8 weeks with Nozbe

As much as I’d like to avoid posting about Nozbe my third post in a row, I feel I had spent enough time with the solution to share more findings with you.

I’ve been using Nozbe for about 8 weeks now and have just paid for my first month of its use. I transferred my workflow and most of my tasks into Nozbe without much of a problem, but a few imperfections with the app kept me from paying for the whole year of service.

Whether I’ll stay with Nozbe or not – I’m not sure, but I can already see that there are things I really like. There are things I really miss too, so it’s just going to be a decision of what’s more important – benefit of new features or disadvantage of not having some basic (in my view) functionality.

Things I really like about Nozbe

Compared to other solutions, Nozbe helped me stay more productive with the following elements of the solution:

  • Nozbe desktop app for Mac – this is great if you are offline and would like to add new tasks or sort through Inbox, etc.
  • checklists in comments (notes) area for each task – this is a really cool feature. Sometimes it helps a lot to split a particular task into tiny steps. Checklists are perfect for this because they stay within a particular task, they avoid unnecessary clutter in your projects and Inbox area, and they are a great way to keep track of your progression with a task
  • universally accessible quick entry dialogue – there’s a global hotkey which allows me to add tasks rather quickly. This is really convenient if you’re working in another application and just want to quickly take note of some future task.

Strangely enough, I didn’t benefit much from Evernote or Dropbox integration. Mainly because at workplace I have a restricted WiFi access (no social websites, no file sharing) and also because Dropbox and Evernote sync would not be very popular with my 3G plan when I’m on the go.

Things I feel could be better with Nozbe

Search functionality

There’s basically two things I miss in the current Nozbe desktop app search implementation: ability to show completed tasks and searching through the notes. There is a perfectly working search that helps you find tasks, but if you keep any notes for your tasks they don’t appear to be searchable at this stage.

There’s no easy way to show completed tasks either – you need to go to the website and use Nozbe online to access them, which most of the time is too time consuming to be useful.

Both features are fully supported in Remember The Milk and it’s only now that I realize that they’re more useful than I originally thought.

Nozbe iPhone app isn’t as useful on iPhone 4 as I thought it was

Adding new tasks – a rather crucial part of my workflow – is only useful in its basic form (add a task into Inbox with no extra information). If you want to set tags or assign a task to the project – it’s so painfully slow that I can’t really use it. With projects assignment the list scrolls slow and then selects something that I clicked when scrolling – so I can’t trust it.

What I quickly noticed is that using mobile client affected my habits and almost made be go back to paper note taking or capturing things in RTM or Evernote to be processed later.

The perfect mobile app should be clean and simple. I can manage my projects on laptop or in my browser, but all I expect from a mobile phone app is to simply show me what tasks are due and maybe allow to quickly capture new ones.

Quick entry dialogue isn’t intuitive enough

Could be just a documentation thing, but I couldn’t find the right syntax to use quick entry box for assigning due dates. When I’m trying to add a task I’d like to use dates in their natural format – like 20/02/2013. I haven’t found a way to do that yet and this means the workflow suffers quite a bit. It’s usually two extra steps because if you specify a project for your task (quick entry dialogue supports this functionality) then your task will skip Inbox and you’ll need to chase it in the project’s folder to change its date.

 Things I really miss in Nozbe (deal brakers)

If I turn to another solution (Things 2, anyone? 2Do?), it will likely be not because of some majorly different or innovative features but down to the following two rather simple requirements for my task management tool:

  1. Keyboard ShortcutsApart from the quick entry dialogue, there really aren’t that many in Nozbe’s desktop solution. Most important ones for me would be to mark the task as completed and to erase the task. Some really useful ones would be to set the due date to today and to tomorrow. Moving around tasks and projects with your keyboard would also be really cool!

    As of right now, all such elements of my workflow are pretty frustrating – the amount of scrolling and mouse-clicking is simply unbelievable. The end results (neatly organized projects, beautifully looking tasks lists and so on) are great but without basic keyboard support the productivity suffers a lot.

  2. priority settings for tasks – something I quite liked in Remember The Milk: 3 different priorities allowed me to plan my day or week a bit better – sometimes seeing the full list helped me recognize where my focus should be, picking a task or a project instead of seeing/focusing on the next task (starred task) only.Obviously, being able to filter your tasks by priority is another thing I really miss for now.

Should you try Nozbe?

Absolutely! It may be perfect for you, it may be less than perfect! And with the free iPhone app and a generous free trial period, you really don’t have that much to lose. Give Nozbe a try and let me know how you find it!

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Tim

    Thanx for writing this post. Curious to hear your thoughts now, 2 months later and after the big 1.6 release…
    I’m currently using Taskfabric Organize:Pro, which is pretty cool, buy has it’s own problems… That’s why I’m also researching about Nozbe