GTD Phone Home

Early last month there was some discussion on the GTD_MindManager Yahoo group brainstorming about ways we might be able to communicate into ResultsManager remotely someday using email or smartphones. Tommy pointed out a blog entry on using mailbucket to email entries into MindManager using the RSS smart map part.

Around the same time a post on speculated about about the “dream scenario of a GTD parser” that would take input from phone or email and make some sense of it.

Jim pointed out that “MindReader” provides a piece of the puzzle, so I figured I’d try pulling together the Rube-Goldberg setup needed to get a prototype working.

ET phone home

I had a look at this last evening and it turns out this can all be strung together in about 20 minutes if you don’t run into any problems:

  1. Set up a Jott account to convert your voice to email subject line text
  2. Forward the Jott email to a cryptic mailbucket address (say
  3. Call Jott to have it transcribe your voice into emails or just send text email the mailbucket account directly.
  4. Add the rss feed from mailbucket (e.g. as a smart map part under one of your in-trays.
  5. Select and “Process” the subject lines in the items that come in through RSS using MindReader to convert them to activities and add context, etc. This can be triggered manually using the GyroQ “c” tag or scheduled and automated using the mindreaderNLP.mmbas macro.
  6. Refresh your dashboards.

Email into ResultsManager

With the setup above you can press a speed-dial key on your cell phone to call Jott, Tell it “Buy anniversary gift before Thursday”, and have that wind its way to your dashboard “errands” list in a matter of minutes (the dashboard refresh is probably the longest step). I’ve only tested it with a few messages, but it seems to work surprisingly well and quickly.

There is still one missing piece though. There is no way to mark the RSS items complete for good as they will return in the next feed refresh. What is needed is a macro that compares the RSS feed items against a map-based database of items it has already imported from the feed so that only new ones come into the system. This should be relatively straightforward but will take some tinkering to optimize.

Time will tell if this has any use, but it is amazing the world lets you get from point A to point B this way.

Up Next: How to close the loop by making your “next actions to go” go even farther….


  1. Four ways to add tasks to your maps from your phone » ActivityOwner.Com said,

    February 15, 2008 @ 9:03 pm

    […] verbally to Jott with the phone rather than typing them in. This is handy for use when driving (see GTD Phone Home. ActivityDaughter also uses it to remind Dad of things like the need to get started on her upcoming […]

  2. Curtis N. Bingham said,

    May 8, 2008 @ 5:39 pm

    Any progress on getting MindReader to clear out the jott/mailbucket notes? Any possibility that someone could get a plug-in directly to Jott?


  3. ActivityOwner said,

    May 8, 2008 @ 9:21 pm

    Hi Curtis — I didn’t realize I hadn’t cross posted the follow-up to this. See

    for the solution. The approach described there keeps a list of processed items so they don’t reappear in the in-tray.

    I haven’t tried it, but a quick google search implies that you can feed Jott to RSS directly via twitter:

    That would seem a bit less secure but if your main purpose is to jog your memory then your tasks don’t need to be detailed. .

  4. Using MindManager as a Twitter Reader » ActivityOwner.Com said,

    April 30, 2009 @ 6:39 am

    […] the topics and not have them reappear when you refresh the feed. I mainly use the tool to process tasks coming in from Jott and to process blog comments via RSS to make sure I have closed out the action items associated […]

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