iPod Touch as mobile GTD companion?

Discussion in 'iPod touch' started by dolphin842, Dec 26, 2007.

  1. dolphin842 macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    Hi all,

    In my latest effort to rationalize the purchase of an iPod Touch, I've thought about its potential as a calendar/event/task planner. In short, my current project workflow involves dabbling with OmniFocus while maintaining a separate iCal calendar. When not at the computer, I use a common Staples weekly/monthly planner for entering in classwork, to-do lists, etc. I'm thinking if I replace the Staples planner with an iTouch, I could standardize on one interoperable platform, that would look something like this:

    At my Mac:
    Planning-> OmniFocus for projects, syncing with iCal database
    Acting-> anxiety.app, which gets its contexts and tasks from the iCal database

    On the Go with an iTouch:
    Planning-> Creating events, tasks, etc, within the iTouch's calendar.app, or some better app via jailbreaking or the eventual supported 3rd party apps.
    Acting-> Tasks from OmniFocus get synced to iCal, which in turn get synced with the iTouch, and vice versa.

    The big goal here is to have bidirectional syncing on both ends, for both planning stuff and acting on already-existing tasks. The question I put to the forum here is.... is that currently doable with a jailbroken iTouch? I know it can sync with iCal, but can the iTouch itself create calendar events and tasks that will be synced back to iCal? Has anyone tried a workflow similar to the one I outlined above? If so, I'd love to hear of any benefits of disadvantages of using such a system.
  2. dolphin842 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    Bah, some further research reveals that iCal to-dos don't get synced with the iTouch, and there's no to-do app in the iTouch itself. That's rather disappointing... I suppose I'll have to wait for the SDK to work its magic this coming year (which will hopefully bring some native version of OmniFocus or some easy-to-use equivalent).
  3. Eric1285 macrumors 6502

    Feb 22, 2007
    I was considering getting an iPod Touch for the same purpose. I realize that a windows mobile phone is a better solution, since the iPod touch can only sync via USB and bluetooth.
  4. dolphin842 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    I don't mind hooking up with USB to sync, but the lack of a seamless (dare I say Apple-like) calendar and to-do sync is a deal breaker. The technology is there... iCal can be the platform that all the apps talk to. Everything except the iTouch is on board already. I'm surprised that Apple has not realized this.
  5. Justintosh macrumors newbie

    Dec 29, 2007
    Jailbreak it.

    My iPod touch is jailbroken, and I have 2 to-do list apps.
    Also, the iPod can access the same web-based apps that iPhone has access to.

    I do hate the lack of iCal to-do sync, but you can still use the iPod touch for GTD. One solution I've played with is to simply model your GTD after the text file based methods, and utilize the very slick Notes application from the iPhone, available through installer.app after the jailbreak. It basically allows you to have several lists in a stack, much like a Hipster PDA would.

    I'd say DEFINITELY buy the touch. It's AMAZING. The only way I could advise against it would be if you already have an iPhone, or are planning on getting one in the very near future.

    Hope that helped. :)

  6. dolphin842 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    Thanks for the reply!

    It's good to know that you can get GTD to work on your Touch. Still, the big draw for me was the hope that through a single system (the iCal event/to-do system, which everything would talk to) I would be able to plan with less effort than I do currently. In my opinion, having to use a separate Notes app that doesn't sync with anything back on the Mac is no different than my current setup of a paper notepad and planner. In fact, without some method of syncing, I would fathom that having to enter stuff on the Touch would be more time-consuming than my current method. If your experience bears out different results, I'd love to be proven wrong (the Touch *is* a nice piece of electronics, after all ;)). I'd only want to put the money down for a tool if it makes me more productive. I already have an (admittedly aging) 3G iPod that plays music, so the Touch would have to earn its keep as a planner replacement as well. For me, it's not there quite yet, but it's well on the way. Once it gets proper to-do/event syncing (either from Apple or Omni) and other goodies (like VoodooPad), the home/on-the-go convergence will be complete and it'll definitely be worth the price of admission.
  7. andrew.daley macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2008
    GTD on the Touch

    Ok, here is what I do.

    Step 1: Create contexts in a sub-calendar folder (also known as a group) under your regular calendars in the sidebar named GTD and add the traditional @ in front of these calendar names to signify "to do's".

    Step 2: When creating to do's in ical assign a context via the newly created calendars (this will make sense shortly). For example I have a context calendar called @Errands. So I create a to do, say to get milk, and put it under the @Errands calendar in the to do list. I also assign alarms and due dates for it to remind me of this to do.

    Step 3: Here is where the magic happens. By accident I found that you can drag to do's to the calendar pane and make events out of them. The cool thing is that all relevant due dates, and alarms are maintained in the process. I drag all to do's to 7:00Am for the day they are due, and stack them like pancakes (because they do not have to be legible in iCal). Conversely, on the touch, if you want to add a to do, just add a calendar event to the day it is due with all the alarms and pertinent information and when you sync your touch to you mac, the new events are dumped into iCal. Once this is done the process for creating events out of to do's as described above can be reversed. Drag events to to do list in the side bar and tada, all due dates and alarms are maintained. The only thing you have to do now is pick the context calendar, and Bob's your uncle.

