Good work organization is key to being productive. To achieve this I like to use the Get Things Done methodology (or just GTD) which was first described by David Allen in his book: Getting Things Done.
There are many tools which implement the Get Things Done methodology but my favorite is Nozbe. That’s why today I will show you how to use this great application to increase your productivity!
But before we look at how to boost your productivity using Nozbe, let’s take a short look at what GTD is.
Get Things Done methodology – short introduction
According to the GTD methodology, the most important elements in time management are control and perspective. Let’s talk first about perspective.
In GTD we can look at our tasks at six levels:
- current tasks
- current projects
- responsibility areas
- one year goals
- five years vision
- whole life
The current tasks perspective involves small tasks which can take a few hours or days. Current projects are something bigger. Projects can contain smaller tasks – but not only current but also further away ones. In responsibility areas we can have many projects and so on.
In the control context, the Get Things Done methodology provides a system which has five steps:
- capture – get all your notes, plans, ideas and tasks into one place (called a “basket” in the book)
- clarify – known also as processing; review all the items and decide what to do: is it actionable? if not, archive it, get rid of it or postpone as “someday/maybe”; otherwise do it, delegate it or move it to the to-do list
- organize – get things from the to-do list and add context to them (e.g. a phone call, using a computer, etc.); then group them into projects
- reflect – also known as review; at least once a week, but should be done every day, review all your tasks to know what should be done next
- engage – when you know what to do this week/day, just start doing it
Increase your productivity using Nozbe
As you can see, the Get Things Done methodology is something more than just a to-do list. It is a whole system for organizing your everyday tasks and increasing your productivity. Of course we can just use a calendar and notepad application to create our to-do lists, etc. But there is a better way. We can use a dedicated tool for this. My favorite, which I use everyday, is Nozbe. Let’s see what capabilities it provides.
Main application window
Nozbe is a standalone application for Windows, Mac and Linux. Of course it also has a mobile version for iPhone/iPad and for Android. You can also use the web version in your favorite browser.
The user interface is very clean and intuitive and I think it has a very good UX. Just take a look:
First, please take a look at the left panel of the application. These are the tabs with the most useful views. When you click on a tab the view is shown on the right. All the views contain just a list of tasks. When you click on a task an additional window appears on the right (the right panel on the screenshot).
In Nozbe, everything is based on the GTD methodology. If you take a look at the right panel, you can see that the task can be a part of a project (“blog – tematy” in the example). It can also have a category (“pisanie”) which corresponds to the context in GTD. We can also assign a deadline (“Today 19:00”) and how long it should take (“3h”).
All the information described in the task panel is also visible in the tasks view. Here and there you also have a button to mark the task as done. You can also click the star next to the name of the task. This will add the task to the priority list.
Besides categorization and prioritization of our tasks we can also add comments to our tasks. This is useful especially if we use Nozbe in a company and share our tasks with others. This is also available in Nozbe!
Now let’s take a look at the left panel of the main application window. At the top we have a “Priority” tab. This shows us a list of tasks we should do first – they are all marked by a star. We should add tasks to this list during our every week/day task review.
Just below the “Priority” tab we have an “Inbox” tab. This is the best place to put every incoming task. It will wait until we make a review and add it to a category and assign it to an appropriate project.
Next, after the “Inbox” tab, we have a “Projects” tab. When we click this tab, it will show us an additional panel inside the left panel:
According to the Get Things Done methodology, if a task needs more than one sub-task, it is actually a project. Here you can view your projects and mark them by colors. It is very useful because these colors will differentiate your tasks in the “Priority” view.
The next tab is “Categories”. As I wrote before it is an equivalent of the context in GTD. When you click on the tab, it shows a sub-panel similar to the one which is shown for projects. The “Categories” view is very useful if you have contexts like “in the office” or “by phone”. Then you can open such category and make several phone calls at once.
I think that the “Calendar” tab does not need any explanation. But the next one, “Templates”, is very useful. A template is a group of tasks which can be used to create new projects pre-populated with these tasks. This may be helpful if you have to do the same tasks, for example, every time you start working with a new client. Then you can just use a template to create a new project “client X” with tasks like “call to say hello”, “send offer”, etc.
As I wrote before, when you click on the tab in the left panel the appropriate task view is shown on the right. It looks like below:
As you can see, this is just a list of tasks with all the information set in the task details view. Every task on the list has a circle next to the title of the task. It is just a “mark as done” button. If you click it, the task is greyed out and is moved to the bottom.
One more important thing. In the bottom-right corner you can see a “plus” button. This button is visible all the time. You can use it to just add a new task in the current view.
If we are talking about adding new tasks, when you install Nozbe it adds a small icon to your system tray. This is a quick way to add a new task even if Nozbe is closed.
Why do I love Nozbe? Because it’s very useful and increases my productivity a lot. I also like good looking applications and Nozbe is one of them. If you don’t know the Get Things Done methodology, this application is the best way to start using it. You don’t even have to learn GTD first – it is so intuitive that you will get used to it very quickly!
Do you like my review and are interested in using Nozbe? Check its website to see how to buy it – I think it is worth every penny!