DT and To Do Lists

Can you tell me if you use DT for managing your To Do lists? And if so, how do you do it?

I’ve been playing with the outline function and trying out different things–right now I’ve sort of settled into doing it based on a suggestion by Matt Henderson in his weblog.

I make several documents (each one a To Do) and keep them in a daily note group at the top of my group list. When I complete the action I replicate it and drop one into a chronological group to have a day-to-day list of things done. I put the other into the specific project group.

I’ve been using this system to track research I do on a project, too, not necessarily just for To Dos. But I’d like to hear how other people do it. I know there are other software programs out there written specifically for To Dos, but I’m trying to do as much as I can in DT.

I have a To Do Group that encompasses all my other to do groups. These other groups include Completed To Dos, Work Development, Current Work Tasks, Financial, Personal, and Contact Follow-Up. I don’t keep my completed to dos in separate groups by day as you are doing but if I had to justify my work to a supervisor I probably would. You can check when a task was completed by looking at the date modified in Get Info but this is probably not optimum if you’re wanting to know all of them on any given day.

Honestly, I’m not 100% happy with any of the programs that I’ve used for managing to do lists, and I’ve tried a lot of them. No alarm reminders is one of my biggest problems with the DT approach, also NoteTaker. If something is absolutely critical and I’m concerned about forgetting it I’ll set an alarm in iCal, but iCal seems awkward in its own way for managing all my to dos.

I too am interested in what others are doing to manage to do lists.


i’ve experimented with using DT and other apps like NoteBook, Entourage and iCal for this stuff and have yet to find something that is perfectly suited to my needs. In fact, none of the apps above are even close.

DT and Notebook are terrific apps I use virtually every day, but at least for me they are wholly unsuited to this task. I need integration between task mgmt (i hate both the name and concept of ‘to do lists’), calendars and contacts. DT and Notebook provide nothing close to this. And managing tasks independent of contacts and calendars, for me, is terribly unproductive and disjointed.

In fact, I’m absolutely amazed that there is no quality PIM app out there designed for the personal user. I’ve demoed a lot of different apps and found virtually all of them sorely lacking.

All that said, I’m trying something now that impresses me. I’m demoing DayLite from MarketCircle and this is a very high quality application. There are certainly many things I’d love to change about it but it comes much closer to what i’m looking for than any other app i’ve tried to date. Integration between contacts, calendar and tasks is very tight. It also adds data entities called ‘projects’ and ‘opportunities’ that also integrate tightly with the other data sets. It’s designed for businesses and I own and run a small business but i’m using it for both business and personal information mgmt.

and it supports DT services functionality, too.

I haven’t decided whether or not to purchase a license (not cheap), but at this point I’m leaning towards it. the fact that it integrates well with Palm OS handhelds is another plus. I’ve used a paper planner system for years and have wanted to make the transition to electronic but have never been able to do so because I need a Mac-based system that syncs with a Palm. I want the Palm to be my backup system when I’m away from my computer, not the primary system for managing this stuff.

So bottom line is I’ve decided that apps like Notebook and DT are great at storing/organizing and retrieving lots of disparate pieces of information, but for task mgmt they are not the right tool for the job.


Whilst I use DT for most of my PIM I manage all my To Dos in Burnoutmen which has been engineered specifically for the purpose. It sits in your menu bar and is therefore hidden untill callled for. It interacts with iCal and does many other super To Do Things. I also use it in conjunction with iMOnTime also a Menu Bar item. Get them here:


    [expersis.com/cgi-bin/prodinf ... ntent_info](http://www.expersis.com/cgi-bin/prodinfo.cgi?product=imontimex&pagetype=content_info)

Hope DT don’t mind me recommending another product.


I use Personal Organizer from Chronos - it’s been forever since it’s been updated but works fine for me on OS X 10.3.9… hopefully an upgrade will be forthcoming! This program has lots of alarms - I use it every day. :laughing:

I’ve discovered a program called “Life Balance” that is the best to-do program I have used for my way of working. It even graphs the balance between the various categories of tasks that you have entered and allows you to adjust your “ideal” proportion of effort for each category then displays how much effort you are actually putting into them (pie chart comparison of ideal versus actual). However, it still doesn’t have alarms and I still am setting those in iCal. Fortunately I don’t have a lot of events that need alarms. Oddly, Life Balance lets you set calendar dates and times, repeating tasks, a type called “routinely,” etc., and if you look at the list the tasks will show the due date or say “near” or “today” or “now” or “soon” or “overdue.” So it seems odd to me to have this functionality but not be able to set an alarm that sounds off and puts a message on the screen.


