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I've been looking forever for a way to manage my tasks and goals efficiently. Most of them were too specific for project managers and had far more options than necessary to manage simpler tasks. None of them had feedback on how much time was spent in each kind of task, such as creating, fixing problems, researching and undefined - which would probably fit in procrastinating.

Current situation

I'm using Microsoft OneNote in a very manual way. I describe everything that has to be done in short sentences and - when needed - the topics are broadened with details containing smaller tasks necessary to complete a complex task. Finished tasks shows the time it was completed next to when it was started.


Although this method has helped me a lot on getting things done, I still need something that has graphical resources such as progress bar and graphics showing percentage of time spent on each kind of task.

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Should be a wiki; there isn't one good answer. – Brian Carlton Jun 22 '11 at 21:01
@BrianCarlton: Please use the flag link below the question to raise awareness, I've done this for you... :) – Tom Wijsman Jun 25 '11 at 9:26
Just a list and nothing else is not useful, CW or not. Read the guidelines - I'm not seeing them in these posts... – Rebecca Chernoff Jun 26 '11 at 22:19
up vote 11 down vote accepted

I use Checkvist with Mark Forster's AutoFocus 4 method. It has minimal graphics to show your progress, but I love it for the keyboard shortcuts.

enter image description here

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Perfect to manage tasks! It has a user-friendly interface and the shortcuts help keep everything organized. – Renan Jun 22 '11 at 21:46

Google Tasks is awesome, and integrated with Gmail and Gcal. There's a really nice canvas view that's hidden.

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+1 for the canvas reference. Gives it a more "functional feel" than the small minimalistic box. – tehnyit Jun 24 '11 at 10:12
+1, always used gtask in my gmail. But canvas view is much better. I like indentation and reorder. – matrix Jul 13 '11 at 3:50

I use the very excellent Org-Mode for GNU Emacs. There is a lot of “startup” effort for it, especially if you are not already an Emacs user. As I was already an Emacs user coming to Org-Mode, it was much less for me.

At it's core Org-Mode is just a simple, plaintext-based, outliner. You can have as Projects as outline heads, tasks as outline sub-items, etc. Pretty much anything you could setup as a “work breakdown structure” in a formal project management system can be represented as an outline. A simple flat todo list can be simulated by a flat outline. The outline paradigm scales up or down to any level of detail you want.

You can “tag” items, either free tagging or you can preset a taxonomy of tags.

There are built-in “agenda” views that collect tasks (and/or tags) from across any and all of your defined Org-Mode files to present a flat todo list from a large collection of Org files, outlines, projects, etc. You can create your own agenda views to support your individual preferences.

As an example of how complex it can become: I've recently updated my system to include concepts from Tony Robbins' Time of Your Life / RPM system where I have my “life plan” as a single Org-Mode file, I have my COIs as individual linked Org-Mode files, and I have projects and tasks that support to COI inside those files. I customized my agenda views so that I can look at a simple small list of just my COI (for regular reflection and reconnection) or I can look at each COI individually with it's projects and tasks or I can look at a list of my today or this week tasks from across all of my COI.

As an example of how simple it can become: I started with a single org-mode file outlined with two top-level outline heads (one for my employer, one for personal) and tasks listed underneath those head. I used built-in agenda views or just the file itself.

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orgmode is what got me to finally learn emacs. A giant win for productivity! – vanden Jun 30 '11 at 15:26

I used 42 Goals website to track my workout results.

42goals is a simple tool for tracking your daily goals and keeping a log of your daily activities.

It helps you to set up your goals, record your daily progress and visualize your achievements. Using 42goals you can quit smoking, count cups of coffee drunk and log daily expenses.

  • Set daily goals
  • Log progress
  • Visualize achievements
  • Share with friends
  • No charges
  • Use it anywehere
  • More things coming
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This is really something! I'm going to give a try. – Renan Jun 22 '11 at 21:04

I use Remember the Milk. No progress bars or graphics, however. It's a todo list tool. Web, iPhone and Android.

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I use GQueues, it's simple and it just works. See the video tour for more detail...

Example of a Summer Conference queue

Lists. Prioritized. Simple.

A full-featured task manager for which you can use your Google Account™ and Google Apps™ account!

  • Google Calendar integration
  • Sharing
  • Reminders
  • Tagging
  • Subtasks
  • Repeating Tasks
  • Assignments
  • Smart Queues
  • Mobile
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HabitRPG, though it's buggy at times. 'Level up' yourself, 'buy' rewards from experience gold, there's 'dailies' and 'to do Quests' and you can penalize yourself for bad habits or incomplete Dailies.

There's also tags so you can split projects into separate areas and more manageable lists.

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Welcome to Personal Productivity! Can you add a link to this software? – THelper May 21 '13 at 10:22
I should note that HabitRPG is a web-based application, but it is open source, so there are extensions created by the community. – dusan Sep 15 '13 at 17:51

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