Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Recommendation needed for Task Management, please!

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Recommendation needed for Task Management, please!

    I've used GTD off and on for a few years, mainly based in Outlook on my company laptop. I have recently gotten an iPhone and would like to have more portability in my system. My iPhone mail, calendar and contacts are synced to Outlook through an exchange server. I've spent the better part of the morning looking at software, apps, websites and forum posts and haven't come across exactly what I'm looking for, or at least, I did not recognize it if I did.

    For a long list of reasons mostly related to company rules, I don't think I can sync any kind of task manager between my laptop and my iPhone (no downloading, no wireless network at my desk). So I have pretty much given up on the idea of using Outlook for everything. Portability trumps some of the advanced features I would get with being able to drag emails to tasks, etc. I could use something web-based that syncs from the internet to my iPhone.

    One function that is important to me is to be able to assign a Project and an Agenda or Category to a single action. For example, if I have a Project "Decide on Work Schedule for Team", one action of several actions would be "Discuss work hours with Cary". I have lots of things to talk to Cary about in a day or week, so I have an Agenda @Cary. So I want this action to show up on a list of actions for the project and on my Agenda for Cary w/out having to enter it twice. Does that make sense?

    I've looked at Toodledo and hated the way the online version looks....too busy...too many bright colors. I've also downloaded Firetask and just started playing with it.

    Any recommendations from the experts?

  • #2
    I'd recommend Toodledo

    @flchris

    Toodledo is a good system - I've been using it for about 9 months and it has transformed my productivity. Unfortunately as you've seen, the default interface is not pretty but you can do a few things to improve it.

    Here are some screenshots of how it looks for me. It may not be the latest looking GUI but it's not that bad and it is extremenly functional (which is more important).To change the appearance, you need to be using FireFox as your browser (Chrome will work also but not IE) and use the free add-on named Stylish. This add-on allows user-developed themes to be installed and there are quite a number available for Toodledo. It was easy to setup and I am not a techie programmer type.

    Like you, I have to use Outlook/Exchange for work (email and calendar). Thankfully I don't have to use Outlook Tasks (never liked this part of the system). Being cloud-based, Toodledo works from anywhere and in terms of integration, I can simply forward emails from Outlook or wherever to Toodledo and maintain a complete system.

    Toodledo is very configurable so you can really do a lot with it. Project handling works fine for me - I use a few tweaks (e.g. format of sub-task naming is important) but it's not at all difficult. I've seen a few other systems handle projects well but overall lack the features I need.

    On my iPhone, I use Appigo Todo and it syncs nicely with Toodledo.
    The Toodledo user forums are helpful and a good way of learning more about how you can implement a GTD system with Toodledo.

    p.s. I haven't blurred out any of the screenshots, but there's no data showing that is ultra-confidential or that could cause anyone any problems.
    Last edited by PeterW; 06-28-2010, 09:59 PM. Reason: disclaimer

    Comment


    • #3
      2nd Vote here for ToodleDo

      Although I'm using an Android based smartphone and consequently different local software, I too can heartily endorse ToodleDo!

      Like you, at first I hated the user interface online; it just seemed too cluttered and confusing. But after spending about an hour or two of carefully going through the online help and entering some examples into a free account, I was hooked.

      Now having worked with it for several months, I couldn't do without it.

      HTH

      Comment


      • #4
        question is whether you wanna be a paid user of toodledo or not. I am using 2do synced to toodledo and seem to me i may need to go for the paid service in toodledo.

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks for the responses. Guess I'll spend some more time playing with Toodledo. Gosh...I even hate the NAME of the service! LOL! As a female engineer, I've battled "cutesy" for my entire 25-year career so I just have a natural inclination to avoid it.

          Peter, I love your UI theme. But of course, I'm stuck with IE on the company computer. Just changing the theme within Toodledo from "Default" to "Inky" helped a lot. And the tip about emailing tasks to Toodledo solved a lot of problems for me.

          Humblepie, I was looking at the paid service as well. For you guys who are serious users of Toodledo, what paid features can you not live without?

          Comment


          • #6
            Omnifocus is fabulous, and can be instantly synched accross multiple devices and backed up in the clouds. It provides for seeing NA's either by Context or by Project. It has an In Basket and workflow that follows the GTD diagram quite well. It allows organizing Projects into folders by user-named type or group, which is useful.

            The iPad version is (agonizingly) close.

            I would make sure that you re-read (or be sure you understand) the concepts well before picking out software. I would not hurt to use a simple paper system briefly to get the mechanics down. It will make you a more informed buyer.

            rdgeorge

            Comment


            • #7
              There is an iPhone version of TaskPaper, which can sync with a website (SimpleText.ws) or just use it as a standalone app. A DropBox version in the works.

              http://www.hogbaysoftware.com/products/taskpaper

              It is easy to assign tags to action items. Each tag is also a clickable link to all actions with that tag.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by flchris View Post
                Thanks for the responses. Guess I'll spend some more time playing with Toodledo. Gosh...I even hate the NAME of the service! LOL! As a female engineer, I've battled "cutesy" for my entire 25-year career so I just have a natural inclination to avoid it.

