GTD Task Management with Nirvana

We’ve covered a multitude of task and project management apps, which probably only account for a fraction of what’s available on the web. While we don’t want to bore our readers with a gazillion more to-do and GTD apps, I really felt this one was worth checking out.

Nirvana is an app for task management based on the GTD book by David Allen for getting things done. Its interface design and capabilities immediately caught my eye so I had to give it a shot. Read more about Nirvana, with a video preview, after the jump.

Video Preview

Overview

It’s important to note, first thing, that Nirvana is still in beta and requires an invite code to get into the app right away. It will hopefully be available to the public soon as it’s already a fantastic app that seems to work very well.

The Nirvana team has provided an invite code exclusively for Web.AppStorm readers! Read on to get the code.

The overall home page design likely won’t impress you, though it’s a nice and clean look that sets you up nicely to be impressed by the app interface design itself. The screenshot on the home page was just enough of a taste of the app design for me to be intrigued and really want to check it out.

Nirvana

Nirvana

Interface Design and Usability

The overall interface is very clean and skips the cluttering graphics you might get with other task management apps. At the same time, the design is slightly Mac’ish and utilizes pixel art to save space but also keep it visually appealing.

Interface Design

Interface Design

The overall navigation and usability of the app is organized and easy. Though there are some improvements that need to be made in task handling. For example, when creating a new task there doesn’t appear to be a way to view previous tags you’ve entered (such as in a list), but as you type the tags will appear. You can then select the tags via mouse click but not using the keyboard’s arrow keys. (Maybe there’s another shortcut?)

New Task

New Task

When selecting the due date there should be a faster way to select the current day, maybe even defaulting to the current day. When the date picker pops up, the Today button wasn’t functional. Nirvana has Areas (such as Home, Work, etc.) that can be used to break down tasks. When creating a new task, there’s no way to set an area though. Once the task is created you’ll have to assign the task to the desired area, which means more clicks and more time spent.

Task Area

Task Area

As you might’ve guessed, the app is drag-n-drop capable which is a really lovable feature and one that’s almost required in today’s task management apps. Using the three vertical or horizontal gray lines, you can move tasks up or down in your task list or drag them to a place in the sidebar (trash, archive, Inbox, etc).

Task Dragging

Task Dragging

This brings me to another negative of the app, which is task priority. When adding a new task, there’s no method for setting a task’s priority. I suppose the idea is you’ll set the task’s order once it’s been created, but it would certainly be nice to be able to set the task’s position when creating it.

If the tasks are set on different due dates then they’ll automatically be ordered accordingly.

As you complete tasks, the due date marker is removed and the checkbox is checked off. However, they stay in the list until you either remove them or select a different view. You can refine your task view above your task list by selecting a specific tag or viewing only the remaining tasks due. However, when you’re viewing your due tasks and check one as completed, it shifts you to the full task list. I would prefer that it stay on the list of due tasks, but that’s just my personal opinion.

You can navigate through three different task viewing modes (to the left of the tags), which will hide or expand task notes as desired.

Though there are a few things about the interface usage I would like to see improved, it’s overall done very well and is quick and easy to manage tasks, projects and even contacts. The interface isn’t cluttered with complexity, which makes it easy to focus on what you should be doing — completing your tasks! The app utilizes JavaScript enhancements to essentially eliminate page refreshes and make navigation and usage just as snappy as a desktop app.

Project Tasks

Project Tasks

Mobile and API

iPhone App (Web)

iPhone App (Web)

Every GTD and task management app must have mobile access to, at the very least, some degree. With today’s smart phones, capable of near desktop computing, mobile access is often times the deal breaker for many people.

Nirvana has been hard at work developing a well designed and solid mobile version of their app, and from what I’ve used of it so far, it’s pretty good! I haven’t spent too much time in it so far, but considering it was just recently released, you can count on future improvements.

They’re also planning a native iPhone app, though I’m not quite sure if it’s already in development or not. Their main focus has been the mobile web app for better multi-platform access out of the gate, and I think that’s the right move.

An API is also on the way, which will enable developers to really begin taking advantage of Nirvana and integrate it with third party apps.

Invite Code

Nirvana as generously given Web.AppStorm readers a chance to get in on their great app right away. Use the code “appstormwww” to sign up and start using Nirvana now!

Final Thoughts

Considering Nirvana is still in beta and is such a new app, they’re definitely on the right track. I already love the app and have replaced my previous GTD app with it. Overall, there’s enhancements that have yet to be made but the Nirvana team is well aware of that and even provides a list of what they’re working on next.

