Posted on 23/1/08 by Felix Geisendörfer
Tim and I are very excited to announce the launch of the public beta of PostTask.com. Its been a long way and there is still lots of things to do, but we figured its time to open up in order to get feedback and valuable suggestions on the current version.
What is PostTask.com all about?
We believe traditional task management was flawed and that we have fixed it. To clarify: There is nothing wrong with the idea of making a task list for a certain day. Wrong is how we deal with it. Usually we write down pretty much everything we would *like* to accomplish that day (i.e. we're dreaming). Some of the items are accomplishable and we start working on them. But then its suddenly late at night, and even so some things have been checked off your list, you'll almost guaranteed to have procrastinated on some unpleasant or big task(s) that was hiding between all the other tasks. So now you can either pull an all nighter or re-schedule the task for tomorrow. Either way, you are creating stress. You feel like you've failed to accomplish what you wanted to that day. And you will become more and more overwhelmed while carrying on tasks that haven't been accomplished on previous days as your list gets longer and longer.
Now PostTask.com won't do any of your actual work or give you super human powers to accomplish 3x as much work (thats planned for v2.0). But what it *will* do is to help you to get real about your work load.
So how does one use PostTask.com?
When you start a fresh new day and fire up PostTask.com, the first thing you do is to write down the list of things you want to accomplish that day. But you don't just write it down, no. You also use your good judgement and make an estimate for how long each task your scheduling will take. Don' be afraid of mistakes, you'll get better at it by using the app. Initially pessimistic estimates are the better ones (but don't go extrem here). While you are compiling your list, PostTask.com will automatically calculate how many hours of tasks you put on your plate, and also by what time you could be done. This is the single most important thing the application does. As you work through the list and update the progress / adjust estimates, the application will continue to maintain those stats for you. Now here is what happens. As time advances and you get into the afternoon hours you'll usually notice how your "you could be done by" time is a good bit later then when you started in the morning. This is usually explained by things that took longer, but a good bit also comes from time you loose through small distractions over the course of the day (phone calls, emails, etc.). Here is the good part: If you where working with a normal task list you wouldn't notice that you now have too many things left. Its ~3pm and you think there is still a lot of time. But PostTask.com will help you to get real at this point and make a smart decision about what tasks to shorten, not do or re-schedule for the next day. And this gives you a lot of power. Instead of looking at your task list at 10pm at night and notice this big bad "Write paper for school" thingy there, you are being made aware of this major time consumer in the afternoon and can plan accordingly.
This is not to say you won't be able to procrastinate or mis-manage your time with PostTask, but if you are looking to improve your skills in the area of time management we think you'll find it an excellent tool on your journey to success!
Is there anything else I need?
Well, personally I recommend having a digital watch with a countdown function in it. It really helps me to track my hours and gives me a good indication if I have to hurry up to finish a task in time. Other then that I'd like to recommend Time Out for you mac folks out there, its an excellent tool to get you through your long day in small iterations ; ).
-- Felix Geisendörfer aka the_undefined
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