TaskPaper: Simple Productivity

When it comes to task managing applications, I’ve tried them all. The Hit List, Things, Omnifocus etc. But I just couldn’t get myself into a system that worked. For a while I turned to .txt files. Simple and ultra-portable.

And then I found TaskPaper. TaskPaper is basically steroids-driven .txt file. After testing it for a while, I think I’ve found an application that will stick.

The Basics

Overview

Projects, tasks, notes, and tags/contexts. The beauty of TaskPaper is its auto-formatting. Type a word followed by a colon(:) and it is automatically transformed into a project. If you type a dash and then a space, the text you type after is a task. Simply typing words defaults to a note.

Tagging in TaskPaper is what you’d probably expect, an @ followed by your tag. Clicking on a task’s hyphen(-) will automatically strike them off, and add a @done tag. Your projects and tasks can be dragged too.

If this system seems strange, imagine yourself typing in something like this in a text file:
Groceries:
- Milk
- Eggs
- Sugar

TaskPaper has been made to take the cues that you already use. The way it handles things is intuitive and very easy to pick up.

The Steroids Part

Okay, so right now TaskPaper is looking a bit bare-bones. Not to worry, because it is packing some pretty GTD-savvy techniques. First off are the keyboard shortcuts. Virtually everything in the menu is controllable through keyboard shortcuts, making for a super smooth workflow.

For example, hitting command backslash will let you transfer your selected task(s) to another project on the fly. A few other possibilities are: Going to specific projects or tags, adding a @done or @today tag, and traversing throughout your projects. And on top of that, it has a quick entry window. With it you can append tasks or notes to existing projects or even add entire new projects.

Quick Entry

Quick Entry

TaskPaper lets you split a single list into different views in the form of tabs. Each tab has it’s on search bar for independent filtering. Additionally you can add a project sidebar. Clicking on a project’s name will filter in only the tasks from that project.

Tags and Searching

To take TaskPaper further into the realm of GTD, you can use the tagging/context system. Optionally in your tags you can supply a priority level. TaskPaper has a powerful search query system for filtering your task list. You can use simple queries like ‘@today’ or delve into the more complicated like ‘project inbox and @today’ – it’s up to you how far you want to take it.

Searching

Searching

Customization

TaskPaper supports theming, but the system is complex. The developer is working on a purely CSS based system, which should bring more themeing options to the table. Right now, TaskPaper ships with six themes. You can pick up a couple more over at the user group and wiki.

Using Themes

Using Themes

The Applescript capability in TaskPaper is extensive. Over at the wiki, there are over 20 different scripts available for your consumption. These include simple things like deleting all archived tasks, to adding Quicksilver support.

Conclusion

TaskPaper is good solution for just getting things done. It isn’t lacking in features, but it isn’t swimming in them either. Obviously TaskPaper isn’t for every one. If you need hardcore tagging, due dates, or more structure, check out Things, OmniFocus, or the still-in-beta The Hit List.


  • http://mapvivo.com Tom Sieron

    I love it! Want one! (especially the theming part sounds attractive)

    I tried Things, The Hit List, I use Backpack, Unfuddle and ProjectPier and none of them really struck me as supereasy to use and still allowing to get an overlook of all the things todo at a glance.

    I think you AppStormed their site though, cos I’m getting a timeout “The server at hogbaysoftware.com is taking too long to respond.”

  • http://www.hogbaysoftware.com Jesse Grosjean

    I’m not sure why the website wasn’t responding before. But it seems to be working now so please try again.

  • http://fuelyourblogging.com Tim Smith

    This look really sweet! I really like how it’s so simple. Sometimes these “productivity” apps have so many features that you get distracted and end up doing nothing! ;-) Thanks!

  • http://www.daretothink.co.uk Dare to Think

    I truly love this App… Been using it for a while now and the simplistic approach really works well. So many other Apps have too much functionality whereas this is actually all you need. Great stuff!

  • EchoD

    I picked up TaskPaper with MacHeist II, but only started trying to use it this week. I’ve found that it’s great for jotting down ideas, which can easily be turned into To-Do lists.

    I’m not using any of the advanced features yet, but I’m trying to get into the habit of using TaskPaper to keep me on task.

  • Miley Antone

    This is a nice little app, but I really don’t think it’s worth $30. At best it’s just a text editor with several auto-complete features built in. You can use styles and presets in TextEdit and accomplish the same thing for free.

    I’d buy this app if it was $10-15. Not $30 though. Sorry!

    • http://www.hogbaysoftware.com Jesse Grosjean

      The basic features are just a text editor with some auto-complete. I agree that wouldn’t be worth thirty dollars. But for many people that’s not scallable, you’ll end up with a giant page full of tasks staring you in the face. TaskPaper’s ($30) feature is that it allows you to filter that list, and keep editing the filtered view as if it were just a normal text file. No text editor that I’m aware of can do that.

  • Matthew L.

