Clear by Realmac Software

Shortest blog post ever.

Buy this app. Beautiful UI, simple but fantastic UE. Even the sounds make me smile.

It just works. It’s a pleasure to use. It makes the management of tasks and lists easy.

Seriously. Buy it.

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The task list

As I tackle my task list for the day it has me thinking about how I tackle it. Like many, I guess, I don’t think too much about it but I do tend to (must be a subconcious thing) start with a quick win task. The first task I clear off is one I know will be straightforward and quick to complete. That sets me off on a positive track.

I then tend to delve into the less exciting tasks (I’m a product compliance engineer so there are many dull tasks on the list) or the ones that equire more thought. I’m at my best in the morning and into early afternoon so clearing off the more taxing tasks generally happens then.

Randomly throughout the day I pick out a couple more of those easy win tasks to give me a mental boost whilst ensuring that I save a couple for the end of the day (when I’m generally more mentally tired).

My lunch break is often spent doing personal stuff (blog posts, shopping, stretching my legs or generally escaping the office).

How do you work your task list into the day?

I am @craigt44 on Twitter and you can find me on Google+ here.

if this then that

If This Then That, http://ifttt.com, is a new (currently in limited Beta) task based service that allows you to fully customise your tasks based on channels (think Twitter, Evernote, YouTube, email, Flickr, text message), triggers (if “this” happens) and actions (then do “that”).

 

For a great write-up on how it works check out this post by Steve Rumsby (@steverumsby).  You can also read the “about” page on the ifttt website (hint: check out the URL of the about page!).

Suffice to say the conecpt is brilliant!  You can custom build tasks based on a huge number of different triggers and actions, making it a great replacement for a number of different services (specific tweets routed to Evernote for example or auto-posting to / from your blog, SMS alerts if the weather changes and so on).

I thought it would be a good idea to start listing down some of the combinations and uses that I have put together and am already seeing benefits from.

Twitter mentions to Evernote
if new mention of @craigt44 then create a note in Evernote


Tweets with specific hashtag post directly to blog
if Tweet hashtag #postit by @craigt44 then create post on Posterous / WordPress / Tumblr


SMS when weather changes
If current condition changes to snow then send me a text message at +447………)


Scheduled tweets
If every day at 2pm post a new tweet to @craigt44


Share your discoveries
If new delicious bookmark tagged “public” then create a post on Posterous / WordPress /Tumblr OR post a new tweet to @craigt44


Favourite a tweet adds to Instapaper or Read It Later or Evernote
If new favorite by @craigt44 then create note in Evernote / add to Instapaper / Read It Later


Post Instagram photos to Evernote / blog
If any new photo by you then create a note in Evernote / create a new post on …..


Blog archive: new post on blog is sent to Evernote
If any new post on WordPress then create a note in Evernote


Email attachment storage / archive
If send ifttt any email from email adress then create a note in Evernote or add to Dropbox at specified path


Send an SMS alert when I receive an email from a specific sender
If email sender is my fiance, then sms me


If tagged in a Facebook photo, store the photo
If tagged in a Facebook photo, create a new note in Evernote, store in Dropbox at a specified path


Stock price alerts
If stock price falls below / rises above set amount then send me a text message at +447………


Set Birthday reminders
Every year at certain date, send email with message body as “Its ‘person name’ birthday in 3 days! Post card/buy gift now.


Capture Foursquare checkins
If new checkin to foursquare, post to blog with image map URL

Alex (see comments below) raises a very good point in that some of the actions allow you to add HTML around the variables. So in the case of the foursquare checkin above it would be <img alt=”{{venuename}}” src=”{{whatever}}”>


Store tweets containing a specific hashtag, from any user
If New Tweet from search for #hashtag then create note in Evernote or post to Instapaper / Readitlater

Note: search is limited to 15 tweets per “check”.


Archive / store starred Google reader posts
If starred in Google reader then add to readitlater  / delicious / Evernote etc


If receive new blog comment, send chat via Google Talk
I actually trigger this from the email notification I receive from my blog when I have a comment to moderate.
If email from wordpress@……. then send me a chat at …….


Store Delicious bookmarks in Evernote
If any new bookmark stored in Delicious then create a new note in Evernote


Please feel free to send me more uses and I will add them to this list.  There are a huge number of combinations and uses for this great service and sharing our individual uses should help everyone to get even more value out of it.  Drop a comment or send to me via Twitter and I’ll add them in.

Also, check out these great ifttt blog posts for additional ideas:

http://tdalton.co.uk/2011/05/how-i-use-ifttt/ (@timdalton)

http://blog.christineyen.com/2011/05/how-i-use-ifttt/ (@christine_y)

http://web-mastered.de/post/4748705681/iffft-dropbox-update (@ysamjo)

Update 20-Jun-2011: After talking with both ifttt and Springpad over the last week, I am happy to report that ifttt have the Springpad API in their queue for addition as a channel “in the near future”.  I am definitely looking forward to that.

I am @iCraigt on Twitter and you can find me on Google+ here.

2Do Task Management App for iPhone

It’s true I have tried many To Do apps and programs.  It is also true that I have a tendency to stop using them within a few days.

Perhaps it’s because updating a To Do program is yet another thing “to do”.  Perhaps I have a passion for trying out new programs, services and products which, once tested, are abandoned and forgotten the moment something new comes along.  I think, actually, it’s because I have yet to find a To Do manager (be it computer program, web app or iPhone app) that, if you pardon the punn, ticks all the boxes.

Having used so many such programs I have a fairly good idea what exactly I want them to do, what features I need and how I need it all presenting.

For some time now, I have been using Checkvist.  It has a very simplistic UI with some nice features (tags, colouring etc) making it nice to use.  However, I once again find myself “forgetting” to use it.  Again I think it’s because it isn’t exactly what I’m looking for.  Checkvist runs exclusively web based and while that’s perfectly fine (a lot of what I use is web based) I want a To Do list to be accessible all the time and I want it to run very quickly (not having to wait for pages to refresh or, worst, not load at all because I don’t have a data connection).  As I always have my iPhone with me, an app seems the logical choice.

Enter 2Do by Guided Ways.

I have been using 2Do for quite some time, more so recently as I use it extensively for work.  It packs in some great features but, in my opinion, does so in such a way that they don’t interfere with the every day use of the app.  Mostly I want to quickly create a to do item and be on my way.  With 2Do I can do that.  None of the many features ever get in the way.  That’s very important (in my opinion) for an app (program) of this type.  Getting bogged down by (albeit useful) features every time you fire up the app to add a quick item is frustrating and quickly renders the app forgotten.  2Do lets you fire it up, add an item and leave.

Occasionally I want to create a project and embed multiple tasks within it.  2Do lets me do that.  Sometimes I want to tag an item, set a reminder alarm, add a picture and so on.  2Do lets me do all that and a lot more.  The features are all there but they never get in the way.  That, to me, is key to why I find this an excellent app.

In addition to that, there’s a very well thought out and implemented UI that is both pleasing to the eye (I love the leather theme!) and easy to use.

Overall this is by far the best task management app I have used and remains key to my every day productivity.

The fully blown app retails for only £2.39 although there is a “Lite” version to enable a test drive.  The Lite version limits use to 3 calendars and up to 25 To Do’s in each calendar and dispenses with Push/local/email alarms (which alone are worth the small price to upgrade).

Do you use a Task Manager?  What do you think?  Please drop a comment below.

I am @craigt44 on Twitter.