New task managers that follow the Chaos Control model are beginning to turn up. They tend to be cross platform, GTD in orientation and often are starting on the Android side of the house and migrating to Apple. Nirvana and Chaos Control come immediately to mind.
I thought I’d start my foray into task management as it stands these days by first looking at Chaos Control. GTD applications do not need to be complex to be effective and Chaos Control is a good example of a simpler application that can be very effective. Of course, there are some things to be desired about the application but overall it follows the GTD methodology simply. The other benefit of simple is its fast; fast to enter material and fast to look at what you’ve got. I am not saying this is my perfect application but it certainly has a lot that we can learn from it.
The key that makes this a viable application for me is it is cross platform. Since I have Apple everything except my phone, which is an HTC m10, my apps need to be cross platform. Not every app that is but those I see as critical.
Chaos Control runs on everything. It has a very nice looking Android client, a nice Mac client but I’m not keen on the IOS clients visually. There is also a Windows client and Blackberry can run it as a Android app. This is a majorly, cross platform system. That makes it nice as you can use it with anything pretty well anywhere.
At the end of this article, I will include a link to a video I did on Chaos Control which might help fill in some of the blanks I’m going to leave here. As I said, Chaos Control is a very simple yet effective app. Architecturally, it operates like this following the Get in Done methodology.
We have, in life, goals at the top most level which we’d like to get to. To do that we carry activities or tasks which make up a project and as we complete our projects they move us closer to the goal. Along with tasks we have contexts within the tasks which should be utilized to work most effectively. Contexts are the what, who and where about things. Combining contexts that relate allow us to get things done more efficiently as we might be able to do a few within the scope of one context.
Finally, having carried out all our tasks within the framework outlined. Inevitably we get things done and if our model is correct it should lead us a long the path of enjoying the fruits of our labour.
Chaos Control is still in its early days of development and looks rough around the edges but I have proved time and again that the application of this tool leads or helps me get things done without overwhelming me with tasks and complexity.
Further, the system, simply due to its design makes entering items very quick. Thus from the standpoint of simplicity, ease of use and speed of entry, you can accomplish your tasks, big or small relatively quickly.
Chaos Control is not going to be for everyone. It’s not a pretty looking app say the way OmniFocus is. However, is it effective. I would say very as you’re not distracted by the complexity (how do I get this to do that) instead of just writing down what needs to get done and then getting to it.
There are complex apps that can seem simple after much use just due to experience. One has to wonder though if it is anymore effective than say you’re Chaos Control. It depends on what the app leads you to. In many ways, a simpler app like Chaos Control can be more effective as it allows you to get things done directly.
On the other hand, an app like 2do is more complex as it includes so much functionality you can easily get lost in all that functionality. Yet, it too has a design that can be as simple as you want it but you can extract more views of your data. Those extra views might allow you to come to a different conclusion in getting something done which could be a major benefit as it as it could be a sounder solution.
At the end of the day, only you can decide on what you like the best and what works for you more clearly. The most important thing though in Getting Things Done is having a model, a good tool to implement the model with and which works for you the easiest and the results.
Does this move you towards your goals faster. One goal could be to live a balanced life where work and downtime are equally as important. Some task management apps can put so much overhead into managing the task management app itself that you take longer, if you ever do, arrive at your stated goal. Complexity does not equal success. No matter how you do it, if you get to your goal, you’ve been successful.