I implement my personal organization system in 37 Signals Backpack. I’ve had a subscription now for about 15 months and its been the best way I can find to maintain David Allen’s GTD method. After a lot of experimentation including trying out other tools such as just tracking everything on index cards, or using Kinkless GTD with Omni Outliner, I kept coming back to Backpack as the best available solution for me. The major bonuses are:
- It’s an online service so I can access it from home on my Macs and from work on my PC, and even on my Treo.
- The core feature for me is a very simple way of adding lists. Just click, type, and return any time you want to add a todo on a page.
- When you need something that has a few steps, ie a project, you just add a new page.
- You can add just about anything to a page including images, files, and notes. I have 115 or so pages now and some of them are just things like notes on how to upgrade cruisecontrol or a list of potential future projects in our pipeline. A nice personal wiki.
- They keep adding features which make it more valuable. This is the real glory of online hosted applications. You keep picking up features with no install/upgrade hassle, it’s why I liked the ASP model all along even when it became associated with the dotcom bust.
- There’s even a client app so you can have a local offline backup using Packrat.
The new feature utilizing movable list items is going to really help out with something that drove me crazy. Today in backpack you can move around items in a list, but you can’t effectively move items between multiple lists unless they are right next to each other. My main context page that lists most of my todos by context area has:
- @Home Computer
The idea was dump things in my inbox, then drag them into the appropriate context when I have time to process things. The problem was I generally had to cut and paste the item to move it negating any ease of use. This new feature really solves that problem.
Now I just need the ability to move list items between pages, or the ability to tag individual list items.
(Apologies if this was to GTD geeky.)