I love my task lists. But recently I had some major issues going on with my task management. For some background information, I currently use Outlook 2013 and OneNote on my desktop to manage tasks and projects, and my primary email address is on a hosted Exchange server. For my Android devices, I use gSyncit to sync my task list to Google Tasks, and was using the gTasks app to manage them. And for my iOS devices, I use HD gTasks to manage the Google Tasks. I was also using Google as my “system of record” for contacts, and calendar items, as well.

I had dabbled using Siri and syncing the iOS Reminders app directly with Exchange, but found Google Now! to be just as effective for me, and geo-fencing worked (I still cannot make geo-fencing work on my iPhone 5).

So I had everything working. Until I added a second Android tablet. I was testing it to see if I liked it enough to replace my Nexus 7, and had installed all of the same apps. At first everything was OK. But then I noticed that anytime I completed a task on any of the mobile devices, or my desktop, my task list would show 1 completed item, and at least 2 brand new occurrences of the task I just completed.

I had to delete gTasks off of the second Android tablet, and clean up the task list on both Exchange and Google. I re-added gTasks to the second tablet, and sure enough, within hours, I was right back where I started. So I again deleted the task app from the second tablet, cleaned up my lists again, and really sat down to ponder my work flow, and if I really needed the task lists on the mobile devices.

I decided that:

  • I needed task management on my phone, since I always have it with me and I would be sure to hear / feel the alarms.
  • I didn’t really need task management duplicated on all the tablets.
  • I wasn’t happy that Google Now! reminders don’t sync to Google Tasks to make managing them easier.
  • I could live without geo-fencing, as it wasn’t a frequently used feature.
  • Most of the tasks I captured via Google Now! were more of a reminder, and not a task in nature.
  • Siri would work just as well as Google Now! for me, for capturing new reminders via voice.
  • I had noticed more than once over the years, that if I completed a recurring event in Google Tasks, Exchange did not correctly create the next instance.
  • A Windows tablet is a near future possibility for me.
  • I would make Exchange my “system of record” instead of Google.

So what I have done, and seems to be working well for now, is:

  • I eliminated all task management from the Android devices.
  • I uninstalled HD gTasks from the iOS devices.
  • I enabled “Reminders” syncing on the Exchange account on my iPhone.
  • I created a new default task list called “Siri” on the iPhone, to keep the items created on the phone organized.
  • I created tasks lists based on the categories I was using in Outlook, so that everything wasn’t lumped into a single task list in Reminders. This also makes it easy to find any real tasks that may have been generated and move them to the appropriate task list.
  • Every day, as part of my daily review, I review the different task lists, and instead of moving items to an @ACTION list, I give them a due date and if needed, a reminder.
  • I use the “Scheduled” view in the Reminders app to see what tasks are actionable for the day.
  • I use the “To Do Bar” in Outlook 2013 to see what tasks are actionable for the day.