How useful do you find task managers?

Five being “Extremely useful, I use a task management system daily”
One being… “Why waste productivity time tracking productivity???”

[poll type=number min=1 max=5][/poll]

In honor of the new poll system, and me listening to the Productivityist podcast this morning on my commute.
… I swear I won’t poll-spam, @cpradio :innocent:


For personal use, I don’t find them useful at all. I just keep physical notes of my current TO-DOs for a project or the day.

But for a team, some sort of ticket/task/management system is essential to keep everyone on the same playing field and to manage what should be happening in the future.

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Yeah, that’s a pretty common approach I think. Having some sort of project management or shared tasks/etc at work or on a team are definitely good things to have.

I have a horrific memory myself - if I didn’t run my life (personal and professional) with a task manager I genuinely don’t know how I’d get things done, ever.

Agreed. I never used one when I did freelancing (or still do the occasional freelance job). I use it all of the time at work as I jump in and out of 3-6 different projects in a given week.

I’ve just started using Trello to manage freelance work. I like the fact that it’s visual, and I can quickly sort cards into different lists depending on how I’m dealing with them… it’s much better that having various notepads and scraps of paper around my desk, which is what I used to do.

I use Trello at work, along with TFS and I hear that the next release of TFS will have better virtualization of work items. Giving you a better look at things from a visual perspective.

I’ve just started using Trello for project management (freelancing). I have a card for each project, with unbilled time + primary contact in the description, and then use checklists/comments to keep track of major happenings, calls, links to other material, w/e. Shift them to other lists (ongoing projects, current projects, leads, completed, etc). I use Todoist for task management and it’s :heart: can’t recommend it more.

You may want to try TACO if you use more than one service. It allows you to see everything in one place.

Their usefulness is mutually exclusive with the number of individuals involved in a project and/or department.

Doesn’t that apply to planning in general? :wink:

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I will have to take a look at that later - at a brief glance it looks really interesting!

Hey Jeffrey (do you prefer Jeff? Jeffers?),

What is it that Todoist offers that you find useful, over and above what Trello itself offers?

I feel like (just my opinion, they’re a dime a dozen in the productivity-tools community) Trello is more of a project oriented tool. I use a card for each project - a card for each task would be very very unwieldy, as I have wayyyy too many. The problem is that then I can’t manipulate tasks - assign them contexts/tags, individual due dates, filter and search for them, make them recur, etc. Todoist is more of a task manager. It does those things - but it is NOT good at overall project management - having notes/comments/etc per project, or having that sort of broad overview. So I’ve used Todoist for awhile (and probably a dozen + others, Todoist is my favorite) for task management, and I’m just starting to use Trello as a project manager for freelance work, because I was letting things sort of fall through the cracks trying to use a combination of Evernote/email/Todoist to manage the general status of projects, follow up on leads, keep track of conversations, etc.

Clear as mud, maybe?

(Jeff is fine)

Edit: On the blog that I’m starting, I plan on doing a running series of an article every so often about various productivity tools that I’ve used - a sort of overview/review of what it’s good for, why I liked it, what I found cumbersome, etc. For anyone who cares about that sort of thing. I’ve spent too much time on figuring out things to not share. That’s another trap that “GTD” or “Productivity” oriented people fall into though - spending too much time trying to become productive that it’s self defeating :smiley:

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Seeing as we were just talking in another thread about the importance of doing ( :wink: ) I remembered I wanted to come back here and encourage you to do this, as I think it’d be interesting… don’t know if it’s what you had in mind, but I particularly like reading about other people’s workflows. There was a good blog post the other day about how a web app company uses Trello to manage the discussion and development of new features, and the tracking of bugs etc. If you could write about your current workflow with Trello and Todoist I think that’d be cool.

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Yeah, that very article is in draft at the moment… I have a (task!) to link my blog to my portfolio and twitter and various such things tonight, and to finish at least one further article by the end of the weekend. Maybe I’ll try that one first. I also may do a general review of each tool first, I don’t really know. Also have a few other unrelated topics in draft…

To be honest I’m not really confident of my ability to write any long form, informative/useful articles, and I suspect that the only way to get around that is to just write some and see :smiley:

If you ever want some feedback/constructive criticism, feel free to send me a link or whatever :slight_smile: I’m not saying I’m an expert or anything, but you know, second pair of eyes and all that…


I very well might. I’ve also been told that I have a tendency to self-doubt and self-criticize more than most people, in most of my life endeavors, so I strive pretty hard to not let that be an issue, but thus far it’s kept me from starting the danged blog, so :open_mouth:

Now that I’m talking about it I have to push forward though, right??? :smile:


Hi, I use task managers for my daily work since long time ago (actually, I used Wunderlist which is not mentioned in this forum). Anyway, I think in general there’s a little misconception when people use any sort of application for managing “tasks”, specially when you work in more than one project or any kind of work at the time.
It is not a matter of update a list of tasks to keep track of what you have to do and don’t miss anything; it a matter of defining your workflows when you work, no matter what you are doing. It’s more important to define the right workflows and from here you’ll determine how and when to use list of tasks. On the other hand, tools like TFS are focus on ALM cycles.
In my opinion, it’s absolutely important to use any kind of list of tasks; why? Because it is not a good idea to keep “all the things you have pending” in you mind, specially when there’s a lot of things. Our mind is affected by stress, forgets things and can not priorize tasks specially in stress periods.
For a better perspective, is a good idea to “get out” all those tasks in a list and then decide. Is typical for developers to work with any level of anxiety, in part, that’s because our tasks list is “inside” and we see them huge instead of having them “outside” when you perceive them ordered and easy to handle.

I use task management for the reason I often forget the next task to do.

I find windows task manager very handy for closing unnecessary applications that take up the available ram om my computer. On linux it is a bit more difficult to use its task manager.