February 2, 2010

More Ways Of Applying “Getting Things Done”

Filed under: How-To, Viira, getting things done, gtd — admin @ 8:28 pm

GTD is one of the world’s most popular work/life productivity systems, but despite all the examples in David Allen’s fantastic book, the system isn’t just for busy executives or creative entrepreneurs. Anyone can use Getting Things Done to help organize their lives, no matter if they are a stay-at-home dad or an on-the-go gal.

Don’t believe us? Well, the following examples may inspire you to apply the principles of Getting Things Done in ways that haven’t crossed your mind yet. With productivity tools like Viira and your BlackBerry, the multitude of ways to get things done is downright amazing.

@Book Recommendations - From Oprah to Arianna, everyone’s recommending a book. Keep track of the ones you want to read in their own Context. Adding a new book to the list is as easy as reaching for your BlackBerry.

@Travel Destinations - Make a note of the fantastic voyages you’ve seen in the newspaper’s travel section or on your friend’s slide show. When it comes time to plan the trip, just transform your notes into next actions.

@Supermarket - Manage your grocery list in Viira and you’ll always know what to pick up when you’re out and about.

@Resolutions - Write down your New Years resolutions. You will have them right on your BlackBerry to remind you - and then check them off the list one by one!

@Doctor – If you’re lucky, you only see your doc once a year. Make notes about all the items you want to discuss at your next checkup so nothing gets forgotten.

@Renovations – Anyone who’s tackled a remodel knows there are roughly five thousand details to keep track of, and Viira is the perfect place to do so. Just remember to always have one “kick-start action” to keep the project moving along, as David Allen recommends.

@Class – GTD isn’t just for working professionals. Students can also use it to take notes. Just create a separate context for each class and your notes will be at your fingertips during those late-night cram sessions.

@Take Notes — Next time you are at a seminar or presentation, instead of using pen and paper use Viira to take notes. Simply create a context, e.g. “XYZ Presentation” and write down points or follow-on reminders. You can review the presentation later, and even designate next actions for follow-up.

Remember, the guiding principle of Getting Things Done is to collect 100% of all your tasks and commitments, or “stuff,” as David Allen calls it. Your “stuff” doesn’t just live in the office—it’s all around you, and when you’re able to keep it all off your mind and at your fingertips with the Viira BlackBerry app, you’ll be free to focus on the bigger picture of staying focused in the new year and the new decade!

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January 8, 2010

Getting Started With “Getting Things Done”

Filed under: How-To, Viira, getting things done, gtd — admin @ 4:33 pm

Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to adopt GTD and install Viira on your BlackBerry, the perfect pair of tools to make your work and home lives more organized and productive. If you haven’t already done so, we highly encourage you to read David Allen’s fantastic book, “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.”  It goes into detail on the best ways to incorporate the GTD system into your life.

But what now?  You have the tools, but how do you start organizing all of your commitments into GTD via Viira?  Fortunately, the app makes it a cinch.

Step 1: Collect your Commitments

The guiding principle behind GTD is to collect and organize 100% of your tasks and commitments, or “stuff” as David Allen calls it.  This process gets the details out of your head, freeing your mind to focus on larger issues and bigger projects.

All this “stuff” may be in the form of sticky notes framing your computer monitor or scrap papers in a junk drawer.  Or, like most people, your email inbox might be the biggest culprit.  If so, Viira makes it simple to get your inbox to empty by transforming incoming emails into actionable items.  Since the app works seamlessly with the BlackBerry’s native email program, you can easily create a task directly from an individual email.

Step 2: Organize and File

All the “stuff” you collect needs to be acted on, and you can organize it all using Viira.  You may want to consider setting up your Projects and Contexts first. David Allen defines a project as “any desired result that requires more than one action step.”  Contexts, on the other hand, are groups of actionable items that all need to happen together, like @Computer, or @StaffMeeting.

Once you’ve got a handle on those, you can start adding actionable items into the system as Appointments (items with a due date) and Tasks (items that aren’t time sensitive).  These can be filed as a specific Project or Context…or nothing at all, if that’s your preference.

Step 3: Daily Review

David Allen warns of the danger of putting reminders out of sight, and suggests frequent reviews of your lists to make sure you stay up to speed on all your items.  To combat this, he recommends a daily review of your calendar, as it provides a “hard landscape” of what has to be done that day. Viira makes this a breeze with the Day View that stays seamlessly in sync with your BlackBerry’s calendar.

Once you get a handle on your daily schedule, take a look at your Tasks View to see what else you can accomplish.  If you’ve organized your next actions into Contexts, one look at the Contexts View will show you the items you can tackle in your current location.

