A thought on how Agenda & Things can work together

gtd
workflow

#1

I’m new to Agenda but very excited by it – I’m starting a long process of migrating my 1400+ notes in Apple Notes to Agenda and I can’t wait to leave Apple Notes behind. The app is just too generic for my taste and needs. Agenda has, well, an agenda; I like that it has an opinion, and the best part of its design is the idea of a timeline of notes.

I also love Things. But Agenda and Things don’t quite complement each other enough – and they have overlaps. I thought I’d share here my initial thoughts on how the two can work together.

Right now in Things I have lots of categories and projects (as with Agenda) and the overhead of aligning my notes and tasks between projects in Agenda and Things seems too much like busywork. But the real value of Things for me is rapid recording of discrete tasks. The breakdown of categories and projects in Things has always been a bit too much like work.

And so it occurs to me that I can use Things for the rapid recording of tasks and Agenda for organising my work in timelines and over the course of a project. In other words: I could use Things simply for its Inbox (and related Today/Upcoming/Anytime/Someday overviews) to capture tasks and then sort them into Agenda projects as needed.

I thought I’d share this since we’re all trying to figure out good workflows now – and if anyone has some thoughts on how to further improve on the thoughts I’ve shared.

Now just to ditch Apple Notes asap!

Thanks!

S.


#2

Perhaps a good starting point is this discussion: Sync projects with GTD tools


#3

This is basically how I have come to use OmniFocus with Agenda. I used to put every task in OmniFocus. Now I plan detailed projects in Agenda, and just use OF as an Inbox and to some extent a reminder app.

I have just started even removing some Inbox functionality from OF. I have a special note in Agenda now for tasks I need today. It is nothing more than a todo list, which I clear out each day. I keep it permanently On the Agenda, so I can see and update it very easily.

So now I am basically back to using OF for repeating tasks, tasks with a due date, and capture on iOS. Probably won’t be long before Agenda gives me enough power to move these over too.


#4

I’ve said before that Drew and I are very similar. Task oriented things get done (for me) in Todoist. Planning, chronicling in Agenda. Agenda has become my rolling strategic thought journal for personal things, and a Goal-Strategic Planning vehicle for business and projects. At that level, a more robust hierarchy might be valuable, rather than just having “Category” and “Project” though one could work around this.

One thing that Agenda has revolutionized is the way I think of productivity systems (I think Drew elegantly stated this). I used to think that you had 4 parts to a personal organization system: Email, Task Management, Calendar and a Reference system (personal database of “stuff”). So you tried to get a best of breed, feature-rich, cross-platform solution for these such as Outlook for Mail (ick), Omnifocus, Google Calendar and Evernote for instance. While almost all the features of Agenda were available in Evernote, it was the presentation and UI and force a really radical change away from that 4 program approach for me. Now, I think top-down. Agenda is at the top in how I THINK about various aspects of personal and business life. Then, yes some things need to get off loaded to my task manaement system (Todoist). I have quit using a Calendar altogether. I still am using Evernote for “reference” because images, scans and other free-form database things are better handled by Evernote right now.

One thing that I haven’t really seen addressed much in the forum is Collaboration capability. I can, of course share a note with someone by using the Share menu and drop an email or message. This is good. Another workflow that works for me at the moment, is to select a Note, go to the Share menu and click the Add to Todoist option, which automatically opens a Todoist Add with the title of the Note being the Task to be done. However, there is a bug in what Agenda sends as the date. For some reason, it puts March 1, 2019 instead of the selected date. But even so, I still have to go to that task, add the collaboration requirement to the people I want to be there. Also, Agenda does not pass the context of the note into the comment for the task. Because we use Asana as a global task management tool at present, there’s even an extra layer here that has to be managed, too.

All of this is why I, as a user and early-adopter of Agenda, really am hoping that the development team doesn’t lose focus on its vision. Agenda shouldn’t include deep functionality for task management such as conflict checking or major sort/search criteria and tracking of milestones. Leave that to Omnifocus, Todoist or whatever tool that’s out there and being enhanced. However, building more “best-of-breed” integrations at the OS X level as well as the iOS level (and WatchOS) is paramount.


Add integration of Things 3
#6

That sounds like a bug in todoist because Agenda doesn’t send any dates as part of the sharing extensions, it only hands over the note contents. Best to take it up with their support.


#7

Hmm. Curious.
This seems to vary based on the program actually used.

So, for Todoist is had the date error.
For Omnifocus,it seems that the title and text of the whole note is passed as the Title when it’s choen.
For 2Do, nothing at all is passed, the new item window opens and that’s it.

I don’t know how the APIs work, but as Agenda strives to be friendly with Task Managers (instead of BEING a task manage, I would hope that the developers will work to find a way that the data might be provided in the proper formatting. I’m not sure how much luck I would have asking Omnifocus support to accomodate Agenda’s output, with it being such as new app.


#8

The way it works is that the system asks us to provide the data that we can provide, after which the system then asks each app whether it can handle it. If it can we show it in the menu. If you choose the menu the same data is passed to the app and it’s entirely on the receiving side what it then decides to do with it.

Therefore best to contact the developers on that end and ask to look into how they deal with the data they receive for Agenda. And of course if they would like us to past data in a specific way we can look into that, it’s hard for us to reverse engineer their internals though.


A little GTD in my Agenda
#9

What I’ve just started doing is: use Agenda top-down, with a link to each Things category in each Agenda project. You can get the link by right-click the particular Things project, Share → Copy Link

The links work well on Mac and iOS.

That way I can integrate Things into Agenda. I have JUST started doing this, so would welcome any comments.