There are a million different ways to manage your “task list” these days – and it can be extremely difficult to choose!
If you’re just getting started on your journey to find a task manager, it might be helpful to understand what different kinds or categories there are.
Analog has surged back on the scene in recent years, partly in thanks to the Bullet Journal. I think analog is a great place to start managing your life. The friction paper introduces helps you be a bit more thoughtful about your work, as well as helps you prune out unnecessary items. I mean, who wants to copy a task you’ll never do from one notebook to another?
Some examples of analog systems include:
- Bullet Journal
- Full Focus Planner
- Timeblock Planner
Most people are familiar with a basic task list. Apple Reminders is easily the most notable. You put items in, check them off, and maybe add a reminder date or put the item on a specific list. The feature set of these software tools is usually fairly limited, but can be a great starting point for smaller lists or specific purposes.
List style software includes:
- Remember the Milk
- Google Tasks
If you’ve been around the productivity space for any amount of time, you’ve heard of the project managers class of tools.
Major players include:
There are many more as well. These are the power user systems which offer great flexibility in terms of organizing and structuring your projects and tasks. However, the feature these tools are known for is their ability to slice and dice lists to see your tasks in multiple views. Using these “perspectives” as OmniFocus terms it, you can see the right tasks at the right time.
The downfall here is these tools can take a long time to set up, get going, and use comfortably because there are a million options. I would say these are not great tools to start with if you’re just getting going, and that opting for analog in that case is a good idea so you can understand what you need from a software tool.
Collaborative tools exist to help teams manage tasks and projects together. Not everyone will need a collaborative tool, but if you do, you’ll appreciate having the ability to work with others in an easy, streamlined fashion.
Examples of collaborative, workplace-oriented task tools include:
This is the newest category on my list as this class of application has only emerged in the last couple of years. A personal knowledge manager is a software where you put all your information in it – notes, tasks, projects, ideas, thoughts, etc. These tools have the capability to organize this data in a meaningful way.
The main contenders here are:
- Obsidian (my personal choice)
Notion is an interesting case, as it’s primarily used as a collaborative tool. However, Notion does work well as a PKM software, too.
I’m interested to hear – what category do you primarily use? Are there any categories you’re interested to hear more on?
- Project Manager