In my line of business .. these are the two most important things that I have to worry about (besides actually doing the work, that is) …
* Keeping track of my time for billing purposes
* Keeping track of the work and tasks that I have to complete
I’m pretty good with keeping track of my time … (see how I do it here) .. but I’ve been struggling with keeping track of the work coming in. You see .. last March 2006 my ToDo95 Software crashed .. I had been using that software since for almost a decade and it locked up on me. The company has a newer updated version of ToDo95, but it wasn’t a perfect fit and although I was used to working around the features .. I just couldn’t place my finger on it – but I wanted more.
So, I spent hours and hours trying to find a suitable replacement .. and ended up trying Swift Lite from Dextronet. While I was still experimenting with about 6 other softwares, and as it was in the final stages of Tax Season 2006 for me .. I gave it a good review and decided to keep Swift Lite and implement it into full use. However, after seven complete months of using this software .. I ultimately uninstalled it in December 2006 and as I have determined that it made my life miserable!
My biggest complaint was that you couldn’t really see the flow of work coming in, or the deadline, and the work going out. There is a major sort-less quality about the Lite version (besides alphabetical order). Not only that, after I would “X” out completed tasks .. if my cursor wasn’t actually hilited on the “X”ed out line .. and I cleared the completed task .. the wrong task got deleted! And, without confirmation and all my notes at the bottom! Aaarrgh!
So … I posted a request to my readers to suggest a good “ToDo” list .. I’ve asked colleagues and associates in real life and on instant messenger what to use .. I’ve hinted about it over on various weekly Mic-Nights over at Liz’s Successful-Blog Open Night Mic Night .. (which, speaking of Liz .. just had an Open Night Last Tuesday about getting organized) ..
When the smoke cleared .. I came up with 3 possible replacements:
* (1) from Richard Cockrum: Amibook – This is a great little utility, free for use, created by the publisher to fill a simple need – for himself .. and would be great if you need a simple appointment and contact book that can even print envelopes. However, for ME .. I would have had time remembering that I needed to manipulate it by adding all tasks to the same date to see everything at once .. and thus lose site of the big picture.
* (2) from HushPage.com: WhatNext? – By far .. this was the closest ToDo software that reminded me most of my old ToDo95 program. It was easy enough to switch the settings from German to English Language, but I found that there were just too many columns .. too many issues .. and too many errors in trying to edit existing tasks.
AND NOW … FOR MY NEW TODO SOFTWARE PROGRAM FOR USE IN 2007 IS …
… drumroll please …
* (3) from OrionBelt.com: Easy Task Manager – After testing the Demo version, I decided it was worth upgrading to a fully paid and licenced version, which for $19.99 USD is cheap. When I first installed the demo version, I was a little taken back that it was required to install the Microsoft .NET application. I think I’ve been trying to NEVER install anything to do with a .NET application, like microsoft and Netscape during the last 10 years .. but, oh well!
They claim they are following the “GTD” Method .. (Getting Things Done) .. from their Blurb-Page …
What is EasyTask Manager:
EasyTask is a To-Do list that supports the GTD (â€œGetting Things Doneâ€) method. Take control of your life by knowing exactly what’s on your To-Do list for the day and what you need to do next in order to move your projects forward.
You can order tasks or actions by project or context. A context is the place or toolset that you need in order to finish a task or action. For example: Are you sitting at your computer wondering what it was you needed to do? With EasyTask just look at the “Computer” context to see all the things in your To-Do list that you can accomplish while sitting at your computer. Are you waiting at the doctor’s office with some time and your cell phone at hand? Look at your EasyTask “Phone” context and get to work.
You can also sort tasks or actions by days of the week. So when you wake up in the morning you know exactly what you need to accomplish that day.
There is nothing more annoying than knowing that there was something that you needed to do but can’t remember what it was. Clear your mind of all its little lists and let EasyTask take care of them for you. Move through your day, confident that you are not forgetting anything.
With EasyTask you can print your To-Do list on paper to take with you. You can also sync it with Microsoft OutlookÂ®, and from there you can take it anywhere with you using your PDA/laptop or smart phone.
This Is How I Will Be Using It
.. as an example, I’m using the “Due Date” as the default date. For instance, if the year end is December 31, I will use that instead of the deadline June 30th or ASAP .. For projects, I’ve created items initially to describe the type of work. For Context, I’ve created for work and for non-work ToDo lists .. Today’s date, noted in the task entry will be changed to the date received from client so I can also sort out the FIFO LIFO stuff at a glance, all by just clicking the top task bar.
YUP: It’s about time I get back to becoming better organized .. these STICKUM notes on my wall are starting to add up cost-wi$e! 🙂 In looking back, one of the biggest obstacles that I was facing in finding a good ToDo Software was .. that I was NEVER looking for a contact or address book (which I use AZZCardFile) .. nor was I ever looking for an appointment scheduler (I just use STICKUMs on my wall in front of me or on my computer screen.
All I want is a Task Manager. I hope this will be it. Here’s the screenshot, but I will give a better review later on, n a few months, as I am using it every day and get the kinks out. I’ve blacked out the names .. not because they are clients, but I was just playing and came up with some stupid names.