Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Keeping it all together

...I can remember back to the days when I first began to see the possibilities emerge in my first serious computer language. One thing I knew that would be helpful would be a comprehensive system for managing time, appointments, tasks, and workload.

That had me be fascinated with Lotus Organizer (which bundled my contacts and calendar in one place....), then later with Outlook, and now with the suite of services offered by Google with Docs and Gmail.

I still don't think there's "one true solution" for handling this part of a busy person's responsibilities. But I do currently like the combination of Google Calendar for event management and planning, along with Remember the Milk for tasks. I know that Gmail users have a "task" option inside their service, but it lacks some important characteristics that are needed in agile task management.

I've written task managers myself, and I've written specs for "the ideal task manager" in order to collaborate with a colleague on authorship -- so I've thought about what must be present in the best-of-class for this type of tool.  I find that Remember the Milk comes as close as anything I've seen.  Through its API, one could probably write any exotic variations that might be needed.

Tasks can be shared, sent, edited, and updated very easily, with almost effortless motions by an adept operator of the system. A neophyte user would find it easy to see what must be done, but an experienced user will have powerful shortcuts that allow input, management, and inspection of a task list to be quick and steady.

Tasks are available for management on any web browser, plus three or four key mobile platforms. (iPhone, Android, and Blackberry are among those) The system for handling task items is simple, but may become more sophisticated as the operator learns to use the system well.

Remember the Milk has a worldwide fan base, and that means tips and tricks are shared widely, but most notably on the RTM blog. I recognize "my own people" when they show themselves to be folks who have great interest in systems for organizing and accomplishing more.  Those are the people who will get the jokes that underscore the tech tips like this one.

So we like it here, we use it, and invite you to explore Remember the Milk to see if it suits your needs.