You got “Getting Things Done” in my ListPro!

Ten points to whoever recognizes the advertising throwback in the title. “Getting Things Done” is a methodology developed by one David Allen to help create a ‘trusted system’ for tracking what you need to.. get done.

GTD focuses on helping you dump your brain into this trusted system, so you don’t leave obligations looming in the black uncertainty raincloud over your head. If you don’t have time to read his book, you can probably get a good sense of how the core of GTD works by looking at this flowchart [PDF file, 30KB].

GTD is pretty popular with geeks, probably because it takes quite a bit of fiddling to get it done (geeks love to fiddle with things, in my experience), and because it’s a “Life Hack”, a way of optimizing your life to make things work better.

GTD is also something that is basically a bunch of lists. We make a product called ListPro that is very good at making bunches of lists. So inevitably, the two will collide. For the collision, keep reading after the cut thingy below.

Disclaimer: I am not the master of GTD. I am still ‘trying it out’, so to speak, figuring out what the best way to implement it is. That’s one of the downsides of GTD – there’s no 100% right answer for how to make it work. The important parts of GTD are:

  • Making a trusted system, that you can rely on 100% without thinking
  • Making a trusted system, that you can rely on 100% without thinking (is there an echo?)

If you can’t rely on your GTD system, then you’re no better off than before you tried implementing it. This is one on of the downsides of a lot of organization tips and tricks – you have to do it, and you have to stick to it. One way to help you stay stuck is to find a system that’s comfortable for you. I’m still looking – so far, I’ve tried LifeBalance, the eerily-similar MyLife Organized, our very own ListPro, and am about to tack a program called Ultra Recall. If you want a good smattering of GTD aids in one spot, check out this blog post on .

Disclaimer 2: I don’t think I’m going to use ListPro for GTD. This doesn’t mean you should stop reading. If you like ListPro, and want to do GTD, give it a shot. You can certainly do it, and it may work perfect for you. I just feel like I need to say this so I’m not purely saying ListPro is the best thing since sliced bread. It’s like how I drive a Toyota – I don’t hate other car companies, I’m just familiar with them and found my car to suit my needs. ListPro works great for testing checklists, daily process lists, call logging, my groceries… just not my GTD.

Anyway, enough yap. I present to you the ListPro GTD template. [Warning: 122KB .CLF download, requires ListPro!]

Just download that file, stick it wherever you want, and peruse it. You’ll find helpful hints written by me.

Is this the only way to use ListPro for GTD? Probably not. Is it the best GTD implementation there is? Probably not. Is there a best GTD implementation? For you, yes. For everyone, no.

So go get some things done. [Kevin now checks off the ‘push publish button in WordPress’ Next Action…]

Here are some tips:

  • On a Pocket PC, to sync your GTD list, make sure you have Files turned on in your ActiveSync settings, then just drop the GTD template into your Pocket PC’s synchronized My Documents folder.
  • On a Palm, you’ll want to open your regular ListPro list file on your desktop and go to Tools -> Import Lists…, then point to the GTD file.
  • Get familiar with the shortcuts for copy and paste (Ctrl-C or Ctrl-X if you want to cut, Ctrl-V for paste), since you can’t drag items between lists.
  • If you want to change your columns, you may need to re-build the entire template. This just is a limitation to how ListPro works – each List has its own format, and you may not be able to copy items between lists of different formats.
  • If you really want to stick with ListPro for GTD, make a shortcut for your actual GTD file and place it in your Start Menu’s Startup folder. This will launch the file whenever you boot up or log into Windows. Then, right-click on the shortcut and pick Properties, and assign a keyboard shortcut. Whenever you want to add something to your list, just press that shortcut and ListPro will open right up – it should open up to displaying your Inbox, but it may change to whatever list you had been working in last.

If you make modifications to the template or have any feedback, feel free to either send a message to Ilium Software or leave a comment below! I’ll be glad to post different templates or update it based on user requests.

If you have any problems getting this to work in your ListPro, or have any other problems with our software, just contact Ilium Software directly and someone will help you. I’d like to put my email here, but I haven’t figured out how to effectively spam-proof it in WordPress yet.

This entry was posted in Our Products, Tips and Tricks on by .

About Kevin

My dad brought a laptop home from work one day when I was in 5th grade, and it was all downhill from there. I've owned Palm PDAs, Pocket PCs, Handheld PCs, and Windows Mobile Smartphones, and finally found one that I could settle down with. Hopefully. I also graduated from the University of Michigan here in Ann Arbor, with a B.S in Computer Science.

9 thoughts on “You got “Getting Things Done” in my ListPro!

  1. PatrickJ

    Hey Kevin – Nice post and nice template file. I’ve got a copy of GTD and am very impressed with it, feel like it can really help me in professional life and life in general. Only problem so far is that I need some sort of GTD perfect reminder system to get me to finish reading it – have been neglecting it for too long now.

    Just based on reading of first 60 or so pages though, have been trying to use PI as my ‘trusted system’. Definitely like the idea of a handheld device as the core system, just not sure which app, or combination of apps, works best yet.

  2. Eric Allam

    Kevin, thanks for the link! GTD is very exciting and I can’t wait to bang out my perfect implementation and then write all about it. Good job with ListPro! I don’t use Pocket PC, I use moleskines, but if I ever do, Ill make sure and check out your software.

  3. mike

    For some reason when I try to download this Getting Things Done .clf file I cannot seem to get it to copy over to my PPC. I placed it in my PC’s “Pocket PC My Documents” folder which is where the regular Lists.clf is but the DTD.clf file will not sync with my PPC.

    Is this a “me” problem (must be if I’m the only one complaining about it).

  4. Mary Anne

    Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!

    OK, now that I have my 10 points …

    I downloaded the file, but when I tried to open it I got the following message:

    File ‘GTD_template’ could not be opened.
    Database version number wrong

    Is this only for recent versions of ListPro? I have an older version – 3.0 I think – have never upgraded because I use it so sporadically. But I would like to try it with GTD, so if there’s something I can do, please post a solution!


  5. Kevin White

    Mike: if it won’t sync, make sure you close it on the desktop first – ActiveSync may not be able to copy the file over if it’s in use. Also, make sure that the folder you copied it into has the same name as the name listed in your ActiveSync window for your device – it’s really easy to end up with about 1,000 different ActiveSync partnerships on your PC!

    Mary Anne: Yes, it only works with the latest 4.1 version – all the files posted to our List Exchange are in 4.x format. You can back convert the file to a previous format with this tool: .

  6. mike

    I finally got it to copy over from my PC to my PPC. I had been using ListPro on my PPC only and it would not copy and all I would get was an error mesage and an “unresolved” error in Activesync. When I downloaded the PC based ListPro then it copied over to the PPC. I’m not sure why I needed the PC version to get it to copy a file to the PPC version, but so be it.

  7. Mary Anne

    Thanks! That worked perfectly. It’s a great template, and may be just the thing I need to kick-start my use of both ListPro and GTD … up to now I’ve been much more interested in fiddling with creating the perfect system, but was never quite satisfied. This should do the trick – thanks again.

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