Goalscape connected to Things

Hans Knol's Avatar

Hans Knol

17 Nov, 2013 03:54 PM


We just purchased GoalScape and started using it. We noticed that it is perfect for grand overview and goal planning, but it is less effective for actionable items. We also use Things, a program that evolved out of David Allan's book Getting Things Done. Things is perfect for collecting actionable items (2 minute actions) but it is less effective for goal planning and overview.

Now we wonder, is there a way to connect Goalscape with Things?

Our work-around now is this: The outer ring in GoalScape are the Projects in Things. Within Things we further distinguish the actionable items that form the projects. It would be great for us if we could automatically connect Goalscape with Things. That will safe a lot of type work and would eliminate the potential of errors in assigning actions to projects as well.

What are your ideas about this?

Kind regards and thanks for an amazing app!

Hans Knol
the Netherlands

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Richard Parslow on 17 Nov, 2013 05:00 PM

    Richard Parslow's Avatar

    Hello Hans

    Welcome aboard! And thanks for the great feedback.

    In Goalscape Desktop you can use File > Export > XLSX document (in Goalscape Connect use Download As > XLSX document). Then open the exported file in Excel (or any other spreadsheet application) and use the Sort Data function to rearrange the goals by (say) Overall Importance, Start or End Date (and, for personalised task lists, by Responsibility). You may be able to import these task lists into Things, or C&P the first few to provide a focus for the week ahead (say).

    Remember though that Goalscape is visual goal management software, rather than a rask management tool. It supports a goal-oriented approach: its visual format displays the entire goal structure, relative importances of subgoals, and progress. This helps to determine your priorities: any large goals that have little progress are the ones you need to work on.

    As such it is really a way of escaping from a task-oriented approach! Task lists (and the work required to complete them) are entirely context-free, so your planning may be determined solely by the completion dates – which in fact confuses Urgency and Importance. So you can work hard and complete lots of tasks, without necessarily making a significant contribution to achieving your high level goals. See William Reed's article The Tyranny of the ToDo List.

    Nevertheless I confirm that we are considering our options to extend TM functionality, possibly by integration with third party tools such as Things, Remember The Milk and various Calendar apps.

    We have published an online Survey where you can comment on some proposed new features and add your own suggestions. We always listen to our customers and the opinions in the Survey (and posted on this forum) directly influence our development priorities and scheduling.

    Enjoy the journey!

    PS you use "we" in your message: if you are working with others on shared projects you should all be using the web application Goalscape Connect. This supports all the major functionality of Goalscape Desktop and has some additional features for team-working (see attached PDF). Everyone needs their own Goalscape Connect account: your existing Goalscape Desktop perpetual single-user licence includes a free 6-month subscription to Connect; all your colleagues (and other contacts!) can register for the free trial here (or by clicking the 'Sign up for free' link on the sign-in screen itself). Then you can share your projects online and check out the cool collaboration features!

  2. Support Staff 2 Posted by Marcus Baur on 17 Nov, 2013 08:19 PM

    Marcus Baur's Avatar

    Hi Hans,

    let me add on to that. I am a great fan of Things for Mac and its GTD approach. I use it as well alongside Goalscape. We are working on our own task management solution that shall resemble the ease of use and simplicity of Things. I hope we can make the first version available in Q1 2014. I would also be interested in integrating things, but I am not aware if they have an API. I will contact their support, but I am fairly pessimistic about that. So you will most probably have to wait for our inhouse solution.

    All the best, Marcus

  3. Marcus Baur closed this discussion on 17 Nov, 2013 08:19 PM.

  4. Marcus Baur re-opened this discussion on 20 Nov, 2013 07:44 AM

  5. Support Staff 3 Posted by Marcus Baur on 20 Nov, 2013 07:44 AM

    Marcus Baur's Avatar

    This is the reply I got from Things:

    Hi Marcus,

    Thanks for getting in touch! At the moment, we do not have a public API to access Things data from other applications. We hope to maybe provide one in the future, but at the moment it’s not something we are actively looking into.

    Kind regards,


    Things Support

    Cultured Code

    So I believe it is more realistic that we will provide a Goalscape Task management app. Luckily we will base it on the ease of use you experience with Things.

    I am looking forward myself to using such an app.

    All the best,


  6. 4 Posted by Hans Knol on 20 Nov, 2013 09:54 AM

    Hans Knol's Avatar

    Thanks Richard and Marcus!

    Don't you love it when just purchased a product, start working with it, run into questions/suggestions, reach out to the forum/help desk and get immediate reaction? I was really pleasantly surprised by the speed and thoroughness of both of your reactions. I felt totally taken care of! Respect!


    thanks for addressing my question/suggestions. Your work around was not known to me yet, but it definitely is an option for working with lists. Thanks!

    The 'we' in my message refers to me and my wife. We run a Bed & Breakfast in Amsterdam and next to that, I build an Internet based Marketing Business. She has her own activities. Since I got two licenses with my desktop purchase, I installed one on my computer and one on her computer so we both could learn how to work with it individually. We're really exploring what Goalscape can do for us and we are a little bit on a budget. So we choose the desktop version, try it out and we know that it came with a Connect license for 6 months. So after those 6 months, we can start working with the Connect app. This way we have the desktop app to work/explore, without being tied to the recurring fee and we have the option to 'upgrade' to the Connect app.

