Just about this time in 2014 I wrote about my use of Redbooth and examined Nozbe vs Todoist. Out of those two posts I said I was going to use Todoist for all my personal tasks and all my client work.

While there’s plenty to like about Redbooth, for me, the friction involved in task entry and management, along with the lack of a decent iOS app added to my frustration with having a not processed ‘inbox’.

These are the reasons I’ll be putting Redbooth aside for 2015 and moving all future client projects to Todoist.

My idealized world only lasted three weeks, though — Todoist sadly didn’t stand the test of time. I stuck it out for another three weeks but switched back to Redbooth for managing my client projects and only use Todoist for the most basic project sharing.

How Todoist shook out

The big issue with Todoist was actually on the client end; they always had issues uploading files. In theory I should have been paying for their access as well as my own, but in practice I was never able to make Todoist charge me for my clients and thus the clients were never able to upload files.

That meant I’d have a task in Todoist that referenced an email the client had sent me as well. Then I’d need to upload the file attached to the email so it was all in one spot. This is needless busy work and doesn’t help push any projects forward. It simply takes up time.

That’s the primary reason I dropped Todoist for client work. I still share projects with my wife, and our grocery list is there.

My assistant still sets up the content for my email list based off tasks in Todoist. Don’t ask me how I’m getting charged for my assistant but could never get the payments working for my clients.

I still use it for all my personal GTD workflow though the siren song of OmniFocus is always heard.

I love its great keyboard shortcuts and its use of natural language for due dates. I love that it integrates with my email clients so I can easily send tasks to it.

The big thing I miss, and the only reason I can’t get away from the siren song of OmniFocus, is the robust review process provided by OmniFocus.

With OmniFocus you can set review intervals for projects. So stuff like a ‘things to buy’ list may only need to be reviewed every few months as the seasons change and it may be the right time to purchase things for the upcoming season.

The review feature on the iPad was so nice I could easily review all my projects with a coffee during a Saturday morning breakfast with the kids. Maybe it’s just some mental hurdle, but I still feel like reviewing projects in Todoist is a pain.

Since I can’t schedule when project reviews should happen I just have to remember when to get back to things. Putting this task in my brain violates what GTD is — everything gets put into a project, nothing stays in your brain. My reality is that I don’t remember which project should be reviewed when, which means I need to review everything always.

[Tweet “A winning productivity app is one that helps me get things done.”]

The daunting task of reviewing everything every time means that most often I just don’t bother with a review since it seems like so much work. Missing a weekly review is a recipe for a disorganized week, which means you’re getting less stuff done.

On to Redbooth

Redbooth is a integral part of my workflow but it’s not without its lumps.

There is still really no keyboard support for navigating the interface. In fact when you search for keyboard shortcuts in Redbooth you get a nice post from them listing six whole shortcuts.

To be honest, it’s got a few more, like j/k for moving up and down in your notifications, or backspace to mark a notification as read, but overall the keyboard support is pitiful and it’s not like it can’t be added.

As I was realizing the issues with Todoist and collaboration, I gave Asana a shot and while the interface overall just didn’t mesh with me the keyboard support is amazing. Even that amazing support wasn’t enough to keep me using it though.

Another of my big complaints was the iOS app for Redbooth. Mainly around tasks getting resolved but still showing on your list of tasks.

The biggest issue comes up between my wife and me on our shared grocery list. See, I’ll go out and get a few things and mark them as resolved.

But when I look at my list I’ll still see them until I go into the task again. Then it suddenly decides to show me that it’s actually resolved.

This doesn’t happen anymore but I really don’t use the iOS app much since I only have client projects in it now. I don’t deal with them from my phone at all, except for a very few scenarios, so I don’t have to be annoyed by issues it may have.

One of my favourite additions to Redbooth has been their sub-tasks. With a main item open you can add sub-items to it. Then if the sub-item really needs its own full task you can simply click a little arrow on the far right of the sub-task and break it out into its own task. This still leaves a link between the two as well so you can easily find items that used to be sub-tasks.

Redbooth sub-tasks
Redbooth sub-tasks

This single addition alone significantly increased the usefulness of Redbooth for me.

Any changes?

As I start out 2016 the only thing I’m still thinking of changing is Todoist and going back to OmniFocus, at least for my own personal GTD. I will likely leave our family and my assistant on Todoist for the shared things we work on — mainly just to save the hassle of getting them to change.

If I head back to OmniFocus for the rest of my tasks I’ll only be dealing with Todoist a few times a month which would be fine with me.

Redbooth will stay as is. I have no complaints that make me feel like moving to some other solution and my clients have never complained about using it.

photo credit: rg-b cc

2 responses to “GTD and My Productivity Apps in 2016”

  1. Kostas Nicolacopoulos Avatar

    Have you considered creating a recurring “Review” task for each project that needs reviewing in Todoist?

    For example: “Review Project A”, “every Monday at 9am”,
    or “Things to buy”, “every three months”

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      Yup I used that for a while but I found it still didn’t help much. So much visual clutter when you have all your projects to review and you have to pick through them. With OmniFocus you only see the ones that need a review now.