‘Tis the season for spiffy new Mac task managers. In addition to OmniFocus and Things, the folks behind iGTD have just released the first alpha of their new version, iGTD2. The extensive tutorial and online background materials show that they’ve thought hard about making this be more than just another “getting things done” application, but right at the moment, it’s only for the brave.
iGTD2 may not have the slickest, most lickable user interface out there, but it’s jam-packed with ideas. Interestingly, despite the name, you won’t find a slavish adherence to GTD terminology here; “contexts” are out, to be replaced by “places” and “resources” (so, for example, you can mark a task as needing to be done at home with the phone). In addition to a place and a resource, tasks can also have a due date and any number of tags; rich tagging is sprinkled throughout IGTD2. Finally, they can be organized into a hierarchy of projects and categories.
With all these ways to slice and dice tasks, iGTD2 concentrates heavily on organizing them and finding only the ones you need to see at any given time. Filters let you see a subset of task along any given dimension (“Show me everything that needs to be done in the office”) and focuses group filters together (“Show me everything that needs to be done in the office with the phone tomorrow”). You can save focuses for later use, or put them together on a temporary basis.
Don’t want to focus in too narrowly, or want to track several things at once? IGTD2 introduces tabs and workspaces. You can open multiple tabs, each displaying a filter or a focus or even a single task. A group of tabs forms a workspace, which can be saved with a name and even synched between multiple copies of IGTD2, so you can move a workspace from one computer to another.
I’ve been writing only about tasks, but iGTD2 also manages notes and links as well. You can create rich text notes or links to web pages, attach them to tasks or keep them free-floating. With this addition, iGTD2 is starting to move into the freeform information manager territory currently occupied by applications like Yojimbo or DEVONthink.
All in all, iGTD2 looks like it will be a useful one-stop-information-management home for many Mac users – when it’s finished. Right now, though, it’s definitely not there yet. I downloaded the current alpha build and played around with it, and (as they caution on the web site) it’s pretty easy to crash. If you’re dreaming of a new information manager, it’s worth having a look and getting into the feedback loop early, but I wouldn’t move my actual task list into this one just yet.