Time management apps are one area which has seen a lot of hustle and bustle in the last few years. And just like the hours in a day, we can’t have enough of them.
We all have our favorites. A browse through this website will throw up many a calendar and to-do app. Schedulers and daily task managers occupy one quadrant of GTD apps. Thinking of which, we also have the option of keeping our time planning offline or taking it online.
I won’t take sides here; I am sure there are takers for both. What I will do is introduce you to a freeware which by the colorful looks of it could find its own legion of fans.
esyPlanner is a Windows only (Windows 2K / XP / Vista) utility which is a calendar based planner for keeping track of your events/tasks. More than that it also allows you to post notes, register your day-to-day experiences in a diary and also manage your passwords.
The esyPlanner (ver.2.0.09) installer is 2.2 MB in size and can be downloaded from its website.
The first thing you will note is the distinctive desktop-like modeling of the webpage, down to a power button. The site and the software support two languages – Italian and English.
So let’s do a walkthrough of the daily task manager software by looking at the different areas of the program.
The software itself has a colorful, responsive interface. The interface has three panels – the main panel on the left, the centered tab area and the narrow toolbar on the right. The toolbar can be undocked and moved. The buttons are large and fairly intuitive. The balloon tips on a mouseover the buttons makes it easy to know what it is about.
A planner works around events or tasks and follows a calendar. Other features merely support the other information needs of day to day planning. So it is with esyPlanner.
Events in esyPlanner can be set up around categories. Each category has a name and a color which labels it. All categories which are set up get listed under the categories section on the left panel.
Multiple calendars can be setup in esyPlanner, each with a description that identifies it. Calendars can be modified and deleted but one calendar is the required minimum. All calendars are listed on the left panel.
Notes are text files for bits of information. They can be grouped in folders within the Notes panel. They can be arranged via drag and drops from one folder to the other. They can also be ordered by date or title.
All notes in esyPlanner have a calendar linked to it. Other information like category, status, due dates, recurrence, attachments and URL links can be also inputed to further enrich a note. An included screenshots tool can be also used to capture images. An event, a popup alert and even an email can be created from any note from a single click using the toolbar.
The Password area serves as a container for storing different user passwords. A master password is required to open the locked database.
The Settings panel has all the customization options for startup, views and color changes. Using the settings panel, the calendar views can be customized according to the starting hour for the day and the first day of the week.
Planner – A container for all events
Planner is where all the action will take place. All events get reflected in the centrally displayed Planner tab.
The Planner has two views – A weekly view with color coded events (according to the category colors) of the current week and the next. The colored rectangles for the events can be dragged and dropped to new locations. Each shift gets updated in both the monthly and weekly views.
A month view which shows the events spanning over the entire month. A mouseover the color boxes details the events in a balloon tip. The events are grouped in rows with each row corresponding to a category.
A small Diary tab can be used to keep a record of events for the day.
The tracking and monitoring systems
What good would a planner be if it doesn’t serve timely reminders about scheduled events? esyPlanner prods through the pop-ups which appear on cue. Pop-ups can be created from events and notes, hidden or deleted. Choosing Daily Popup from the menu opens a popup window with all the warnings and events of the day. This can put on auto each time the applications starts.
Popup warnings can also be set for individual notes from the Notes panel. The warning can be from a certain date, on that date, on each recurrence or can be switched off.
All warnings set can be glanced through on the Warnings tab of the central panel.
Some first impressions
In my opinion, a planner and scheduler application needs to be simple enough to jump in and use but it should also have enough flexible features that make planning (and changing) tasks a one click process. Essentially, the daily task manager application should be designed around our schedules rather than the other way round. On that score esyPlanner does not disappoint.
- Events can be set up for each unit of time and they can be made to recur as we want it to.
- Events can be dragged and dropped from one date to the other.
- Impromptu notes can be converted to events on the fly.
- Multiple calendars lets us separate work and personal events.
- Alerts are simple through popups.
- The attachment inclusion and screen grabbing utility are a definite plus. Though, the password storage is a bit out of place.
All of this is a nice package of customizable colors and fonts. The software is also not perplexing with the easy to understand balloon tipped buttons and a compact help file.
But a task management application is only as good as the way we exploit it for our productivity. So is it good enough for you? Only you can let us know.
Image Credit: cmcbrown