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Is Toodledo dead?

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Posted by Christoph
Apr 2, 2021 at 12:32 PM

 

Talking about todo managers, here are three more recommendations.

*MyLifeOrganized* (MLO) is a very flexible and powerful application that is essentially based on an outline (arbitrarily deep tree) of tasks. Tasks can be marked as pure containers (folders) or projects. User-definable filtering views allow to create flat lists from this outline. It has as a desktop app for Windows, and mobile apps for iOS and Android. MLO has many interesting and advanced features, like time- and location-based contexts, start and end date, reminder date, and review date (all separate from each other), and can be used to implement different task management methodologies.

*ToDoList* from AbstractSpoon Software is a bit similar, but completely free and open source. Like MLO, it has a desktop app for Windows. Both can also be used on Linux with Wine. I’m particularly mentioning these two, since on this forum there are often only recommendations for MacOs users, and MacOs seems to generally have more and nicer productivity apps. But there are also some options for Windows users.

I’ve also become fond of *Everdo* which is a very clean implementation of the “Getting Things Done” (GTD) methodology. Everdo provides a platform independent (Electron) desktop app and mobile apps. I know some don’t like Electron, but it works very well for me. If you’re into GTD, you will surely like Everdo (note that despite of the name, it has nothing to do with Evernote). In terms of outlining, it is not as powerful as the first two apps, since it can only nest three levels: projects, actual tasks, and inline tasks in the task comment. So, it is not really an outliner as the first two mentioned apps. However, I noticed that forcing me to keep things simple (instead of creating deeply nested trees) can also be helpful. Also, Everdo has a clever tag system that can compensate for the missing task outline. All tasks can be tagged, you can filter for tags, and the type of tags (work area, context, contact) can be freely changed.

 


Posted by Dr Andus
Apr 2, 2021 at 04:56 PM

 

I’ve tried many todo apps over the years, and I ended up having the same problem with all of them, namely, that after a while it was hard to see the forest for the trees.

But even that metaphor breaks down here, as I could see the forest of todos, so that wasn’t the problem.

Maybe the problem was that it was getting increasingly harder to see which ones were the important trees, as they were getting lost in the ever-expanding forest, and far too much time was spent on forest management to find the important trees.

Then I came across a study somewhere which said that the busiest and most productive managers (CEOs and presidents etc.) only use a calendar to manage their todos because only what can get done at a specific point in time is worth focusing on (i.e. is important enough).

So the essential skill here is not task management (and forest management), but task selection, i.e. prioritisation, and choosing tasks and scheduling them in a calendar and getting them done is what matters.

Now it’s possible that this is only valid for those in senior management, and if one is an underling, then we are tasked to manage the forest, so that we can suggest important trees to senior management.

But I feel there is a learning point there that the higher level skill is to learn how to select (prioritise) important and urgent tasks and then focusing on getting them done (by scheduling them in a calendar), and forest management leads to stagnation or at least it’s a lower level skill, almost an admin skills vs. the management or leadership skills of prioritisation.

For the last several years I was using a combination of WorkFlowy (for capturing tasks, managing the forest) and Google Calendar to manage my affairs. But my WorkFlowy has grown into a giant forest of captured tasks most of which are ultimately probably pointless and useless as they never got scheduled because they turned out not to be important or urgent.

Enter RoamResearch, which has emerged as the magic solution to the forest management problem, and for me therefore is the absolute best todo management software I have ever used.

The key feature is the automatically appearing daily page, which forces you to review the previous day’s undone tasks, to evaluate whether they should be transferred over; so it’s a forced moment of reflection, evaluation, and prioritisation every day. (I imagine this is very similar to the bullet journal method.)

Although I still end up with some tasks that I’ve been rolling over for weeks or months, it also forces me to recognise that some of these are no longer important or will never be done and can be forgotten about.

But it also helps me never miss anything important, because it forces me to encounter again tasks that I scheduled for the future, when the given daily note appears on its assigned date. I still use Google Cal to schedule tasks in a calendar format, which just adds another moment of reflection and prioritisation, when tasks get mapped against the available time on a given day or week.

So when it comes to a todo system or software, the key features to evaluate would be how it deals with the growing forest problem, how it helps prioritisation, how it helps scheduling, getting things done, and reminding of future tasks.

Creating an audit trail is also important (and for this Roam is also excellent, as there is a record of each day that’s passed, and the internal linking can ensure the monitoring of connections between past, present, and future tasks and events).

 


Posted by Stephen Zeoli
Apr 3, 2021 at 11:27 AM

 

Dr Andus’s comments have me thinking that perhaps Roam’s biggest impact on the apps we love isn’t bi-directional linking, but daily notes. NotePlan was doing that before Roam, but in a different way. Since Roam, daily notes has become almost a requirement and is a feature in the following apps:

- Amplenote
- Hypernotes
- Obsidian
- Organizedly
- Logseq
- Remnote

And probably others. I agree with Dr Andus that this is an extremely handy feature.

Steve

 


Posted by Ken
Apr 3, 2021 at 03:56 PM

 

Cyganet wrote:
Hi Ken, thanks for sharing the details!  I understand where you’re
>coming from - your need is for a project management solution, not a
>simple task list.

You are welcome.  The discussion that we have around product use and selection are one of the things that make this forum so helpful.  While I would say that I am doing project management work, my software needs are for both project management AND task management.  My head is holding on to too many pieces of information, so offloading a lot of that is the primary purpose for me.  Sometimes it is information and sometimes it is specific tasks.  I have looked at Quire, but cannot remember why I did not give it a full spin.

And I really want to dive into InfoQube, but I just have not had the capacity to lean the ins and outs of a new program right now.  Clickup was more than I wanted, and I am still in the middle of learning how to use it best, but it has been paying off for me at the moment in my personal life so we are getting along well enough for the moment.

—Ken

 


Posted by Ken
Apr 3, 2021 at 04:01 PM

 

Stephen Zeoli wrote:
Like Ken, I have been using ClickUp for specific work projects. It is
>almost Notion-like in its flexibility, but if Notion were equipped with
>ready made templates. ClickUp has so many assets that that is sometimes
>a deficit. That is, I can get lost in the weeds of features, which is
>why it isn’t my everyday task manager. I’ve been using Dynalist for that
>purpose, but I’m giving Amazing Marvin a try (thanks for the
>recommendation, Cyganet).
> >But back to ClickUp. You can use it for everything from a simple todo
>list, to a KanBan board and timelines, now. A feature they don’t seem to
>talk about much is that you can associate Notion-like documents to
>projects. Notion-like because you can put almost any information into
>them. So, for instance, I am managing our exhibit at a virtual
>conference and I’ve got the instructional PDFs in one of the documents
>for this project, along with clipped email information. You build these
>documents very similarly to Notion pages by selecting elements to add to
>the document with the slash key.
> >Each task you create in ClickUp can be loaded with information,
>including fully formatted notes, attachments, sub-tasks, all kinds of
>meta data, commentary (because ClickUp is first and foremost built for
>collaboration—which I don’t need).
> >ClickUp also has a ton of video tutorials to help you figure out how to
>use it. It is impressive.
> >Steve

Agreed.  Thankfully the logic of the advanced features was easier for me to understand the MLO, which I liked but always felt that it was beyond me to make any tweaks after having things initially set up.  For tutorials, there is a woman who has a YT channel that I find very helpful - Layla at ProcessDriven.  She has a good grasp of the program and can explain things quite well.  My only suggestion is to turn the video speed down to about 85-90% as she is a bit of a fast talker.

—Ken

 


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