43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

TaskPaper 1.0 adds new features (and "fiddling" isn't one of them)

Hog Bay Software's TaskPaper was recently released in a completed 1.0 version (previously), and if you're the sort of person who casts about for a simple way to manage projects and tasks from a Mac, this just may be your app.

But, even more significantly, if you're not looking for a simple action management system -- if you're that particularly pathetic sort of character who's convinced that features like tagging, syncing, collaboration, graph paper generation, and the introduction of an onboard artisanal breadmaker are all that stands between you and getting your stuff done -- well, you may need TaskPaper more than anybody. Because, friends, TaskPaper is just about fiddle-proof, and, frankly, I know a lot of people who could benefit from that today.

Here's what a simple document looks like in TaskPaper:

There's your projects, there's your tasks, there's your contexts, and there's your ability to see what you've ticked off. THAT, as John Hodgman might say, IS ALL.

So, first off and best off, TaskPaper is just text. Although documents created with TaskPaper will have the ".taskpaper" suffix, you'll find that you can open and edit the file with TextEdit, TextMate, or any other garden variety text app. Here's what my test document looks like when opened in TextMate:

I like the clarity and simplicity of the document's formatting, and how it virtually negates the ability to fiddle. Actually, on first glance, the magic of TaskPaper may look familiar to people who have used syntaxes like Chairman Gruber's peerless Markdown. I mean it really is just endlessly portable and mungeable text; it's TaskPaper's li'l engine that turns that formatting into the hooks that let you "do stuff" like view by context or project, and so on. This latest cut adds tabs for doing this neato functional stuff, and I have to say it's really appealing. The approach is similar to OmniFocus -- but even more obsessively concerned with keeping the system focused solely on completing tasks (rather than grooming and feeding them for months while they grow long hair and learn how to drive a stick).

Yes: absolutely -- TaskPaper will be way too simple for a lot of people's needs (including mine). But, if you're so overwhelmed with "flexibility" that you're getting close to throwing in the towel on an electronic system and are considering going back to paper, (while I'd never be one to stand in your way) you might want to give TaskPaper a whirl. If you love text and could benefit from the portability of a simple electronic document, it's definitely worth looking at.

TaskPaper is free to try, and it'll only set you back $18.95 if you decide to buy a copy. Download 'er now.

Merlin's picture

Re: Great for iPhone

Man, I really hope we see an end to the need for hacks like that soon, you know?

After while, a Smartphone without action management starts not seeming so smart.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »