Ready-Set-Do! ($19.95) comprehensively integrates all of your files and programs into David Allen’s popular GTD(R) (“Getting Things Done”) productivity method without locking you into a particular software program or application. This approach helps you put everything—independent of application or format—into a system that you trust and review regularly. Ready-Set-Do! streamlines your workflow through the most reliable element in your digital work environment: your Mac’s file-system. Twenty years from now, when productivity applications have come and gone—and users have their precious productivity material locked into a file format that is no longer supported—Ready-Set-Do! users have peace-of-mind, knowing that their data will always be accessible to them. Why? Because Ready-Set-Do! works with file names; and file names are accessible years down the road in a way that data stored by software applications is not.
This has to be one of the most intriguing, and hardest, applications that I have reviewed. In fact I am still not sure I can call it an application as it is more a process or methodology. It requires a reasonable knowledge of GTD, and a high level of comfort with the way that OS X uses AppleScript and Finder. You don’t need to know ‘how’ it works. but you do need to trust how it works (and accept that it will take over the desktop – so if you want a minimalist desktop you may get somewhat stressed by RSD!).
I have been using it for a couple of weeks now. I am not an expert, and to be honest my naturally anal approach to tasks coupled with my current lifestyle means that I don’t really have that much of a need for an ‘organisational’ application BUT I love the way this has been designed and built. There is something immensely impressive about the way it is structured and the way it works – and then there is the price. $19.95 is unbelievably good value.
From a purely personal perspective what I love is how RSD was built to aid the developer with his day to day processes. It wasn’t designed with the consumer market in mind as is the case with many applications in the market. The fact that the developer elected to share this with ‘us’ is our good fortune. I really do suggest that if you have any knowledge of GTD and are looking for a means of transferring that methodology and process to your Mac this is an application that you really should take a look at.
What can you expect? Expect to get things off of your mind immediately by using the “Empty Your Head” script that conveniently places items into a newly created folder on your desktop called “Inbox”. Expect to get your stuff processed quickly with the “Get Inbox to Empty” script that coaches you through the relevant questions—What is it? Is it Actionable? What’s the next, physical action to move it forward? Expect to gain better focus and efficiency by processing your actionable tasks by location contexts. Just choose the “Get Some Actionables Done” script and pick your current location. Are you online? Then process all of your @Online tasks. Are you at the office? Start working through your @Office tasks. No sense looking over a list of tasks you can’t do because you are in the wrong place. Expect to start feeling like everything you’ve got on your computer is exactly where it needs to be—because it is! And expect to be much more productive.
Though you can begin using Ready-Set-Do! immediately, mastering the entire program involves a steep learning curve. This is because it is a comprehensive implementation of the GTD productivity method, not simply another list manager. For example, the program includes a “Get Clear on Projects” script that will audibly coach you through identifying all of the outcomes and standards for a project along with its actionable components. At first, defining all of these elements seems tedious, but over time users begin to see how defining all of these components on the front-end and reviewing them regularly provide the motivation to carry the project through to completion. Ready-Set-Do! is thus not immediately intuitive, but for those with the patience to stick with it, the payoff is immense.
This added processing/coaching component of Ready-Set-Do! is what sets it apart from the many other GTD applications available for the Mac. To truly implement the GTD method, one has to learn a system of operation and change inbred habits. Included with Ready-Set-Do! are three Quicktime tutorials that walk users through each phase of that change until they have mastered all 10 of the GTD “Habits”. Mastering these habits does not happen over night and may take months to completely master. But Ready-Set-Do! makes it easy to hone in on each habit—to spend time mastering each one—until you achieve the ultimate level of focus and flow all GTDers are aiming for: what they describe as “mind like water”.
Personally I would really recommend reading the background to the development of the application to get a ‘feel’ for not only how was it developed, but how it was intended to be used.
It would be unfair to not pass on this information from the developer, “It’s knowingly designed not to be a robust GUI application even though it functions like software. So it lacks the nice interface features of other GTD applications. But what it lacks in interface design it makes up for in reliability and transparency. It also really does take some getting used to. The Empty Your Head and Get Inbox to Empty scripts are immediatley intuitive and easy to use. The Get Clear on Projects scripts, on the other hand, usually take awhile longer to understand. But the tutorials help explain all of it.”