Monday, April 30th, 2012
Task management strategies can be boldly divided in two types: traditional and untraditional. Traditionally, you write down your to-dos or manage them in Outlook. The weak point about this kind of task management method is that you cannot always focus on what is really important because a list view doesn’t bring you visibility. Untraditional methods use psychological tricks. One of those is visual task management technique which you can finally apply to your Outlook tasks with the help of special software.
When Eisenhower has created his famous Urgent Important Matrix computer technology was not yet as developed as to put it into a form of an application. Nowadays, we have TaskCracker – the first visual task management add-in for Outlook which is based on this famous time management technique. The logic of this method is simple: tasks can be urgent and important. Not all of the important tasks are urgent, not all of the urgent tasks are important. When you place your tasks into the four quadrants of the matrix, you can visually see which tasks help you focus on going straight forward to your goals, and which ones are simply time-waters. This method was put in the concept of TaskCracker which I got a chance to review for you today.
Where to start
I downloaded the trial from TaskCracker.com and the first thing I wanted to check is what the developers of this software claim: the application installs in less than 30 seconds. Indeed, it took me 27 seconds after I clicked “Accept” and before the add-in has installed. Good start: a time management application should not waste time. I decided that further exploration of the software quite valuable, so I opened my Outlook. The add-in was already there in the form of a left-bottom-corner button:
How it looks and works
The interface of TaskCracker is really neat. It is operated with simple drag and drop. After I installed TaskCracker and opened it in my Outlook, my Outlook tasks were already there, in a form of a visual matrix where high-priority tasks are colored light-red and low-importance tasks are light-green. The light shades of the color-code are nice to look at and didn’t nerve me even though I had many high-priority tasks to do. Basically, TaskCracker can be called just another view for my tasks, like other Outlook tasks views. The only difference is that this time it is visual and I don’t have to open each task to move it to another day or change its priority. I can re-organize my tasks with drag and drop in a couple of minutes and see how much workload I have, and how I can use my time better. The visual view didn’t leave me thinking what I should start with. And whenever I need to delay some task and find some free time for something important, I don’t need guessing: I can already see ‘the map’ of my life where I can make my own path.
Visual Task Management
I would like to add a couple of words about the benefits of visual task management.
First of all, when it is applied to Outlook tasks, I don’t need to switch between applications to plan my workload. My Outlook tasks are already organized visually when I have TaskCracker. I recall times when I was admiring many visual applications for IPhone or web-based: they all look nice and the general idea is great, but I simply don’t want to use different tools for the same business. Not this problem is solved.
Second, we can analyze visual information quicker rather than textual. It’s enough to take a glance at the matrix of your tasks to see how busy you are, what’s important and what’s less. So this way, you can plan your time with much less effort because, basically, a list view doesn’t give you that prospective.
When it comes to re-arranging your task list, its optimization doesn’t take much time with drag and drop. TaskCracker matrix view makes it possible to put the task in the given cell of the matrix and it automatically gets the priority and the deadline that you assign to it: no need to open tasks one by one anymore. When you switch to any other Outlook view for your tasks, the priorities and the deadlines will be already assigned as you’ve changed them.
TaskCracker is simple to install and use. Planning and task management with visual matrix application becomes more strategically right because you can see the prospects at a single glance. Last but not least for a task management software that you use daily, it looks nice and even stylish and using its visual matrix is rather pleasant. I suggest you to try the solution: the trial is free anyways and the download link is right here.
TaskCracker visual task management helps focus your effort and see prospects through better strategic planning: all without leaving Outlook.
Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Nowadays, in photography, the term of blur has become to be known as Bokeh. Bokeh in terms of photography referring the area in the photo which are out of focus light to increase beautiful and dramatic image. For good Bokeh, ideally points and lines would blur smoothly as they fell out of focus, in the manner. Most of the photographers tell that the “bokeh style” in a photo doesn’t depend on your camera type (to achive good results, it must be proffessional), but relies on the lens type you own. To improve your inspiration limits, we have collected a beautiful and stunning pack of bokeh photography you will surely love! (more…)
Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
You surely can manage your tasks in a notepad but it’s way better to access your task list from the Internet. In search of a simple task tracking solution for our website team, I wanted to find software to help us publishing articles and developing our blog. We have editor, writer, guest writer, designer and web-master here and we all need two things:
and I myself truly need to see what’s going on righ tnow, who’s doing what. I went to Comindware.com in search of a solution because it’s business edition freeware: was glad that I found it. Here is how we tried Comindware Task Management.
Comindware offers you so called Workspaces which consist of projects that you either work on alone or in collaboration with your team via email or comments inside the application.
Workspaces can be both public and private. It’s up to you what workspaces you set for task tracking. It might be a following set: marketing campaign, sales, expenses. Depends on the activity field. I made a workspace for content management and another one for the web-mastering issues.
Each workspace can have a simple list of tasks that need to be completed by a certain date. Tasks are assigned to members of your team. You can filter tasks by assignee, due date and other parameters. You can set statuses to show if your task is started\in progress. I liked the ‘play’ button to start a task! You can log the time you’ve spent on a task.
The user interface of Comindware lies between the desktop client and the online platform. It’s neat, based on MS Ribbon, and I had no problems with the navigation.
With a web-application you can use any OS as you will access the interface through your browser window. Sadly for Apple and Linux evangelists, you need at least one Windows machine to install the on-premise solution. The upcoming cloud version gives me hope this problem will be solved within the next couple of months.
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The solution is made on a new ElasticData platform. The main benefit of the platform is the possibility to link data together in a more flexible way. Thus data is processed much quicker: search, reporting, and items management becomes easier.
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Each task has a discussion thread layer, so you leave comments without leaving the application. If you hit “follow this task”, you get email notifications about new comments, task modifications and completion. Easy to stay on top.
In case when just a to-do list is not enough, you might want to split your task into smaller subtasks. The task tracking system will watch you doing all in the right order: it is not possible to complete your task unless all subtasks in dependences are completed.
If you deleted an email notification upon a task status without reading (this happens to me when I am too busy), you can take a look in to the history log that has all the task modifications recorded in it.
One of the best thing about this system are Dashboards, I really loved them. They give reports on all of your tasks in a form of colorful diagrams.
Comindware is a web task tracking system. You access it via the Internet with your email and the password. You will need them first to download the installation file. A small registration is needed, but I was not spammed with any follow up emails afterwards.
When our online business grows, we will have processes rather than just tasks. Then I will think of integrating Comindware Task Management with Comindware Tracker, maybe. All my data will be available for the Tracker and the functionality will be much larger in this case. By the way, the Comindware Task Management comes with a 30-day free fully functional trial of Comindware Tracker so it’s possible to try playing with the processes right away. It’s free.
Neat interface and an unlimited task hierarchy. MS Outlook integration. Cloud version is coming.
No mobile platform yet. And you need at least one Windows machine to run the soft.
We will keep on using it for our team. Task tracking systems help consentrate on work, avoid procrastination and work together. I choose Comindware because it’s a professional and free solution at the same time.
Sponsor: Retro Fit Lab