Having to juggle both household responsibilities and work, productivity is always in flux for me. I’d usually sit down and focus for more than two hours, but there are instances when I’d get so distracted that the day ends with so much left undone.
I’ve tried reading up on several productivity systems, one of which is David Allen’s infamous work-life management system, Getting Things Done®. This system works well for so many people to such an extent that they would use GTD apps to fit it into their workflow. Nozbe is a web app that adheres to the GTD productivity system and has since helped thousands of people become more productive since its inception in 2007. What’s more, the app recently got a design overhaul that aims to sharpen its core feature set and introduce new features as well.
Let’s see what the latest version of Nozbe (1.7) has to offer, how it works, and if it is successful in helping users apply and adopt basic GTD principles.
A Huge Leap from Nozbe Classic
Nozbe’s main highlight is the user interface redesign, which is in my opinion a huge leap from what Nozbe Classic looks like. With just your next actions and to-dos displayed, what is being emphasized on Nozbe 1.7 is the task at hand and what should be done to tick it off your list. Moreover, the new interface gives every element of the Nozbe experience its designated place (e.g., inboxes on side tabs, notes and comments within a task).
There are several additional features to further help you stay organized, focused, and motivated. The Activity progress provides a chronological presentation of all activities done on your Nozbe account; there is now stronger support file sharing support for third party apps like Evernote, Box, and Dropbox; and you can open individual Nozbe projects on separate tabs when using the new web app. These are, of course, just a scratch on the surface, considering that the premium plans offer collaboration tools for multi-user accounts.
Overall, Nozbe’s new design is a huge improvement over its old web app, and sure enough, existing Nozbe users have welcomed it with just a couple of requests to make the app even better.
The Core Features
Nozbe’s core features align with the basic GTD principles of identifying, sorting, contextualizing, and completing your tasks. These ensure that you are equipped with the tools you need to manage all of your projects and tasks without feeling overwhelmed. But rather than just figuring that out for yourself, you have the 10-Step Ultimate Productivity Course by Nozbe CEO Michael Sliwinski that teaches you 10 steps to better productivity and how to use Nozbe to apply them.
Because I went through the course before testing the app, I’m able to understand the implications of having multiple inboxes, projects, contexts, next actions, and comments better. More importantly, I’m able to use these features—staples for GTD and general project/task apps—more effectively than ever. Nozbe enhances the experience with other useful features like keyboard shortcuts, convert task to project, task details (e.g., duration, due dates), contexts, and powerful comments. And if you’d like to concretise your list further, you can print the current project and task list.
Comments are especially useful as it allows you to add more detail to your tasks. You can attach files from your computer or Dropbox, add notes from your Evernote account, insert URLs, type in Markdown, and add sub-tasks. If you intend to use Nozbe to collaborate with others, this makes file sharing and viewing much more convenient and less heavy on your email inbox.
Mobility: Email Tasks to Nozbe
Since I’m always busy and on-the-go, easy access to my projects and tasks is important. With Nozbe’s wide range of desktop and mobile apps, I can easily view and strike off items using the Mac desktop app and the new iPhone app. All my activities are then synched across my devices and available at all times.
Apart from this, Nozbe allows users to email tasks using a special ID consisting of your account username and a secret PIN. I especially like this feature because of how easy it is to convert my emails into actual tasks on Nozbe. Just write the task on the subject line or the body of the email beginning with a period before sending it to your special Nozbe email address. You can also set action parameters to specific tasks, such as project name and context.
Limitations and Suggestions
While the overall design of the new Nozbe is excellent, there are still areas for improvement. For instance, the calendar shows tasks with specific due dates in list form. It would help to have options to view tasks by week or month, since different people have different preferences when viewing their calendars. Tasks can then be dragged and dropped to specific dates within the calendar, automatically tagging it as the new due date.
In terms of usage, new users will face a learning curve because of the small icons and where they are situated. I spent a bit of time and effort figuring out where to locate and how to edit project details, utilize the different filters, and assign accurate contexts to tasks, among others. It shouldn’t be too difficult to remember though once you use Nozbe and the GTD productivity system on a regular basis.
It’s also important to note that the free plan limits you to just six projects (the main inbox included) and no collaboration. You’ll need to upgrade to any of the premium plans to enjoy an unlimited number of projects and up to 100 team members, starting at $10/month or $8/month when billed annually. With that said, the free plan is best for individuals working on personal projects with tasks that can be done on one’s own.
Nozbe as an application is a breeze to use without bugs or errors ruining the experience. No button or feature sticks out or gets in the way with my work progress, which is a plus for me. Performance-wise, speed is pretty okay when moving from one section to another or when dragging and dropping tasks, projects, and contexts.
Overall, