Getting Hicks done

I’ve finally found the tool I want to use as my collection bucket, and like the geek I am, I feel the need to tell you about it.

Like a lot of people, I’ve been sucked in to the whole Getting Things Done cult, and all cult members need a ‘collection bucket’. The bucket is a place to put ‘open loops’ (all those tasks that are rolling around in your head, bothering the hell of you at times when you can do nothing about it), and into a place where they can be listed, reviewed regularly and actioned. For some this tool is a Hipster PDA, for others it could a PIM application like Entourage.

My dilemma was this - I love the organic ‘analog’ feeling of pencil on notebook, but prefer the ease of editing and reordering that a ‘digital’ application would give me.

Here are some of the solutions I’ve tried:

Everyone has to find the one that works best for them. You have to feel comfortable with it, but that doesn’t mean that there is one solution that works for everyone.

So what was the winner? I had the idea of setting up a ‘Getting things done’ project in Basecamp and suddenly everything fell into place.

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Mainly using the to-do list section, I created lists for ‘Work’, ‘Home’ and ‘Long Term Goals’. I can view these lists individually, as well as all together on one page. The milestones section becomes a reminders section, for everything from small projects to remembering to do things like a find a plumber.
  • No issues syncing between macs - the information is always there - up to date and correct.
  • I really like the to-do list functionality (also used in Tada-lists and Backpack). Tick the checkbox and it drops down beneath, greyed out, but still there. This is great for projects that are ‘waiting’ but you’re not finished with yet. It also allows for lists to be reordered, to show task priorities.
  • By creating a distant milestone (which I call ‘Marker’), I can attach all my to-do lists to this, and have them show up in iCal’s to-do lists.
  • An ‘in the browser’ solution - I’m really keen on the idea of having as few apps around as possible, and doing as much as possible within a tabbed browser.
  • All my notes go into the ‘messages’ area, with categories such as ‘code snippets’.
  • I’ve already got a Basecamp account. There wasn’t a need to buy a Backpack account, as I didn’t need its unique features, such as sharing pages, or emailing information to a page. Backpack did come very close to being the one, but Basecamp won out.

The result of this organisation is that I now have a bucket that I can access from anywhere with a internet connection (and yes, I’m rarely without one!), When I do need a copy on my mac, I just save a pdf, but usually I’m connected, and just have my ‘bucket’ open in a tab. It works for me, and its helped me feel more relaxed about my workload.

I’d be interested to hear what ‘devices’ you use. What’s worked for you?


Call Jon Hicks on +44 (0)7917 391536
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Hicks Design
Hexagon House
Avenue 4, Station Lane
Witney, OX28 4BN
United Kingdom