My Quest For The Elusive, Perfect Task Management System

I’ve wasted hours and hours trying to find a perfect task management system. There are many task management systems out there, with Remember the Milk (RTM), Google Tasks and Todoist all coming to mind… but not a single one I have tried seem to have a crucial component which is email integration. Maybe it’s a bad time for me, I understand there are Google/Greasemonkey issues and also add-on issues with Firefox 3.6, both of which task manages use to integrate their systems into email, but the developers have had long enough to fix these known issues, so maybe they just aren’t good enough.

For someone who’s tasks mainly arrive in the form of emails, it is crucial that a task manager has the following features:-

  1. One click creation of a task from an email – I don’t want to have an email with all the data I need, to then have to click New Task and copy and paste the information from the email to the task. That defeats the object of using a task manager, which is to help time management. RTM states it can do this, although at the time or writing neither the GMail Gadget nor Firefox addon work for me.
  2. Separate Tasks from Email – I actually use GMail as my task manager at the moment and it works fantastically well using Superstars and Multiple Inboxes. There is one major flaw… because I have so much email coming in I can sometimes spend all day in email conversations without actually working on my tasks! Therefore your task list needs to be separate to your email, so you can work through tasks, and check your email only a few times a day. An important GTD philosophy!
  3. Tasks “Home Page” – Following on from above, even if not using GMail as a task manager, and using one of the GMail integrated gadgets that sit next to your email, such as RTM and Toodist provide (or Tasks in Outlook), you still have your email to distract you from your tasks. So a separate “home page” or task manager system that just shows your tasks is required, then you can close your email and Get Things Done.

Although there are of course many more features a task manager needs, the above points are crucial if you actually want to get things done, you need to separate email from tasks and to create tasks from emails easily, but seem to be a weakness in many of the systems I found.

With the above features you of course still need to have a labelling/tagging, prioritisation as well as target dates, mobile access such as from the iPhone, and reminders.

I hope I can find one soon because “I am wasting so much time trying to find a system to improve my time“!

Any ideas and comments welcome