When I adopted David Allen’s system he calls Getting Things Done®, one of my goals was to become as paperless as possible. I found several apps that I put to good use to help me get organized and stay that way. I used one app for email, one app for electronic filing, and another for my GTD® app. This system has worked well, but I have been bothered by the necessity of three different apps to accomplish the proper steps in the GTD® process. Whether I was using the web apps on my desktop or my smartphone apps, constant switching back and forth and emailing messages from one app to another was tedious. I felt like I was a slave to the process.
My dream app was one that could handle all the necessary functions to work with the GTD® process. In my application of GTD®, I used Evernote for digital filing, Mailbird for desktop email and Mailbox for smartphone email, and NirvanaHQ for GTD® task management. For me these worked, but the constant switching between apps was driving me crazy. And each app had an Inbox that needed processing. Three Inboxes to process! There had to be a better way.
Well, I found it! For me, anyway.
So, when I started looking for this “dream app”, I found about a dozen that were really good. Several kept bubbling to the top. But the one that works so very well that I consider it to be my nearly-perfect GTD® app is IQTell. This is just a summary of my experience with IQTell, and not a detailed review. The bottom line is that I am totally sold on this product and I’m looking forward to the enhancements to come. Oh, and if you are not familiar with GTD®, visit the Getting Things Done® web site, and get the book!
I’ve only been using IQTell for a few weeks, and I am impressed. If there are other apps out there with this impressive tool set, I have not found them. The developers of IQTell have created an all-encompassing web and mobile app that combines email, actions (tasks following GTD® principles), calendars, projects, tight integration with Evernote, plus other very nice features. So here are the things I love about IQTell.
IQTell is designed with GTD® methods and principles from the foundation up. Signup and registration were easy and simple. Once my account was established, I did not have to configure or customize the app to fit GTD®. After initial registration, I followed the procedures for adding my gMail, business and personal email accounts and calendars. Then, I took the time to watch a couple of their instructional videos on YouTube, which proved to be very helpful. I strongly encourage you to watch the videos.
This is the difference. This is the core of IQTell that sets it apart from all the other GTD® apps I tried. None of the others I used incorporated email into their systems so smooth and effectively. I check my email three times each day and process them according to GTD® strategy. If it’s actionable, click one button in IQTell and my email is now an Action. If it’s something important that I need to read or save, I drag it into Evernote and file it accordingly. Otherwise, the email is trashed. My inbox is clean. All of my inboxes. In every email account.
When I’m away from my desk, which is frequent, I can just as easily add a task with my smartphone or tablet app. Whether I’m in a meeting or just having a conversation that results in something to be done, all I have to do is open the app and enter the task. It is now an Action.
At my desk, processing my inbox is just as simple. Sometimes I have a telephone conversation that results in a new action. With IQTell on my desktop, I just type it in the Quick Add box at the top, and it’s ready for processing. Any piece of mail or memo is processed the same way. Then, I can scan the paper into Evernote and destroy it.
I hardly ever open Evernote on my desktop anymore because Evernote is integrated into IQTell. When I get an email that I want to archive, I can drag-and-drop it directly into Evernote. No hassle. If I have an item in my Evernote Inbox that requires action, I can apply the same GTD® processing strategy to that note in the same way that I do an email. Dragging an Evernote note into my Actions automatically creates a new action.
For once, I have all my calendars combined in one place. And I can see all my scheduled events and tasks in one place, just by switching tabs in IQTell. And if I have an actionable item that I need to schedule on my calender, clicking one button in that item automatically puts it on my calendar.
Need for Improvement
No tool is perfect. Since IQTell is a relatively new product, some features are still under development. While I can attach a file from my Dropbox or Google Drive, there is no “browse” feature like other apps provide. I understand that the developers of IQTell plan to add Dropbox and Google Drive file browsing in the future. For now, I have to look up the file link and paste it to an email. Also, I would like to have multiple contexts for Actions. Right now, IQTell only provides for one.
IQTell has built apps for Android and iOS, as well as a web app. This is a significant feature for anyone who doesn’t want to be married to a particular platform. And I have access to my IQTell account from any computer with internet access.
IQTell is not perfect, but it’s close for me. First, it’s still free, but they will be announcing their pricing structure soon. I expect pricing to be comparable with other GTD® apps. Second, the app interface is utilitarian and not as pretty as others. To me, that’s not a problem because the app works and works well. I have encountered a few crashes on the iOS app, but no data was lost. Third, it takes some work and practice to learn the system. It’s fairly intuitive, but I would strongly suggest watching the training videos. If you are looking for the right GTD® app, make sure you give IQTell a try. And with any GTD® app, I suggest that you thoroughly use it for at least 30 days to see how well it will work for you.
Disclaimers: I have used all the products I’ve mentioned here without financial remuneration or other compensation. If fees are involved, I have paid them, otherwise, I have used free versions available to anyone. I am not affiliated with any of these companies in any way, except that I use their products. These opinions are my own.