Dealing with Tasks on the iPhone

I’m a GroupWise user and I’m an iPhone user. So much of my time is spent away from my desktop that my iPhone is an integral item in my business tools.  In fact, I’d say that I’ve gotten to the point where the iPhone has become the defacto point of “entry” into my day.  I read my mail on the iPhone before I even turn on the computer.  I add appointments to the iPhone more often than I add them in GroupWise.  So for me, the lack of notes and tasks on my iPhone that can be “gotten to” from GroupWise is almost more of a burden than the inability to access GroupWise notes and tasks from the iPhone.  I realize that not everyone out there works like I do, but for those of you facing some of the same challenges, I thought I’d share a possible solution with you.

I will preface my description of this solution with a few salient facts.

  • In order to have a solution currently that can work both on the iPhone and in GroupWise, I’ve had to give up some GroupWise functionality that I’ve come to love.  Some of you will say it’s not worth it, and I can understand that.  But for me the need for tasks that could be managed easily through GroupWise and through the iPhone became more important than purity!
  • I am a Mac user, so I have no “Outlook” solutions to the problem at hand. My solution will work for Mac, Linux or Windows users. Windows users might have other options in looking at iPhone/GroupWise tasks/notes solutions that also interface with Outlook.
  • I use GroupWise 8, and Mac and Linux users will need to be on GroupWise 8 to use this solution fully. Windows users can do all of what I describe in GroupWise 7 or GroupWise 8.
  • In looking for a solution that could be used on both my Mac and the iPhone, I found many solutions that had both a Mac application and an iPhone app.  That wouldn’t really allow me to stay in my GroupWise home view though or be accessible when I’m using the GroupWise windows client on my other PCs.  However, it occurred to me that using a web page as a Home View panel, I could use one of the web-based task managers that also have iPhone apps to have tasks on my iPhone that are also accessible through the “GroupWise client”.
  • The web-based task manager that I chose after trying just about all of them is Toodledo. There are other options, such as Remember the Milk, Google Tasks, and the like. I liked Toodledo for my own purposes based on not only the functionality of the web-based application, but also the iPhone app itself.  Not to mention that as a Mac user, it gives me sub-tasks, which are not available yet in the GroupWise Mac/Linux client.

So, here’s how I have it all fitting together.  I subscribed to Toodledo, and purchased their “Pro” subscription.  This is actually required to use the iPhone app past the “trial” period, but I used Toodledo free version for a few weeks with the trial version running on the iPhone to prove to myself it would work for me before I took the final plunge.  That said, at $3.99 for the iPhone app Toodledo and $14.95 a year for the Toodledo Pro subscription, it wasn’t a real difficult decision!

For GroupWise, I created a web panel in my home page to access Toodledo easily all day long while I’m in my GroupWise home page.  There are really two ways to do this.  One is to just put the full Toodledo page in a panel.

The other is to use the iGoogle Toodledo widget and have the iGoogle page in a panel.  I like the iGoogle layout better in some ways, but either way seems to work just fine – your choice.

I’ll discuss first how I use tasks and “checklist” items in GroupWise, and how that now relates to Toodledo.  First of all, it’s important to realize that I do not “receive” tasks into GroupWise in the form of a “task”.  I create personal tasks and convert incoming email into tasks/checklist items by moving them into the tasklist folder, or dragging them up into the Tasklist/Checklist portion of my mailbox (I say Tasklist/Checklist because in GroupWise 7 you can set your mailbox to “Checklist” view, and in GroupWise 8 that was changed to “Tasklist” view).  One of the biggest downsides to most of the Mac applications that interfaced with the iPhone was that I DO receive a good part of my “tasklist” as email messaages, and it was a tedious job to convert all of the email message into task items.   As I mentioned earlier though, I use the iPhone almost as much (if not more) than I use my desktop, and dealing with all of the email on the iPhone that needed to be a task had always been a problem (even with my Treo using GMS).

Perhaps the most important feature of Toodledo (and one that is not unique to Toodledo, and exists in Remember the Milk, for example), is the ability to post a task to the tasklist simply by sending an email to a special email address that is generated for you as a Toodledo subscriber.  This actually turns out to be a huge boon to me both as a GroupWise user and as an iPhone user.  As mentioned before, I’ve always been a big “checklist item” user, because my “tasks” often come in as email.  Checklist items have always been an issue for me with wireless devices, because they do not sync through GMS.  Neither is it possible to convert an email to a task or a checklist item through GMS or any other synchronization product for GroupWise that I’m aware of.  So from my phone I was always limited as to how to immediately “move” an email to the tasklist.  With Toodledo, all I have to do is forward the mail message to my Toodledo email address, changing the subject if I want, and maybe adding some commands to the end of the subject line to set the due date and/or the Toodledo folder and send it off.  Within a couple of minutes the task is now in my Toodledo tasklist, ready to keep me organized.  I’ve even set a GW rule that automatically moves the sent item to a folder enabled “Toodledo” in my GroupWise, in case I need to go back and look it over.  Someday I’ll probably just change the rule to automatically send the sent item to the trash, but until I feel totally comfortable with the setup I like to keep it around 🙂

For those of you who aren’t huge fans of the GroupWise Home view yet, you can still use Toodledo in your browser at your desk if you choose.  There is also a Toodledo browser plug-in that allows you to send a webpage to Toodledo, or just create a task while you are in the browser without having to open the Toodledo page.

I’m hopeful that someday the iPhone will have the ability to sync native GroupWise tasklist items directly to the device.  But until then, Toodledo for now 🙂

Danita

Comments

Dealing with Tasks on the iPhone — 5 Comments

  1. Hello. I signed up with Toodledo and paid for their Pro subscription and I setup the mail and reports notification.

    Everything is working fine except I’m missing the main thing here and that is groupwise Tasks. I get that I can send an email and it will create a task that I can see on the toodledo.com website and it syncs to my iphone toodledo app. Where the task doesn’t exist is in my Groupwise Tasks.

    Where did I go wrong?

  2. I think maybe you misunderstood my intent Robert. The tasks don’t become “GroupWise” tasks, but I can see them in GroupWise by virtue of having Toodledo as a web panel in my home view. So while they are not actual GroupWise tasks, they are visible to me in the GroupWise Home View in that web panel.

    Danita

  3. Just beacme an iPhone user and was really struggling with adapting my work flow and email processing. Your article has given me hope and I look forward to implementing your ideas! Thank you!

    Steve