Archive for the ‘Productivity’ Category
Getting Things Done
All of you must be aware that over a period of time, I have tried hard to increase my productivity by following David Allen’s Getting Things Done methodology. Well And in that regard, several of my previous posts have focused on how I have managed to get my iCal tasks on my Desktop via GeekTool and how I have started to use OmniFocus in real earnest to manage my tasks and To Dos, including detailing my workflow process.
Moving to the Cloud
I have also moved my e-mail to GMail and have IMAP-ed everything that deals with it so as to make it easier to be able to access my data – emails included from just about anywhere (of course, there has to be an Internet connection).
My little secret – all this is in preparation for being able to access my data if and when I get a smartphone (the iPhone was on my wish list, but now its place has been taken over by the iPad).
The Frustrating Part
I sync my tasks from OmniFocus to my iCal so that I can use the beautiful iCalBuddy script to get GeekTool to show my tasks on my Desktop. I could also sync my calendars from iCal to my Google Calendars using BusySync. But these syncs via BusySync would only sync Events. Not my To Do list.
And I had to find a way to get my To Do list accessible from via my GMail.
I mean that is also the point of going IMAP and moving to the Cloud, isn’t it?
High and low, I searched for solutions. I tried the number of web based apps like Remember The Milk and ToodleDo – they had nice gadgets for GMail. But, none of them synced with iCal … I could export my iCal calendar to these web apps and so forth, but what I was looking for was a live sync. And none of the tools out there could provide me with an answer.
And Then… A Breakthrough!
Until today afternoon.
I simply stumbled onto this solution.
I daresay, it is not the most elegant of all solutions. Also, in all probability, many of you may already be doing what I just did. But then I had to write this down for posterity! Hope all of you will forgive me!
So, What Is The Answer?
Well, the thing is this: All the To Dos in iCal are usually seen in Apple’s Mail.app. And if you want to create iMap calendars, you can do so from within iCal itself.
Typically, all the calendars would be made ‘On My Mac’. But in this case, choose to make your new calendar on the second option available – which is the GMail account.
So, naturally, all the tasks and events you make in these calendars will be made in your GMail calendar. And with BusySync, those events (at least) will get updated to your Google Calendar.
But the magic part is that the To Dos that you will make will appear in your Apple Mail as well.
And why is that so important?
Well, when you create an IMAP account in Mail.app for your GMail, Apple puts a label called ‘Apple Mail To Do’ on your GMail. And guess what, all the To Dos that are created in the calendars created under the GMail calendar set automatically get uploaded to your GMail.
Look Out Though…
If you already have a whole bunch of To Dos in your iCal then you must do the following:
- First Re – Create Calendars under your GMail calendar.
- Then select all your To Dos in Mail (under ‘On My Mac’) and Drag and Drop them in the GMail list.
- Change the iCal sync preferences in OmniFocus or your task manager to sync your tags / lists / contexts into these new calendars.
I normally sync all my tasks from OmniFocus to a single calendar called OmniFocus. So, I ended up creating an IMAP calendar called OmniFocus under my GMail Calendar set.
Making new calendars with the same names helps because then the tasks you move automatically go into those calendars.
So if you have calendars called ‘Work’ and ‘Home’ for example, then make calendars called ‘Work’ and ‘Home’ under your GMail calendars. This way the tasks will get transferred into the right calendars.
And once you have changed the preferences in your task manager so that the tasks now sync with these iMap calendars, you are all set!
Now here is what will happen.
Your tasks will start getting uploaded to / synced with your GMail from via Mail.app. And you will be able to see them, contexts and due dates and details and all in your GMail under the label ‘Apple Mail To Do’.
Yes, the descriptions and what nots may not be what you would like them to be – but something is better than nothing in this case.
And the best part … you can search in GMail and get your daily dose of Next Actions and Contexts, right there in your GMail.
Here are a few pics as examples:
All in all, you get to see your contexts and tasks in your GMail. And when you click on these tasks, you can see the details like priority and notes and everything.
Of course, you cannot edit the tasks in GMail. Nor can you click a checkbox when you have finished the task.
But now you can have a list of your tasks in your GMail for those times when you don’t have a smartphone but have access to Internet from outside your house and need to check what tasks you have to accomplish for the day.
And you will have to leave your Mail.app running in the background to keep the sync going throughout the day. Otherwise the sync from your Mac to GMail won’t happen. So, I just keep Mail.app open in one of my Spaces – out of the way, but silently doing its job in the background.
I suppose till GMail decides to give iCal users the capability of uploading their To Do lists to Google Tasks, this stop-gap arrangement will have to do.
If you have any ideas more simple and creative and useful than what I have written over here, please feel free to leave your thoughts in the Comments…
I am open to any and all creative ideas in this regard.