                Peter, I love your UI theme. But of course, I'm stuck with IE on the company computer. Just changing the theme within Toodledo from "Default" to "Inky" helped a lot. And the tip about emailing tasks to Toodledo solved a lot of problems for me.

                Humblepie, I was looking at the paid service as well. For you guys who are serious users of Toodledo, what paid features can you not live without?
                Hi flchris,

                Regarding having to use IE at work, you'll be pleased to hear that one of the forum members has developed a free add-in that he calls "distraction free". Search the Toodledo forums for that and you will find a bunch of messages with download links.

                Essentially, it is a script that removes "distractions" from IE (e.g. toolbars and menus) and allows you to apply a few of the most popular FireFox themes (including the one I am using). So you're still using IE but it tidies it up so it looks like you're running a standalone app. Pretty cool!

                As to your question about the paid-for service, the main feature I wanted was sub-tasks. As a subscriber I can indent them, hide them, and drag them into a manual sort order. This helps a lot with GTD projects. I recently upgraded from pro to pro-plus to get the ability to attach files to tasks (which also means that email to inbox accepts attachments too).

                Regards,
                Peter.

                Comment


                • #9
                  task format

                  Hi Peter
                  You talk about "format of sub-task naming is important"
                  Can you elaborate on the system you are using there?
                  thx
                  Carl

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Crunch View Post
                    Hi Peter
                    You talk about "format of sub-task naming is important"
                    Can you elaborate on the system you are using there?
                    Hi Carl,

                    It's a bit complex to explain but I'll give it a go.

                    I use parent tasks with sub-tasks to handle projects in Toodledo. There are three options for viewing sub-tasks: flattened, nested and hidden. Flattened means that sub-tasks appear just like any other standalone task, Nested means that sub-tasks only appear indented under their parent task, and Hidden means exactly that - you can't see them - only the parent appears.

                    Viewing sub-tasks 'nested' is a nice visual way to view projects because you can see the parent task (overall project goal) and its constituent sub-tasks indented below (and you can put them in the order you want to do them). For example:
                    Upgrade home computer
                    -Purchase RAM
                    -Purchase Windows7 upgrade
                    -Install new RAM
                    -Upgrade OS

                    However, when you set sub-tasks to be nested, they will not appear in filtered views such as the Toodledo Hotlist which is driven by due date (and optionally priority). So if the parent task's due date is two weeks away but one of the sub-task's due dates is in the next day which would put it onto your Hotlist, it won't appear because the nested setting effectively hides it from the filter. Toodledo won't put the parent task in your Hotlist because it doesn't meet the criteria. So you might miss an important task.

                    The safest way to display sub-tasks in filtered views such as the Hotlist is 'flattened'. When flattened, sub-tasks will be displayed if they meet the list criteria but of course you won't see the parent task, so it might not be readily apparent exactly what the sub-task is all about. For example, "Purchase RAM" on its own might relate to you work area of focus or your home area of focus or whatever. So that I don't lose sight of the overall goal that the sub-task belongs to, I pre-pend an abbreviation of the parent task name in the sub-task name. Using the example above, I would make the sub-task -U/g home PC: Purchase RAM.

                    Note that Toodledo does use a different icon alongside sub-tasks and if you click on this icon, the parent task will be displayed in the view. So this naming convention is not necessarily essential. I prefer to do it because when I am scanning my lists, I understand immediately what each task is about without needing to click to display additional info.

                    Toodledo allows you to set different sub-task settings per view, so my Project view is set to show sub-tasks 'nested' and this is helpful when reviewing overall project status. However I set most other views to 'flattened' to make sure that nothing slips between the cracks.

                    Hope all of that made sense!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Many thx Peter yes this makes sense and resonates with me i will try this idea out.
                      regards
                      Carl

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PeterW View Post
                        The safest way to display sub-tasks in filtered views such as the Hotlist is 'flattened'. When flattened, sub-tasks will be displayed if they meet the list criteria but of course you won't see the parent task, so it might not be readily apparent exactly what the sub-task is all about. For example, "Purchase RAM" on its own might relate to you work area of focus or your home area of focus or whatever. So that I don't lose sight of the overall goal that the sub-task belongs to, I pre-pend an abbreviation of the parent task name in the sub-task name. Using the example above, I would make the sub-task -U/g home PC: Purchase RAM.
                        Just a comment: you can also use tags to group project items together, instead of sub-tasks. This is particularly convenient if you are otherwise including an abbreviated project name in the task anyway. So you can use contexts, folders as areas of focus, and tags for project names.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mcogilvie View Post
                          Just a comment: you can also use tags to group project items together, instead of sub-tasks. This is particularly convenient if you are otherwise including an abbreviated project name in the task anyway. So you can use contexts, folders as areas of focus, and tags for project names.
                          Yes, that's a good point. Toodledo is quite flexible and can be setup in many ways. I run it in multi-line view so I don't see contexts or tags in my lists - I use them but just don't have them visible all the time.

                          I'm using tags for areas of focus and folders are my GTD status (next, waiting for, etc).

                          Comment

                          Working...
                          X