43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Kinkless GTD .83: Enhances Quicksilver and iCal integration, much more

Kinkless GTD 0.83 [Relative Motion] | Kinkless

The wait is over, kids. Ethan Schoonover has just released his .83 version of Kinkless GTD, and, brother, does it ever bring it. (For an intro to what kGTD is, start here, then go here and of course, here.)

So, first great thing: the syncing problems people (including me) were having -- getting changes in Action views and iCal to get reflected correctly back in Projects view -- has been fixed most elegantly. So it's just a lot more usable and dependable right out of the box. But that ain't all E's been cooking up. Among the trove of new and updated features (cribbed from Ethan):

  • Everything syncs: all changes to all columns are now synchronized across all views of a task (Projects/Actions/iCal)
  • Deletions now handled with the good old delete key on your keyboard
  • Singleton tasks section, now a full citizen
  • Better QS action… and fancy “task shorthand” to make it easy to send a task to a specific context/project
  • Task aging

Visit the kGTD .83 release page for full details

Ethan, as ever, has done a terrific screencast explaining how the app works -- DO NOT MISS the video if you aren't "getting" kGTD, because it's super useful in showing exactly how it works -- plus I'm sure there will be lots of lively discussion over on the kGTD forum, so for today I'll just focus on my favorite improved feature: what Ethan calls "fancy “task shorthand.'"


In the previous release (.7) there was some amazing stuff in kGTD that had helped realign the way I think about doing GTD on a Mac. Kinkless made it easy to add items to an inbox via Quicksilver, and the excellent iCal integration allowed me to organize my contexts in very efficient and functional ways. Which, by themselves, would have allowed me to die happy.

But in this latest release, Ethan takes it further (yes! yet! again!) by introducing a simple syntax for taking tasks beyond the inbox -- allowing you to create actions via both Quicksilver and iCal that are then placed into the correct project and context back in kGTD. Total round-trip, no-look task management. So let's look at some examples of how it actually works in practice.

Once everything is properly installed, we start to add an action via Quicksilver, and everything works pretty much as before. I bring up QS, type to select "KGTD Inbox," tab to the second pane and select "Process Text," then tab to the third pane, and enter my new task via the Text Mode field. (Note, as ever, that you can make a Trigger in QS that reduces all but the actual typing into a one-click operation).

The new syntax

kGTD - Quicksilver task with Projec and ContextBack in .7, you could type in, say "Call doctor about my crabs" and your dolorous little task would be deposited neatly back in your kGTD Inbox for further processing later on. Which was great. But, in .8, let's say you instead typed in something like "Call doctor about my crabs > Health Initiative @ phonecalls".

Well, if you already have a kGTD project called "Health Initiative" and a context titled "phonecalls," then you just added a new item to that project with that context; on sync, the action will be populated into your "phonecalls" list in kGTD plus, if you're doing iCal syncing, it will be added to your "phonecalls" calendar. This is, as you can imagine, pretty insanely useful. So if you didn't catch that exactly, in this syntax ">" precedes the name of a project and "@" precedes the name of a context; Quicksilver and kGTD take care of the rest of the heavy lifting. But wait, there's more.

It's smart, this syntax

You could also have entered that same item as "Call doctor about my crabs > Hea @ phon" since kGTD only needs the beginning of a string to create a match. Note that in cases of multiple matches, it just goes to the first project or context it finds (this can be helped a lot by smart, unique naming of projects and contexts).

Or, let's say you did not yet have a top-level project for this particular action and wanted to create one. You might then type "Call doctor about my crabs > new @ phonecalls" and have kGTD automagically add the task in a new project called "new," that you can then edit later on back in your document.

Now, let's say you wanted to, for example, do some research on these crabs and want to capture a web address for future reference. No problem. Consider...

Visit website about crabs > Health Initiative @ web [line break] http://www.YouveGotCrabs.com/

...where the line break in the QS text field is achieved via option-return.

When you pop back over to kGTD, you'll be pleased to see that the address of your crab portal has been neatly placed in the "notes" field of your new task. Click on it, and you're taken right to the site.

iCal wants to play, too

kGTD - iCal task with Projec and ContextAnd finally, here comes the extra-special sexy. As I laid out in my post about iCal and kGTD, I really like to plan in kGTD and then do out of iCal since it reduces the amount of fiddling and meta work temptation. That doesn't mean, however, that I wouldn't benefit from a little extra backward integration.

So imagine my joy that I can now create a new iCal task called "Call doctor about my crabs > Health Initiative @ phonecalls" and, on sync, have it create the twin item in the correct project and context back in kGTD. And after that sync, kGTD has the consideration to tidy the unsightly-looking iCal task down to just "Call doctor about my crabs" within my "phonecalls" calendar. And once again kGTD has picked up the grunt work of managing my tasks from one smart, central, easily accessible location. Ace.

Plenty more under the hood

I really do encourage you to drop by Kinkless and catch up on all the many new features (and the shiny new site), because it's all pretty great. I know people have been clamoring for a new release, but Ethan has been a champ about making sure everything was working properly in this ground-up rewrite.

This is a terrific, innovative, and geek-centric piece of work, and I'm truly grateful for the hours he's put into it. It's my system, I love it, and it really just works like a sonofabitch.

Visit the kGTD .8 release page

About Merlin

Merlin's picture


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:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »