Manage My Tasks

Shout out to @iguanasan who asked why I don’t use Google Tasks:

Google Tasks: love it, love the API, love the new app… BUT you can’t print! And emailing stuff around is a hassle.

Google Keep: this was composed in Google Keep. I use it all the time. But I found it was terrible (for me) as a TODO application.

  • I find I am always modifying my TODO system, always adapting it to the demands of my life. Moving house, building garden boxes, keeping a grocery list, compiling a passport application. These all have slightly different requirements and I never found a one-size fits all system that did exactly what I wanted in the way I wanted it to.
  • The system needs to be hackable. I am a programmer. I want an open system with an API and structured data. I want to be able to script things. To generate reports. To email myself a task list, to have things show up in Google Calendar (but not everything).
  • But I don’t have time to build a system from the ground up that works perfectly on my phone, in a browser, can be printed, filtered, sorted, emailed.
  • Open data - I really got frustrated when I would find the perfect app but for some reason I can’t easily pull out a list (e.g. groceries) and email to someone (as an emailed, plain text list) or print it on paper (like a neanderthal). This is why I was always returning to text files. But they are not easily manipulated and filtered so I turned to Google Sheets. This is actually my MAIN reason for not going with Google Tasks or Keep. Example: you send someone a grocery list (e.g. a checklist in a note) in Keep and it is oddly formatted AND includes all the crossed off items even if hidden. What? And they are mixed in with the not-completed list items so it is hard to get rid of them. So you have to remember to delete them but what if I like just unchecking things? And with Google Tasks, I can have a nice Grocery list but how can I email it to my wife when she’s at the store and needs it quickly?
  • I really like scanning a list. This is why I love paper so much. And I want it to be a giant list without lots of white space or the need to check numerous tags, etc. Just a list, sorted the way I want (not just be recency as Keep does!)
  • can add columns and code to do whatever I want - I like metadata. The type of stuff I want depends on what I’m up to. I might want to add a priority field to sort on. Or maybe task dependencies. With Sheets I can just add a new column and write code against it, create reports, share those to the web as images that update in real time, etc. Very cool. And you can build forms that add to the Sheets!!!
  • Google Sheets has an excellent Android app. It is fast and easy to use. At the grocery store I fire up my sheet, filter down to Project groceries, and have checkboxes to clear my items (and conditional formatting grays out the line and crosses the text out, customized).
  • Can use automate + IFTTT to do instant capture bound to long press on home button on my phone. Effortless and ubiquitous capture is vital for me as I have a terrible memory. This lets me take care of things immeadiately and the app never “gets in the way”. Again, this experience is completely hackable by me. I can also do text file lists and paste them into the sheet or type into the sheet directly, etc.