This is pure genius.
This is pure genius.
For the past couple months I had been using Astrid as my task manager, and of course the second I really settled on a workflow that worked for me, Yahoo! went ahead and bought Astrid with plans to kill it. Thanks, Yahoo!
Anyway, while surfing around looking for a replacement I ran across a thread where a couple of people were talking about task manager I’d never heard of called GQueues. After a couple of days of using it, I was sold and signed up for the “pro” version that costs $25/year.
So with GQueues you create lists–which it insists on calling “queues” for some reason–which are then holding containers for tasks. Lists can additionally be organized within higher level folders. So, for example, I have a “Work” folder that has a list dedicated to things I need to get done at my day job and a list for the things I need to finish as part of a freelance project I’m working on.
For the individual tasks, GQueues lets you assign a due date, create repeating tasks, assign tags, add notes, etc. Pretty much what you’d expect from any task manager not called Wunderlist.
I tend to throw everything under the Sun into my task manager, so at any given time I might have 500+ tasks. GQueues has one of the better interfaces for only showing me the tasks I really care about right now. The system calls these “Smart Queues” and lets the user edit in fairly granular detail the criteria for what will and will not show up on them.
I have a pretty basic Smart Queue that simply shows me everything that is either due today or is overdue. GQueues then also organizes the resulting tasks by which list they came from, so I can quickly scroll through and differentiate the tasks I need to get done at work vs. the tasks I need to get done at home. If I wanted to, I could create a Smart Queue to just show me my work tasks that are due today or are overdue, or show me work tasks due today that are also tagged as being part of a certain project.
In general, this system is powerful without being overbearing or difficult to use.
The Android app works very well with only some minor gotchas. The major problem with the mobile app is that there doesn’t seem to be a way to change the font size of tasks, and task titles don’t word wrap. I tend to have tasks that are very descriptive and, therefore, relatively long. It is annoying to see only the first 3 or 4 words with the rest off-screen.
The other issue some people will obviously have is that at the moment the mobile app is only available on Android, though an iOS one is in development. Frankly, I wouldn’t use a task manager without a dedicated mobile app–in fact, I still prefer Toodledo overall for task management but its web interface sucks and it leaves mobile apps up to other developers (which is why I finally gave up on it).
GQueues also includes what I think is a basic but absolutely essential feature–it allows you to export your tasks to CSV. I ran across a lot of task managers I loved and that had great features, but which had no way to move your data out of them or archive finished tasks offline. I cannot begin to express the utter stupidity of failing to include a data export option. I refuse to use anything that won’t let me export my data (so, we meet again, Wunderlist).
Finally, this is not necessarily a feature per se, but I really like how GQueues lets me implement checklists. I routinely use checklists for, well, routine tasks. I have a morning and evening checklist, for example, which I run through to make sure I’m not forgetting anything. I have checklists of weekly, monthly and yearly tasks so I can set up regular procedures and then just run through them without having to devote much thought to the process.
A lot of the task managers I used were surprisingly unfriendly to setting up something like a morning checklist. From systems that waited until years after they were released in order to add repeating tasks (have I mentioned how much I despise Wunderlist) to others which had crazy, unpredictable behavior for repeating tasks on my checklists, I was surprised how difficult some of these task managers were to use.
GQueues exists at that sweet spot where it is simple enough that I could teach my 10-year-old how to use it, but it’s not so simple that you’re face palming because crucial features were left out in the name of “simplicity.”
GQueues is well worth the $25 annual fee for a “pro” account if you are an Android user, and definitely worth giving a solid look at for iOS users once the developer releases a mobile app for that platform.
On the one hand, I find Android app Andmade Share useful enough that I pretty much instantly paid $2 for it. On the other hand, it is an example of a class of apps that leaves me shaking my head wondering why I need to constantly buy apps just to make Android functional.
Here’s the problem — I have about 150 apps installed on my Android phone. For about 50 of those apps, the developers decided that they had to add themselves to the Android Sharing menu.
For example, I have the Amazon Kindle app installed on my phone, and it helpfully adds a “Send to Amazon Kindle” option on the Sharing menu. I am never going to want to send anything to the Kindle app, and yet it is there cluttering up the Sharing menu and. With vanilla Android, I have no way to remove it from the menu.
So every time I want to share a link or text or whatever with the 3-4 apps I actually want to, I have to scroll through a list of 50 different apps. That is stupid to the nth degree.
Andmade Share fixes this by showing me a list of all apps that appear on the Sharing menu and allows me to check ones that I want to hide. Thank you.
It also allows users to share the same thing to multiple apps–so you could share a link to both Twitter and Facebook, for example–although that’s something else I’m never going to do.