Midnight Inbox – a short review

Midnight Inbox is another of the GTD apps I have tried. I’m keeping this review brief as Midnight Beep have already announced that a public beta of the new Inbox 2 will be released on 1st February.

I have mixed feeling regarding Inbox. The first is a negative – the website is really slow. I’m not sure why – maybe it’s something to do with the background picture taking a long time to download? Don’t know. But it’s slow to load and really slow to scroll. It just doesn’t give a good impression.

Inbox is a rigid GTD application. If you’re not familiar with GTD principles you’ll find this application pretty confusing. Some may like that it follows the book so closely but I can imagine many will be put off by it.

First it “collects”. You can enter manual to-dos or it will automatically scan your Mac and pick up all new emails, iCal to-dos and events, text documents, desktop files and bookmarks. I really don’t like this automatic method at all. I want more control and don’t like being told what is a task.When you come to “process” it’s kind of similar to Ready-Set-Do! in that it asks questions such as “can this be done in under 2 minutes?”, “is it part of a project?”, “is it reference material?”. This all appears in one dialogue box, unlike RSD, which makes it quick to go through but I still think it could do with being simplified a little. There is no option to create a recurring task which I think ought to be addressed.

Next is “organise”, a list of your projects and tasks. Nicely presented. However, I found sometimes the tasks weren’t ordered properly.Then “review”. I like this. All your tasks, projects, someday/maybes listed according to how often you have stipulated they are to be reviewed. There’s also a reference area for storing tasks that are “waiting fors” or incubating – another feature I really like.

One of the best things about Inbox is the yak timer. Every now and again a box asks if you are being productive or are you just “shaving a yak”! I just love this – it’s not too intrusive and does make you think about what you’re doing.

Overall Inbox has a lot of potential. It’s really pretty and, so long as you understand GTD, is enjoyable to use. I’ve never gotten beyond the free trial though as it is so buggy. Freezes, tasks disordered. Inbox 2 is meant to deal with this and add more features, such as giving every task a “ticket” or number so that you can track it. As their blog says, you could use this to also track associated paperwork by assigning it the same tracking number in your filing system. An excellent feature, I think.

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