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nextaction: GTD task-tracking app


Finally took a few minutes last night to catch up on the zeitgeist and had a look at nextaction, a very clever, javascript-based app for running your GTD system.

Like the popular GTDTiddlyWiki (earlier on 43F) it runs offline and in your own browser (Firefox, please; no likey Safari). Where it differs is in its task-centric approach which is, in some respects, a truer GTD-based approach than the TiddlyWiki implementation.

Tasks, Contexts, and Projects are entered and tracked in a handy “dashboard,” so it’s very quick and easy to see which tasks can be accomplished at a given time. One addition I love is the ability to have parent contexts. So, an entry into my “@printer” context is also automagically included in “@mac” etc. Overall, just a great feature set for such a young application.

Since the comparisons with GTDTidddlyWiki are unavoidable, it’s worth mentioning that these are two very different approaches that you’ll want to consider based upon your own needs in a tool.

GTDTiddlyWiki is much more polished looking and, in my opinion, works better as a capture device that can also act as an organizing tool; I didn’t have much luck using it to track tasks, but that’s probably just me. Also, it goes without saying that I love how GTDTW prints directly to Hipster PDA cards. Sweet use for the new printer.

The nextaction app, on the other hand, is really focused entirely on the maintenance and logistics of your TODO list, and that’s where it really shines. Don’t look for calendaring, deep note-taking or the flexibility of TiddlyWiki—but nextaction is probably your better bet if your task list is getting out of control. I think the Dashboard could eventually use a little Ajax love, because long lists of TODOs would seem to make it—well—very un-Dashboard-y. Small qualms for a very cool chunk of func.

Given that the apps are free and completely painless to install, you ought to have a look at both if either sounds interesting to you. Both can run off thumb-drives and without requiring a ‘net connection, so they’re extremely portable (Yay, in-flight fiddling!).

Word to the wise, though: save and backup! With either app, your data’s floating around in a bunch of tangly Javascript, so make a point of frequently mailing yourself a copy of the HTML, and do save often.

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
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