Task Five – the simple yet beautiful online task management tool

I never really managed to get GTD working for me. The basic concepts of the GTD (Getting Things Done) method are really easy to grasp and pretty useful:
Write stuff down instead of trying to remember it, do the easy tasks quickly to get them out of your way, divide projects into smaller tasks and review your tasks periodically.

However, just like so many things in my life, turning a nicely put “method” into a productive habit is… really hard, at least for me – my attention span lasts at most a couple of weeks, as if I were related to the common goldfish.

The one method that’d work for me… generally, would be one where I could write down my projects and goals, somehow mark my progress (I’m in constant need for confirmation and gratification, just to keep me going), automatically have it under my eyes on a regular basis (I kept forgetting to open up the GTD software I’ve been trying for the last couple of years), help me prioritize between different tasks and, most importantly, be really easy to use(no complicated setup, hierarchies or folders).

There is a lot of software out there that meets this criteria, offline or online. The one I use for the time being is TaskFive. Gorgeous, really easy to use, pretty effective.

What it is not:

This is not the classic GTD tool. Not even a remote relative of GTD software you might know of.

What it is:

TaskFive.com is mostly an online task management tool for an individual or for a team(company).
Unlike GTD or other similar task management tools, it looks and behaves mostly like an online timetable for the current week. You can allocate tasks for today, tomorrow or any other day(although you only get to see one week at a time), but you can’t allocate more than 5 tasks for a given day.
This is what I like about it, actually: a quota of 5 tasks for a day is big enough to be useful, yet small enough to force you to prioritize; otherwise, the whole purpose of GTD would be lost and you’d get tens of overwhelming, minor, insignificant tasks.
Another reason why it works so far for me is because it’s really easy to use and set up. After creating a user account, there’s no extra setup necessary; no labels, folders, no recurring alarm setup. Nothing redundant or unimportant.

The need for instant gratification and progress tracking is achieved by checking out the items of today’s (or any other day’s) list. Reaching the weekend after having checked all your 5*5 tasks for the past week is pretty rewarding.

What I think is really the killer feature of the app is that it’s targeted at companies, not individuals. While an individual can use it like a simple task / gtd tool, the project manager can use it as a simple team project management that works. A company can add more users to the same page, so that they(and their manager) can see their individual progress during the week. Some reports are available, as well as SMS notifications(though I didn’t quite get what they are supposed to do). It’s worth mentioning that the company account costs(quite a bit actually – €9 per user after 2 users).

To close up, I really like this: the UI looks and feels great, the app is simple yet beautiful and effective, and having it bookmarked as my starting page helped me get more organized and feel more productive for the last week or so. Knowing that such a product was developed in less than 5 days using Ruby on Rails is the final cherry on the cake.

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