I recently tasked myself with finding a better way to be organized, both personally and as a family. Over the years I’ve used (and actively use) a variety of programs to take notes, sync across multiple devices, and share information. Each has their uses, but I wanted a dedicated application that’s lightweight, easy to setup, free or reasonably priced, and quick to explain. My mind immediately went to the task tracking and ticketing software most software engineers and IT goons (loving term) are familiar with and I set out to find something similar.
- loads quickly
- access on multiple devices
- sync changes
- share with multiple people
- quickly organize and take notes
- track status
- assign ownership
I considered a number of apps then spent a few weeks playing with Asana and Meistertask. Both were worthy contenders and are targeted towards corporate use while being simple enough for personal use. Each met my requirements, but I settled on Asana since I preferred its user interface (left aligned sidebar, simple lists, quickly adding several new tasks, etc).
- Free for small companies/teams (family)
- Fast setup. Create account using Google. Only takes a few seconds to add other users.
- Create multiple projects to organize types of tasks/notes (My Tasks, Family To Do, DIY Projects, Blog Ideas, Shopping List, etc)
- Configure the swimlanes (statuses use for tasks) for each project
- To Do -> Done (adequate for simple tasks, reminders, grocery lists, etc)
- To Do -> In Progress -> Done (more complex tasks that take time to complete)
Tried and failed:
- Sticky notes and tear pads - The grocery list is invariably split between multiple pieces of paper and I’m all but guaranteed to leave them at home.
- Notepads - I write constantly write things down, take notes on projects, and sketch designs/plans. There are 7 spirals within reach.
- Sticky note apps - didn’t sync across devices, unable to share.
- Evernote, Onenote, Google Drive - too heavy for daily tasks and quick notes/organization. Slower access on mobile networks.
Useful and worthy of mention:
- Google Drive - Synchronize and share files.
- Dropbox - Backup, share, sync, automatically upload mobile photos.
- Evernote - Better layout, but requires a premium account to use multiple devices (or alternatively use browser). Supports Linux, Mac, and Windows.
- Onenote - I use it to keep table top game note though I like the interface better on Evernote for regular use and Onenote doesn’t support Linux (yet).
- Notepad++/VSCode/Sublime Text - Take quick notes on a PC. Caches unsaved files in temporary storage. Easily read and search large files and logs.