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Abstractspoon Todolist review

Overview

Abstractspoon is a small but mighty program for task management or to do list as the name implies. And, it’s free. If those two points aren’t enough to get you downloading, let me elaborate further  in this review of Abstractsoon Todolist and explain how it can assist to give your productivity a boost.

Introduction

Todolist is a small program (2.3MB download) that functions as a great task management tool due to it’s speed and simplicity. Each tasklist is saved as an xml file which can also be shared with other users and you can have multiple tasklists open, each as a tab within the program. This makes it ideal for task tracking either for individuals or within small teams and across multiple projects/tasklists. Given the shared file can only be edited by one user at a time the scope for scalability. However, if you find that either you or your small team are in need of a local task management tool this is certainly worth looking at.

Features and use

In using the tool, what you see primarily is an outline view of the tasks to be done with each level being contained within a folder that can be expanded to see the subtasks.

todolist screenshot

Tasks are easily added, edited and moved. From the screenshot a few points to highlight. There are copious columns that can be populated and custom columns can also be added.   The visibility of these columns can also be defined to prevent information overload and superfluous columns that any particular user would not need.

Below the menu buttons filters are already in place and readily accessible. The options with these are also immediately useful! For example, can immediately filter for tasks due today, starting this week etc. Should you wish to look for a bit more exotic filtering, then best refer to the find option.

Along the bottom of your task list you see a few different viewing options. List view, Gantt view etc. For me personally, these get a lot less use that the primary Task Tree but if you fancy a change of scenery then have a look. Of interest also for those SCRUM aficionados is the Statistics which features a burn down list. So, to see your ascending, plateau or cliff (for the efficiency Jedi among you) you can check it out.

The Gantt chart functionality is still in it’s infancy and for those accustomed to working with MS Project will probably be too basic, certainly for serious project planning. However, for viewing project plans in this format it is adequate.

For day to day usage you will want to get familiar with the hot keys and this is where the tool comes into it’s own. Task administration can be easily and quickly handled in this fashion and it makes the program not only a delight to use but more importantly, feasible for usage whereby ones does not spend an inordinate amount of time in organising tasks as opposed to actively getting things done.

Given the relatively blank sheet nature of the program, the ability to form hierarchies and the usage of multiple tasklists within the program it is relatively flexible to allow you to impose your own task handling methodology. Here is one such example of a Getting Things Done(GTD) implementation using Abstractspoon.

The program options also allow for comprehensive customisation to fit to the way you want to handle the program. Within the options is the also vital ability to archive and backup the to do lists. Invaluable to have this automatic back up option in case of disaster(always a possibility if multiple people editing the document!).

options

In terms of reporting, it is not the program’s forte. However, this can be handled to some extent via printing with stylesheets. Here, a summary of the tasks can be presented in various formats whether for the complete tasklist, filtered or selected tasks.

 

Integration

For me it is nearly always a must to play nice with other programs. Thankfully, it is possible with todolist. I use it together with MS Project, whereby I can import project plans from this 200lb Gorilla and then use todolist for day to day handling and appending of the big picture tasks from MS Project. So, the csv import/export is very useful for such purposes. A few other import/export options also exist such as to freemind, gannt project, etc. Freemind import is also welcome as often projects are best sketched out in this medium. Importing this mindmap then allows some meat to be put on the bones in terms of dates and resources.

 

Conclusion

I like todolist a lot. I like the speed of use, it’s flexibility, the ability to take in MS Project plans and being able to share the list with the team. One cannot argue with the price, being free, and so I would heartily recommend this product. If you find it useful, I see donations are possible to Dan, the developer.

What has your experience of this app been?

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