To all Devonthink GTDers

In the few lasts months, I have posted on my blog and on flickr, a number of notes and screenshots on implementing GTD on Devonthink.

I am currently thinking of taking the opportunity of my summer break to prepare a more detailed document on the subject, which might be useful to other Devonthink users, or prospective users.

I would therefore be very keen on hearing from other Devonthink GTDers to compare views, practices and also screenshots.

An issue I have only started looking into is that of using applescripts for this implentation. Are there around cool applescritps which are of relevance ?

Pascal Venier
pascal.venier at

It might help to explain what GTD is and why DevonThink users would care about it.

GTD = Getting Things Done, a book on “productivity for workaholics” by David Allen. He has formed a company that sells his ideas through seminars and software, so far only for Windows users of Microsoft Outlook.

The growing popularity of GTD has led some critics to call it the Atkins diet for today’s information workers. Since the Atkins company has just gone into bankruptcy, that might suggest a similar fate for GTD, but perhaps not.

I found a useful “nerd-centric” introduction to GTD on 43 Folders, a Mac-oriented blog: … arted.html

I wish Pascal and others much luck in thinking about how to adapt GTD to DT, and vice-versa.

Thanks very much to Howard for expressing his thoughts so frankly. Directness is something I really much appreciate.

I am not so sure about GTD being a book on “productivity for workaholics”. I would personnaly rather see it as a book on “productivity and about not becoming a workaholic”, as in less efforts for more results.

Most of the methodology is perhaps not as original as that and sounds like common sense.

To use your metaphore on diets, it does sound to me to have a lot more to do with learning how to have a balance diet than with the “Atkins diet for today’s information workers”.

If it is a fact that David Allen … “has formed a company that sells his ideas through seminars and software, so far only for Windows users of Microsoft Outlook”. In any case, I enjoy very much the 43 folders site, which is indeed, as you put it, Mac-centered.

I have posted a downloadable copy of the template I use to implement GTD using Devonthink on my blog if this is of interest to anyone. Nothing spectacular. See: … using.html

An interesting idea. Unfortunately for this particular request, my adaptation of GTD is largely kept to folders and things I keep in Entourage – that is, I keep tasks and short notes there and reserve DT for other kinds of writing and information gathering. I know some folks use DT for practically everything, and I guess I would be interested in that, but the fact of the matter is that I also keep my calendar in Entourage and so tying tasks and notes to particular dates is very effective for me.

I should also note, for those interested in GTD but who find the notion of 43 folders either overwhelming or maybe simply obsessive, that I boiled it down to three folders:

“Things to Do This Week”
“Things to Review on Friday”
“Things to Review on the First of Each Month”

The “week” folder contains everything that I need to consider and get done during the week. Stuff either goes in there directly or gets transferred from the Friday folder, which I look at on Friday afternoons as I think should happen the following week – note use of “should” there.

One of the most useful notions I find in the GTD technology, and I confess to learning it from a variety of sources but not from the book itself, is the idea of scheduling tasks. The dated folders accomplish this in the GTD system, but I simply use Entourage’s Tasks as a way to do the same thing.

Thank you, Pascal, for beginning this thread. I am always interested in other people’s usages of organizational schemes in general and DT in particular.

An amazing template for GTD on Omni-outliner with a set of AppleScripts has been very recently released:
Kinkless GTD.

I am under the impression that it is way better than anything which could be done with Devonthink.


Looks neat. Apparently there will be a major update “tomorrow”.

I’ll check it out for sure.

thanks for the link.


Hi all. Ethan here, I built the Kinkless GTD scripts. I just wanted to mention that I’m also a pretty big fan of DEVONThink. I maintain a DEVONThink Pro Database as well, and did explore using it instead of OmniOutliner for the KGTD system, but I kept going back to OO for a number of reasons. It’s also a great application and turned out to be what I needed for that project.

However, DEVONThink is still my text creation and research app. Every job has a different tool, at least for now :wink:

I would be curious as to how you utilize DevonThink Pro in conjunction with your Kinkless OO Templates and Applescripts. Would you be willing to provide a description of how you “integrate” the two apps?

Thanks for your thoughts on this.

I like to think of KGTD as my zen monk living next door to the bookish professor that is DEVONThink. They currently don’t interact much in my system.

I really just started in on Applescript a couple weeks ago, and I looked a bit at DT’s extensive applescript support. I could see sending data between the two would be pretty straightforward. The question for me is more When and Why (ok that’s two questions).

DT is for me my reading, research, and writing tool. It’s more where I act on specific tasks like “take notes on book” or “research that subject online”.

OK, being a chronic seeker of something that will keep me focused and organized, you have my interest. I poked around KGTD and GTD and looked again at OmniOutliner. It all looks good, but why should I use this instead of NoteTaker?

In NT I can have pages for projects or tasks, with nested items on each page, all of which can be dated, prioritized, reorganized, sorted, checked off, collapsed/opened, etc. And everything is immediately indexed, and searchable. Items or whole pages can be moved from here to there or wherever, things can be exported, imported, I can open web sites, drop in jpgs, or pdfs. or rtfs, and have multiple NT books all connected in a library and jump from one to another with a click.

I love DTPro and use it all the time, but I use it more like Super Finder. NoteTaker is more for, well, yes, note taking, and journal keeping, and ToDo lists, and keeping a log of a project. I have a house to maintain, that’s one notebook; I have a house to remodel, that’s two (at least), I have a book to write, that’s nine, one for each section of multiple chapters, etc. It isn’t the kind of stuff I would do in DTPro (although I often store material I might refer to in DTPro). DTPro will have downloads, links, scans, etc., for, say, various drawer hardware; NT will have a chapter for hardware, a page for drawer hardware with notes, addresses, phone#s, etc., and all the steps I have to take in order to get hardware actually installed on a drawer.

So, how is KGTD different/better?

But what about if your zen monk decided to live in the library ?
Do you think setting up something broadly inspired by what you have done for OO for Devonthink would be very difficult?

:bulb: Next action: Learn to use applescript properly!

Well, KGTD isn’t a complex idea, but what makes it work is the “little things” that the system does to make things sync up intuitively. It would be possible in DT, but the implementation would be totally, totally different. I’d probably use either sheets or outlines. Both have disadvantages from my perspective, when compared to OmniOutliner Pro. For example, the native date support in OOPro is really swanky, very easy to use. In DevonThink, implementing start and due dates would be more difficult I think.

Don’t forget: I think DT rocks. I’d be lost without it for my notes.

… Likewise, don’t forget: I think KGTD rocks! I have gone as far as purchasing OO to see how it works.

As to the implementation of GTD on Devonthink, I am myself currently looking at the possibilities offered by sheets in DT.

For the time being, I am using Devonthink together with Airset.

Pascal, about a year ago I put together a tutorial – that is, a project to teach myself – about the use of DT Pro as a GTD system, and published that tutorial to a blog. Since DTP was still in beta at the time, I didn’t publicize the blog, waiting instead for DTP to golden master. Well, that took longer than we all thought, and I pretty much forgot about the blog, until now.

If you’re interested in one approach, check this out.

In truth, if there’s any value left here, it might be in showing a DT Pro newbie some of the slick features of the application. Offered fwiw.

Hi, Fred:

Thanks for the link to your blog and approach. I’ve got so many things still left undone that I may try out your approach, which looks pretty straightforward and simple. I haven’t bought in to the GTD “movement” but who knows, it might help. :slight_smile:

I do not understand how I managed to miss your blog post it in my earlier searches. :unamused:
This sounds great.
I shall have a good look at it.