Lifetick as GTD?

August 31st, 2009 by Shane Maloney 4 Comments

Hi Lifetickers,

A question we often get at Meridian 86 is “Do we personally use Lifetick for GTD (i.e. Getting things done)?” Whilst I’m happy to answer this question specifically, I think the nature of the question itself is more to do with how effective Lifetick actually is in this space, but first things first. Here’s my response to the original question: Yes, then no and now yes again. I shall explain.

Lifetick was always intended as a goal setting application. Its entire design is around a philosophy of value driven activity and as such is eminently suited (we hope) to the achievement of goals be they short or long term. Therefore, we felt empowered to strip away a lot of the items people take for granted in a typical GTD app including due times, not just dates and subsequent reminders at various times throughout the day. Given the saturation of the GTD market, we have intentionally stayed away from what we believe is not at the core of our offering. We’d rather be a fantastic goal setting app, than a poor GTD app.

Having said all that, we are cognisant of that fact that many of our users find Lifetick to be an effective GTD tool, myself included. To elaborate on the question posed at the outset, I have used Lifetick quite successfully in the past to keep on top of my “To do” list. It did actually work reasonably well for me, but I stopped for one simple reason – aesthetics. I didn’t like the fact that my goals were interspersed and cluttered with daily chores etc. Therefore, I switched to a native iPhone app. Incidentally it was not working well for me at all, so I’ve only just gone back to using Lifetick. In the period that I stopped using Lifetick for GTD we’ve added a function which made it easier for me to go back to using it and that is the ability to delete completed goals. Now I have the freedom to remove the banal tasks from the history of my great achievements so to speak.

The way I do it is to group GTD into time periods. Therefore, one goal would be “August GTD”. Then whatever random tasks I had could be associated under that “goal”. Everything from buying a father’s day present, to dropping off dry cleaning, to fixing the broken door could be put in this time based goal. In terms of core values, I called one “Organisation” because let’s face it – anyone like us who wants to organise themselves to the point where they use software to do it probably values an organised life. This also means you can plan tasks into the future by adding new monthly GTD goals concurrently.

Quite simply, goals in Lifetick could also be projects. When it comes to your work, a client’s project could be organised under a specific goal, because no doubt you have a deadline for the overall project and that is what you would work towards in Lifetick with the due dates you set for the goal and its tasks. Maybe for random things you have a goal called “Office – Sep 09” or “Errands – Sep 09”.

I think one of the aspects that can make Lifetick effective in the GTD space is its ability to simplify things. I believe humans by our very nature tend to over complicate things. It is our insatiable demand for features that ultimately leads an application to its destruction – a victim of its own success if you like. By reducing the to dos to uncluttered lists and layout, we are often in a better position to bother recording them in the first instance. After all, it is the act of “recording” that plays a significant role in getting to the “doing”. Observations of my own life lead me to believe that I can and will make an excuse out of anything. Therefore, no matter how amazing an application is, there will always be something about it that prohibits me from getting to the work itself. By overcoming this self-imposed limitation, I am actually one step closer to achieving something in my day. This of course is rooted in the concept of BE-DO-HAVE which we have written about in a previous post.

Nevertheless, we hope you have found this to be somewhat relevant and informative for your use of Lifetick and would welcome any comments that can add to or alter our opinion on the topic. We are happy to leave it open to our users to determine whether Lifetick is their preferred tool to get the day to day stuff done in an efficient manner.

Have a great week one and all.

P.S. We have recently added SSL security to our service… You can access it via these links: or on the iPhone at:

Please remember to update your bookmarks!
(Ensure you include the www in the address or you might get a security error.)

4 Responses to “Lifetick as GTD?”

  1. Nina D. says:

    Hi Shane,

    I found your thoughtful response very interesting! Seeing as I was one of the people (maybe the only one? *smiles and winks*) ‘bugging’ you about making Lifetick more GTD-able, I especially appreciate it that you addressed that topic.

    I now realize that I’ve been taking the meaning ‘goal’ too literally, i.e. seeing it as more all-encompassing and thus losing mind of the ‘small stuff’ that has to be done daily. Your way of setting (new) goals/projects/errand lists for each month is a good idea and I will certainly give it a try. It should be a nice feeling to have goals finished at the end of each month instead of dragging them out too much which I have done with some of my goals which quite overwhelmed me, I’ve got to admit.

    That said, I suppose there’s no way to ‘copy’ goals for every month? Take for example one of my goals which is to improve my fitness and thus has lots of recurring tasks, for example ‘go swimming’ once a week. I had originally set this up for six months, and it seemed like such a daunting goal with so many tasks that it seemed like I couldn’t finish it. But with your suggestion I could set it up for just September, and thus have only a handful of tasks that seem manageable. But when October comes around, I’ll have to enter all the tasks again for a new goal, won’t I? Or is there a trick to get around this? Just curious – and if that doesn’t work, it’s no sweat, it just means five more minutes in front of the computer. I just like to use a system to its fullest. *smiles*

    Thank you for your commitment to this system!

  2. Noah says:

    Hi Shane,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Lifetick and GTD. I found many of your comments good reminders about the “less is more” perspective, and agree with you regarding the common tendency to over-complicate things.

    At the risk of sounding hypocritical regarding over-complication, do you plan to include a feature on this blog to make it more readily shared (e.g. a tool like Webiya). I know that simply sharing the link via email would work, too, of course. Just a thought.


  3. Shane from Lifetick says:

    Thanks for the feedback Nina. (Incidentally, you weren’t the only one.) Nevertheless, your copy goal idea has merit. Yes, it is definitely something that suits GTD more I suppose as a genuine goal would probably require a more refined thought process. But on the flip side, we do see value in people checking off the SMART list for their goals and we could end up doing people a disservice by shortcutting an important step in the process. Overall though, we appreciate the comment and we should give some consideration to it. Thanks.

  4. Shane from Lifetick says:

    @ Noah. Thanks for your great support. We hadn’t considered your idea before, so we’ll look into it. Would certainly be a great way to promote Lifetick, so thanks for mentioning it.