I for one dropped the computer as a ToDo Manager. I have demoed so many software products, more than 15 different I reckon. However, I returned to the good ol’ sheet of paper, for speed and flexibility. The only drawback is the fact that an undone task is not automatically transferred to the current ToDo-List, but thats all.
However, there is a piece of software I’d like to throw in, in case somebody might like it. It’s named Revolver and you can find it at revolversoft.com. I found the idea and UI quite nice but somehow it is soo slow. At least on my mac, that is. The basic version is free, so you can have a look and see if you like it.

The Task or To-Do feature in Entourage is very DB like: you may set alarms and code the entries by priority, color and category–but you can’t see a 3-pane view, as in e-mail.

My To-Do needs are simple: I’d like to see an outline view of the tasks, to group them and put them high or low as priorities. I’d like a 3-pane view and a check box. You can do that in DT now, but I’m not sure I want to crank it up just to see what’s next on the chore list.

At the moment, I’m using the Stickies widget for quick reminders. I’m hoping that a widget will come along soon that functions as a higher-end task manager. If you know of one, please let me know?

It is astonishing that there’s no really good to-do list manager around - everyone seems to be looking for one and it’s exactly the kind of thing that a computer would do well. In my opinion the most interesting I’ve demoed is Life Balance by Llama; lots of good ideas but the overall feel is very unMacky - 'fraid after two days I couldn’t bear to look at it any more. Still, give it a whirl.

There might be something we could work out with DT Pro sheets - perhaps using scripts and smart groups to simulate repeating tasks as well. But I suspect it would be more trouble than it’s worth.

Till something better comes along… like someone put in their post above, pencil and paper is probably the best option.

I found a widget, To-Do Tracker, that’s simple to use: it has check-boxes and you categorize tasks by creating titled page sets. In the preferences, you may delete or change the order of pages.

Download at apple.com/downloads/dashboar … acker.html

It’s lightweight and only serves Tiger users, but I think it may be OK for my needs.

It’s probably a sign of the beginning of the end of all real world social life when one begins replying to one’s own posts but…

I’ve been thinking about this and maybe it isn’t so difficult after all. A half-dozen well planned scripts might be able to make sheets very good for handling to do lists in a more Macky way. “Might”…

If anyone’s interested in looking at collaborating on this, give me a PM. Natch any results to be released to the DT community at large…

A good To Do-manager in my opinion (or perhaps I should say in my case) should also be a good Have Done-manager. For some people tasks to be done cease to exist as soon as they have been accomplished; but I like to keep record of what has been and has been done.

Me too, and alarms that can be set for some period ahead of the event for critical events. This will become increasingly important as we all continue to surrender our neuronal power to the siliconal power of our computers and tendrils begin growing between the keyboards and our fingers. Ok, too much time working for me the past 2 weeks.


What I am going to say will probably sound daft to cognescenti, but here I go (brainstorming mode).
I am currently testing an open-source “web-based todo-list manager in the Getting Things Done style” named NextAction.
Playing with it, I had the idea to import it in my DT Pro and this seem to work quite well.
My technical expertise is more than limited, but I wondered whether it would not be possible to create a specific wiki to use as a dashboard in DT or simply use something like NextAction or customize it to suit DT.

An update on To Do Tracker, a Widget that I previously recommended. It was buggy, crashed often, and nagged for a “contribution,” despite calling itself freeware. So I trashed it and found Notepad Widget: homepage.mac.com/stewart.hector/ … index.html. You may set up multiple Note topics, format text and background, and save updates. No alarms or reminders, just a way of organizing random thoughts at the press of F12.

I was looking at such a thing too sincre a long time. Then I aked myself, why not a real projectmangament tool . Because it´s too expensive, I thougt. Then I found itask itaskx.com/. And I was surprised what funcionality it offers for the price of a better to do list Manager. (65.- Euros)

After the first look, I will play with it ASAP.

I’m happy to have found like minded (frustrated) searchers for the holy grail of what I like to think of as “Life Management”. I am still searching with a few prospects left on my list.

I also just found iTaskX.

