I spend a lot of time trying to be more productive in my work. This is less of an issue in terms of actually getting things done, but more an issue of getting the right things done first - and relentlessly staying obsessively organized. Of course, it takes time to figure out the right things to work on, and sometimes I blow a ton of time figuring that out - so I need a good solution to help me with that.
In doing so, I then waste a lot of trying to optimize my own system for project management. The amount of articles and opinions on how to optimize your productivity is absurd; it really comes down to what works best for you. I’ve found a system that seems to work for me.
- I rely way too much on reminders via Siri, and like having those as part of the full list of things I need to do.
- I like the clean UI of iOS8/Yosemite, and most non-Apple apps force other UI conventions on you that may or may not complement OSX/iOS nicely.
- Evernote is great for self-project managing, when there’s a lot of notes to be kept in the background. I use its Reminders feature less as a tool for actual reminders, and more as a running list of active projects I have going on. (The individual tasks of those projects, however, usually end up as a messy checklist in the Evernote note or in my reminders somewhere else - annoying.)
- Collaborative projects are managed in Trello - no exceptions at this point. It’s become my favorite, simplest way of manage everything from technical projects, album releases, to this blog.
- I like the ability to share lists (say, with Alicia or my parents) - which virtually every task management app offers. Wunderlist prides itself on this, but realistically I’m not finding myself collaborating with a ton of people on lists. I find Trello much stronger for true collaboration, but weak on task list management. The stock Apple Reminders gets the job done for, say, sharing a grocery list.
- I don’t like having to manage multiple apps/platforms for essentially the same thing. In other words, the less apps I need to pay attention to, the better.
So I discovered GoodTask (http://goodtaskapp.com), which essentially layers over Apple’s Reminders and gives me the features and flexibility that Apple didn’t build themselves. It can either fully replace Reminders, or act as a more elaborate version of Reminders for involved project management, depending on your need. There’s a few minor quirks (including some rare crashing), and it’s not free ($20 for desktop, $5 for iOS) - but no monthly subscription and no juggling multiple platforms. This seems to have made my setup work:
- All reminders, project-related tasks and lists are in GoodTask (via Reminders)
- All new tasks are stored in an Inbox list, and then delegated to Home, Work, Creative or Reminders (for things I really don’t care about until I’m reminded)
- Tasks related to collaborative work (ie. things that colleagues need to know about) stay in Trello. All tasks that are personal to me stay in GoodTask/Reminders. For instance, if I have to wireframe something that needs peer or client review, that stays in the UX Trello board for that client, with me as the assignee and a published due date.
- I may create a separate reminder in GoodTask so I remember to start work the week prior, but that’s personal to me.
- Special lists for certain things I put together on a constant basis (ie. Groceries)
- Every big project, app or client gets a smart hashtag in GoodTask, which corresponds to a catch-all project note in Evernote
- All !!!-level tasks in GoodTask show up in an “important” smart list
This seems to be working well for me - that is, until a new app comes out that I feel compelled to try.Posted on October 18, 2015