Des (deskitty) wrote,

  • Mood:
There were roughly 2900 new rental listings on Craigslist in the bay area today. Of those, 51 might prove useful.

But now I'm too tired to sort through them. x.x


Started playing around with ThinkingRock a bit today in a bid to organize all the random crap in my head and track what I want to/have to do.

First impression: It seems strictly-oriented toward being a TODO application, which is fine... but that means in some ways it's overkill and in other ways it's inadequate.

I also want to be able to relate tasks to each other, for example, and keep links to things elsewhere (emails, webpages, bugzilla bugs, files, etc.), as well as a reference library of notes. (Being able to automatically pull from Bugzilla, and generate status reports for work (e.g. an activity log), would be nice.) TR does great at keeping and prioritizing the TODO items, and only showing me relevant (active) tasks, but IMO it doesn't quite make it in other respects.

I was using BasKet for a while for a lot of these things, but it liked to show me EVERYTHING (that is, it didn't have any notion of what's immediately relevant and what isn't), and it didn't do so well at linking different notes together.

Things I like about TR so far:
  • It has a very free-form input queue. (Seriously, this is my most favorite thing so far.) As soon as an idea pops into my head, I switch to TR, hit F6, and vomit some unstructured goop into the program to be reviewed later.
    • This frees me from having to think about structuring said goop in such a way as to fit into tasks and projects.
    • Since I can vomit the goop and decide what to do with it later, the interruption of "oh! I just remembered X!" is much more painless than it might otherwise be. I can dump it in whatever form it's in at the moment, push it out of my mind, and get back to what I was doing.
    • It's really easy to restructure the goop into tasks, notes, etc. when I go back later to "process" the input queue.
  • It supports hierarchical projects. Tasks can be promoted to projects, and then subtasks can be added. This is useful if a task turns out to be too complicated for one go.
  • I can relatively easily configure it to show me only relevant items. It has a notion of "Contexts", allowing me to separate Work from Home, Errands from Programming, etc.
  • It forces me to make an attempt at quantifying the effort required for a particular task -- it wants time estimates, and a notion of "Energy" -- for example, high mental effort, low mental effort, high physical effort, etc. Also, all of this is customizable (and optional if you just want to write your tasks down, dammit).

Things I don't like:
  • No Bugzilla integration that I've found so far.
  • It doesn't do well with things that aren't TODO items. It doesn't seem to fit very well with tracking DVDs to buy, for instance. (It wants to display them all as tasks, when I Don't Care.)
  • There's no way--other than projects--to associate one task with another (e.g. setup a "depends-on" relationship). I like the idea of tasks and subtasks, but I think Bugzilla does this better -- it lets you create a DAG, rather than a tree, and you can create things in any order you like. (Also, this lets the program order your tasks for you and decide which ones are currently relevant -- it can hide anything with unsatisfied dependencies.)
  • There doesn't seem to be more than rudimentary support for linking to things outside the program (like URLs, files, emails, etc.)
  • It has a "reference library" for unstructured notes, but there's no way to link tasks to those notes. Indeed, it's easy to forget they're there unless you go looking for them. Also, the notes themselves are relatively unstructured. I'd prefer to see something more Wiki-like here, I think.

In short... there are a lot of good ideas here, particularly with the input queue. Again, these are just first impressions, so I'll probably stick with it for a bit and see where it leads me. But I can already tell there are things about it I'll want to change to fit my work style.

Maybe I'll start hacking something together.

-- Des
Tags: organization

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    If you want to know what my life is like, look no further. Really, that's all there is to it. -- Des

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