date of this coming weekend unless they must get done on a certain dates. Using dates, you would spend too much time advances tasks not done until the next weekend.
So, I’ve started using a tag like #weekend in the task title. Those are all searchable in Omnifocus and give an easy want to find all those tasks without touching the date info.