View Full Version : Ready-Set-Do! 1.0
10-12-2006, 01:11 PM
I'm looking for a few more mac-users to try out this set of applescripts I designed for implementing David Allen's workflow on the mac. Not the fancy GUI app that some may be looking for but it has a simple implementation of using the file system of the mac OS to get things done. It also has some nice Quicktime movie tutorials that review the core GTD habits some may find useful.
The philosophy behind the approach as well as the trial version can be found here (http://www.readysetdo.com/the-ready-set-do-backstory):
Would appreciate any feedback.
10-13-2006, 08:24 AM
you asked for feedback, and I'm going to give it. Your overall concept (gtd via folders) is interesting, and the strong workflow orientation, combined with manual options for most procedures, is good. You have obviously spent much time and effort on Ready-Set-Do. I have a few comments:
1) Make sure your web site url is prominently featured in your documentation.
2) The voice must have a global option to be turned off.
3) The quicktime is nice, but most people want searchable documentation.
4) The projects interface is too cumbersome for rapid use. I tried entering one little project, and I was tired and quit before I got through the script. I know that the GTD book has all kinds of useful ways to think about outcome vision, project standards, et cetera, but when you have to update a spreadsheet with more data and send it back, you just want to get it done, and not meditate on its connection to your life and philosophy.
5) Putting all that information on projects and next actions into folder metadata ties you to the OS X file structure, in comparison to folder and text file implementations. If I rsync these files to a unix/linux box, what happens to the metadata? While I have the vague recollection that Apple has hooks in, e.g., Applescript, to get and put file metadata, that's not why I switched to macs. I have no real interest in learning Applescript, as compared to, say, Ruby. Most users will be clueless about the technical consequences of the design choice, and unable to do much with the data.
6) I think there is also a potential problem with mixing actions and data: I gather that you might put next action metadata in a spreadsheet file. I don't want that file to get accidentally labeled as done when I am in fact not done with it, because all of the project next actions may involve it.
7) As I was writing this, I wanted to go back and confirm the behavior of one of the scripts. I had already dragged everything out of my doc, and I looked into the "Your Desktop Items" folder. To my surprise, both the zip file and the unzipped file were gone. It's bad enough that you swept my desktop folders into a sub-folder without telling me first, but now I have two choices: a) root out your files without your documentation, or b) download the absurdly bloated 85 Mb zip file again. But I do thank you for including the manual install info, so I can do a manual de-install.
It may seem to you that I am being harsh. I would bet that you developed strong manual habits before you developed all the workflow scripts, and don't really need to use them, especially when you are in a hurry. Your system works well for you, and you want it to work well for others. Feedback from people who have tried to use it, had issues, and tell you about it, are your allies. :)
10-13-2006, 02:20 PM
Thanks for the feedback and for giving the scripts a run. This is precisely the kind of feedback I'm looking for and I will try to implement some of your suggestions before the next release.
Your first three criticisms are right on the mark and I will get to making those changes as soon as I can. For the time being people can search the "How to Use Ready-Set-Do! 1.0" read me file in the "Ready-Set-Do! Help..." folder.
You're right about the global voice option. I had to decide between having the computer let people know what it was doing audibly so they would know (i) that the script was still doing its job and (ii) when it was done doing its job. The alternative would be just to pop up a dialog box without the audio when the script was done saying that it had done its job, but then people wouldn't know what the computer was doing along the way. I happen to like having my computer talk to me to tell me what it is doing but perhaps not everybody will like that functionality.
The approach to projects takes some getting used to and it certainly isn't for everybody. Those who love the outliners available on the mac or to do their projects in a spreadsheet may prefer those to this approach. This is primarily for those who like this file-system approach to GTD and like having every element of their projects -- including their outcome vision, standards, and purpose -- all individuated out for them. It also works really well when projects get reviewed (after all of their components have been defined) because you can view the project through the "grid" of the Purpose, Outcome, and Vision for the project one element at a time. And doing that one-at-a-time approach to projects takes some time before one sees the value and the results that kind of approach affords them. For those who don't like this one-at-a-time approach to projects they can just not use the Projects scripts and use their own preferred approach. There is flexibility for people to use only the scripts they like and not use the one's they don't. I would be interested in whether you were able to make it through the Projects Tutorial quicktime movie in the "Ready-Set-Do! Help..." folder and whether that was helpful or not. There is also the possibility of the future release of "Plug-Ins" that would bridge the file system with a person's preferred outlining program. So let's say a person really doesn't like this particular interface for Getting Clear on Projects and would rather use OmniOutliner or something. It is possible to write a plug-in to work with the Get Clear On Projects script that instead of utilizing this approach would open up OmniOutliner, allow the person to input the data they want, organize, etc. and then after they were done, it would export that data with all of its changes into the file system. Or, if someone didn't like the file-system approach to projects, it could just keep a list of OmniOutliner files in their Projects folder that they could open and use as they wished. Or if you liked doing your projects in xml one could write a plug-in for that. There are lots of possibilities for this and I'm interested in those who have creative ideas for making plug-ins like this. Maybe you have some ideas?? If there is enough demand for certain functionality I will get working on the kinds of plug-ins people would find the most useful with their preferred program for getting clear on projects.
