Why GTD and David Allen Are Going Meta

when we recorded our recent episode of the Mikes on Mics Podcast, he did not provide any details regarding the new partnership with Intentional Software. This entire post is speculation and is based on no inside information.Note: While David mentioned that there would be a big GTD announcement on October 16th

Getting From Disorganized To Done

I spent years struggling in a Windows environment. It wasn’t until I moved to a Mac that I was able to find software that helped me get things done. The Microsoft approach never fit with my already overloaded and disorganized brain.

Upon moving to the Mac, I found that applications were better aligned to capture, organize, and implement my ideas and responsibilities. A lot of this had to do with the more focused approach that many Mac developers tend to take. Rather than an overwrought piece of software that tries to do it all (I’m looking at you Microsoft Office), many of the more popular Mac apps take a “one thing well” approach. This has led to me to software that is usually better designed than what I had in my Windows days and is traditionally optimized around one or two key aspects of my workflow.

In theory, one application that does several things should be preferable to several applications that each do one or two. In execution, focused software led to better options and kept me on track. It has provided only the information and functionality I need, when I needed it and has helped me to get through more of my work faster.

This focused approach has its benefits, but there are also challenges. Without the right tool to keep you on track, the concern over app overload can become a reality. In other words, the “one thing well” approach would be equally ineffective without a good way of tying all of these apps together. Mac users are fortunate; we have exactly that in applications like OmniFocus. While many only see it as a task manager, I see it as much more. The Quick Clipper has allowed many a geek to use it, not only as a running lists of tasks, but as nerve center for their daily work. The “clippers” ability to create tasks with links that lead back to the applications we use most (as well as the average geek’s ability to use tools like Keyboard Maestro to do the same for applications like Evernote and nvALT that lack this functionality), provides a workflow that feels more like one tailored tool rather than several separate app.

David Allen, Windows Users and Ice Water

I can’t help but wonder if what Ken Case and the team at OmniGroup brought to the Mac with OmniFocus is now what David Allen and the team at Intentional Software are looking to do for Windows users. While I don’t know for certain, the fact that David Allen has partnered with former Microsoft chief architect Charles Simonyi, the man behind Microsoft Office is telling. Speaking as a former user, there needs to be a better approach to integrating applications in the Windows world and I’m excited by the thought that this could be what David and the team at Intentional are setting out to accomplish.

I know what it’s like to struggle to get things done in Windows and I benefit greatly from what the OmniGroup has given to those of us who work on a Mac. So, to quote Steve Jobs, I hope David Allen’s looking to give “a glass of ice water to somebody in hell,” that they’re looking to bring a holistic approach to workflow to those who really don’t have a solid option at the moment.

Only time will tell, but hopefully this new partnership brings a little of what we benefit from here on the Mac to those who are unable or uninterested in escaping Windows. The Mac seems well in hand with the Omnigroup, Asana seems to be tackling this challenge for those who prefer the web, so it’s about time that someone did same for those living in the land of Microsoft. Congratulations to David and the team at Intentional Software, I look forward to seeing what you two create together, even if I’m right and it turns out to be for a platform I no longer use. They need all the help they can get…

11 Responses to Why GTD and David Allen Are Going Meta

  1. Windows is such a wasteland of software. I had forgotten how bad it was until I moved back to it full-time at home. I still have an iMac on my desk that runs a lot my home media automation but I have a Windows laptop which has plenty of power but I’m at a total loss for great software for it.

    Sure, there are alternatives to many things I love in the Mac ecosystem but there are some thing (Hazel being my current biggest thing) where there is simply no alternative.

    Windows software is a wasteland. I know there are stellar developers out there, or there used to be. But I don’t know where they are and it’s hard to find them.

  2. Can’t agree. There are plenty of good apps on Windows. It can’t be that bad since 90% of offices in the world run this OS. Although I agree certain areas are under represented, you can assemble a solid toolkit for getting things done.

    • It has been a while since I’ve been an active user, so you could be right, but most people I speak to who are Windows users are using Microsoft software with no real task manager to speak of (because Microsoft doesn’t really make one). There may be a developer community, but it seems pretty burried. What software is impressing you these days? Probably something worth writing up for those struggling.

      • True Microsoft does not make one (Outlook excluded) but neither does Apple. There fair amount of programs worth considering. I will agree that none is on par with Omnifocus.

        I’m using Remember the Milk and I’m at third year now with it, although it’s not strictly Windows app but rather web app. I’ll be putting something out there as I briefly played with Wunderlist and ToDo Paper but none managed to cut out the RTM.

        • Look forward to seeing where you land. I’ve heard good things about RTM, but I really need the power of the clipper in OF. It creates that unified center point for my work that I always felt was lacking in Windows.

  3. My worry is that this software will be too expensive – DavidCo are not really know for their aggressive pricing on either physical goods or previous software partnerships

    • That’s a fair point, but David’s been very clear that his focus is lowering the barriers to entry on GTD. I’m betting he and the DavidCo team are smart enough to know that this begins with pricing.

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