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Task Managers and Getting Things Done Part 1 - Midnight Beep Inbox

written by: coreymol•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 10/13/2008

A review of some of the more popular task managers and Getting Things Done applications for the Mac. In this section I look at Midnight Beep Inbox.

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    There have been a lot of Getting Things Done (or GTD) type of applications popping up online, some of these are free and some are not. I am going to review a few of the more popular ones in the next few articles. I will focus on a different GTD application in each article.

    So what is GTD? Well it is a phrase made popular mostly by David Allen and his book by the same name.

    GTD is really nothing more then integrated task management -- integrated with your life not just your job. From David's web site: "GTD is the popular shorthand for "Getting Things Done" the groundbreaking work-life management system and book by David Allen that transforms personal overwhelm and overload into an integrated system of stress-free productivity."

    Some of these task managers are very complicated and some are over simplified. I have tried these out and have worked at integrating them into my own work flow and use one in particular every day. In fact many of these applications now offer an iPhone version as well. For me this makes for a much more productive day, I no longer need to be tied to my lap top to see what else I need to do. In fact the one I have settled on (for now anyway) automatically syncs with my iPhone once I am in proximity to my lap top and open the iPhone application.

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    Midnight Beep Inbox

    Inbox is a neat application from Midnight Beep, which is currently in version 1.3.1 and supports Mac OSX 10.5 and 10.4. The developers are working on version 2 of this software. Inbox cost $35.00 for a single user license. This license is good until V.3.

    Inbox took a while to get used to and a while to get set up. Basically Inbox catalogs your email, desktop files and other bits of information in an attempt to automate task management. For me this was not a bad thing although it may be more work for some. Most of these applications place all uncategorized tasks in an "inbox" where you can then place them into projects or areas of work. This was not a big issue for me because for a while I have been attempting to use Merlin Mann's Inbox Zero concept.

    A downside to this is that you will have to weed through spam and some other information that you wont need, there is a nine step process for going through all of this inbox information and that can get a little confusing to set up. However there is an option to turn off automatic collection and define your own rules but this also takes some time.

    Inbox has one of the most interesting and aesthetically pleasing user interfaces I've seen. It looks almost like a piece of furniture on your desktop complete with a wooden finish and flip down views. However once I started to work with it and fill up the application with folders, icons and my tasks, it became a little cluttered looking.

    Inbox is definitely for those who subscribe whole-heartedly to the GTD principals. Inbox was a little constraining for me. Just about all aspects of this application have been taken right from the pages of David Allen's book. As a result I think this great application will take a little too long for most people to take the time to learn.But if you have the time and have read and want to really follow the GTD way this application may be for you.

    Inbox was the only application I tried that worked out of the box with mail. I read that they will be working to integrate with the iPhone as well. Inbox does support iCal and Quicksilver.

    My favorite feature of Inbox is its automated collection feature. This pretty neat although it may not be acceptable to everyone . There is also a timer that checks in with you to make sure you are keeping on track. All in all not a bad application and one of the most strict at following the GTD principals.