And Chronos is coming out with an upgrade soon called SOHO Organizer (they’ve announced it and there is just a bit of info on their website). Their StickyBrain Product showed some promise though not very well integrated with other apps. But they say their new organizer will be tapping into the existing Mac apps (iCal, Address Book, etc.) as well as integrated with their other apps. And there appears to be an improved and integrated StickyBrain replacement coming called SOHO Notes.

Also, OD4Contact Looks promising but they are several months away from a full rev update.

I looked at DayStar but it was too clunky and unreliable for me, though their support forum has it’s evangelists. It is a “big” product, lots of abilities and maybe worth another look but the cost gets in the way. Perhaps worth it if you are a big bucks business. It just missed what I would have like to have for the price.

For those of you looking for a well integrated answer, Palm Desktop for Mac (the old Claris Organizer) was and is possibly the best ever product. It’s only weaknesses (IMHO) include a) no current integration with Mac apps, b) no apparent current development efforts, and c) (always a weakness) no ability to nest tasks/projets; everything is on the same level. One con only use two “Categories” to differentiate items. Chronos improved on this by allowing more categories. I still use Palm as I never left it, but am transitioning to the Mac apps because I see them as the only hope for full integration. If Apple doesn’t improve on them, I’m counting on a 3rd party to eventually come through.

Another two products not mentioned include: a) FastTrack-a project manager that hasn’t been updated for quite some time and shows no sign of intending to do so anytime soon. b) CRM4Mac- attempting to integrate with the Mac apps and making some good progress, but hard to tell what kind of progress they’re going to be able to make anytime soon.

I was hoping DT was a possibility but it seems not, at least not as fully as I would have liked. For what it’s worth, I am down to these 5 possibilities (all having significant shortcomings) in order: 1) Chronos-I’m hopeful they will offer the best integration and they’ll be the 1st out the door; 2) iTaskX, because it just looks so good already, I might just use it in conjunction with what ever I settle on. 3) OD4Contact, because from what I see, they are headed in the right direction; 4) The Mac apps, because one never knows what Apple might pull out of it’'s hat 5)DayLight, just because they are so close, (even if all isn’t perfected).

I think it’s worth noting that I am going to transition to Chronos now because I’m counting on them and even if they disappoint I’m betting their demo will get most of my stuff into the Mac apps where I can then use something else. I guess my bottom line is Mac app integration (which also offers the best prospect for export capabilities to Palm, phones, etc.)

I hope you all will stay active in this search, and will perhaps use this forum to continue to share your thought and experiences. If something doesn’t show up soon I think someone is just going to have to write an app.

Add Merlin (project management) to the worth considering list. A bit pricey (US$150+). But seems to be well integrated.


I would now put Merlin near the top of the list as it appears to be very strong with a clean interface. Stick with it long enough to discover the answers to your questions. All of mine have been answered well beyond my expectations thus far. iCal integration appears to be very good (though haven’t discovered if alarms are there).

I’m a new DT Pro user, and just started the learning curve. Like most of the people on this forum I’ve tried just about every todo list program on the market, and none really worked the way I wanted them to. I’ve finally settled on Tinderbox from Eastgate. It’s a pricey product, but can be configured to work in just about any way you want. There are various downloadable templates based on GTD, and I ended up modifying one to suit my own purposes.

I created a todo task template and several agents to filter the tasks into ‘Overdue’, ‘Today’, ‘Tomorrow’, ‘Coming Soon’ and ‘Delegated’ windows. There are no pop up reminders, which might be a show stopper for some, but I have enough tasks cropping up every day that I refer to it several times a day. I use Desktop Manager and have Tinderbox open all day on it’s own virtual desktop. I take meeting notes and actions in a notebook (still the best note taking medium IMHO) and diligently transfer any actions and notes into Tinderbox when I get back to my desk. This way I can keep my head clear, knowing I’ve got everything I need to do contained in a system I trust (this is the essence of ‘Getting Things Done’).

Tinderbox is a deep and rich application that can do much more than I’m using it for, and the learning curve is steep. I’ve only just scratched the surface after using it for several months, but it’s the best todo list manager I’ve used so far. I also use Entourage for calendar management, and iTaskX for major projects (I transfer upcoming tasks into Tinderbox every couple of weeks). Tinderbox has become the central container for all my tasks and todo items, and my usage has evolved as I discover more about it. Not for everyone I’m sure, but it’s working great for me.