Task Management is one thing that I have always been extremely particular about. I have used everything from the pencil and paper combo to mobile apps that sync with my desktop apps. I intended to compile a list of all the apps I had tried with a blurb on each one and why I started using it and now no longer use it. However, the list is so long that that post no longer makes sense, but a quick overview of what I have discovered for myself is what follows.
Get Things Done
I don’t claim to be an expert on this idea by any stretch, but for quite a while I thought that GTD was the best method for tracking tasks and staying motivated to get them done. Unfortunately, over time I found that the over simplification of GTD apps and implementations meant that when I wanted or needed additional layers or organization they obviously weren’t there. Most of the time this was a good thing, but when it came down to finding an app that could handle all my tasks and projects, GTD no longer managed to cut it.
After a stint with the overly simple GTD apps, I decided to take the polar opposite approach and try using Project Management applications and suites. Specifically, I tried Asana, Orchestra, activeCollab, Microsoft Project and a few others. I found that for my own projects and tasks, the extra features and levels of organization were a welcome change from the Get Things Done model. After a few months of dedication to this method, I had very few issues with this system – the only real issue I had was the time invested in updating and maintaining the projects. With every additional level of detail allowed, there was additional work involved in simple maintenance.
Attempting to find a healthy mix between GTD and Project Management eventually led me to Wunderkit. Wunderkit is an extension of sorts on the concepts that Wunderlist brought about. I spent signficant time with Wunderlist when I was trying GTD apps, but had never heard of Wunderkit. The switch to Wunderkit, in a nut shell, means that you have multiple instances of Wunderlist organized into projects. Each project also includes collaboration methods and sharing of your tasks and progress. For me, it became GTD with an additional level to separate out all the different projects, departments or contacts that I did business with. This solution is still in use today, but I can’t honestly say that it is my primary solution at this point as I rarely keep it updated and use it more for long term tasks and tracking only ongoing projects.
Where Does This Leave Me?
This leaves me with my current state, which came about by a quick Google search for creating tasks from emails automatically. I found that more often than not, when I wanted to remember something I would send myself an email reminder, which would sit in my inbox until I addressed it. As a proud advocate of the 0-inbox, my inbox has always been my bottom line task list of things that need attention. I decided that since this was the one task list that I never failed to use, it would make sense to try and find a way to integrate a task list with my emails themselves. This led me to TaskForce, a browser plugin that allows me to convert any email into a Task with follow-ups, notes and associated email tracking. It’s only been a few days, but so far this has helped to move all of my communication and task management into one specific area, allowing me to manage everything from my Gmail account. There are some definite downsides, including the fact that it is a browser plug-in that needs to be installed on each system you want to use it with and the fact that I have yet to find any additional apps or support for mobile integration, but so far the experience has been very simple and hassle-free, while letting me use emails themselves to add additional information and communications to tasks.
Update: It appears that the day after I posted this I received an email letting me know that Wunderkit development has been halted and it will likely never leave beta.