FacileThings Experiencies: Antonio J. Masiá
I am always interested in talking with people about how they work and how they use their tools. Since I am writing in my blog, I have met some people who use FacileThings and wanted to exchange ideas with them on the subject. Well, I have finally been able to do it with Antonio Jose Masía, author of “Cambiando Creencias”. Here you have a little interview where we talk about FacileThings, GTD and his project.
My name is Antonio José Masiá and am the author of the blog Cambiando Creencias (Changing Beliefs), where I talk about how people can develop value through productivity, GTD and personal development. I met GTD in 2010 and it brought many benefits to my life in a moment where my industry was going through very difficult moments so I decided to start a process of reinvention around this area of knowledge, doing artisan consulting and training individuals, companies and organizations.
Tell us your story with GTD. How did you get to this method and what led you to seek a different way to manage your workflow?
GTD came into my life just when I needed it most. By chance, I knew the existence of this methodology after hearing a José Lobato podcast, 85% Cocoa, in which he specifically spoke about GTD. At that time I had already read the Berto Pena’s book, Gestiona mejor tu vida (Manage Your Life Better), and had begun to implement his insights, but I felt it was not enough so I bought Getting Things Done and reading it changed my life. I used to live under constant stress, I was late for everything, I did not find anything in my files and, ultimately, I worked without any criteria and, even worse, without direction. Just the fact of starting to practice the habit of capturing everything reduced my stress level over 50%. It was really cool.
What were the difficulties you encountered when trying to implement the system, you know, those initial problems that can make you fall off the wagon?
Well, GTD tells you clearly what to do but not exactly how to do it. It gives you some hints and recommendations but it is you who have to set up your system and decide the how. I must confess that I failed twice. I never had doubts about the system, I was aware from the beginning that it would work and I never had the urge to leave. I started, as it is recommended, using paper and pencil, specifically with two Moleskines, one for capturing and one for managing all my lists. Then, as the number of actions were higher and higher, I switched to high-tech tools that would facilitate my work.
Before reaching FacileThings, what other software did you use to implement your system? What were the strengths and weaknesses of those tools compared to FacileThings?
I am a Mac user for over five years. When I decided to switch to high-tech tools I began a process of testing and I did not found anything I liked from a GTD point of view. I used Things for a while and, following the Jeroen Sangers’ recommendations, author of El Canasto (The Bucket), I eventually started using OmniFocus. I tested at the same time several online applications as Remember The Milk, Nozbe, Do it, etc. In a GTD event, I had the opportunity to meet Francisco Sáez, which told me about the development of the FacileThings project so I started testing this tool as well. I got a big surprise. I finally found a GTD 2.0 tool made by people who know about GTD. This is its great advantage, from my point of view.
Do you integrate your projects support material with FacileThings? If not, what application do you use? And what other tools do you use to implement your GTD system?
I often use both Evernote and Dropbox as reference and project support material warehouses. Evernote is perfectly integrated with FacileThings and I know that Dropbox will be integrated in a close future. It will be very interesting. I use Evernote to capture big things, meetings minutes, etc. and I use the email-to-inbox feature to send little stuff to FacileThings. I also use a small notebook to take notes and a physical 43-folder tickler file. It helps me a lot to manage the documents I will use in a specific future.
This application goes beyond the usual list management system. For example, you can manage your goals, areas of responsibility and routines. How are you using the whole toolbox and what value does it provide to you?
For now, I am still managing the levels of perspective above the areas of responsibility outside of FacileThings. I usually work with Mindjet. As I have been told, in a forthcoming update the goals section will undergo an improvement to make it more functional. I can’t wait to see this update and move this important part of my system into FacileThings. On the other hand, I must point out that I am giving much use to the routines. They are very helpful.
To end this review, what do you think the application needs? What facets should be improved?
Well, FacileThings is already a great application. My decision some months ago to start using it as my GTD system is a result of this conviction. Now, many improvements can be made. Right now I need a native mobile app. This is essential so you can at least capture stuff and view your lists on the go. On the other hand, I think that it is necessary the development of a module to cover the steps of review and do. It should be simple and allow you to filter your next actions by the context you are in, the time available and your energy level. It would be great that the system would show you only what you can do at the moment. I am convinced it will be possible in the near future. Another interesting improvement would be a module to manage the weekly reviews. Then there are the typical features such as checklists and project templates, and the ability to create projects with either sequential or parallel actions. Currently all actions are sorted sequentially.