I’m quite pleased with my Gmail Tasks GTD solution — it’s working very well and might turn out to be more of a long-term solution than I had originally thought. However, one of the problems with a computer-based GTD system is that when you’re away from your computer — at the gym, say — you need a way to store ideas, which you then have to remember to transfer into the Inbox on your computer-based system later.
There’s a simple way to do this using Memo, a service from Spinvox. Memo is a note-taking service you can use with your phone. Call a number, leave your message, and Spinvox converts the speech to text and emails it to a designated account. This is really handy for use with GTD. I’ll explain how I’m using it with my Gmail Tasks system, but you could also use it quite easily with any other GTD app. You could also use Jott, a similar speech-to-text service, but that’s no good for me as it’s only available in the U.S.
First, sign up for a free Spinvox Memo account (Memo is available in the U.S, the UK, Canada, France, Germany and Spain). After signing up, you’ll be sent Spinvox’s Memo phone number. Store this number in your phone’s contacts.
Then, when you’re away from your computer and you think of a task, just dial the number and record your message. Spinvox will then convert the message to text and email it to your Gmail inbox. The text-to-speech works very well. It struggles with some technical words (it phonetically spells any words it can’t figure out), but for the purposes of taking quick notes it’s easily good enough.
Once you’re back at your computer it’s just a case of copying and pasting the note from the email into the Inbox list of your Gmail Tasks (or any other app), and the idea is safely stored in your trusted GTD system.
One feature that would be nice to see would be the option to put the message text in the email subject line instead of the body of the email. That way, you wouldn’t even have to copy and paste the details across to Tasks; you could just click More actions -> Add to Tasks in Gmail to create the task automatically. If this functionality is a priority for you, you could probably write a script that moved the message into the subject line — but for the occasional note it’s no big deal to copy and paste.
I tend to think of things I need to add to GTD at the most inconvenient of times, often when I’m nowhere near a computer. However, I always have my phone with me. This system makes sure I don’t forget any ideas I have away from the office.
Have you used Spinvox? What do you think?