GTD Applications. Which one?


I’m a list maker. As far back as I can remember I was writing out lists on paper. What to do today. What do to next week. Things I meant to do last week but want to definitely get to this year. Things I need to do that have to do with the music business. Things I need to do that have to do with home life. You get the idea. Naturally computers make list making and reminders even more “enjoyable”. However, I’ve been torn as to which application to use.

My first stab at a computerized to do list was in a Filemaker database I created. After that got boring I just had a to do list on a TextEdit document. Then I had that list TextEdit document inside a iDisk (mobileMe) folder so it would be available on all my computers. When online web apps took over I tried Remember the Milk and Todoist. I settled on Todoist for about a year. Lately, with my new job and Bronx renovations I realized I am managing a ton more projects and need another layer of help. This weekend I tried out The Hit List and Things. I really like Things a lot and think it maybe my next choice. The iPhone app for Things also looks pretty sweet. Although I’m already syncing a bunch of stuff (mobileMe, dropbox, Spanning Sync) and I think it’s slowing my machine down (duh!). I really think web apps are the future though. Google’s new Task’s look interesting. Maybe I should make a musical GTD inbox? I could sing all my to do lists! Surely I would remember them that way.

So by now maybe you get my point? Yes I need to choose a tool and they are useful but it’s all a bit ridiculous. That said, what’s your favorite choice for remembering all the things you have to do?

If you want to know a little more about the art of “Getting Things Done” or GTD check out David Allen: click here

photo credit: eston

A database and spreadsheet of your equipment.

I keep an up to date Database and Spreadsheet containing the details of all the hardware and software in my recording studio. I refer to these lists when I need tech support, if I need a serial number to upgrade software, when I get insurance, if there is a robbery, if I am moving and when I sell something. Since I am a Mac user my favorite apps for the task are Filemaker Pro and Numbers. However, there are many other options and my equipment lists are of quite simple.

I’ve been using Filemaker since version 3 sometime in the mid-nighties. It’s a rock solid program and it has never lost any of my data. As you type a key it makes a file save. For safety you can set up a script so Filemaker requires a password upon launch. You can keep databases on your .mac disc so you have your info “in the cloud”. I have the following fields in my Serial Number Database:

• Date Purchased
• Manufacturer
• Serial Number
• Price Paid – The actual price I paid.
• Method of Payment – Did I use Paypal? If so which account? Or did I use cash?
• Replacement Cost – If it were lost or stolen the amount it would cost to replace it.
• Purchased From
• Description
• Receipt – Filemaker allows fields that hold PDFs or .Doc files.
• Container – You can put a photo of the item here.

    I switched from Microsoft Excel to Apple Numbers to avoid MS bloat. Numbers is also capable of some pretty charts and graphs. The spreadsheet for my studio gear (which I usually use for my insurance company) is very simple. It’s only 4 columns of data with fields for: Item, Serial Number, Price and Replacement Cost. The Replacement Cost field has a total sum calculation at it’s bottom.

    Don’t forget to include your software in these lists. You are expected to have hardware keys and sometimes installer CDs covered by your insurance. For example, Steinberg will no longer replace your hardware key if you loose it. Don’t forget to add items like chairs or sound treatment. If a fire hits your studio you want your insurance to cover your Herman Miller Aeron or RealTraps. Lastly, check your list monthly and update it with any new purchases, delete sold or obsolete items and adjust some replacement costs.

    For those Wire to the Ear readers who own Filemaker you can download a clone (empty) version of the Serial Number database I created and use it as you like: click here to download