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I'm on a quest of finding the best tool to manage what I do.

TL;DR: Freelance web developer looking for tool to connect project management and daily tasks.

I like Getting Things Done methodology a lot and found many great tools for implementing it (the best of them seems to be DoIt.im). I also like SCRUM methodology. I am the only developer in my "business" for now, so obviously I can't implement the original SCRUM guidelines, but I think I can use some ideas. Mainly creating user stories, backlog, dividing development process into sprints etc. For this, I found Yodiz to be quite good fit.

I would love to have a tool that would allow me to use agile methods to plan and organize my projects (project -> release -> sprints -> user stories -> tasks to implement user stories) and then organize tasks that raised from project planning as well as tasks of my personal life in GTD way. For example: I wake up in the morning and look at the "Next" list (GTD). It contains all tasks (from my projects, personal, etc.) that are set to be processed next. I set some of them for today and now I have to-do list that contains all things I have to do. Some of the tasks are simple, without any context (call mom, go to library), some of them belong to projects. The beauty of this system is the connection of complex project planning with simple daily to-do lists.

Do you know about a tool that is capable of all the above, or two separate tools that could communicate together? Or am I going all wrong about projects and tasks management?

All tips are welcome!

Thanks

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4 Answers

I use two separate tools.

Each Project (regardless of wherever it's personal, career, or health related) has a text file in my project directory and I have some vim macros set up to go through them quickly - when I go though them, I add some details to the log (almost as if I was doing an svn commit) and work out the next action which is added to my next action list.

Next action list is an entirely different structure (I use my inbox)

The drawbacks of doing this is that it's not obvious when you should go back and review particular projects - ideally each project in this list would, say, highlight in red when all of the next actions related to it have been completed - at some point I'll write a script to achieve this, but it's low prioirty at the moment, generally I review all my projects about every four or five days.

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Yes, that's basically the idea, but this solution seems to be too cumbersome. Don't get me wrong, I love vim, but when it comes to planning, freeing mind and defining next actions, I'd like the tool to flow with me (with vim I see it the other way around :-D). I am very close to coding my own task manager. Yay –  d1001001 Dec 19 '12 at 21:47
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I use a new tool called Zendone. It follows the GTD methodology strictly with a slick and user friendly interface.

Your can create individual tasks or different projects and then task under each projects. As soon as the task assigned for today is completed the next task from each project appears on your Do list.

Best thing about this tool is that it makes solid use of Evernote and Google Calendar integration. You can add notes for each task as needed and it will be synced with evernote. It has lot more features, check it out.

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I've had a lot of back and forth myself on task management systems to unify work and personal things. Here's my current setup:

I use Toodledo and have been for several years now. I make heavy use of saved searches, utilizing the task's Due Date, Tags and Status to essentially define views into my tasks. For example, I have 2 primary searches I use as task lists at work, one is tasks due today or in the future, in Next Action status, and contain the @work tag. I have another search that is work stuff I need to follow up on later, or I can't do it now for some reason. Basically, I just take an active work task, switch the Status to Waiting, add a note on what I'm waiting for and why, and the other search will find it later when I look for things to follow up on. I have similar searches for personal tasks, and I just change which of the saved searches I'm looking at based on my own personal context (if it's business hours and I'm on my work laptop, I'm usually on the work tasks list, etc). I utilize Evernote for all my documentation, work and personal, organized into notebooks based on context (work project, personal technical references, how to lists for things I do infrequently, etc). I use Gmail and Google Calendar for email and calendar management (Toodledo is great for repeating tasks that don't have a specific appointment to them), and finally always have paper and pencils around everywhere I go to capture ideas and tasks to process into the system later.

Overall, it works pretty well. Downsides: It's not unified into 1 tool (been thinking of writing my own system for that as well), there's no good way I've found to unify group tasks into a hierarchy, it's hard to get an overall view of what's going on, and mass changes are hard. Example: I travel for work and there's many things I do on a repeating basis that can't be done on the road (feed the cats, check the mail, etc) which I have repeating reminders for. They all must be dealt with manually (reschedule start/due dates), or ignored, which inevitably leads to not trusting the system, which will kill you. I still need some kind of macro capability to make changes to my task environment or do these automatic actions, and some effective way to manage projects or hierarchical task groups. I'm thinking I am an advanced enough user with enough opinions on how I want things done that rolling my own tool is the only way I'm going to be more happy with a system.

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Trello might help you there:

A board per project. A few lists: Backlog Todo InProgress Done in sprint 3 Done in sprint 2 ...

I personally use http://weekplan.net because my sprints are one week long, so the week view works better for me.

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