In some blissfully simpler age, we were able to keep track of what we needed to do for whom by when with nothing more complicated than the back of envelope. At least, that’s what I’ve been told. For these more modern times, you might find one of these more useful:
This is a web-based task manager. (Web services have become the standard approach for complete “connectedness” in our mobile age.) You can organize your tasks on separate lists, or see them all together. Remember the Milk has enough functionality to support David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” (GTD) time management discipline, while still allowing the quick and painless, straightforward addition of tasks from wherever you are, including your email or Twitter. At the basic level it is free; and it has apps for just about every type of mobile OS and calendaring system you might use, including Gmail (or HillConnect) and Outlook.
This application is strictly Mac: OS X, iPhone, iPad. It does include a “cloud” component to allow you to keep all of your tasks synced on every device you own, lest you waste some moment when you could be busy if only you could remember what to do. For the really dedicated Mac user, the interface alone could make this application the one for you. It is clearly modeled on the Mac standards for GUI, looking a bit like Mail and a bit like the Finder file browser, and of course, just a bit like nothing else.
This application is strictly Android: It is available as a web service, and has apps to sync with Android phones and Android tablets. It is a reasonably powerful task manager as it is, but if you are a heavy Gmail user, it can also integrate with Gmail and Google calendar. Three important caveats: The integration requires that you use the internet interface, not Thunderbird, Mac Mail or Outlook; it requires an annual fee; and you need a personal, not Hamilton or HillConnect Google account.
This is another web-based tool that has loads of “apps” to bridge to your favorite mobile devices. Better still for a lot of people at Hamilton, it integrates with the Thunderbird email program, as well as Outlook, Firefox and Chrome. This is another app that is powerful enough for those of you who are fans of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done.” It is a nice compromise between simplicity and power, helping you keep all of your tasks in one place, but still organized enough to avoid being overwhelmed. One drawback: there is no iPad app yet. You can use the iPhone app on your iPad, but clearly that interface will not take best advantage of your iPad’s screen space. There is an HTML5 mobile interface, however, and you may find that to be quite adequate for your iPad. A special note for those of you who collaborate a lot: There is a related app called “wedoist” that supports task management across teams.
Yet another web-based task manager: ToodleDo has the ability to support separate lists of tasks (i.e. projects), and can be an effective support to the Getting Things Done (GTD) process. It also has apps or mobile interfaces for iOS, Android and Blackberries. ToodleDo is designed to support “task sharing,” so if you and your workgroup all use ToodleDo, you can coordinate on shared projects. There is a fee for that, however.
I don’t really have any. I’ve tried 3 of the five products above, but haven’t yet identified the best fit for me, so I am not about to make recommendations for other people. Obviously, if you want your reminders to be with you at the grocery store or while waiting in the Dr.’s office, a task manager with support for your mobile device of choice is important. After that, it is more a matter of your normal work process, and the interface that makes the most sense for you. This is one area where I believe interface is king, and is a highly personal choice. Fortunately, most of these have a “free” level or at least a free trial, so you can afford to experiment until you find your best fit.