Backboard is based on Backpack (affiliate link) and inherits its flexibility. In other words: It's basically made to help you doing things the way you like it. I for myself like the GTD (Getting Things Done. By David Allen) approach.

Collect and Organize

One of the main reasons I made Backboard was to have 37signals' Backpack more integrated in Mac OS. Don't get me wrong. I admire the guys at 37signals and their ability to create easy to use interfaces. But I liked to have an independent app in the dock with some basic keyboard shortcuts. Thus collecting tasks and notes gets a bit easier. Next I will explain some GTD terms in combination with Backboard.

A reference is by definition an item which is not actionable but important to keep.

Backboard lets you add and search Notes. I add my reference items as Notes and search them by using the filter (textbox).

In Basket
Create a Page inside 37signals' Backpack and name it 'Inbox'. Add a List to it. When collecting new items you can choose this List as your 'In Basket'.

When you are doing your "Inbox Review" simply filter after 'Inbox' and assign the currect Page and List to this task by changing the category column.

Create a new Backpack Page for each project. Add some Lists to the Page to give it some structure. I usually add Lists for different contexts, too. Like @Call, @Implement, @Design, @Waiting. I will come back on this later on.

You can also add a "Someday/Maybe" List. Don't forget to give Items on that List a low priority.

Calendar and Next-Action Items
Next-Action Items don't need a date. Use the priority to classify those tasks. You can change the priority afterwards by pressing "Toggle Priority".

If you have tasks which have to be done on a specific day, Backboard gives you the possibility to "attach a date". The date is changeable inside the table afterwards.

Add more general tasks, like appointments, to your Backpack Calendar. They will appear "read-only" inside Backboard. If you don't like to see them all the time, you have the possiblity to make them invisible by pressing the "Events" button on the bottom.


Collecting and organizing tasks is nice and liberating. But they have to be done someday. When it comes to "doing something" the most important criteria are context and priority.

You can order tasks by priority by pressing the "Date" column. Tasks with a high priority have the same severity as tasks which have to be done today (attached with a date).

There doesn't exists a specific Context feature. But 'Context' means to describe a task more specific. Basically you have two ways to do this:
  1. Add the Context inside the task text. (e.g. "@Call Martha" or "@Design feature.html")
  2. Or create a "Context"-list inside each Backpack Page (see screenshot)
By entering the current context (e.g. @Call) you get all tasks which can be done in this context and ordered by their priority.

Hint: The filter will also have an effect if you print your tasks.


Backboard gives you an easy overview over all tasks in your Backboard account. By using the filters (either the textbox or the type filter on the bottom) you can easy narrow your view to the tasks you like to review.

Another nice feature which helps you remind a task is the "Remind Me" button in the toolbar. You can attach a reminder to each task. By doing this you will receive an email when it's time.

Do you have a different approach? Tell me.