I want to improve the way I organize my projects/tasks/schedule

What I do now is:

  1. keep an excel sheet with the name of the most important tasks/projects, I look at it at the beginning of each day and decide the ones I will focus on
  2. on iCal I write down events for each day, or for a concrete time (13 to 14 hours). I set up each day the tasks I want to accomlish, and allocate them hours
  3. I use Things (culture code) to keep info about tasks and projects not very important and which are not time allocated yet (GTD name = someday)
  4. I use Mail on Mac and create folders for the mails I want to process with the name of the different projects
  5. I save the main info for each project on freemind maps

My system works well at the moment but it is pretty complicated to use. I want to make it better and I am looking for something with these requirements:

  • must be 100% offline accessable
  • it should use as less programs/resources as possible, ideally just one program should be able to manage all my info
  • I can use the GTD methodology mixed with priorities and I can allocate each task converted to event on my calendar
  • I can have different daily/weekly, etc views on a calendar to see the "big picture"
  • must run on mac os x leopard
  • price does not matter, I will pay for this

So, according to your experience, can you recommend me something like this?


  • Looking forward to answers, if such a monstrosity exists at all.
    – Daniel Beck
    Jan 4, 2011 at 18:00
  • I would program it, if I knew how to Jan 4, 2011 at 18:20
  • I know C, bash, python, fortran, C++, if anyone wants to join efforts, please tell me!! Jan 4, 2011 at 18:21
  • While I haven't used them myself, Merlin2 and Daylite might offer some of what you want. Since I'm not sure it's just a comment.
    – Daniel Beck
    Jan 4, 2011 at 21:41
  • I realize that my question seems to be complex, and the system I looking for probably does not exist, I will try to simplify things and come back and edit my question Jan 11, 2011 at 12:28

6 Answers 6


IIRC (never used it), MS Office has Journaling, which tracks usage across all office applications including outlook, and outlook has task lists, integrated calendar, flagging/categorizing of email etc. The Mac version of the software may have different features though.

Open office might have something similar. I did a quick search, but journaling is also used in linux filesystems, so there is a lot of noise in the results.

The workflow may not work for you, but that is the big gotcha on this type of thing.


There are quite a few Mac programs in this area (as noted in another answer). I've tried two or three and settled on The Hit List.

It will deal with your current requirements, but is configurable enough to be adapted as your requirements change. It feels a lot more Mac friendly than some of the others. I feel the strongest feature of The Hit List is how well it integrates into the Mac workflow.

With your current workflow in mind...

The Hit List can contain multiple to-do lists. Each list is like a playlist in iTunes. You can create a new list for each of your major projects. You could also crate a list to represent your Someday folder.

As you review your tasks for the day, you only need to tap the "t" key to highlight it and place a copy in the Today "smart" task list. (Hitting "t" again will toggle this action).

Task can have start dates, due dates, time estimates and priorities.

Emails, URLs and Files can be dragged into The Hit List as items.

You can add links to your freemind maps, or alternatively you can nest to-do items to represent the same data (if your maps make neat hierarchies).

With your requirements in mind...

  • 100% offline accessible
  • It should be able to manage all your info (but see the note on mindmaps in the last section)
  • It mixes GTD with priorities
  • It has an Upcoming "smart" list that gives a big picture view in terms of the next day, week, fortnight (two weeks), month, quarter and year
  • Requires 10.5 Leopard or later
  • The Hit List is currently $49.95. It's shareware, so you can try before you buy.

Some suggestions if you try it

  • No "real" calendar or iCal integration though, right?
    – Daniel Beck
    Feb 7, 2011 at 14:21
  • Just checked, you are correct, there is no real calendar or iCal integration. Although in use I haven't found this to be a problem as the "Upcoming" list caters for my needs. But your mileage may vary. Feb 7, 2011 at 14:37

Have you tried Microsoft Project 2010? Check it out! It is one of the best project and portfolio management software I have used. Instead of using different tools you mention, this MS Project would consolidate all project management tasks in 1 user-friendly dashboard. You can avail of the FREE trial versions for 60-days for evaluation to see how it meets your needs.


Here's an option I found today when I was looking at PIM solutions: Chandler Project

It's pretty cool, though a bit behind on development.

It fits every point of your criteria too.

Here's a list you might want to investigate: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_personal_information_managers

  • He has very specific requirements. Linking a Wikipedia list article won't help.
    – Daniel Beck
    Feb 2, 2011 at 13:02
  • I realize he has specific requirements. This is why I posted one solution (Chandler Project) that 'fits every point of his criteria', including a follow up reference. Feb 8, 2011 at 6:47

Emacs with org-mode http://orgmode.org/ works very well for me. Requires some time investment to learn, but then is very flexible in how you can use it.

  • A bit more information would be helpful, since the user has quite specific and extensive requirements.
    – Daniel Beck
    Jan 4, 2011 at 20:32
  • Emacs is one program, 100% off-line, I use it with a GTD like system, lots of different views of your data are possible (see website), Emacs runs just about everywhere, and it is completely free. I don't use priorities so wouldn't know how well it works with these.
    – kasterma
    Jan 5, 2011 at 14:36
  • I should also say that it is completely extendible (if it doesn't already do what you want) using elisp (the Emacs dialect of lisp).
    – kasterma
    Jan 5, 2011 at 14:55
  • this can be useful, but it is very complicated to learn Jan 9, 2011 at 18:39

It's really hard to tell what's going to suit you without a detailed description of what particular tools you need. But I can suggest you to use profhub as we are using this software for the past 2 years. Anyone can use this tool. You can test drive the service free for 30 days, then pick a plan (starting @ $15/month) that best suits your needs.

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