Nirvana for GTD review

To celebrate Nirvana’s transformation from beta to a fully paid for product I’ve packed up my trusted system Nozbe and migrated my tasks and projects to Nirvana for a few weeks. This is not something I’ve undertaken lightly as Nozbe has never let me down but I wanted to give Nirvana a good honest review and living and breathing the system on a day to day basis seemed the best way.

The details

Version 1 (N1) of Nirvana launched into beta 3 years ago and over the years a solid web app has grown and expanded into Version 2 (N2) thats available today. At it’s heart is a HTML5 web application that works in all modern browsers, one of it’s impressive features is that it works really well offline! So many times i’ve played with web applications that say they work offline only to fall short, but Nirvana does work really well offline.

The look

Would it be fair to say it bears a passing resemblance to ‘Things’ on the Mac? I think so. In fact it’s easy to forget that this web application as the whole interface is very slick utilizing drag / drop and right clicking seamlessly. For me this web app looks and performs better than every full software Windows GTD application and a number of Mac one too.

Using it.

Based very much on the Getting Things Done book it’s fast, sleek and easy to learn. Tasks are captured into your inbox a number of ways; Keyboard shortcuts, rapid entry typing, via email and mobile app. You can then process it all by drag and drop into one of your Projects and onto Next/Waiting/Scheduled, Someday or add it to your Focus (Do now!) Action lists. Opening or Right Clicking on a Task allows you to add Due Date, Set Areas, Time needed, Energy required, Tags (Contexts) or assign it to a contact if you’re waiting for someone. You can use as many or few of these as you want, your never prompted to fill in anything. If you want a simple task list you can, If you want to add contexts you can. For me Nirvana can be as simple as you feel comfortably with and yet really powerful if you choose to all of the features.

My favorite features (In no particular order)

Scheduled tasks – Once you have your task created you can drag it to the scheduled list, then a handy calendar pops up and you assign a date in the future when you need to look at this task. On the chosen date the task is automatically moved your Focus list for you to take a look at again. Really simple and really powerful.

Areas – It’s really easy to split and filter your tasks into the area’s of your life, it does it really well compared to many online GTD apps.

Projects – Projects can be setup as Parallel or Sequential which I find very useful.

Next – All tasks can be found in the Next list, unless… You’ve scheduled it on a date in the future, it’s not the next task in a Sequential project or it’s been put into your Someday list. This makes a morning review super easy! I browse my Next actions list, add stars to the ones I want to tackle that day (Star moves the task to the Focus list) and work from the Focus list during most of the day.


Nirvana is available as a standalone iPhone app that offers a lot of the functionality of the web app, the main omission is the search function currently. The Mobile Web site is the only option for Android phones currently, however an Android version is currently being beta tested

Missing features.

iCal/Google cal integration & Sub-Projects are the 2 main things that the Nirvana Community are asking for next. Personally I can live without Subprojects but I’d love to see an RSS feed of my Scheduled / Due tasks in my calendar as there’s no reminder feature built into any of the apps which is a shame.

Nirvana might not have integration into other apps like Evernote / DropBox or Google Drive but thats not it’s strengths, this is a pure task management app which manages to keep things simple and beautiful.


There is a free version with the limitation of only having 5 projects. The full version costs $5 a month or $39 a year.


If you’re looking for an online web app GTD solution Nirvana is one of the very best available. The fact it performs and looks better than many full ‘software’ applications is a real achievement. The iPhone app is functional but the lack of features (reminders & search) can be a problem and again Android users are left waiting in the wings.

I’d recommend Nirvana to anyone who’s picked up the Getting Things Done book and were looking for their 1st GTD trusted system and to seasoned GTD users that just want a robust GTD online system.