If you’re looking for a task management app that combines your calendar and tasks and makes decisions for you on what to do, read on!
I haven’t geeked out on an app or some kind of service like this for a really long time. I’ve done a few steps in the past on productivity and time management and personal project apps and services, stuff like that.
For the longest time I was looking for, I think I even tweeted about this a few months ago, where I was thinking we have different systems to manage tasks, appointments, and priorities.
We have had our calendar forever, some people just put stuff on the calendar whenever they want it, but if you subscribe to the David Allen’s Getting Things Done (amazon.com) methodology, he says the calendar should be treated as sacred. So, a calendar would have your specific due dates, project deliverables, client deliverables, other expectations that people are having of you. It’s not for “I want to do this thing, by this day”.
Some people put those kinds of tasks on their calendar and what happens is, it’s mixed with all these other due dates and things, and they sometimes miss their due dates because they don’t take priority on things.
The calendar has nothing to do with priority.
SkedPal: The App I Discovered that Works!
I happen to come across this app called Skedpal, and this is by no means sponsored by Skedpal. There’s occasionally an app or a service that I love so much that it solves my problems so well, that I want to tell other people about it and this is the service like this.
Skedpal is an iOS app and I have it on my Mac. I believe it has a Windows app too. It’s kind of like all those other task management systems where you can add tasks, create projects, assign tasks to projects It’ll also sync with your calendar so it knows when your appointments are and you can also set due dates, tags, and things that you’re used to. What makes Skedpal unique is a feature that I’ve been looking for forever, it’s intelligent. It’s smarter than all these other apps.
How it Works
Let me give you an example, let’s say that you have a project to go to the dentist to get your teeth cleaned. You first have to call the dentist and make an appointment, that’s a task. Then you have to go to the appointment at a specific time, and then maybe a bill or something you have to pay for whatever it is. Those tasks are in sequential order, you can’t do one without the other. Most of these task management systems have you put all those up and they’re all visible at the same time, in a specific context. One of the great things about Skedpal is it gives you a focus list, it tells you exactly what to do on a specific day.
I have a view called today, in the next seven days, and a focus list views in Skedpal where the first one shows up on my today list. All those others will never show up until the first one is done because it knows there’s a dependency there. Skedpal is intelligent, it not only does that, it allows you to set the time that you plan for. So, you guesstimate the time each task or project is going to take you. You can set due dates, you can also set the planned date and estimated time, that makes Skedpal different from any other service that I’ve ever seen.
A lot of other services would allow you to estimate the time that you’re going to put and attach it to a task but they don’t have a planned date. They have a due date but they don’t have a planned date. There’s a subtle difference. In Skedpal, if that task is going to take you ten minutes, you put ten minutes in the task and then you say, “I want to do this task next week” you don’t even have to put a date. You just put that there and then Skedpal figures out where that needs to go in your schedule depending on all the other priorities, all the other tasks you assigned.
Then let’s say you’re going to do some creative work, like writing or some really mentally challenging work, you could say — Writing time — and put that on specific days that you want to be able to manage that. Same thing for maybe administrative tasks, like checking email, or replying to email or doing stuff like that. It needs to be done but it’s not very mentally challenging. Maybe you could put that on afternoon hours when you’re not quite as chipper.
You can also set these tasks to these time maps Let’s say you have a writing project, you set all of the tasks in the writing project to your writing time, and you set your writing time to morning hours Monday through Friday from 8 to 10. You don’t have to worry about when it’s going to schedule, Skedpal does all the scheduling for you and it just automatically reorganizes everything. That’s the beauty of it. It knows much time you have because of all these times maps.
Downsides to the App
This app has got a few little minor things that are wrong with it, but the support is awesome with it and by far and away, for the most part, it works great. It’s my favorite app, I’ve been messing with productivity apps and time management apps probably 15 years. I’ve been looking for things all the time and this is the only app that I’ve seen that is much more intelligent than many other ones because you essentially create a task, tell Skedpal how much time that you think that task is going to take, set the priority on it, you can optionally set a due date, a time that you plan to start it, and Skedpal will try to fit it into your calendar before the due date.
You just tag all these options to each task and then tell Skedpal to figure it out. Now all I do whenever I need to input something, I just put it in Skedpal, assign a due date, when I want to do it by, optionally only if I want to or not, maybe the time map of when I want to do it in the mornings or afternoons, and then just hit update schedule and Skedpal figures out what I need to do. It’s something that I wanted to do forever.