Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Getting things done

A while back I read Getting Things Done by David Allen, and was very impressed with the concepts. Nothing earth-shattering, but a good combination of discipline and common sense that helped you manage your day-to-day to-dos. Like many who’ve read it, I found a few keys in the system (especially the Brother P-Touch + manila folders) that worked well for me; others were harder to maintain and failed to stick.

Now that I have a Treo, I again have found Bonsai to be a wonderful tool. It’s an outlining program that has a desktop companion — I’m juggling a number of fast-moving projects, and I keep a master outline that lists each project, a list of steps required to complete that project, and a status field (for completed/not completed). Each node of the outline can be categorized, which allows me to flag an item in the “waiting on” category, a key element of David Allen’s system: make sure you know not only what you need to do, but what you’re waiting on that’s keeping you from getting things done.

This is by no means a full implementation of Getting Things Done — more of an adapted model that fits closely with how I think. I need to get better at managing my inbox so that it’s empty… that’ll be the next hurdle to overcome. See the screenshots for more examples of how you can use Bonsai as a far more powerful task management system.

Bonus? The makers of Bonsai, Natara Software, are located in Naperville. Sweet!


  1. I've never read Getting Things Done, but I've been a huge fan of Bonsai for ages. I can't imagine organizing to do's in just a flat list (like Outlook) anymore.

    Check out the forums at the Natara site - there are several folks there who use Bonsai with GTD.

    Daynotez is pretty nifty, too.


  2. I love that there was an ad for a bonsai tree in your feed with this post. Made me laugh.