    We came accross Goalscape only a couple of months ago, forgot about it and I remembered Goalscape when I realized that I started to loose track of where I was headed with my Internet Marketing business. So I needed a graphical presentation of my activities/goals and then I remembered Goalscape.

    While working with Goalscape, it quickly became obvious to us that Goalscape indeed takes a graphical approach to goalsetting. Which is absolutely fabulous and exactly what we need. We learned so much about the gaps in our business, that it became a very valuable tool for us. We also started using it for personal and family goals! Today I started thinking about how I can use the connect version for the use of the team I'm a part of in our church. We love it!

    Since we also work with things, we know the to do list approach of organizing work. And indeed, I can see how task lists can become tyrannical. I've experienced it myself. Working and ticking away actions, without knowing what impact the action really has on the grand scheme of things.

    So I find them really complimentary. I find that working with Goalscape is perfect for creating an overview and learn about how individual goals relate to each other.

    However, getting down to the goals on action level (the most outer ring), the graphic presentation can get 'cloggy' as the outer ring can get sometimes 6 or 7 levels away from the main goal. And then the outer goals become so tiny that I cannot read them any longer.

    I know that I can double click on sub goals to get closer to the 'outer ring' but then indeed I experience that using Goalscape to create an overview of specific tasks really defeats the purpose of Goalscape as I start clicking back and forth to get to my 'task management level goals'.


    Thanks for your addition. It seems you're running into the same 'challenge' as I do, as I think we both experience that the graphical approach of goals and the 'linear' approach of the task list are complimentary.

    It's a bit unfortunate that Things has no plans for opening up their app through an API connection as that would create a beast of a combination, however I am really looking forward to the in house solution that Goalscape is working on now!

    My work around it now is this: My outer ring in Goalscape are my projects in Things. As projects are made up of 2 or more actions, I then start adding the actions to my projects from the Things perspective.

    Sometimes quite a bit of manual work, and therefor I would love to see an API solution on this level here where I can connect the outer ring in Goalscape with Things and import the outer ring goals into Things so it automatically creates projects from the outer ring of sub goals in Goalscape.

    So thanks for reaching out to Things. In Holland we say, "That'll be music for the future then". :)

    GTD - Working in Contexts I came accross the post "GTD - Working in Contexts"

    I think the author provides a perfect description of where I run into as well:

    Now I'm in the heat of battle and it's time to decide what to do next. I highlight the tag for the context I am in and the tag for next action. Only the next actions that can be done right now are available to be seen, and I am inches from GTD "Mind like water" workflow.

    Those highlighted tasks are all over my (Colossal) map at this point, but they are completely in the context of their higher aims and I can make my "horizons of focus" decision about them with unmatched visual and conceptual clarity. We've reached 98%.

    I would love at this point to be able to generate a simple list of all of the tasks that are represented there. Even a filter on the (prodigious) export capability that would only include the items I currently had highlighted would accomplish that. If I had that I could fly through my list without having to hunt through quite as much, and it would probably be worth going back into all the sublocations to check things off (but it's a bit of a flow-killer). Heck, to get the advantages here, it would be worth just digging them out to do them and check them off.

    We're talking about the last percent points here obviously, as both Goalscape and Things are amazing apps that tremendously help us move forward. So for that, many thanks!

    Many thanks for your feedback.


    I'm really looking forward to your first release of

  7. Support Staff 5 Posted by Richard Parslow on 20 Nov, 2013 11:08 AM

    Richard Parslow's Avatar

    Hi Hans

    Wow! Thank you so much for the great feedback – and for taking the time to write such a full report.

    If it's OK with you, we would like to use your comment (edited version below) as one of our Testimonials:

    Don't you love it when just purchased a product, start working with it, run into questions/suggestions, reach out to the forum/help desk and get immediate reaction? I felt totally taken care of! Respect!

    You can even 'plug' (ie advertise) your Internet Marketing business (or your B&B!): just tell us the name and we will include that in our listing.

    We are delighted that our proposed TM functionality will fill the gap that currently exists in nearly all project tools, by linking overall goals and targets to schedules and lists for task work (and vice versa when updating Progress).

    I confirm that we are also working on filters for our Export facilities that will produce reports based on specific segments of the goal map – and/or according to selections in the Highlight sidebar.

    Keep achieving great goals – and enjoy the journey!


  8. 6 Posted by Hans on 28 Nov, 2013 09:32 AM

    Hans's Avatar

    Hello Richard,

    Yes, you are welcome to use my testimonial on your page, I'd feel honored!

    One of our Internet Marketing projects is called Amsterdam Video Guide. You can find it at http://AmsterdamVideoGuide.com.

    AVG is a video guide about Amsterdam, obviously for tourists who visit Amsterdam. We've almost finished this project and are about to launch and a link to this project would be awesome!

    It's great working with you.

    Kind regards,


  9. Support Staff 7 Posted by Richard Parslow on 28 Nov, 2013 09:36 AM

    Richard Parslow's Avatar

    Splendid! Thanks very much.

    We wish you all the best in all your endeavours


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