Meistertask for focus at work

Continuing from my last post for Rescuetime for focus, mistertask provides me the missing link for directing my focus.

Meistertask is a task management software that has nice UI and native desktop mac apps. Over the years I have used many personal task management tools including trello, wunderlist, remember the milk and so on. Meistertask is really not that different from trello in its interface but it has a native Mac app.

Why I prefer native desktop apps

  1. You can have full window to yourself and four finger swipe to work on that app.
  2. You don’t need to have internet access.
  3. Usually the keyboard shortcuts, navigation are all better for native apps
  4. I don’t like having lots of tabs open and trying find relevant.

Though the reasons might appear rather trivial they aid me in general focus and productivity. This is prime reason I use Mac Mail app over gmail, Blogo over Wordpress/medium, slack native over slack web and finally MeisterTask over trello.

At the start of the year, I thought I can manage all this with Jira but it is too much hassle and also not every momentary task has to be visible to the rest of the company. So I use meistertask as an expansion and in addition to Jira.

The idea of column based task management was pioneered by pivotal tracker and brought to the masses by trello. The column structure that I found very useful is:

The most important column here is the For Today column. This is the first thing I when I start the day and frequently refer to when when I start to feel that I am loosing focus. Also this helps me visualize and communicate with others what is my priority for today. By the time a task makes to this column it is usually crystal clear on what it is and I have no dependecies to work on it. The candidates for this column are

  • Finish up code reviews.
  • Fix up a broken test
  • Prepare for a meeting etc.

Next up is In Progress/This week. These tasks generally have 1:1 mapping with Jira tasks and are something that I am keeping track of but not actively working on. These are usually bigger projects and have some murkiness. These tasks haven’t been prioritized to move to the Today yet.

IceBox is the default place to add tasks, that I come up during the course of the day or while having no access to desktop to fill in details. As one can expect this column is full of tasks that are nice to be done without a timeline attached to them.

Test automation is the bread & butter of an SDET life and I thought it made sense to delineate it from rest of the tasks through Automation column 1) to make sure that I am pulling in some tasks from it regularly 2)To declutter it from logistical and exploratory testing tasks.

Rest of the columns are self-explanotory and transient. I use them as needed.

Things that I wish mesitertask would do to further make this workflow successful

  1. Easy addition of tags with a keyboard shortcut preferably
  2. Checklists being visible without going to details view.
  3. Being able paste images from clipboard
  4. One click, keyboard shortcut to complete a task.

Together with RescueTime and MeisterTask, I now am confident that I have build up a workflow that is conducive for working productively and based on prioritization.