Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Create a Chromebook-like experience on your Mac

I've tried Chromebooks multiple times during the last several years. I love their simplicity, ease of use, and headache-less experience. But at the end of the day, a Chromebook doesn't meet my professional needs.

If you're not familiar with the Chrome App Launcher, it might be just what you're looking for.

Introducing the Chrome App Launcher

This, essentially, gives Mac users a Chromebook-like experience. The App Launcher appears in your menu bar. As you add Chrome apps, you can quickly locate them through the Launcher. If the app is a Packaged App, then you will also be able to find it using the native Mac LaunchPad feature.

How to Download the Chrome App Launcher

  1. Visit the Chrome Web Store.
  2. Click on "For Your Desktop" in the left-hand column.
  3. Add one app from this section. 
  4. Look for the Chrome App Launcher icon in your Doc.

How You Benefit from Adding This Feature

  1. Everything syncs across Chrome on all your devices.
  2. You only have to add the Chrome App once. As you add or delete Chrome Apps on one device, they appear everywhere.
  3. All App updates are automatic and function in the background. They just work!

Have you tried the Chrome App Launcher? Is this helpful to you in your normal workflows?

Monday, August 18, 2014

How to auto-create tasks in Todoist with Siri like Omnifocus

Like many, I’ve made the migration from Omnifocus to Todoist and haven’t looked back. One of the features I do miss is the ability to auto-import tasks from iOS Reminders into Omnifocus. I assumed this was only possible because Omnifocus was deeply integrated into and solely focused on Mac OS and iOS platforms.

I was wrong.

I was searching for another recipe on IFTTT when it occurred to me that I could connect two channels that could recreate the auto-import feature.

Here’s how:
  1. Add the “iOS Reminders” channel.
  2. Add the “Gmail” channel.
  3. Create the receipe: “If any new reminder, then send an email from [your email address].”
Note: When you create the recipe, you’ll need to enter the specific Todoist Inbox email so IFTTT knows where to send the email that will be prompted by the recipe itself. Not sure how to find that specific email address? Read how.

Here’s how it works in real time:
  1. Prompt Siri to remind you about a specific task, event, etc.
  2. The IFTTT recipe goes to work on your behalf in the background.
  3. Find the task Siri added to iOS reminders in your Todoist Inbox.

This isn’t perfect.

This option is “almost perfect.” There are two things that you need to know:
  1. The iOS Reminder will remain in Reminders even after it is emailed into your Todoist inbox. This is unlike the feature in Omnifocus where it deletes the reminder upon import.
  2. Any date or time associate with the task does not translate to Todoist.
Omnifocus is a fantastic program. But when you need something that is cross-platform and can be used for collaboration with other people, Todoist is a viable alternative that feels very comfortable to Omnifocus users.

While combining IFTTT and Todoist does provide a path for auto-import from iOS Reminders, I hope that Todoist will consider adding this functionality through the native iOS app soon.

What tips and tricks do you have for using Todoist?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Todoist is a cloud-based alternative to Omnifocus

I'm a fan of to-do lists. If I'm honest, I'm a fan of any kind of list. (Just for fun, I sometimes make lists of lists. That's just me.)

I was a HUGE Omnifocus proponent. As a follower of David Allen's Getting Things Done (GTD) method, I found Omnifocus to be the perfect compliment to my work.

It allowed me to create contexts, projects, utilize start dates in lieu of completion dates among a variety of things. The only problem is that I don't work alone. I'm almost always working in a group with at least one or two other people.

Then I realized it was Apple only. Bummer.

The other glaring reality is that The Omni Group is one hundred percent focused on the Apple community. To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It just becomes problematic in a world where not EVERYONE uses Apple products.

This lead me to search for another solution. I was slow to move away from my beloved Omnifocus because I really didn't believe anything could replace it.

I tried just about everything:, Google Tasks, etc. Inspired by Bono and U2, I continued my search because ... yes ... I still hadn't found what I was looking for.

Along came Todoist

I don't remember exactly how I landed on, but I did. It immediately caught my attention because it reminded me of Omnifocus. It was as if it was created by the same group but targeted to a cloud-based OCD, to-do list maker like me.

I started checking off my list. (See! I told you I couldn't help myself.)

My top requirements:
  • Inbox centered 
  • Flexible scheduling options 
  • Projects organization
  • Contexts 
  • Cloud-based 
  • Collaboration on projects with others 
  • Cross-platform 
  • Mobile apps

In addition, it has:

Todoist just keeps getting better

Some of the collaboration aspects I have come to depend upon:
  • Upload files right from Cloud storage (e.g. Drive)
  • Make notes that shared project participants see
  • Quickly assign tasks within projects to each team member

It was a no-brainer to sign up for the premium options which gave me:
  • Location-based reminders 
  • Text message reminders 
  • Add tasks via email 
  • Color-code projects 
  • And a variety of other really cool stuff

If you're looking for a To-do app or mid-level project management tool, then give a try. Seriously. You'll love it.

Are you a fan of Todoist? What's your favorite feature?

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