An often overlooked aspect of web apps such as these is help and support, which are often times non-existent. That’s not the situation at Nirvana however. They have a fantastic help and support community (although small), with staff members more than willing to answer any question you may have.

Overall, I have to say that the Nirvana team knows how task management should be done and, from what I can tell, has a strong understanding of GTD principals. Though the app has improvements to be made, the team is aware of it and is already working on them, not to mention the fact that the app is already fantastic! A rating of 9/10 is a fair assessment, but I personally see this app and the Nirvana team as a 10/10. Be sure to watch our app preview (above) if you haven’t already.

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Summary

Nirvana is GTD task management software for getting things done, based on the book by David Allen.

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  • Now that’s cool, It’s really close to Things, but now we can use it on windows too :) Always so stupid to get your macbook in order to see what I had to do.

  • I got my invite for this one quite quickly, and I have to say the interface and functionality are brilliant! The only thing that is stopping me from using this right now is that lack of ‘team’ functions available. I believe they are working on a task deligation system which, once in place will sit this app in a fantastic place for team task management.

    Finger crossed it gets added soon!

    • In the same boat. I think the app looks fantastic but I really need to be able to delegate a task, have it show up in their INBOX, then I get a notification when they are done.

      Another thing my team would like is the ability to attach files to a task or discussion…aka REFERENCE material. I didn’t see the ability to do this.

  • Great app! I´m using it right now. I´ve used Remember the Milk for over a year, now I´m trying this one,and it´s great.

  • I switched to Nirvana from one of the leading online services for several reasons:

    1. It’s in the cloud, so I can use it from any computer; the mobile app works well and native iphone, etc. apps are coming.

    2. Project tasks are easily ordered and re-ordered and can be assigned to other projects. Sub-tasks (and possibly sub-projects) are likely features but for now, the notes section of each task provides a suitable workaround.

    3. Next on the dev’s list are scheduled tasks. These will allow you to hide tasks until you must due them (due dates) do them again (recurring) or start them (start or tickle date.)

    4. Emailing to your inbox makes it easy to input new tasks.

    5. Areas of Focus (Responsibility) work like “uber-contexts”–for those 50,000 feet areas of your life–home, work, business–which means you can review, for example, only work tasks when you are at work, only home tasks when you are at home. If you have three areas, it’s like having three installations of Nrvana, in effect, but they integrate nicely via an “all areas” view which is necessary for your weekly review.

    6. The tag management system allows you to sort with a higher degree of granularity. I’ve set up a context of @call for example, and I can then sort for all calls or just business calls, or whatever. There will be updates to the tag system which will allow us to set up “smart lists” for multi-tag filtering and saved sorts.

    Of course the simple interface makes the app a pleasure to use. You don’t get caught up in too many options and yet there is enough flexibility to allow for different work flows.

    The bottom line is Nirvana is an elegant and functional tool for GTD, with great support and a very bright future.

    Come visit me on the forums.

    David Ward (“Terminado”)

    P.S. I ‘m just a happy user, not affiliated with Nirvana (wish I was, tho!)

  • What is not mentioned in this article (which usually is addressed by web.appstorm and mac.appstorm reviews) is that the estimated cost is going to be $5 per month. That is double what the comparable services are charging. It’s a great web app, I really like it, but for $5 a month?? Not even close.

    • Oh, I didn’t see that it would be estimated at $5/m once released. If you wouldn’t mind, could you share the link to the info. on that? Thank you!

    • Oh, thanks! :)

      It looks like they’ll still follow the “fremium” model but offer a premium plan as well. My opinion on the matter is a premium plan is to be expected to keep development running solid, but it’ll have to compete with comparable services (as the comments in that link argue). I guess we’ll have to see what happens when the time comes. I certainly don’t mind paying a little extra for a quality app in which I know has a strong development team, but it’ll definitely hurt their revenue if they aren’t competitive.

      • I definitely agree Jarel. $5 per month is double what they will need to charge to be competitive. I hope they realize that soon.

  • Thanks for spreading the word about Nirvana (my suggestion :)
    Its great that a few people have started using it after this review

  • Is this the same type of Tag Management System?

    http://bit.ly/tag_management_system

  • Thanks for the post and the code, still works. 😀

  • Thanks for the invite code. Just read David Allen’s GTD and checking out different apps, this one looks the best at first glance.

  • Thanks for all.. for the review and the code…

    This project manager is really nice…. is really simple and beatiful.

    I was using doit.im but they change their interface and is like i dont like it… then i was using toodledo but the UI is realy bad.

    I am going to trying this web app, thanks a lot