    Don’t like that app :(
    My favourite so far is Things, love it :)

    • Erp

      Go away, kid…

  • Kevin N.

    I too agree that this would be a great app at about the $15 price point. As it stands now I went to download and was expecting a lot more from the $30 price tag.

    It’s a very nice app but it’s far too simple to warrant $30. Just my $0.02.

    • http://www.twitter.com/secondfret Joshua Johnson

      Agreed. $30 is way too high.

  • Perry

    Man, that’s a shame too. I was really liking the demo and all set to buy. But I too cannot justify the $30 price tag. I have a feeling if the developer cut the price in half he’d see a huge increase in sales.

    Just my opinion.

  • http://simplyblog.net Miguel Wickert

    Yeah, it looks neat but for $30? Sorry, just can’t do it, especially during these days. On the other hand, $10-15, perhaps. :)

    • Joel

      $30 that saves you countless amount of time. Think of the amount of money you can gain using it, hey.

      This looks great, I am defiantly going to implement this program into my systems

      • http://simplyblog.net Miguel Wickert

        I guess? Maybe you’re right but I just don’t see it. :) Like I said, for $10 maybe. Also, just open a text file and track your todolist with QuickSilver. :)

  • Alexis

    I’m sticking with Things.

    TaskPaper has a great concept but lousy interface.

    Some people would agree on how productivity apps actually distract you from GTD but if you’re really determined to get it done then no problem there.

    Thus, I’m sticking with beautiful interface for my productivity app i.e., Things.

    ;).

  • Alexis

    I’m sticking with Things.

    TaskPaper has a great concept but lousy interface.

    Some people would agree on how productivity apps actually distract you from GTD but if you’re really determined to get it done then no problem there.

    Thus, I’m sticking with beautiful interface for my productivity app i.e., Things.

    ;).

  • Alexis

    I’m sticking with Things.

    TaskPaper has a great concept but lousy interface.

    Some people would agree on how productivity apps actually distract you from GTD but if you’re really determined to get it done then no problem there.

    Thus, I’m sticking with beautiful interface for my productivity app i.e., Things.

    ;).

  • Alexis

    I’m sticking with Things.

    TaskPaper has a great concept but lousy interface.

    Some people would agree on how productivity apps actually distract you from GTD but if you’re really determined to get it done then no problem there.

    Thus, I’m sticking with beautiful interface for my productivity app i.e., Things.

    ;).

  • Mark

    Thanks for the review! This is exactly the type of List app I’ve been searching for. I’ve tried all the others, and ended up using Sidenote until now. However with Sidenote, I found myself wanting the exact program in a regular window (not a window that slides out when you mouse to the edge of the screen). Sidenote also has problems with Spaces.

    Anyway, I love this little app, but have to agree that $30 is too much. If you watch the screencast on the website, there is a code at the end (SCREENCAST) to get $5 off. But even then, $25 is still too much. Hopefully we’ll see the price go down to a reasonable $15. I might buy it anyway, but not after holding out for awhile to see if we get a price drop.

  • http://www.daylitepros.com Theo

    it’s a solid app from a very responsive developer. I know many who find the stripped down UI to actually boost productivity. it gets out of your way. if you take it further with scripting it can pack a lot of punch. I am a Daylite Certified consultant and productivity coach and this is an app I regularly recommend to clients for whom Daylite is overkill. The Hit List is my recommedation for folks who need a little more GUI. And if course Daylite for running a business on your Mac. TaskPaper rocks.

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  • M. Willton

    TaskPaper is a great piece of software, no doubt about that. But $30 is WAY too much. I’m sorry. But that’s fact.

  • http://www.brandonsadkins.com Brandon S. Adkins

    Indeed too expensive for its simplicity. You can’t base the price on how much ‘time and money’ the users will save, since that varies for each user.

    Anywhere from $5 – $15 would be reasonable for the application’s feature set. It is basically a glorified text editor with filtering. I’m not trying to play down the application’s usefulness. However, I believe they are pricing themselves out of a range that would result in more purchases.

  • Nikolay

    I’m not sold.

  • http://www.unseenbattle.net John

    TaskPaper is cool, but Hog Bay Software’s other app “WriteRoom” is more useful to me. I’m seriously consider purchasing it after my trial is over. I’m using it in conjunction with Journler (copy and paste my thoughts from it into Journler http://www.journler.com )

    Thanks for the review since I wouldn’t have discovered WriteRoom without it!

  • http://simplyblog.net Miguel Wickert

    The Hit List is another neat app. :)

  • http://www.davehanas.com Dave Hanas

    Personally, I think $30 is a fair market price for this app. The difference between $15 and $30 is not going to break the bank. From my perspective, it looks like the developer put a lot of consideration into what features were needed, and what were not.

    Sorry, not trying to be negative, just want to voice a different perspective.

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  • Cormac

    Hey AppStorm, could you possibly do a giveaway of this? Or is it to expensive?

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