What do David Allen, Dwight Eisenhower and Stephen Covey have in common? Apart from believing in the “˜time as a virtue’ maxim, and practicing it, I can’t think of anything else. It turns out that all three are gurus of time management (or task management) theories. All three (and some more) of their time management ideas find a place in the free personal productivity application called TimeGT.
The thing about time or task management apps is that there’s no “one size fits all” (thus TimeGT also might not be the final solution you are looking for). We all have our own foibles and like to see them accommodated in the solutions offered to us. Perhaps this see-saw of human nature gets mirrored in the numerous “˜get things done’ theories that are propounded, and by extension in the web or desktop apps that spring up.
My own confusion has seen me try out quite a few, keep some and discard some more. The strange thing is that we all think that there’s something better around the corner that can help with personal productivity. If you have yet to turn the corner, try out the posts we have covered on GTD and time management in the past. If you are beyond those and are looking for another one, then let’s head for TimeGT.
TimeGT is a personal task management desktop client for Windows, Mac and Linux. It comes in two favors – Rabbit (the free one) and Hedgehog (the paid version).
The paid version that’s called Hedgehog comes with online server backup features and gives the user some say in adding new features. Otherwise, both the versions are exactly the same. It is on the Rabbit we will focus on for now. So, let’s pull the rabbit out of the hat and see how it helps us with our personal productivity.
TimeGT can be installed using the 51MB sized Windows installer which also includes Java runtimes. As I have Java already running in my machine, I opted for the more “˜portable’ 19MB zipped version. I can run this without an install straight from its unpacked folder. The latter zipped version is also multi-platform.
Even for the free version, a TimeGT account needs to be created. That done, you can log into the app and create some projects for your life. TimeGT follows David Allen’s GTD workflow and that’s apparent from the interface. It also puts in some additions from other theories.
Projects are what take more than one step to complete. Think of them as major areas of life that can be further drilled down to as many levels as possible.
Each project has individual tasks and tasks in turn need some actions to move it towards completion. The middle panel shows how each task can be organized. The Inbox is the dump for all your tasks in each project. There are three actions you can perform on a task and organize it – you can do it right now (Next Action), you can delay it for some time (Waiting For) or you can defer it altogether (Someday/Maybe).
Completed tasks can be moved away from sight into a separate area. Each task can be assigned a status like Completed or set a priority like In Progress, Important or Urgent. The most urgent ones move to the top, to be done in a top to bottom sequence. The Horizon slider on top also helps to review all your tasks in one go. Drag it around and see which tasks need action according to the time periods.
The right click menu gives you all the commands in a trice.
You can describe a task, add Notes and give it a time horizon using the start and due dates on the Task Details panel.
When you have a lot of tasks Tags help to keep them organized. Tags also help as a one touch filter.
It’s also easy to add tasks on the fly. TimeGT can be kept minimized in the System Tray. You can add tasks with a right click on the little icon. These tasks get dumped into the Inbox and can be organized later.
Reviewing It All
Did I get my share of stress free personal productivity? To a certain extent, yes because TimeGT makes it easy to dump my tasks into it. It also helped me to move the tasks around and organize it in context. What I liked about it was the ease of arranging our life areas into projects and the prioritization of tasks that come under it.
But it is also not perfect. A calendar view of how my month is panning out also would have been nice. That’s there in the paid version which allows sync with Google Calendar. What’s missing is a dedicated help file. Newbie’s will have to play around with it a bit. To get a hang of it though, you can watch a screencast at the site.
If you have tried all of them out, TimeGT is worth a slice of your time too. Who knows, maybe you will get things done with this one. If not, let us know which GTD personal productivity app has your vote.