MonkeyGTD – Quick Review

There is nothing more dangerous than a lazy man looking for productivity tools.

So, unless you have been sleeping under the willow, you ought to know that GTD is the coolest thing to happen in the world of productivity gimmicks, since contraception.

I read GTD about a year ago and found that it had enough new material to ignite the passion of a man who is hell-bent on improving his productivity. Unfortunately, that man was not me. I was happy with my linear TODO lists, crossing out items everyday or every otherday. I cross out all items, regardless of whether they are done or not. And for items that are carried forward, I place a right-pointing arrow next to it. Usually, my crossed items beat the crossed-items with arrows by about 2 or 3 a day. So, here I rest my case that over a year, I get almost close to a thousand things done. Can you do any better ?

But then, last Thursday, I found MonkeyGTD. The whole concept of TiddlyWiki floored me. I vaguely recollect Arun B having tipped me of once, but did not follow up, methinks.

MonkeyGTD is one single HTML file where you can store your key tasks by projects and contexts.

Examples of Projects, from my page

  1. CardIQ Physio (one of my projects at work)
  2. Dynamic VUE (another)
  3. Guitars (my hobby, passion)
  4. Misc (anything that I am too lazy to categorize)

Examples of Context:

  1. @Online (things to do when I am online and outside GE’s VPN)
  2. @Call (people to call)
  3. @Today (ever changing list of things I want to do today)
  4. @September (kind of my goal for the month)

Note that the intersection of Projects and Contexts make for an interesting stuff. When at the phone (context), there are multiple people you may want to call, which belong to different projects. But it may make sense to devote 20 minutes to the phone at one go and finish all the @Call items you have at hand. In Computer Science, this would be a close analogy to minimizing context-switching to achieve superior performance.

MonkeyGTD is a sweet tool. Try it, you might just love it, And best, it is free. What’s more, it is a single HTML file, so:

  1. No complex installs
  2. Works on Linux/Windows
  3. No backend database etc
  4. One single HTML file, so you can just copy it over onto your stick (USB) and shove it into another computer.
  5. Free.
  6. HTML and JavaScript based, so very low possibility of virus/spyware/trojan. (For the geeks waiting to attack me on this one, I bow in submission.)

Somethings could be better, though:

  1. Tad slow. Nothing that will hamper your task, but you can clearly feel things like check boxes take a wee bit more time to toggle.
  2. “Saving” is an issue. Though backups can prevent catastrophe. Expect to get a lot of messages and the browser (IE or FF) will not save at first go. Again, you can work around this, no sweat.
  3. The Reminder feature seems to be broken. I have not checked out the bug reports or known-issues list, but just be cautious.

MonkeyGTD is very simple to setup, there is nothing to setup, actually. It’s easy to use, you have to be a bit diligent, that’s all. And that’s probably the reason why it will not work for me. But I promise, if I can stick with this for 3 weeks, I will write another post. In the meantime, use it.



  1. Nice article. Recently found the same tools myself (although, I’m using the more recent, but fully functional, beta version). Excitedly following how things evolve – both the development of mGTD and myself. Looking forward to reading that upcoming post in 3 weeks.


  2. I too can’t believe the simplicity of mGTD. I know you said that saving in IE is a problem, I can’t get it to work at all. What are the workarounds that you mentioned?



  3. Jack, right click on the empty.html file, click “Properties”. You will find a security note: “This file came from another computer…” and next to that you will find a button called “Nblock”. Click it. You should be good.

    Let me know otherwise.


  4. I right clicked on it, selected properties and don’t see the note. I looked in the Security tab or the properties window as well and it was all just permissions. There were no notes or Nblock buttons.


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