I have tested and fully used now dozens of project management and task management tools.
I think that each has several winning features and several weak points. The one I’m using right now (asana), is the one that it is closer to my ideal task management system out there.
But no, unfortunately I still haven’t found what I’m looking for… and still are looking for the ideal task management and scheduling tool.
I’m still a fan of David Allen’s GTD method, even if it is probably time to be a bit more flexible with yourself and with the system you are using.
Basically, a GTD tool will always have a TODAY, TOMORROW, SOMEDAY and SCHEDULED folder where to put your tasks. The majority of the tools out there have a pretty automated procedure that helps you move your tasks among these folders. For example, when a scheduled task is due today it will automatically move to the TODAY folder. At least this is what Things and Doit.im do, just to give you an example.
Most of the tools are also able to export your to-dos into your preferred calendar (google, ical, etc.). But in most cases you are only able to export tasks that have a deadline and usually these taks are represented as all-day tasks in your calendar. Which is obviously not always true.
Also, very few of the task management tools out there let you insert an estimated time for each task (RemeberTheMilk and Nozbe are among these, for example). I believe this is really important if you want to have an overview of what your working day will be and if you want to schedule your activities in order to avoid having an 18 hours day. RememberTheMilk, for instance, lets you put an estimated time (in minutes or hours) for each task and you can then check how long a given list will take to complete, or your TODAY list. Usually I had a limit of 5 hours per day of scheduled tasks on a 9 hours work day. Yes, I don’t think you can accomplish more!
But one thing I still never see in these tools is the ability to schedule your day. I would love something that easily integrates into your calendar in order for you to schedule tasks based on the amount of time you have (not allotted for specific events, such as meetings) and the estimated time for each task.
So if you have a 1-hour meeting in the morning and a 2-hour meeting in the afternoon and you have 3 task to complete during your day, I believe my ideal task management system should create a day like the following in my calendar:
All this without any particular intervention from my side, unless some one-time preferences that must be set (such as working day duration, time between task and so on).
So, if anyone has seen anything similar out there please, please let me know!!