Windows + Mac + Mobile + GTD = Nozbe?

Why could I not find a really good GTD tech based solution that worked at whatever desk I was sitting at? With my Mac at home I had a number of apps to choose from all very nicely created and all worked well in my ‘Mac’ world. In Windows at work I had Outlook, I tried Outlook on it’s own, Outlook with TRO (Which was good for a while!), Outlook with the GTD addin from Netcentric, but all Outlook solutions had the same issue, a lack of ability to sync with anything else, even other Windows machines! I had to separate personal and proffestional lists, an overhead I didn’t want. I tried a number of web based apps, making the tech I was using – Mac or Windows a none issue – but they all had there failings to some degree or other….

What I wanted
A beautful, multiplatform, cloud syncing, offline mode with mobile apps GTD solution. (Call me demanding if you like!!)

I trawled the Internet, looking for a solution and came across Priacta which have the best list of all GTD products across all formats available. I can also recommend the training (I’ll review it soon)

What I tried
Things on my Mac and mobile – (Beautiful, No Windows client and pain in the ass syncing!)
Ominfocus on my Mac and mobile (Beautiful? Well in a functional sort of way, no Windows client but nice syncing)
Toodledo – (Ugly web app that sometimes missed my changes, Todo Mac Client is good, but poor Windows clients, Web Syncing worked ok, Mobile Apps that were good.)
Outlook + GTD addin – Great for my professional life but unable to sync with my personal! I was not prepared to live my life out of 2 lists!
A number of full web based apps – Nirvana, Producteev, Todist, RTM etc etc.. all that seemed to satisfy some things but not others!

I was starting to get frustrated, then a new product appeared that gave me some hope…

Then not that long ago came Wunderlist, I was intrested – Mac, Windows, web, cloud syncing, iPhone, Android clients, and it looked good! But… it’s so simplistic. It was a huge dissapointment for me as I couldn’t adjust my workflow thats based in GTD to fit with it, no contexts was something I couldn’t really work without. Close my friends but no cigar!

Time to compromise.
I felt I was spending more time looking into systems rather than using them, so after the numerous trials I ended up settling on Nozbe about 9 months ago, which at the time was compromise. It offered some of the things I wanted but not all.

Beautiful – No, dated looking I think would be the kindest I could call it!
Mac App – No
Windows App – No
Offline – No (It had some, buy it was very basic)
iPhone – Yes
iPad – Yes
Syncing – Yes
Web App – Yes, with drag and drop for ease.
GTD implimentation – Good

For a few weeks I tired to implement Nozbe into my workflow, which I succeed to some degree but I just couldn’t find a perfect setup… I was starting to think I was the problem! In fact I even cancelled Nozbe and got a no questions asked refund as I was within the first 60 days as I was not satisfied to how I was using it. I turned to Toodledo for a while and also Nirvana to go the full Web route to my GTD solution, Nirvana is lovely to work with with a few annoying quirks. Offline is a big issue. With Toodledo Im sure I could convert my system to work in it, but it’s not fun and makes my eyes burn (*Maybe not burn… but you know what I mean!!) It’s then it struck me how good Nozbe was!!! It wasn’t perfect but it did a better job than all the other solutions I’d tried.

So like an apologetic boyfriend who’d dump the girl of his dreams, I came back for a 2nd attempt.

I adjusted my workflow a little more to incorporate using a web application that I’d learnt from Toodledo/Nirvana rather than desktop apps (No offline mode was the hardest thing to get used to) but then things started to slot into place for me. Actually using the same web based client on both Mac and Windows was one of the best decisions I made I think, a web client that was fast and intuitive. The iPhone and iPad apps also carry a similar experience over which made my GTD system that little bit more fluid. Suddenly Im completing my daily review on the train on my iPhone, getting things done at my desk and at work or home and completing a weekly review with ease on my iPad.

The future

Then just last week news of some development of Nozbe, Windows and Mac clients were in development and a graphical ovehaul of the Web application. (Which I probably will not use as much once I have full desktop clients) Suddenly my wish list was looking a lot different.

Beautiful – Not seen but it will be improvement im sure!
Mac App – Yes
Windows App – Yes
Offline – Yes with the desktop clients
iPhone – Yes
iPad – Yes
Syncing – Yes
Web App – Yes, with drag and drop for ease.
GTD implimentation – Good

And that my freinds is a full house for me!To some I may look like I’ve swapped my systems a little too much, maybe I thats right…. but I just wanted to find a system that fitted my workflow best.

A Mac client beta is currently available, so expect a small write up here soon.

 

  • Craig Findlay

    Great blog! Found you through a reply you made to @michaelnozbe. I have the same issue as you. I have tried Nozbe many time and there is a lot tha I like about it, but I keep finding myself back at OmniFocus. I guess there are 2 main reasons for this.
    1. I use my iPad a lot and the search feature in OF is amazing, the Nozbe app does not have search, something I asked for as soon as the first release hit. I also love OF’s hierarchy of folders, Nozbe has the label feature, but it is not as flexible and seems harder to use
    2. The review feature – the single biggest love I have for OF :). Gets rid of some of the friction in doing a weekly review and has helped me tons

    I wish Nozbe could get these features. Nozbe has so much going for it; it’s available on all platforms (well the ones I use) and has that great note feature, not to mention supporting a European company. But, I ‘need’ those features.

    Added you to my reading list, good luck with the blog, looks great.
    Craig

    • Thanks for the kind words Craig!
      I really liked Omnifocus a lot also, in fact it was the first GTD application I really invested hard cash into! The issue for me was the inability to use my GTD data on my work Windows PC. I agree the Omnifocus iPad app is really good, better than Nozbe (and Things) but I just couldn’t get around the lack of Windows access. Hence heading down the route of a web based GTD system. Imagine if there was an Omnifocus web client also? Hmmm I think Omni Group would make a killing.

  • brian

    Thanks for your blog. I am currently going through exactly the same path… as far as I can tell there is not one single company that provides a straightforward gtd that syncs up easily when you plug in your iphone to your laptop. It is insane that my iphone is physically connected to my laptop and I cannot these apps to sync across platforms.