Hello! I am new to Everdo, but I have implemented GTD using countless other apps over the years (including LibreOffice Calc at one point, story for another time). I also have a half-working app I made for myself (which I abandoned for Everdo). With this, I feel I can share some perspective.
1. Reminders are fundamental to GTD
I think it is important to make one thing clear: Reminders are not a ‘nice to have’, but fundamentally essential for GTD in 2022.
The core philosophy of GTD is to use your brain as CPU + RAM, and not as a Hard Disk. When you practice GTD over time, your work style naturally changes from ‘random work’ to Deep Work. Which means to be fully focused on task at hand - and not worry about any other task.
If I have an appointment at 12:15, but I’m free at 11:00 - I want to spend the hour actually focused on a task off my Next Actions list, and not check the time nervously in between.
Our contemporary lifestyle is clock-driven. An average person cannot be productive today without dealing with time in terms of hh:mm.
In fact, when I’m coaching other people who are starting out on GTD - I suggest them to initially create phone reminders for meta tasks. For example “Check Inbox”, “Empty your mind into Inbox”, “weekly review”, etc. Over time, they form a habit themselves and no longer require a reminder. In a world that is constantly trying to steal your attention, it is easy to lose GTD discipline without an actual notification on your phone.
So in essence, GTD as a system itself lends you to be dependent on reminders over time. Sure, it may not have been ‘in the book’ as explicitly - but what matters is the core message of having stress free productivity.
If I can trust my GTD system to simply buzz me - I don’t have to worry about losing track of time. That’s what I’m using a GTD app for.
2. plz no googl
The moment you involve Google Calendar, you lose your ability to claim full privacy. Specific employees have the ability to decrypt your data and read it - but that’s a rare scenario. What’s more pervasive and commonplace is Google using algorithms that go through your data to advertise you stuff. That is the sole reason why you shouldn’t use 90% of apps out there for GTD - because their primary business, in current or in future, is advertising.
Implementing cross-device reminders using Google would be easier, I suppose - but be warned that your reminder tasks are no longer private. Note down your abortion appointment in the USA at your own risk.
(Please note that I’m not opposed to Gmail integration - because that’s a read operation on your own mail which is ‘an Inbox’ in GTD terms. Reducing the number of inboxes by 1 is a great win.)
Long term, I would highly encourage the team to implement their own calendar with notifications.
However, as a software engineer myself, I know it involves considerable work and testing. Rather do it correctly than quickly.
3. Intermediate suggestions.
- Allow setting time reminders on any device - but the delivery of those reminders (the buzz) will be only on the phone.
- Integrate with open source, privacy respecting tools for calendar sync (I have used etesync in the past, but there are many out there).
Overall, I would take the fact people are using Everdo instead of 100 other apps as an indication that they care about privacy.
Random book suggestion: The Design of Everyday Things - by Don Norman