What constitutes "GTD" or "GTD-Like" Task List Software?
  • Requirements for software to be considered GTD-ready or GTD-like (for inclusion in Priacta's GTD Software Comparison Table). Please post comments or suggestions.

    NOTE: This table is for task list managers--applications that manage lists of actionable items.

    Minimum Requirements

    1) Manages tasks or objects that can be treated as tasks (editable task description line)
    2) Shows task lists grouped by task category or context*
    3) Shows unprocessed tasks in a distinct list for later processing (tasks lacking a context or category [and date(/priority) for TRO, TWC])
    4) Provides at least basic project/next step support**

    (This list is short to accommodate individual preferences, and because the David Co. official description of GTD is very broad.)

    Other Features Tracked in Comparison Table+

    These features are differentiated in the Features column of the comparison table. Click the "Features" in header to rank products.

    - Multiple categories or tags for each task (within one tag or category dimension) [Required for TRO]
    - Synchronization with external calendars, lists, applications (rate interconnectivity)
    - Dates for tasks (number of date fields) [required for TRO, TWC]
    - Project support level (inline w/notes, single project field, hierarchy, or multi-project assignment)
    - Scheduling of tasks into a real-time calendar (copy, link, dual view)
    - Task reminders, alarms
    - Email integration (email tasks into task list, auto email processing, etc.)
    - Time categorization (aka time filtering, time boxing or strategic calendar)
    - API for external apps, connecting to application
    - Auto prioritization, recommending next tasks [required for TRO***]
    - Offline AND online use (tracked by designating all platforms on which the product is available online or offline, e.g. Web and Windows and Mac)
    - Passive teaching of GTD or TRO principles
    - Collaboration (team support)

    Features Not Not Yet Tracked in Table

    - GTD or TRO-reinforcing feature names and menus (this distinguishes GTD-targeted products from products that happen to support it; include other systems)
    - Sort tasks by date and priority or multiple date fields on demand [required for TWC, TRO***]
    - Tag/show tasks "to be done today" [required for TWC, TRO***]
    - Persistent, customizable views [required TWC or TRO if GTD -system-specific predefined views are not present]
    - Hotkeys (specifically encouraged by David Allen)
    - Searching (very important)
    - Filtering (esp. filtering out inactive, pending, on hold, and S/M)
    - Printing (standard reports, custom reports)
    - Special paper printouts for access on the road (Nozbe, Toodledo, LifeShaker, others)
    - USB drive support
    - Repeating tasks
    - Task dependencies (holds tasks dormant until a designated task is completed, like MyLife Organized and others)
    - Priority field (David Allen says it is of questionable value in basic GTD; however, this is useful for other purposes in TRO or TWC, like emulating Loose Goal dates; includes number of priority dimension and granularity of priorities) [required for TRO if only one task date field is supported]
    - Language resource files (multi-nationalization)
    - Persistent manual prioritization (like drag-and-drop reprioritization)
    - Manage arbitrary objects as tasks w/out conversion (email, email+documents, any)
    - Journaling or history of tasks completed
    - Integration with Contacts
    - Exchange Server, .Mac, or similar standards compatibility
    - Nested contexts/categories (Ultra Recall appears to allow this, as well as one Mac application)

    Please post suggestions for additional features that should be in the list.

    Submit Your Software Title

    To include your application in the GTD Software Comparison table, visit here:

    http://www.priacta.com/forum/index.php?topic=470.0

    Very Important Footnotes

    * Contexts or categories can be implemented via contexts, categories, tags, folders, maybe smart instant searching facilities (depending on implementation) or something similar, but:
    1) Group lists must be distinct and readily accessible
    ,
    2) Contexts must be task-specific (not just project-specific), and
    3) Contexts must be easily reassignable (i.e., change from @Home to S/M, which means the user isn't forced to delete and re-add the task to make the change).

    ** Project and next step support is a very loose requirement since:
    1) A task title can be entered as "Project: Next Step" to separate the project and next step, or
    2) If multiple categories are allowed and category filtering is provided then custom-named categories can be used as projects.
    3) #2 is possible with a separate Contact field and filtering.
    However, if any of these methods are relied on, then the record is really a "project" record (the Contact record is a project record for #3) and must at least provide a notes section close at hand for capturing subsequent next steps within the same project record.
    See here for details:
    http://www.priacta.com/forum/index.php?topic=279.0

    *** Any one of these options is required for TRO, not all of them together.

    + Beta features are counted when they are publicly available and deemed stable by the general community.
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  • Some features can still be implemented in Total, Relaxed Organization even if the tool doesn't support them natively. Exact instructions are found in TRO Online Training in the appendix once you choose that task manager tool for your training.