What is RetainIt?
RetainIt is a tool to help you organize all the different areas of your life.
We all have busy lives and wear many different hats during the day: Employee/Entrepreneur, Home Owner, Husband/Wife, Student, etc. That is why RetainIt allows you to create an unlimited number cabinets to match the different areas of your life. A "Personal" cabinet is created by default. Some other cabinets you might want to create are "Work", "Home", and "Hobbies".
Each cabinet has eleven standard categories: Inbox, Todos, Projects, Goals, Journal, Contacts, Reminders, Reference, Bookmarks, Sketches, and Photos.
In addition to these eleven categories you can create your own custom notebooks under the Notebook section. A notebook can be a basic list, basic to-do list, advanced to-do list, or journal.
The basic list notebook is ideal for organizing such things as recipes or home inventory. The basic to-do notebooks gives you a simple check list while the advanced to-do notebook gives you a Getting Things Done (GTD for short) checklist list where tasks can be in multiple statuses. Finally, the journal notebook allows you to record events for specific things such as a meeting notes, child journal, etc.
The Inbox category is a place to store miscellaneous items you want to create throughout the day. It's perfect for a quick shopping list or a simple note. Inbox items are sorted by date entered or updated with the most recent at the top of the list.
One of the more advanced features of RetainIt is the Todos category. The Todos category can be set to GTD/Advanced Todos or Basic Todos. By default the Todos category is GTD/Advanced. All Todo items in the "Next Actions" status are displayed in the Tasks screen.
Using the GTD/Advanced type your to-dos can be in one of seven statuses:
- "New" Status
- "Next Actions" Status
- "On Deck" Status
- "Waiting For" Status
- "Someday/Maybe" Status
- "Cancelled" Status
- "Complete" Status
Any new to-do you create are automatically assigned with the "New" status. You can leave the to-do with the "New" status and mark it complete from there or you can change the status to indicate when it should be processed.
Next Actions Status
To-dos should be placed into the "Next Actions" status when you feel you are ready to start work on them. Ideally, you should only have a handful of to-dos in this status
On Deck Status
For to-dos you plan on starting soon but aren't ready to take action on at the moment set the status to "On Deck". In pure GTD you probably wouldn't find an "On Deck" status but we find that it is useful to identify higher priority to-dos you don't want added to "Someday/Maybe".
If you don't plan on taking action on your to-do anytime soon you can set the status to "Someday/Maybe". These to-dos should be reviewed on a weekly or monthly basis and changed to either "On Deck" or "Next Actions".
Waiting For Status
If your to-do is waiting for someone else or some other event to occur you can change the status to "Waiting For".
The Projects category is similar to the Todos category but is intended for higher level tasks that usually take more than one step to complete. Projects also allow you to create Subtasks. You can add a subtask from the Project detail screen by selecting the "+" icon and selecting "Subtask". The first subtask for "Active" Projects are displayed in the Tasks screen.
The Projects category can be configured as either Advanced or Basic, with Advanced being the default.
When configured with the Advanced type a project can be in one of five statuses:
- "New" Status
- "Active" Status
- "On Hold" Status
- "Future" Status
- "Completed" Status
The Goals category is where big picture items are stored. The Goal category can be configured as Advanced or Basic similar to the Todos and Projects category.
When configured with the Advanced type a goal can be in one of three statuses:
- "Short-Term" Status
- "Long-Term" Status
- "Completed" Status
The Contacts category allows you to keep all your contacts organized. You can specify a contact name, company, phone numbers, email, and URL.
Use the Reminders category to keep important dates, birthdays, anniversaries, and appointments. The Reminders category supports natural language input such as "Dinner party Saturday at 7pm" or "Doctor appointment next Wednesday at 10". You can also specify a reminder to repeat every day, week, month, or year.
The Journal category is useful you keep a running diary of information. It allows you to keep a history of project actions, meetings, or other special events.
The Reference category is a place to keep miscellaneous pieces of information for later retrieval.
The Sketches category allows you to make and store quick sketches. In addition to storing them in the Sketches category you can attach a sketch to any item such as a to-do, project, reference, or reminder.
The Photos category is a place for any photos you would like to keep. Similar to sketches, photos can also be attached to any item.
When using the integrated browser you can create a bookmark for any page you visit. You can also create bookmarks manually by entering a title and URL.
For added flexibility you can create your own custom notebooks in the Notebooks section. Custom notebooks are created as a basic list by default. To change the notebook type to a Basic Todo, GTD/Advanced Todo, or Journal select the "Tool" icon in the toolbar and select "Edit Notebook Type".