The metadata should be accessible via the "Make Action Lists" script which outputs the entire inventory of your projects, actionables, read-reviews, waiting fors, etc. to a text file. Any programming language that can exploit a text file should be able to utilize the output generated by these text files for one's own purposes. The same would be true for the "Make Project Detail (All)" script.
The one nice thing about the Projects scripts for Ready-Set-Do! is how they safeguard everything in the folder "Project Support" for the project. So if you have an xml file, or files of any other type you can put them in this folder without having to worry about them getting marked as complete, etc. If you wanted, I could also write something up to have a "Make Action Lists (xml)" that would export all of the metadata in this format for those who would want this functionality. If enough people asked me for it and told me what they wanted it to do I would be happy to start working on that.
Yes, I thought I was being generous by telling people they could find everything in that new "Your Desktop Items" folder but it would be better to ask about it first. I'll add that to the installer for the next update. I just wanted to make sure that (i) people knew where all of their stuff was and (ii) people could see the new Ready-Set-Do! folders without confusing them or having them mixed in among lots of other items on their desktop. It makes for a clean viewing space. Some have even emailed me back and said "Wow, you managed to organize my cluttered desktop." But you're right, I'll add the functionality of asking about this first. Users should be able to still access the scripts in the Applications folder if they decide to take the icons out of their dock.
I will also include in the next release an "uninstaller" so people don't have to manually delete the items as you did. If you decided to delete the Ready-Set-Do! folders from your desktop I would also suggest you delete the folder actions that were attached to them if they still show. Just go to "Applications" --> "Applescript" --> "Folder Actions Setup"; double-click "Folder Actions Setup" and if the names of any of those folders show up on the left side, just select them all and delete them.
This is a first public release so I hope people go into it with that in mind. The approach is also not for everybody. It's mainly for mac-users who connect with the reliability of making one's GTD implementation program-independent while at the same time integrating all of the various programs and files they use on their mac.
Thanks for the feedback.
P.S. There is also the "Sync iCal ToDos" Plug-In that syncs one's non-online and non-computer Actionables and Read-Reviews with the iCal ToDos and 'attempts' to port over the text of long computer documents so people can have access to that data on their handheld devices. It breaks them up into 4000 character intervals to ensure that the entire document can bypass the character-limitations of most handheld devices. I'm interested in people trying this out for me, too and let me know what they think. They should read the read me file with the plug-in first before running the sync for the first time.
10-15-2006, 04:04 PM
I am liking this procedure - I am not at my mac a lot, but I do my main planning there on the weeknds etc.... So I am doing the weekly review and find this very helpful.
Anything to have this do more with iCal would be GREAT.
Question: How do I use the send to PDA functionality?
10-16-2006, 08:29 AM
SEND TO PDA & SEND TO PAPER
Currently the Send to PDA and Send to Paper folders are dummy folders on the desktop and will eventually be used in future updates. I'm waiting for people to send me some ideas on how they would like those folders to be used, but for now it just made sense to have the Send to PDA and Send to Paper folders there because it mentally reminds users that they've got stuff in those formats they need to review.
DOING MORE WITH ICAL
As for doing more with iCal, I wrote a "Sync iCal ToDos" plug-in that provides the following functionality:
1. Syncs your non-online and non-computer related Actionables & Read-Reviews with your iCal ToDos.
2. Attempts to port over the texts of documents related to your actionables and read-reviews and attaches them to the "Notes" portion of the iCal todo for that item. This enables syncing with the "Notes" of a person's todos if they sync iCal with their handheld device (i.e. the Palm has a todo and a Notes file attached to it. The sync puts the text into the Notes that are attached to that todo so you've got the text for that document now on your Palm attached to that todo).
So try downloading the Sync iCal ToDos plug-in and trying that. But please be sure to read the Read Me file for Sync iCal ToDos plug-in carefully (especially with respect to how you need to format your location contexts) so it will sync properly.
Hope that helps. Let me know how it goes.