Introducing ZenTasktic: Collaborative Task Management – With A Dash Of Zen

For the last few months I’ve been constantly working on a new project. It’s a collaborative task management app, based on my Assess – Decide – Do productivity framework.

If you follow my blog constantly you already know about iAdd, the first implementation of this framework, an app I wrote almost 4 years ago (and which is still alive and well on the AppStore). ZenTasktic is based on the very same approach, but it brings two significant improvements.

Before going into details about the ZenTasktic promise, just a few technical tidbits.

First of all, ZenTasktic is going be a multiplatform app. As a matter of fact, the development started with the web app this time, not with the iOS platform. My goal is to have a Mac native version, a web based version (the one that I’m working on right now) and mobile versions for iOS and Android.

At the moment of writing this article, the development status is: “still cooking”, which means I just got out of alpha. The basic functionality, like user authentication and management, adding, editing and deleting data, managing data between realms, sharing, unsharing, giving ownership, is already there. The areas that are in need of attention right now are: notifications, stats and database security.

I moved from iCloud (after being hooked up with Dropbox, initially) and now I decided to use a realtime BAAS (Back-end As A Service). My choice was Firebase, based on a number of criteria, like maturity, additional services, access to development tools and so on. So the app will be synced real-time across ALL your devices (which is something I consider extremely cool).

The ZenTasktic Promise

The most important improvements ZenTasktic brings over iAdd are: social task management and in-app productivity monitoring.

Let’s start with the social task management.

With ZenTasktic you can share a task that you’re assessing with other people. Every shared task can be edited in real-time by any of the people who are “observing” it, but only the owner can delete it and move it forward in the framework (if you’re not familiar with the Assess – Decide – Do framework, I suggest you read the book I wrote on this topic: Natural Productivity: Assess – Decide – Do). Another very interesting feature is that all the edits are visible in the form of “assessments” (which are basically all the versions of a specific task). The owner of the task can unshare any task at any moment and can also “give ownership” to one of the persons with whom he shared it. From that point on, the new owner will be able to delete the task, send it to Decide, Do, etc.

Social task management also brings notifications to ZenTasktic, along with a carefully crafted tool, called Zen Pulse, for managing it. We all know how overwhelming social interaction can be. Hence, this tool, which shows us the “beats”, or the number of interactions we have, along with a tool to manage it in several steps, from “silent” to “full monty”. More info and screenshots in a future article.

The second significant improvement is related to in-app productivity monitoring. I think it’s one of the most important things and one that I’ve never seen so far in any other app. If you know such an app, please send me a link, I’d be very interested to evaluate it.

The in-app productivity monitoring is a set of real-time stats tailored to each realm. Each stats is visible all the time (or a significant part of the time on mobile) and helps a lot with instant evaluation of our work. For instance, in the Assess realm, you can see in less than a second what’s the general distribution of tasks in your realms. And you can understand instantly where is the pressure (if there is one, of course). Each realm has a specific set of stats. As you work, the stats are changing in real time and you can understand your work patterns, your imbalances and so on and so forth.

Of course, all the other patterns of ADD, like color-coding, intuitive icons (plus, question mark, minus for Realm definitions) are still kept from the first iteration, so if you used iAdd before, it will feel familiar.

The current version of ZenTasktic is 0.0.2. You can find out more about the status by subscribing at this page:

I will be sending updates as the app is getting more stable and if you want to get on board of the beta-testers, you’re welcome.

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