Flashpoint

Flashpoint is an application which helps organizing tasks and projects in a "Getting Things Done" way.

  • Version: 0.2.1
  • Author: Eckhart Köppen
  • License: GPL 2.0
  • Download via SourceForge

Introduction

Flashpoint focuses on these main GTD concepts:

  • Projects
  • Next Actions
  • Waiting For
  • Reviews

It does not deal with "Someday/Maybe" items, nor does it have an "Inbox" concept - both items can be handled with the applications the Newton has built-in, extra applications, or without the Newton.

Projects

Projects take a more central role in Flashpoint than in the traditional GTD sense. The two most important differences are that projects can have subprojects, and they have a priority. Neither feature needs to be used though, but it helps in dealing with very long "next action" lists. There is always one toplevel project though.

Next Actions

Each project can have exactly one next action at a time. If more actions are already clear, they are not listed as a next action, but can be added to the project notes. Next actions can have a due dates.

The priority for an action is set by the priority of the associated project, which in turn is influenced by the priorities of the parent projects.

Waiting For

If a project does not have a next action, but is instead pending on another action or external even, the event can be tracked in place of the next action.

Reviews

Flashpoint can display all projects with their associated "next action" or "waiting for" status. A review would usually cover all projects which don't have a next action, or which are not waiting for anything. For such projects, the status should be updated, or the project is no longer active and could be deleted. It is also useful to review the projects which are waiting for other things to check if they can actually proceed.

The Application

The user interface of Flashpoint is designed to resemble the built-in applications based on the NewtApp framework (i.e. action and routing buttons, folder tabs), but there are some bigger differences since GTD does not map too well to a simple overview/detailed view of projects or actions.

The main user interface elements of Flashpoint are the header area, the main content area, and the button bar. The header contains a folder tab which is used to switch between the different views of the content area, as well as the usual date/time indicator. The button bar contains the usual NewtApp buttons, such as the info button for access to application information and preferences, or the action button to perfom operations on the items shown in the content area.

Project Structure View

The project structure view is the main view in Flashpoint. It allows editing of projects, and is split into three areas: Information about the project is located at the top, then an area where next actions or waiting for information is entered, followed by the list of subprojects.

Project Information

Information of a project includes the title of the project and the priority as entry fields, as well as the parent project as a static text field. Under the project information, three tabs for the subprojects, the next action/waiting for information as well as general notes are visible.

Subprojects

The subproject list in the project structure view shows all subprojects under the current project. The list can be managed via the action button. Subprojects can be added, they can also be removed after they have been selected via the tick box in the subproject list. The list also shows additional information about a subproject:

  • it has a next action:
  • it has a waiting for item:
  • it has no subprojects:

Tapping on a project in the list will open it, and tapping on the "Up" button will go to the parent project.

Next Action

The next action tab shows either the next action or waiting for information. A project can have only either one of them, but not both. Which of them is active is chosen via the popup button above the description field. If the text entry field is empty, no next action or waiting for item is defined.

Next actions can be assigned to places (this functionality is not implemented yet), they can also have a due date. A due date causes the priority of the action to increase gradually, so that about five days before the due date, the action starts to be always at the top of the next action list.

Waiting For

The waiting for information is entered in the same place as the next action information. Neither the places nor the due date information are however used at the moment.

Notes

The notes tab shows a free form text entry field which can be used to store general notes for a project

Next Action List

The Next Action List is the most important view in the day-to-day use of Flashpoint. It shows the immediate next action for each project, by default sorted by the project priority.

Waiting For List

The Waiting For List is is similar to the Next Action list, and shows all projects which are pending on completion of an external action.

Project List

The project list is most useful in the GTD review. It shows all projects together with indicators whether they are a leaf project, and whether they have a next action or a waiting for item assigned. This can help to identify projects which are not active and should be removed.

Using It

More information how to use Flashpoint will be added here over time. Here are some basic guidelines:

  • Start with defining a basic project structure, and refine it until each leaf project can be completed in e.g. two hours of time, or until each leaf project is otherwise clear enough to handle
  • For each leaf project, define a next action, or a waiting for item
  • Assign priorities starting from the toplevel project
  • Consult the Next Action list to chose an action to work on, pick actions near the top of the list
  • At regular intervals, review leaf projects without an action, check waiting for items
  • Change high level priorities to e.g. set a specific theme for a day or longer working period
  • Concentrate on defining the immediate next action for a project, if multiple actions are possible, turn them into subprojects
  • If followup actions are already clear, enter a short description into the notes tab of a project

Bugs and Missing Features

  • Support for places
  • Better export and import
  • Add "New" button for subprojects

Changes

  • 0.2.1: Minor bug fix
  • 0.2: Various updates
  • 0.1: Initial release