Friday, September 19, 2008

Task management: a feature request

Given the insane way our patent laws work, this is probably patentable. Hopefully publishing it here would prevent that. I sent this feature request to Appigo in the hope they'll add it to their excellent iPhone, but I'd look at a competitor if they got to it first. I really do find the 'assign task to overloaded day' thing to be troublesome.
Appigo Todo | Google Groups

I've been a heavy duty task user for years.

The biggest problem I run into is the task/capacity ratio. On average I have about 1.5 hours a day to work on non-trivial personal tasks...

I need some kind of capacity indicator so that when I move a task I don't move it into an overloaded day.

Obviously it has to be something lightweight, and it may be that very few of your users are going to need this. So it has be something VERY lightweight.

Here's a strawman suggestion. Fancier versions involve looking at calendar, etc.

1. In settings (advanced) users can specify default daily capacity for each day of the week (hours) and default time-to-complete value for new tasks.
2. In task add an optional attribute of time to complete (5, 20, 60, 90, 120 mins for example).
3. In the view we see when scheduling a task, include a capacity icon (vertical bar, green, yellow, red, etc)

If user clicks on the capacity icon they get screen that shows scheduled events (from calendar if possible) and tasks for that day. From here user can override the default capacity value for the day, they can click on tasks for the day to edit them (move them, change time, etc) or they can click to go to the calender app.

Obviously this isn't likely to be the right way to do these things. Customers like me are almost never right in terms of how we think a task should be accomplished. I just put it out as a way to express what I'm hoping to see one day. I know my life isn't going to get any less crowded until the nursing home ...

tags: jfaughnan, jgfaughnan, task management, suggestion, proposal, question, lightweight project management, Appigo, time management, productivity
Update 9/19/08: A better design would be to read the calendar, and look for a something called (say): "Appigo task time". If it existed that would be used as the capacity for the day. If not, use the default.

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