I got a nice email this morning from Katy at Task Writer, asking me to take a look at their web app for getting things done.
It’s been a while since I considered myself an active devotee of the GTD methodology, so I’m a bit out of touch with the state of the art, but Task Writer looks to me like an app that is both a) pretty highly usable, and b) built with GTD in mind — that is, it’s not like a broader list-making web app like Remember the Milk or gubb, or an all-purpose tool like stikkit (rest in peace) that can be turned into a list-making app that can do GTD; rather, all the organizational elements of GTD are built right in.
Actions are organized by lists (inbox, waiting, someday, etc) and @contexts (@car, @computer, @email …) and can be further associated with specific projects and given due dates. A set of checkboxes along the left-hand panel of the app turns on filters that display only the selected tasks.
Adding tasks is really straightforward (I’d like to see the option to not put new tasks into a project – after all, that’s what the #inbox is usually for), and projects are easy to add/edit. There are a few interface quirks — Safari-specific, perhaps? Text doesn’t always seem to wrap neatly in column headers, for example, and the overall interface is a little wide on my screen.
For the most part, Task Writer seems to achieve a couple of things that are noteworthy: It’s specifically built for GTD, so there’s no obstacle to experienced users jumping in and immediately using it. But it’s also approachable enough, and starts with enough pre-built structure (a few lists, contexts, and projects) that one could use it without being a full-bore Next Action Acolyte.
I can see Task Writer really taking off. There’s nice room for some improvement, too: More keyboard shortcuts, a review mode (“what did I get done this week? last week?“), and being able to email/twitter tasks straight into it are features that could really give it a big boost.
If you’re looking for a new Getting Things Done-focused app or in the market for a capable list-making tool, I’d give Task Writer a good look.