Over the past couple of weeks I explored the benefits of GTD Web 2.0 applications. These included an RSS Feed application – Bloglines – and a Planning application – Zoho Planner.

Bloglines is one of many web applications using a popular method with RSS Feeds. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) Feeds are a method used to collect newly published information from web sites like blogs, news sites, media pages or any regularly updated page. This information is then gathered into one place; this accomplishes the first step of David Allen’s “Getting Things DoneWorkflow ProcessCollect.

My 'Bloglines' Page
Screenshot from ‘Bloglines’

On my Bloglines page (above) I included several RSS Feeds from regularly updated pages both for study and leisure. The benefits of this system are numerous. Time is saved significantly because I no longer need to travel to the sites individually to view recent articles. In addition, the information I’m looking for on the site is shown immediately rather than me having to explore the site for it. Equality of Access can also be considered in this method; the system allows those less capable of traveling to individual sites to view information of interest more easily. Problems, however, do follow. The amount of time this system saves me is questionable. Though I receive the information quickly and more information is available quickly, the temptation to read on is considerable. Usually I would spend no more than half an hour reading articles but using this method I could continue for hours.

The second application I used was Zoho Planner. This is an example of a planning application using the format of a to-do list. Such applications are difficult to suit all; businessmen, casual Internet users, students, and alike all have different needs in planning applications. Businessmen, for example, may need a specific planner in which they can organize various projects, list meetings, and prioritize deadlines whereas a casual user may only need a planner for small event dates or reminders. To promote Equality of Access these characteristics must be considered by both developer and user; an application of this genre cannot suit the needs of any user. For this reason, I also looked at several other existing planning applications:

Complexity Usage Organization Compatible with PDAs
Tadalist Simple Casual Reminders Yes
Remember the Milk Moderate Student Short-term Planning No
Vitalist Complex Business Project Management No
Zoho Planner Simple Business or Student Categorical Yes

Zoho Planner suits the majority of users enabling both formal and informal planning with a simplistic interface. This application could easily be used outside of the classroom; it allows reminders of upcoming deadlines or events through an array of compatible devices. It is not formatted specifically for work or casual planning allowing a vast equality of access.

In conclusion, GTD applications like Bloglines and Zoho Planner enable us to get things done faster. They do not necessarily save time, however. The system is not so much a solution as it is an alternate method of getting things done.

Further Reading:

What is GTD?

Getting Things Done

RSS Feeds

Web 2.0

Inbox Zero -> 07:44

“Your Time and Attention are finite but the demands on your Time and Attention are infinite.” Merlin Mann

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