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Look At GTD In A Different Light With DashPlus

December 26, 2013

DashPlus ($2.99) by David Mendels is a new way to approach the traditional “Getting Things Done” (GTD) methodology that is easier to master and understand. If you’ve always wanted to become more productive through GTD, but get intimidated by apps like OmniFocus, then DashPlus is definitely one you should check out.

Now that the holidays are over, we have a brand new year coming up in a week, and what better time to be more productive? If you don’t already have a list of resolutions, being more productive with your time could be one of them, and this can be achieved by being more organized with your tasks. DashPlus is a slick app that makes all of it so much easier.

Like many other to-do and task management apps these days, DashPlus features a sleek, flat interface that goes along with iOS 7 aesthetics well. There is plenty of whitespace, no distracting iOS 7 chrome (the app is always in full screen mode), an easy-to-read font, and it makes use of intuitive multitouch gestures to make adding and managing task items a no-brainer.

When the app is first launched, you will find the main view, which is the list of your current lists. There is a Getting Started guide to help you understand the basics of DashPlus, and I recommend giving it a look, especially if you are used to other GTD and to-do list apps. The Inbox is also there, and is where items end up if not assigned to a list. To create a new list, you can just pull the screen down and give it a name, or you can tap on the “+” button.

The button with the cloud allows you to link up your Dropbox account and import lists from a DashPlus folder as well, if you have existing lists you would like to import. You can search for keywords in your tasks, and filter the results by All, Title, Tags, or Contents. With these filters in mind, there’s no way that you can not find exactly what it is you’re looking for.

To add a new item, you can go to the list you want to add the item to, or just shake the device to bring up a window for adding a new task to the inbox. When you’re in a list, just tap on the + button to add a new task — tapping on the “Next” on the keyboard gives you the option to add more items without having to exit the new task window, or you can tap on the checkmark button to return to the list after adding the last item.

Now, you may be a bit confused with the tab bar at the top of each list in DashPlus. If you didn’t look at the Getting Started guide, you can access a “cheat sheet” by tapping on the “?” button in the corner. Items with a dash are undone and require action, if it has a plus that means the actionable item is done. If there is a right arrow, it signifies that the task is waiting for another action or is deliverable. If it’s a left arrow, that means it’s a delegated item. A triangle is for a data point for those items that need to be marked as important. A circle-dash indicates it was moved to another list with a reference to where it went.

When you add a new task, by default it gets the dash to show that it’s incomplete. To change the status of an item, just “pull” it to the right — it will reveal a contextual menu that changes color and symbol the further along you pull. If you swipe right on an item, it will delete it, though be careful, as it does not ask for confirmation. For the arrow options, the waiting for action will prompt you if you want to set a reminder for the task or attach a note to it. If you delegate it, you can send it as an email or also add a note.

Going back to the main screen, tapping on the “+” button in the corner brings up a pop-over menu, where you can view opened items, all data points, waiting/delegated, tags, settings, and help. One thing that I found a bit confusing was how to create tags, as this is not really explained clearly in the app. I hope that the developer clarifies this better for new users in the future.

Settings will have various options for you to customize your DashPlus experience, organized by Presentation, Numbers, Sound, and even a special section called “The Geek’s Corner.” These special options include the ability to send completed or data point items to Day One and Fantastical, which is quite nice.

DashPlus certainly has an interesting new way to look at GTD, but currently, while it’s mostly intuitive, there are still some confusing bits about it. This is especially true for tagging, as I found it to be very unclear about how to properly create tags in the first place. As I said earlier, I would like to see this more clearly explained within the app. I also found the + button to create a new list to have a rather small touch radius, as I was tapping on it a few times and nothing came up.

It’s a good start, but could use a bit more optimization. For the time being, I’ll still be sticking with OmniFocus 2, but this is a nice alternative to consider if you don’t want a GTD app that isn’t too complicated. You can get DashPlus in the App Store for your iPhone for $2.99.

Mentioned apps

David Mendels
OmniFocus 2 for iPhone
OmniFocus 2 for iPhone
The Omni Group

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