Tuesday, August 12
History of productivity: from dinosaur ages to Nozbe - a story by a happy Nozbe customer - Juan Antonio Dominion
This is an amazing testimonial we have received from Mr. Juan Antonio Dominion - a fantastic Nozbe user. He wrote it to let us know he appreciates our work and support. Thanks to moments like these, we love what we do even more!
Here goes the story:
Dinosaurs and Franklin Planners
I have been around since the dinosaur ages of Project and Task Management, since before people "got things done" and muddled along with paper planners and things called "pens" and "pencils". These huge binders were called Franklin Planners, and the guy that sold the methodology to make them work was named Stephen Covey. Back then, there were only "7 Habits" that highly effective people had to adopt to be successful in their organization.
Needless to say, I have tried every computerized gizmo or gadget or software that has come along since then, from the abysmal Franklin Planner "software" - if you can call it that. Nozbe does so much more with an iPad app than the Franklin Planner's huge, clunky programs did, but they synced with Outlook - and what a joy Outlook was to work with. (Intended sarcasm there!)
Other productivity tools with strange names
Before Nozbe, there was also the Pocket Informant software, which migrated one from a Palm Pilot (yes they were really called that) to a "smart" phone, which was a Windows Mobile phone, and at that time, they really though they were "smart"! There was Remember The Milk, Toodledo, and variants such as the "Trog Bar" - yes that really is what they call it - and the Reqall, which purportedly made one more productive by having you call a voice memo service for everything.
A strong willed innovator
Well, yes, we certainly have come a long way, haven't we? And still, there comes along a bright, strong willed, and conscious innovator like Michael Sliwinski, who would turn the world on its head with an app that would also be strangely named: Nozbe.
But the thing about Nozbe is that it works. Yes, it does. If you just follow the informative videos, or if you cannot understand the content of the videos, you can always read the text on the Nozbe Website. It does help to have an understanding of the fact that there does exist an over arching methodology to the Nozbe system, called "Getting Things Done®", or affectionately, GTD®. Nonetheless, just the information that Mr. Sliwinski propounds in the content on the Nozbe Website is enough to get someone to maximum productivity with the Nozbe applications - and fast!
Keeping up with the Joneses
Like all software companies, I'm sure Nozbe is trying hard to keep up with the Joneses in that they must be constantly innovating to supply the appropriate software for the new operating systems that are almost constantly changing or being released as new. For example, I almost went with another GTD® app, called "Get it Done", just because they have a Windows 8 version, but I don't even like Windows 8, and that is another story.
The first day
So, today, I worked with the Nozbe system for my first real day of work. I was able to easily and quickly get all of my hundred or so Tasks out of my Nozbe Inbox and into the appropriate Contexts, Projects, and Next Actions. By the end of my day, I had not only accomplished about 20 of my tasks - phone calls and what not - but I was also able to ORGANIZE MY LIFE like a Ninja, as Mr. Sliwinski refers to the more competent Nozbe users.
The exponential potential
There are still many areas of Nozbe that I have not even learned yet, but the potential is exponential. Now that I have a trusted and well working system with which to process my Tasks, I will be able to accomplish so much more in my day-to-day routine than ever before.
At the end of my day today, I still had some apps for GTD® that I had downloaded to my iPad and not opened yet. After opening these 5 apps to check them out, I am further convicted in my support of the Nozbe apps, software, system and team. Thank you, Mr. Sliwinski, and Delfina, from your support department for guiding me through my first real world day of getting things done with Nozbe!
I am just so thankful that I gave Nozbe that second chance to be my trusted system. Now, there is no looking back.
Friday, August 8
Below you can find list of fresh improvements delivered in Beta 4.
- Spanish, German, Japanese and Polish versions of the app. Of course this is still "beta" so there can be some misspellings in translations. If you find one, please do report it. The option to change the language is (as always) available on the login page and in the...
- ...Settings view where you can find some more of the new cool features like managing 3rd party apps integration. All in one view!
- Performance. We've optimized some animations of the app to make it even smoother.
- New Comments view improvements. We've added button to mark all comment as read as well as some filters to let users determine if they want the tasks with read comments to disappear from the view immediately or not.
For full Release Notes please go to our test blog.
Download Beta 4
Here you can find all the details, download Nozbe 2.0 Beta 4 for Windows, OS X and Linux and sign up for Android version.
As usual, we really count on your fantastic feedback!
Wednesday, August 6
Our fantastic beta-testers are working really hard finding and reporting issues in Nozbe 2.0 Beta v.3 Believe it or not but hundreds of people send us regular feedback and comments every single day. At the same time, Nozbe programming ninjas debug all they can and as fast as it is only possible. Such a nice cooperation will let us deliver 4th beta version which will be ready on Friday, August, 8.
