If you’re in project management (or in any other leadership field), you’ve probably read David Allen’s masterpiece, Getting Things Done.
If not, the system that David Allen suggests is quite simple:
- Write down everything you need to do. Absolutely everything. No idea is bad.
- Decide whether or not a task is actionable. If it isn’t, throw it in the trash. If it is but you can’t do it right away, put it in a low-priority folder. If you just want the idea for reference, put it in a reference folder.
- If the task is actionable and takes less than two minutes to act on, do it immediately (like texting someone about dinner plans).
- If the task will take longer than that, plan out the steps needed to act on that idea.
- From there, organize where it falls on your priority list, schedule it, or delegate it.
David Allen has a list of software tools that he recommends on his website. While some of the options are good others are less useful.
After reading Getting Things Done, I distilled which project management software would be best for applying David Allen’s method. Best of all, all of these GTD software options are entirely free for one user! Read on to learn which of these six Getting Things Done software options is best for you.
hiTask’s free personal task management software is among the best. The software offers plenty of features—calendar, grouping, tasks, and subtasks, to name a few—yet is able to organize all of it onto one screen, so you don’t need to jump around different folders looking for your next to-do. It’s organized, efficient, and they offer 100MB of free file storage. They also offer Android and iPhone apps that are fully SSL/HTTPS encrypted, and have an open API. If you’re looking for a super-easy GTD software option, definitely check hiTask out.
Those of you who are Mac enthusiasts will enjoy Nirvana’s straightforward approach to GTD. The software was created specifically for Getting Things Done, so it’s out-of-the-box fully functional, with no extra bells and whistles.
The app comes preloaded with features to designate how long a task will take (make sure it’s over two minutes!), how much energy you’ll need for it, and when it’s due, along with tags for organization. It also makes it easy to schedule a weekly review, so you’re never caught wondering “what’s next.”
When you first register for Remember the Milk, you might be immediately put off by their default folders, which are inbox, personal, study, work, and sent. It looks like a basic student planner.
Fortunately, there’s a whole lot more for GTD enthusiasts in this free task management software option.
I won’t rehash how Remember the Milk recommends how you use its software for Getting Things Done in totality, but I will give the basic points:
- Easily create a weekly review
- Use tags to create contexts
- Flexible labels and folders for work, personal, and tasks on hold
- Unintrusive reminder system
The only hesitation about Remember the Milk is that the program, unlike the others on this list, has a bit of a learning curve; I wouldn’t recommend this program to people who are uncomfortable learning code that’s slightly easier than HTML (not that bad, right?).
In complete contrast, Todoist is as straightforward as it gets for Getting Things Done software. It’s been a trusted standard in task management software for years now, and the company has taken great care to make it accessible to everyone.
The first thing you’ll notice when you start a new Todoist account is that you have project, labels, filters, a weekly overview, and tasks due today. Since most people using GTD software will be juggling hundreds of tasks at a time, the filter tool is particularly valuable.
The major drawback to Todoist is that the reminder system is only for premium (meaning paid) users. This means that free Todoist users must be diligent about checking their inbox for upcoming tasks due.
Wrike, for GTD software, is amazing. I say this with full confidence because the above screenshot is from my own computer. That’s right. Wrike is my personal Getting Things Done software of choice.
Wrike, like Todoist, allows users to create folders and tasks. It also allows users to label their tasks, attach files, and schedule deadlines and recurrent tasks. Wrike also gives users the option to receive daily or weekly rundowns of all the things slated for the day–it’s a nice wake up email that I look forward to in the morning.
The only bummer about Wrike is that the premium version has so many added features that it’s hard not to want them; they include time tracking, reports, and workload assessments.
Don’t just love Zendone’s for its unlimited actions. Don’t just love its unlimited projects, secure SSL connection, free mobile app, GTD tutorial, or even its template to follow the Getting Things Done funnel for all of your tasks.
Love it for its integrations.
Free users get Evernote and Google Calendar integrations (30 notes and events a month, respectively). This means if you’re in a lurch for finding a good and free Getting Things Done software option that’s particularly good for research, this is your product.
Finding the right Getting Things Done software can be a challenge. All of these options allow users to do a weekly review, filter through their tasks by priority and due date, and establish the groundwork for contexts and next steps.
Is there a solid free Getting Things Done software option that I missed? Have you had positive experiences with these? Let me know in the comments below!
Like all things related to productivity? Check out these related articles…
- How ‘Getting Things Done’ Changed My Life: 5 Lessons I Learned
- 4 Ways to Design Your Day to Maximize Productivity in the Workplace
- The Top 5 TED Talks About Project Management
Looking for Project Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Project Management software solutions.