One tenet of Getting Things Done is to always have a tool that you can use to capture thoughts and actions as they pop into your head. I get crazy ideas in the oddest places and times, so it's important to have a tool at my disposal to quickly capture them. I always have my cell phone on me, so it's a natural choice for a capture tool. I needed a service that I could dial into and leave a message which would be then transcribed and in my inbox when I returned to my computer. For a long time, I've been using Jott, but Google Voice has taken over as my tool of choice for capturing next actions and ideas.
Why the switch to Google Voice?
- It's free
- It's easily accessible - In addition to a great web client, GV has a great Blackberry application.
- Better transcription quality - I've found the quality of voice transcription to be better. That means less corrections to make for me when adding actions to my GTD system.
Set up your Google Voice Account for Getting Things Done
- Add your cell phone to your list of contacts if it's not already present
- Edit your google voice settings for the contact you just created. Select "Send to Voice Mail"
- If this is a phone that you've connected to the account, you'll need to navigate to settings and then the phone tab. Click edit and then show advance settings. Set voicemail direct access to "no". Be sure to save your changes.
Calling your new capture tool for the first time
- Dial your google voice number
- Press 1 to go directly to voicemail once it starts ringing
- Leave a message
Setting up more automation
- If you have a GMail account, you can set up filters to have a specific inbox for captured voicemails
- If you use Remember the Milk, You could also set up a rule to automatically forward the email notification to your inbox there.
Google Voice has become a vital part of my GTD workflow. Even if you're on a low tech system like an excellent Moleskine, using Google Voice as a capture tool when you're on the road is a safe and free alternative.