November 01, 2009

Getting things done - TODO list and task management

I work with a very big team spread across onshore and offshore working in different time zones. My work is related to infrastructure like Unix and Databases where high availability of services is of main concerns. This generates many ad-hoc and unplanned request everyday and due to which I sometimes forget or skew myself from the planned tasks and priorities.
Recently I went through various task management tools like SimpleGTD, Remember the Milk, Gmail TODO etc. out of which I am using simpleGTD and Remember the milk in my daily work. Microsoft Outlook tasks is complicated and if you are not using it for Email then it is not worth using it only for task management though it  provides various features.

Getting things done (GTD) is a management idea from David Allen which is traditional time management approach in addition with prioritize, organize and review the work concepts in timely manner. Based on this workflow, such tools are designed which we will be reviewing here.

  1. SimpleGTD - It's main feature is its simplicity and in-frame editing. Also some of you might like its one page view which is divided into various action items categories such as personal, work, agenda etc. Also supports printing just like RTM. 
  2. Remember The Milk - This is the most famous and favorite application of 2008 according to RWW readers. This is an from Australian startup and now it is available for iPhone also. The feature I like here is smart keyboard shortcuts and symbols for definition within the task text. Interface is awesomely designed. It supports creating weekly printable task lists. 
  3. TODO in Gmail - This is simple todo list but really handy as it is integrated tightly with gmail, google calendar and iGoogle.  This feature came last year officially. I recommend this to use if don't want to jump into fully rich separate application just for managing tasks as Gmail todo is very light weight. 
  4. Sticky notes and classical pen and paper - This is the oldest and still very popular way of managing personal tasks on day-to-day basis. On every desk almost we can find this easily even when you are disconnected from cyber world. Use your creativity at fullest to design your own todo lists. You can also get some printables here or may be online GTD printable generator here
  5. Create printable checklists - a very simple and quick tool indeed. Put your tasks online and print. That's it. [lifehacker review in detail]
  6. Hipster PDA -it's a popular technique given by 43folders (why 43, 12months+31days=43). Get some hPDA printables here.
  7. -  it is a great tool to prioritise your todo list, I have recently discovered and feel its a killer application. I should strike off rememberthemilk from my list now.!?!
I hope the above tools and method will increase productivity if used consistently. Please let me know if you know any other good tools. I would love to see your comments.