Step 4: Weekly Review

Don’t forget about the bigger projects you’ve taken the time to add into Viira.  A weekly review of these areas in Projects View will ensure everything is up to date. David Allen recommends having at least one “kick-start action” for each Project amongst your Next Actions, to keep everything moving forward.

This is also a good time to empty your head of all the new projects, actions and appointments you haven’t yet captured in the app, along with clearing out actions that you’ve completed.  Remember, when everything is off your mind and at your fingertips on your BlackBerry, you’re free to focus on the big picture.

Step 5: Take a Shortcut

Now that you’ve got a handle on all your tasks and commitments, become a power user of Viira! Make the most of your BlackBerry and GTD by learning a few of the hotkey shortcuts: you can check them out at the Viira shortcut information page.

As you continue to use Viira and apply the principles of Getting Things Done with your BlackBerry you’ll likely find that your mind is clear and you’re able to consistently and effectively manage all your commitments.  As long as you continue to aim for 100% collection of all your “stuff,” and transform it all into actionable items using Viira, you’ll stay in this wonderful relaxed and productive state.

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January 31, 2009

What People Say About Viira

Filed under: Viira, getting things done — Tags: — admin @ 7:40 pm

Here is a small sample from some of the feedback emails we received since launching Viira:

“Very intuitive”

“Clean and easy to use”

“Simple, but yet with outstanding ability to get things organized”

“I think you guys have the first true GTD product for the Blackberry that actually works”

“Excellent piece of software”

“Love the app”

“…found it much better than the other task/getting-things-done applications that I have tried”

“It truly helped me ‘get things done’ “

“… and (big plus) appts entered in Viira show up on my today view!”

“Not exactly cheap, but worth every cent”

“Wow, with Viira you can do EVERYTHING all the little apps do”

“Love the product”

“Love Viira!”


Thank you everyone for the wonderful words! We are really appreciative of all the encouragement we have received and it makes us all very happy to hear that Viira is a productive addition to your day-to-day lives.

We promise we will keep up the hard work on our end and continue delivering productivity-enhancing features so you can always count on Viira to get things done with your BlackBerry. Stay tuned!

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January 18, 2009

Free Ways To Implement GTD With BlackBerry (And Where They Fall Short)

Filed under: blackberry, getting things done, gtd — dev @ 8:46 pm

A while back Isaac Bowman wrote a great post on how to implement a system for Getting Things Done with BlackBerry by using just the Tasks application that comes standard on every device.

Isaac’s idea is a very ingenuous one, works reasonably well for small-scale GTD implementations (30-40 tasks or less and a handful of projects and contexts) and cleverly pushes the limits of the BlackBerry Tasks application pretty much as far as possible in my view.

Actually, in the early days of Viira development we used his post as our internal benchmark: if we wanted Viira to be successful, we realized it needs to be able to provide much more than what can be eeked out from the Tasks application.

At its core, Isaac’s idea of implementing GTD on a BlackBerry is fairly straightforward. To flag a task as belonging to a project or a context, encode the project or context name in the task name and use the search function to find all outstanding tasks for a project or context.

Another slightly more technical variation on this idea comes from Mike at Clutter Free Mind who uses the task names to encode a larger category of tasks, like work relating to specific clients for example.

A key problem with relying exclusively on the Tasks application for implementing a system for Getting Things Done with a BlackBerry is that the native BlackBerry apps don’t do a good job of combining tasks and appointments together. This makes having day-specific tasks, a requirement of any solid GTD system, that much harder to achieve.

Another problems with implementing GTD with BlackBerry this way is that a lot of extra typing is needed to get even the basics going. Switching between contexts or projects requires typing every time, and if you are a more involved GTDer your thumbs will start feeling it after a bit. For someone with a BlackBerry Pearl or Storm this can become an even bigger problem.

Also, when it comes to re-assigning tasks from one project to another or renaming projects or contexts the limitations of this approach of Getting Things Done becomes more obvious. Changing the project or context a task belongs to requires editing the task’s name, and renaming a project makes it necessary to re-edit the names of all tasks in that project.

If you are like me and have 30+ projects and start forgetting the exact wording of the projects’ names the entire process will become daunting in a hurry (in Getting Things Done David Allen talks about 30-100 projects being the norm). Mistyping a project name in the task field can cause that task to “fall off” the projects’ radar as well.

At the end of the day, the BlackBerry Tasks application was just plain not designed with GTD in mind. While some hacks can be used to augment the Tasks functionality it is hard to make them scale effortlessly to a larger, fuller and intuitive GTD implementation that works smoothly all the time.

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