Selecting a Task Manager
Selecting a task management system has been a difficult task. I have a few options but I know what I like and none of the options I’ve found fit the bill.
- What I’m looking for
- A list of task managers
- What I like/dislike about them all
What I’m looking for
- web (for desktop), app (for mobile) (if a task manager doesn’t have this, it’s not even going in the list)
- drag and drop cards into columns
- due dates AND start dates
- kanban workflow
- easy to add tasks on the go
- repeating tasks
- subtasks (for checklists for larger, repeating tasks)
- tagging for contexts
Bonus Nice to Haves
- time of day contexts (I want to be able to group things into “morning routine”, “evening routine”, “end of day work routine”) with smart alerts for the groups
- night mode/dark theme for web & app
- use a service that doesn’t have android mobile app
- use multiple services for parts of a whole system
How I’d Use it
I don’t believe in storing things in your head. That goes for both ideas & tasks that you have to do.
A typical day for me starts with waking up and doing 8-10 tiny tasks, but they’re all tasks that can’t necessarily be done in rapid fire succession but I know they need to be done between 6am-9am. An example list would look like this:
- walk the dogs
- open the shutters downstairs
- feed the dogs
- cut fruit for elizabeth’s breakfast
- eat breakfast (I forget to do this sometimes)
- make coffee for Jackie
- take a shot of ACV
- take multi-vitamin
- clean dishes from breakfast
That’s just my morning checklist before I’ve started my work day. It may seem silly to others that I’d keep an exhaustive checklist of the things that I need to get done, but they’re things that because they don’t naturally flow from end-to-end are easy to forget, and take up cognitive cycles in my brain. I have similar checklist’s for starting my work day, ending my workday, evening routine & bedtime routine…so ultimately around 50 tasks that I do daily that are just “routine” things.
After that I want to be able to look at a list of things I have planned for today as well as what time has been taken up by meetings. The planning happens the afternoon/night before, so there’s a single column with 3 things that I have planned to do.
At the end of a week I want to look at my backlog (that has some way of hopefully being able to be prioritized with “due” dates and minimum start dates) and pull the things that have to be done the following week into my “this week” column. Then, depending on how much I have planned already, pull things that are important but potentially not time sensitive into the this week column and those tasks should define what my week will look like.
Through the day, I want to be able to check all of these things off from my mobile device if I’m doing routine things that involve me not being in front of the computer or checking off things in front of the computer if they’re tasks that are work or professional related.
There are other things I have to do frequently on repeating timeframes, but not necessarily on a repeating date that I need reminders for. As an example, “take out the trash”, “get the dogs groomed”, “rake the yard”, “get the car serviced”. These tasks would ideally be repeating based on some metric (maybe it’s every two weeks, every friday, or the car would be awesome if it was based on data coming from the car triggering a creation of the task). They also wouldn’t just have “due dates”, instead they’d have “start dates” with a due date/time as well to keep me from deferring too long.
- kanban workflow
- only 3 powerups for gold? for reals? and powerups are for normal things that should be free like repeating cards and calendar visualizations?
- no auto-assignment feature for cards
- notifications have not worked for me
- android app is not attractive
- has notifications
- so far I’ve found it really hard to add tasks on the fly
- API integration
- The closest I have gotten to time of day contexts
- no Kanban workflow
- time of day contexts are a “hack” by using filters & I can’t set alerts for the group, but have to do it individually