GTD – Task Management Apps for Network Admins

It’s almost laughable to think that any network admin get can control of their tasks. Whenever we try to start one task, 5 new ones come up and are more urgent. (according to someone else, not us!) Maintenance tasks, documentation, break/fix…..how do you properly prioritize these important tasks and make sure things are getting done? There are tons of apps out there to accomplish this but it always seems like they were written for a different profession. What is the perfect app that gives just enough functionality to get things done without overloading you with needless complications? In my journey to get control of my day-to-day, I’ve weeded through most of the popular GTD (Getting Things Done) apps and I think I’ve found the sweet spot. Hopefully I can save you some time and help you master your work day.

During my GTD adventure, I had some important criteria. My task management app had to be available on mobile and desktop platforms and it needed to integrate with Evernote. (What is Evernote? Only the greatest app for Network Admins ever! Check it out: http://chuckkeith.com/evernote-networkadmin/ )

IQTELL

http://iqtell.com/

Platform: Web, Android, iOS

IQTELL is an amazing app. It integrates with Evernote, Dropbox, Gmail and Exchange (That’s right, you can use your corporate email with your task management app!) The integration is what makes this app killer. But….and it’s a big but……this thing is very complicated. I tested it for a few days and it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Once you integrate your email accounts, Evernote and Dropbox you have to spend quite a lot of time setting up projects, contexts, and priorities….it’s overwhelming, at first. Once you get everything organized, it’s not too bad.

Where they lost me was the lack of a desktop app and the inability to manage email tasks from Outlook. You are stuck with a relatively slow web interface to manage all your tasks and process your email inbox. If you know anything about GTD, it’s all about Inbox Zero. You need to process your inbox, converting email to tasks when necessary until there is nothing left. IQTELL would be great if they had a way to manage tasks from Outlook but, alas, you must instead slowly click through a clunky web interface.

The final flaw should have been a plus. Evernote integration is there but it doesn’t really help. You are limited to simply attaching notes to tasks. There is zero integration with Evernote Reminders. Overall, IQTELL with time could become great, so check in with them later. But right now, it’s not quite there and it’s too complicated for an already complicated position.

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Zendone

https://www.zendone.com/

Platform: Web, Android, iOS

Zendone is another app that gives you a mobile platform and web interface. (Why no desktop app zendone?) This interface is much simpler and it integrates with Evernote. (No email). It’s also GTD centric and gives you a great way to achieve Inbox Zero by sending emails as tasks to your zendone email address. You can also process Evernote notes and convert to tasks. The big downside is similar to IQTELL in that it doesn’t integrate with Evernote Reminders. The biggest downside is the price. That’s right, it costs money. You are limited to 30 notes from Evernote per month. Premium is $50/yr or $5/mth and you get unlimited. It’s a great app but it doesn’t give me enough Evernote integration for the price.

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I tried others that were good and are worth a try but didn’t accomplish what I needed. Check them out as they might work for you:

SmartTM

http://www.smarttm.com/

This was designed to work with Evernote and was actually pretty great. It’s also free. It gave me everything I wanted with one major downside….it wasn’t reliable. The web interface was still in beta and you could tell. The mobile app was good but the sync just didn’t do the job. Keep your eye on it, it has potential.

Gneo

http://gneo.co/

Gneo is a pretty boy. Beautiful UI but…..iOS only. It does have Evernote integration but again, no reminder integration. It’s $4.99 in the App Store, so if a desktop app isn’t important to you, try it out. It’s gorgeous.

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Now, for the app you’ve been waiting for. The app I now use every day to stay productive, get stuff done and leave no task behind. Enter Nozbe.

Nozbe

http://www.nozbe.com/a-jesusfreakhbc2

Platform: Web, Windows, iOS, Android

This app, while it isn’t perfect, does everything I need it to do. And it does it with simplicity and elegance. You organize your tasks by projects and contexts. It’s very GTD centric. And did I mention it has a desktop app? And the killer feature that won me over….Evernote Reminder integration. When I create a Reminder in Evernote, it syncs with Nozbe and creates a task. When I mark a task as complete in Nozbe, it syncs with Evernote and marks the Reminder as complete. This alone would keep me coming back to Nozbe….but the flow is something else to.

You need to go to the paid version to have more than 5 projects (it’s around $8/mth) but I don’t really need that as I can organize things by contexts as well. Apart from that, it is completely free. I created a few projects based on the various hats I wear as a network admin. For example, one project is “Phone System” while another is “Servers”. I’ll add tasks to these projects and assign contexts to these tasks to drill down even further. I might assign a context labeled “Ron Swanson” to identify who this task involves. I can then assign a due date and reminder. Another really cool feature is the “Next Actions” section. Any task that is due soon or is starred by you will show up in the “Next Actions” menu. That way, you have one window to view and set your priorities for the day.

Productivity is an ongoing journey and it’s very possible that I may switch to a different app. But right now, Nozbe is king and it has helped me master my day. All the apps I mentioned are great and are only a few updates away from taking the lead so please show them some love before making a decision.

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