What's cooking, doc? :-)
Here is a list of improvements, functions and fixes in the upcoming Nozbe 2.0 beta:
- Settings view where you will find some cool new features like changing the app language or managing 3rd party apps integration. All in one view!
- Performance. We've optimized some animations of the app to make it even smoother
- You won't be able to continue Chinese lessons which means that the famous Chinese bug has been fixed
- New Comments view improvements. We've added button to mark all comment as read as well as some filters to let users determine if they want to have the tasks with read comments disappear from the view immediately or not
If the tech-guys minimize the amount of sleep even more and skip some lunches (none of them smokes so they can't skip cigarette breaks), we will be able to deliver also these:
- Evernote and Dropbox integration. We're redesigning architecture of these integrations to make them work better with Nozbe 2.0
- Calendar performance and bug fixes. Calendar is always hard topic in this kind of app. We are fixing the most annoying bugs in this view and improving performance.
These are quite complicated issues though, so it might be that you will see them in beta 5... we'll see.
The whole Nozbe team is really moved. We keep receiving new requests from people willing to join the beta-testing team and those who are already a part of it are working really hard and deliver in-depth feedback. We can't stop saying thank you for testing Nozbe 2.0 and helping us build the best suite of productivity apps in the world :)
Follow Nozbe 2.0 on Instagram
We're posting regular updates of our Nozbe 2.0 development on a dedicated Instagram channel - if you're curious and want to be up-to-date with all the updates, tune in to follow "@nozbe" on Instagram and let us know what you think!
Thursday, July 24
Nozbe 2.0 Beta has been available for 3 weeks. We received great feedback from you, our fantastic users and today we're shipping Beta 3 not only for the Mac, Windows and Linux... but also for iPhone, iPad and Android!
Thanks everyone for signing up for our mobile beta! Wow!
We were totally blown away! Close to 1000 of our most passionate Nozbe users signed up for our Nozbe iOS/Android beta. We were totally overwhelmed by the response. Thank you!
Now here's how we're going to roll out Nozbe beta:
iOS beta. Testflight and a project in Nozbe
The amount of you who registered is so much higher than we expected and we are very grateful for this. Unfortunately Apple has its own limits as it comes to the number of beta testers so we had to draw users for iOS beta testing. We would love to be able to invite everyone!
All chosen users will receive email and an invitation to Nozbe project where they will be able to report bugs and provide feedback. This way we want to communicate with our beta testers.
Android. Google Groups and Play Store
As on the Android platform there are no limitations as far as the number of beta testers is concerned, we've sent an email to all the registered beta testers with an invitation to a google group. All the users registered in this group will have access to beta. It will also be our main communication channel for providing feedback.
Desktop. Mac, Windows and Linux - get them now
With the new beta 3 out, we have new versions of our desktop apps for you to, as always, get them from our beta web page.
What's new in Beta3?
Glad you asked. Check out full Release notes on our test blog
Not chosen for beta? You can still test on iOS and Android in your browser!
Just point your mobile browser to beta.nozbe.com and you'll be able to test our new mobile experience on your mobile device. Our new Nozbe 2.0 app is completely responsive and should work perfectly on the desktop as well as on your mobile device. Check it out!
Thank you for great feedback and testimonials
Once again we want to emphasize how grateful we are for your feedback regarding Nozbe 2.0 BETA. And all the great testimonials you provided. Wow! We will try to use most of them on our new Nozbe page. Reading each and every one of them was so uplifting!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Again, thank you for testing our beta application and for helping us build the best suite of productivity apps in the world. Together with your amazing support we believe we can make it happen and get everyone in the world a little more organized.
New to our Nozbe beta program?
Check out Michael's video where he's introducing you to Nozbe 2.0, codenamed "One Nozbe" - at the end of the video he shows the iPhone and iPad experience, too:
- post written by Rafal, Nozbe Product Manager :-)
Monday, July 21
Priority tasks instead of Next Actions... and more changes in Nozbe 2.0 beta - why? how?... and why now?
Over 2000 most active Nozbe users have downloaded Nozbe 2.0 beta (for Mac, Windows and Linux) to date. Thank you!
If you got it, you might have noticed not only significant UI improvements but also some other, more subtle, but also very important changes in the way we're naming things in Nozbe.
Inspired by an amazing book and methodology...
Back in 2007, when I first launched Nozbe, it was a web app inspired heavily by David Allen's GTD® (Getting Things Done®) methodology. Well, in the beginning, I only implemented three aspects of it: Next Actions, Projects and Contexts... but I used David's wording as much as I could. Like you wouldn't add a task to your project but you would add an "action".
