Not Getting Things Done

There’s no secret that we’re building some sort of todo app. In discussing it on Friday, we brought up a number of reasons why we don’t use current systems. We try, but we don’t continue after a few weeks.

My personal problem is not going back to the list often enough. I will start putting things in, but then I don’t go back to see what I needed to do. Sometimes I just remember and do them anyway, other times I never get them done.

David Allen talks a lot about how you have to build a “trusted system” so that your brain uses it instead of juggling what you need to do. Part of my problem is that I never use a particular app enough to fully trust it. Then, because it doesn’t have a comprehensive list of my todos, I use it even less.

Others on our team said lack of certain features is what has kept them from fully using a todo app.

What about you? What’s holding you back?

Photo of Daniel Morrison

Daniel founded Collective Idea in 2005 to put a name to his growing and already full-time freelance work. He works hard writing code, teaching, and mentoring.


  1. November 01, 2010 at 10:08 AM

    My main frustration with todo apps is the availability of the app itself and its data.  I loved a lot of the features in the Hit List, but it wasn’t available on the iPhone.   Things is available on the iPhone and Mac, but to sync you have to be on the same wifi network.  (FWIW, I’ve chosen Things as the better of the two.)

    I love the solution 1Password came up with for this problem: apps on every platform (desktop and mobile) and sync through Dropbox.  It works wonderfully!  A todo app could do the same thing.

    Of course, a todo app could be web-based since it has fewer security concerns than 1Password, just give it a good desktop AND mobile interface.

  2. November 01, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    Like Jeremey, ubiquity is my main holdup. In two senses, both in the fact that not all apps are available at all times and in all forms I need them, like web, iPhone, etc, but also i need the app to be in my face. 

    Remember the Milk is actually nice because it has a widget that integrates with gmail, where I often am. Snce I only use the free version, I don’t have an iPhone client, so entering things as I think of them is difficult. I guess cost is a minor issue for me too. I don’t want to pay a subscription for something I may not use. since no todo app has worked for me completely so far, I’m skeptical of paying to try one out. 

  3. me@brian
    Brian Donovan
    November 01, 2010 at 23:02 PM

    I agree with the previous comments, ubiquity is very important. I’ve also become convinced that email is basically a todo list that other people have write access to, and you have a terrible ability to write to/edit. So any todo list I’d use seriously would have to have either tight email integration or a full-on email client.