John Kendrick’s Weblog

and Technology Musings

~iPad – the Perfect GTD Solution?

Posted by John Kendrick on January 30, 2010

A New Way to GTD

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I usually write about technology that I have used and am excited about.  And you also know that I am absolutely sold on the GTD (Getting Things Done) methodology.

However, this post is not so much about what I am using now, as what I began imagining the day the new Apple iPad tablet was introduced.  Caution: Dreaming Ahead.

Let me first get something off my chest.  The naysayers out there have already started their whining about the iPad and it isn’t even available for sale yet.  Does this sound vaguely familiar?  If not, then you must not have had any interest in the iPhone just before it was launched.  I was there, purchasing the original iPhone on the day it was released, and while there was much hype, there was an equal amount of outcry from the press and blogs about what was wrong with the iPhone.  And it didn’t stop until months after the version 1 release.  Funny, but you don’t hear much complaining anymore, and the masses are grabbing up iPhones at an alarming rate, overwhelming the already abysmal AT&T network.

Wew – now I feel better.  Back to dreaming.  For the past year, I’ve been using OmniFocus as my GTD application and am loving life with all it has to offer in both its OS X client and iPhone applications.  It is hands down, the best GTD available for the serious player.

Only one problem with OmniFocus – it has no Windows client or web-based application.  That means, if you want to use a real keyboard and large screen for your GTD, you have to have a Mac computer.  And since most of the business world is still hamstrung to Windows, if you want to use OmniFocus for serious projects at work, you need to purchase a MacBook.  Pretty hefty investment for one application, though from experience I can tell you it is well worth it.  But I understand that not everyone can make that kind of investment in GTD.

With Apple’s new iPad announcement this week, I believe that is about to change.  Instead of laying down $1000+ on a MacBook, how about $499 for an iPad.  Just today, macnn reported that OmniGroup has already begun development of several applications, including OmniFocus, for the iPad tablet.  And you can read more details on their plans for iPad development on the Omni Mouth Blog.  Think about the difference this would make in your work life.  Carrying your GTD on a 9.5″ screen would be nearly the same experience of carrying a MacBook at a fraction of the cost and size.  What about a planner design that holds your iPad on the left side and note pad on the right.  While in most meeting environments, laptops are considered intrusive to the exchange of ideas and information, an iPad within your planner would likely cause more envy than raised eyebrows.

I know your iPhone already has your calendar, email, contacts, and GTD, but think about it, wouldn’t a large screen be a major advantage?  And while typing still might be taboo during a meeting, just having your GTD tasks and notes available without squinting  and constant scrolling the screen would be way cool!

Since we’re dreaming – here’s another thought.  I was so excited when I thought of this that I immediately fired off a post on the OmniFocus Forum.  What about incorporating handwritten notes into OmniFocus, via the iPad and a stylus.  During a meeting, open your project, start a new note entitled, “Weekly Status Meeting” and then hand write your notes on your iPad tablet.  You now have all of your notes from all of your project meetings in your GTD without having to retype them.  Later, you can create tasks right from your meeting notes.  No more paper (think Green), and no more transcribing or scanning to get your notes into your trusted system.

Wow, I better stop – now I’m thinking about all those Excel worksheets I can have at my fingertips, turn the large screen sideways and everyone can see the numbers.  And Gantt Charts, Metrics, and WBS – oh my !    To the naysayers out there, let’s give Apple a chance to prove itself once again, they do have a pretty good track record of late.  And to all the new iPad developers, especially the OmniGroup – get to work !!!  Thanks for reading, John.

16 Responses to “~iPad – the Perfect GTD Solution?”

  1. Tom Ryan said

    Great ideas John. I think the potential for the iPad is just beginning. Remember how the first iPhone didn’t have an app store until some time later and then the GTD world opened up. I can see this same scenario with the iPad. Dream baby, dream!

    • @Tom – thanks, yes I too see this as just the beginning. I remember how the original apps were just webapps and while many were complaining, I was using them every day to access all kinds of information. In fact, one of my favorite apps, SermonAudio is still just a webapp, but I use it everyday. It’s integration with the iPhone UI is fantastic and I love the staff pics, they really know how to weed out the best sermons from thousands they have on the site. One of my recent favorites is “Why I believe the Bible” by Voddie Baucham. And they priced this thing just right. I just can’t stop thinking about how a handwriting app on the iPad would change my workflow. No more typing notes after meetings! Stay warm and thanks for reading, John.

  2. Nik Jones said

    I use OmniFocus on the Mac & iPhone too, and I cannot wait to see what any new OF client on the iPad functions.

