Organizing life with Taskwarrior and Inthe.Am

I have tried many task management solutions over time, and for the first time have found something that doesn’t annoy me after a month.  For almost a year now, I’ve been using Taskwarrior and Inthe.Am quite successfully to manage both my work tasks and my personal tasks.

My requirements are seemingly simple:

  • Tasks with due dates and projects
  • Tasks with dependencies
  • Ability to search/report
  • Web UI
  • Accessible from multiple clients, including Fedora, RHEL, and my Android mobile devices

I also had a couple wish list items:

  • Multi-user, because I’d love to be able to manage team or family tasks by assigning to other people
  • Email creation of tasks, to make it easy to just forward an email into my task list

Many many years ago, I used the incredibly awesome Hiveminder.  Sadly, the service has been shut down, and I have no interest in taking on maintenance of the code.  But Hiveminder met all of my requirements and my wish list, and truly was a great piece of software (ok, I would have preferred something other than the yellow theme, but that’s a minor nit).

The ability to associate task dependencies has always been a big requirement for me, and has been the feature most lacking from the tools I’ve tried.  I like to be able to create rich graphs of dependencies, and then have the tool give me a report of only those tasks that have no pending dependencies; i.e., those that are actually actionable now.  For example, I may have the following three tasks:

  1. Trim the hedges
  2. Mow the lawn
  3. Clean the garage so I can find tools

Tasks #1 and #2 are both dependent on task #3, meaning I can’t act on #1 and #2 until #3 is completed.  So, when I glance at my task list, I don’t want to see it cluttered with tasks I can’t act on; it should hide #1 and #2.

Although it has a learning curve, Taskwarrior provides all of this in spades.

Taskwarrior is Free and Open Source Software that manages your TODO list from the command line. It is flexible, fast, and unobtrusive. It does its job then gets out of your way.

Tasks are easily managed directly from my Linux command line:

task add Trim the hedges due:2017-08-01 project:lawn depend:3

This was awesome, as I’m a command line junky, but made it hard to have my tasks with me via my mobile device.  But then I stumbled on Inthe.Am, a cloud service (and open source software) to sync my tasks and provide a WebUI.  As a bonus, Inthe.Am also provides integration with Trello and email, and provides an iCal feed that I can use to show tasks on my Google Calendar.

web_ui-54cba14ebb9fd37121084404abc08c3f
Image from Inthe.Am site

Taskwarrior + Inthe.Am have met all of my requirements.  The only thing missing is my wish for multi-user task management — but I’ve come to accept that just because I may like this product, others may not like me imposing this toolset upon them.  But still – unless someone rewrites Hiveminder in Python, Go, Rust, or Node.js and decides to offer it as a Tasks-aaS, Taskwarrior and Inthe.Am are going to be helping me manage my tasks for the forseeable future.

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