I’m on a journey to find the perfect productivity application so that I can manage my time best. On this Journey I tried a lot of things on different plattforms, starting from paper organzieres in the 1990s and then using software like Lotus Organzier. In the last years I tried things like ThinkingRock on the PC or ToDoMatrix on the mobile phone. With the switch to Android there was a period in which I tried ThinkingRock again, but then switched to Toodledo which had a much better mobile app. But also Toodledo wasn’t what I was really looking for and so I gave a try to IQTELL which claims to be „The Best Productivity App in the History of Doing.“
IQTELL sticks a lot to the philosophy of David Allen’s „Getting Things Done“. IQTELL is also aiming to be the central resource for all your productivity apps and so it is integrating Evernote, Mail, Contacts and your Calendar.
IQTELL is a web based application which is supported by mobile apps for Android or iOS. The main screen of IQTELL looks like this, the blured text is done on purpose, ask your local NSA office if you want to know what is on the list 🙂
On the left you have a folder like navigation column where you can quickly access the main functions. Here you see that you can have lists for your „Actions“, „Waiting for“, „Someday“ and so on. I like those lists a lot because if you compare it to solutions like Toodledo where „Waing for“ or „Someday“ is only the vaule of a status field, then IQTELL is much more relaxing, because if I want to see what I actually have to do I stick to the „Actions“ list and if I want to see what others should have done for me I view the „Waiting for“ list.
So all the items are distributed over several lists and a small Actions list is less discouraging than a list with 213 items of which 100 are „waiting for“ items that shouldn’t show up in your action list.
Of course you can move items from one list to another, e.g. if I make an order I can put the task in my „Actions“ until I have sent out the order form and then move it to „Waiting for“ until the itmes I have ordered are delivered.
IQTELL is also offering a very high level of customization, so that I can tailor it perfectly to my needs. That starts from the ability to modify all forms and add personal data fields and goes over to the ability to create small custom applications.
In my case I modified the „Agendas“ folder to my needs. Being the boss of a sports club I frequently have to schedule meetings and create agendas. Lots of the things I have on the agenda are actions that I have to do or that I delegated to other people. Now, with adding folder panels to the Agenda form I can add all my tasks and the delegated tasks to the agenda of the next meeting and so I can report perfectly about the status of my work and see, what the delegates have achieved. All easily doing by just defining my Agenda to be the parent of any „Action“ or „Waiting for“ item I want to have in that agenda.
Same is true for Projects. A Project is just a list of actions with a deadline and with the folder panels I can track all those actions in the project view. And of course a task can be a child of multiple anything, so it doesn’t disturb if my Task X has a parent „Agenda
for next meeting“ and „Project Y“ at the same time. This is really one of the biggest advanteages of IQTELL compared to a strict hierarchical Project/Action tree structure where every action can have just one parent project.
You can also categorize your task items into „Areas of Focus“. That is very helpful when you use IQTELL to organize your whole life and not just your paid work. I have several areas of focus, one is „Work“ for the job I have, one is „Family“ for all the things I have to do with or for my beloved ones and one is „I“ for things that only I can and want to do, e.g. practising guitar or cleaing up my wardrobe.
Actions can be repeating – but at the moment you can only enter repeating tasks on the web app, the mobile app is still lacking this function. So I have some frequent tasks like „Clean the dishwasher“ which should be done all 3 months. With IQTELL I easily see when the job is due again and don’t need to remember when I have done it the last time.
One nice functionality is adding „Activitiy records“ to your Actions. I use this functions as a sort of progress log for all the long term actions that I have to do. Currently this function is a bit hiding in the actions view and unfortunately not available on the mobile app, but I have good hope that some day it will improve a lot. This hope is well founded on the excellent support that the makers of IQTELL are providing online.
There is a forum where you can post your ideas or problems and so far I always got a good answer within hours. The support staff is friendly and seem to be available on a 24×7 schedule.
The IQTELL team also has a nice blog with lots of productivity hacks.This blog is worth a frequent visit because you can learn a lot there.
So my search for the perfect productivity app seems to have ended for the moment. There are still some functions that I have on my wishlist, but I think they will be implemented in a near future. One is the ability to limit views to a selected filter criteria and to save the ordering and columns of the views. The other function I’m waiting for
is data export, I would like to get an export of practically everything I have entered into IQTELL so that I could do some statistical analysis of my productivity.
But nevertheless, I can really recommend IQTELL to everyone that wants to use a GTD application. Today the news came out that Yahoo is closing „Astrid“, another popular todo list app, so maybe some refugees find a new home at IQTELL.