    My only concern at the moment is adding another sync device to the chain. The past few week, I’ve managed to break the sync to .mac a couple of times.

    • @Nik, I’ve been syncing three devices for a long time and I don’t have problems unless I don’t keep them up to date. I make sure each device, iMac, MacBook and iPhone are synced once each day. And I have over 170 projects (51 of them active) and almost 5,000 actions in 63 zip files.

      • Nik Jones said

        I think the problem may be of my own making now. I THINK (and yet to test fully) the I might be shutting down my laptop before MobileMe has had a change to sync completely!

        Must learn to wait for the sync from OF to finish, then force MM to sync and finish before syncing my iPhone.

  3. Reposted from “About Me” . . .

    Hello John,

    I’m one of the guys over at http://www.macosxscreencasts.com and have found your site through a friends recommendation. I’m planning to do a couple “following” screencasts about OmniFocus. Here’s our review: http://www.macosxscreencasts.com/en/2009/12/omnifocus-review-gewinnspiel

    Best, Andreas

  4. Alot of bloggers not very pleased with the new iPad.There was just 2 much hype regarding it and lots of people got turned off.You see, I for one see great deal of the awesome potential of this device. Third-party applications for working with tunes, games, newsprints and magazines and FFS books, all sorts of cool stuff, but IMHO they failed to sell it very well (aside from the books). It smells kind of unfinished

  5. [...] first link for this week is to a great post from John Kendrick on his blog titled iPad – the Perfect GTD Solution?. Great preview of the forthcoming iPad and a great look into how this can be integrated into your [...]

  6. [...] blog about their plans to create new iPad versions of their popular Mac and iPhone apps.. John was offering some suggestions that where insightful to how people would use OmniFocus on the larger screen of the [...]

  7. TesTeq said

    iPad is great! Unfortunately it is too great to put it in any pocket! :-)

  8. [...] John Kendrick, ‘heavy’ GTD-Sympathisant schwärmt von einer OmniFocus-Selbstverwaltung auf portablen 9,7-Zoll. [...]

  9. Jack said

    I also like the idea of getting this iPad,…. but don’t you agree that we are kept on updating our hardware again and again. What is the next thing? An iPad that can be folded, so that you can more easily put it in your pocket?
    And while they already make room in the iPad to have a webcam,…the first edition is without it. I feel they do this, to make people buy a new one after they put it in there a year later….

    You have 3 devices now,… Apple is so good at selling stuff, ..they convinced you that you really can’t live without the 4th device!!

    • @Jack – I can agree a little perhaps, but also think that Apple is a bit trapped as well. If they don’t release a device at some point early on, others will beat them to the punch. I believe Apple is also unique in being conservative with its offerings. While every release is not without some flaws, they do seem to update quickly and have many fewer problems than other manufacturers’ products. The other advantage is that you can often sell your 1st gen device at a good price and use the proceeds to upgrade. I actually got more for my orginal iPhone than I paid for my 3g, and only $50 less for my 3G, when I upgraded to my current 3GS. And this was after using the devices for an entire year. I did equally good when I sold my 3 year old iMac. I sold it for $850 and only paid $1199 for a brand new iMac. I don’t think you could do that with a Dell or HP! In fact, I’ve owned many in the past and they were only good as hand-me-downs for the kids, or the trash heap. Thanks for reading, John.

    • @Jack – I can agree a little perhaps, but also think that Apple is a bit trapped as well. If they don’t release a device at some point early on, others will beat them to the punch. I believe Apple is also unique in being conservative with its offerings. While every release is not without some flaws, they do seem to update quickly and have many fewer problems than other manufacturers’ products. The other advantage is that you can often sell your 1st gen device at a good price and use the proceeds to upgrade. I actually got more for my orginal iPhone than I paid for my 3g, and only $50 less for my 3G, when I upgraded to my current 3GS. And this was after using the devices for an entire year. I did equally good when I sold my 3 year old iMac. I sold it for $850 and only paid $1199 for a brand new iMac. I don’t think you could do that with a Dell or HP! In fact, I’ve owned many in the past and they were only good as hand-me-downs for the kids, or the trash heap. Thanks for reading, John.

  10. Jaye James said

    Hi John

    Hope you and yours are all doing well. I’m seriously interested in purchasing an ipad. Have you done so yet and if so what are your thoughts after using one.

  11. [...] Posts ~iPad – the Perfect GTD Solution?~The Five W's of a Weekly GTD ReviewHow to GTD~Journaling Your Way to GTD~Perspective is Everything [...]

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