    **as an aside, I use TextExpander to add the context of to do's created in iCal so when I view them on the iPod touch the context is maintained due to the lack of different calendar colors on the touch. So in the title of the to do I hit "@err" and TextExpander fills in @Errands: and then I add "Get milk".

    I have added a screen shot of my calendar to show what I am talking about. The key here is the drag and drop between calendar and to do list, that is all.

    I tend to confuse things when explaining, so I hope the screen grab helps.


    Attached Files:

  8. dolphin842 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 14, 2004
    Thanks, Andrew, for the write-up.

    At a glance, at least for how I work, taking your approach would still involve too much overhead to make it worthwhile. I'm just going to wait until Omni gets a hold of the SDK and makes an OmniFocus companion app for the iTouch that has project/task syncing.
  9. ArchiMark macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    Simpler Solution - MobileToDoList App

    Just another thought for you....

    If you jailbreak your Touch like I did, then you can install MobileToDoList and create/edit ToDo's on your Touch. It also allows you to setup categories for ToDo's....

    Very nice app and it's free!....although I made a donation to developer...

  10. McGiord, Jan 15, 2008
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011

    McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    try iGTD

    Please correct me if I'm worng but current 3rd party To do apps don't sync.

    The Mac app iGTD offers a good solution, I think you can sync via .mac if you are .mac subscribers, I haven't check it in a while.

    Check here:
    Mazda B-Series (North America)
  11. mgmead macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    GTD Validity


    I did a search on "iCal Tasks Ipod Touch" and got here.

    It seems that GTD through iCal is not an option, which is sad.

    Andrew Daley's approach, while sensible in some ways, is actually completely in violation of one of the main tenets of GTD, which is that tasks don't get scheduled unless they are hard and non-negotiable. Doing otherwise is, of course, always an option -- if it works for you Andrew, I'm not getting into a GTD war with you -- but I know that the point is that one's context lists are non-scheduled. Pushing them into your calendar undoes the point.

    For me, since I'm tracking on average close to 100 tasks using GTD, the idea of manually pushing them back and forth in order to make the $400 toy into a business instrument is defeating the purpose. GTD is about stress-free productivity and the recapturing of time -- spending 30 minutes a day poking events into tasks into events so the gadget in my pocket will remind me seems like a pointless exercise.

    BTW, I got my iTouch (iPod Touch) at Best Buy yesterday, after the great announcement of OS upgrade for the Touch, and Apple still charged me the $20 to download the software ... so don't buy a Touch that's been sitting for a little while in a non-Apple partner store -- it will cost you $20 more ... or at least the headache of sending an email asking for the money back.

    What a farce. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop and everyone to stop and say "hey! This is just a phone with bad battery life! This is just an iPod with less disk space! This is just a laptop with no ports!"

    Believe it or not, I'm a HUGE Apple fanboy -- but this experience with the Touch, and the whole "if you hack it and give us $20 you can work around our laziness" thing is damaging the brand.
  12. andrew.daley macrumors newbie

    Jan 15, 2008
    While singing, "I Did It My Way"

    While I realize that my "GTD" method may seem in violation of the technical definition of David's GTD Methodology itself, you must realize that the GTD methodology does not work for everyone, the core idea may. With this in mind I presented to the forum my GTD method, as adapted/adopted by me. I simply set forth my method so that others can see and adopt/adapt it for themselves. Sorry to have offended any GTD sensibilities.

  13. ArchiMark macrumors 6502

    Feb 2, 2003
    Silicon Valley
    No Offense Taken, Andrew!


    I for one, really appreciated your post!

    Always like seeing how people do things...don't give a rat's *&$ about whether it's some pure way to do this or not...



  14. mgmead macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2008
    No GTD war needed

    Yeah, like I said, if it works for you -- do it.

    I'm all for a system that works that's outside the GTD "rule box" (pigpog is a great example of modified GTD, for example).

    My point wasn't a jibe at your system (really, truly) -- it was a jibe at stupid Mac that they've got us all chattering about all the labor we need to do to work around their smarmy failure to take care of details.

    I just checked in with a mac buddy of mine, one who used to get excited about stuff with me about Apple ... and he's fed up -- thinks they've lost track.

    I want a pocket device that syncs easily with my Mac. I'm ready to spend hundreds of dollars to do it. I'm also ready to "influence the decisions of more than one corporation" (as the questionnaire always goes).

    Get with the program -- support your apps across platforms. Duh.

    (btw -- for all the generalized hatred of Microsoft Windows, etc. -- one thing that even Apple fans have to admit -- Microsoft works on ANY hardware ... Apple can't even synchronize between their "two" platforms.)

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13 December 26, 2007