While it hadn't been such a big deal, still we had been getting many emails by confused customers: why we'd name a task an "action" while the word "task" is a lot more common one for calling well... a task. This is where we had started thinking about changing some of the naming in Nozbe:
Actions to Tasks
When three years after the launch we started translating Nozbe to different languages like Polish, Spanish, German and Japanese, we noticed that while in English the action vs task argument is not such a big deal... especially among GTD® enthusiasts... in all the other languages the word "action" has little to do with "task". In Japanese these words are written in totally different alphabets even: "Action" in Katakana (like all foreign words) and "Kodo" (task) in Kanji (native Chinese-Japanese alphabet).
That's why, back in 2010 when we redesigned Nozbe, we went with "task" instead of "action" to make our system more comprehensible to a wider audience. Now, that we're planning to launch more local language versions of Nozbe, we're very confident with our choice.
Next Actions vs Priority tasks
I love the concept of "Next Actions" in GTD® and I think it's one of the keys to success of this system. However, if we already don't have "actions" in Nozbe but "tasks", why do we call the high-priority tasks from each of your projects "next actions"? We're not consistent here.
They should be called "next tasks" or "what to do next"... so we decided to try "Priority tasks" as the word "priority" makes sense among wider audiences - if a task has a high priority it needs to be dealt with as soon as possible, i.e. it's in fact your next action, right?
Contexts vs Categories
While the word "context" makes total sense for what it is... people really get confused about using it in reference to a task. For the 7 years of running Nozbe, I've been often asked: what is a context? how do I define contexts? why should I use contexts? context of what...?
The word "category" has a wider meaning. People get it more easily. Especially when I tell them: "by applying contexts you're effectively categorizing your tasks..." - and again, it's hard to use this word in any other language than English. Category is universally understood... and makes more sense to more people.
Projects vs Lists
At some point I even thought about renaming "Projects" to "Lists". Why? For two reasons:
- Projects don't need to be big... yet people think they are. Many Nozbe customers have a problem calling a series of 5 simple tasks a project... They think a project needs to be something really significant - a huge undertaking...
- A project can be just a list of unrelated tasks. Again, I use Nozbe like this all of the time. I have a project called "private tasks" where I put all of the tasks that are not directly related to any of my active projects but belong in my private life. When I explain this to people, they say they're not comfortable calling such a list of tasks a "Project" and ask for a different solution.
Ultimately we didn't change the name.
Although we have the concerns listed above, I still believe the name "Project" is very active. And Nozbe is not a task manager, it's a task do-er. You're supposed to get things done with Nozbe and creating "projects" for this purpose makes more sense than just "lists".
No. We're not moving away from GTD®, we're brining it closer to the people... by not calling it GTD®
That's right. I believe our goal of teaching people great productivity habits through an amazing Nozbe user interface is still our top priority. This is what we stand for. This is why we're re-designing Nozbe right now. This is why we're adding more functionality while removing clutter.
Our job at Nozbe is to empower people to learn great productivity principles and helping teams work more effectively together by learning to communicate through tasks.
Actually not that many people know GTD®. Both inside and outside of the US. And while the David Allen Company is expanding its reach internationally, I'm sure we have a shot at doing it a lot faster by introducing our software to even more people all over the world. And we want everyone to learn great productivity habits fast. That's why I also recorded my 10-steps to Ultimate Productivity course in all the languages I know.
We want people to learn great productivity habits and techniques. Not just GTD®.
New names in Nozbe beta
To see if what I write above makes sense, we decided to change these names in Nozbe beta and leave them "as is" in Nozbe 1.9... and there was no outrage. Some folks asked about the change, but most didn't notice and others applauded us for this.
To me, it's a great indication that we're doing something right here. After all, Nozbe beta is being downloaded by our power users, people who presumably know GTD® and have been following Getting Things Done® for a while now. And apparently the great majority don't mind the new names :-)
I also don't want to put up ® signs all over Nozbe site. Nozbe is actually a registered trademark but I never write Nozbe® although I could.
Both GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen company. Nozbe is not affiliated in any way with them (other than by thanking them for brining this methodology to the world!). David Allen is still my top productivity guru and a great friend. We met several times and I hope we'll soon meet again.
Nozbe is an app that helps people get everything done and empowers teams to communicate effectively through tasks.
That's what we stand for. New names/old names... our mission stays the same. We want everyone in the world to get organized and more productive!
What do you think? Let me know in the comments!
- post written by Michael Sliwinski, CEO and founder of Nozbe