Monday, August 2, 2010

mGSD and a new way for me to work

It is new productivity toy time for me. If you have been reading this blog for any length of time you probably know I like web apps and particularly to do list programs for my computer. My goal has been to find a tool that fits the way I work. I prefer to be process driven, in other words I like to know do this then this then do this so I always know what my next step will be be. I have started playing with a new tool this weekend that looks like an improvement over what I have been using. It is called mGSD and while I found it a little confusing to use at first I like the layout and the project driven organization.

To be fair despite my earlier advice here about reading the directions first I did not so the lack of intuitive user interface any partially be my fault. Also after a quick review of some of the documentation just now the creator suggests a familiarity with David Allen's GTD system. While I have glance over how this works I have not spent much time trying to implement it so I am coming at this web site cool if not outright cold. That said I find the time I have put in to figuring out the sight worthwhile.

One of the strongest features of the app in my opinion is the ability to create complex projects and group tasks within that project in to sub tasks. This allows me to compartmentalize any process I am working on at the moment. For example I have been working on an essay for film class. Essay writing can be broken down in to several steps: research, planning, writing. Now in mGSD I can create a project containing each of these tasks and can cross them out as I complete each one. I could also go for finer detail. Rather than creating them as actions I could create them as subprojects for the essay writing project. Then under research I might create the tasks watch The Big Sleep, watch Diehard. Planning and writing subprojects would also get their own actions.

Another potentially powerful tool in mGSD is contexts. These are associations projects have. They may be times when the action is done, places the action is done or what type of action it is. I have the ability to view actions by context as well as by project. So if I have a number of things I want to get accomplished in the evening I can give them each the evening context then when I get home from school I can view that context list and get to work on those projects.

One potential flaw I have with this system is I would like to be able to schedule things to specific times. This is not a problem I have with mGSD but rather with GTD in general. However I am also not that good at sticking to the schedules of activities I make for myself. Perhaps it is time I step away from the mentality that there is a time for everything and everything done in its time. If I embrace a work flow that does not require me to stick to a posted schedule but rather works to keep me productive I may be better off. As always the biggest test of this type of app is will I use it? I will give it a week and report back with my findings.

Editing project: Lessons Learned From Google Wave


Cait Conklin said...

Wow great post. I'm also really into these kind of apps, because i'm always hoping it will help with my issue of never seeming to get done what I need to get done! I'm going to check out mGSD, I hope there's an iphone app for it tho, cause otherwise it probably wouldn't make it into my daily routine, since I actually don't get on my computer every day anymore. . .how odd. . .

Quinn said...

Glad you liked the post. As far as I know there is not an iPhone app in yet.

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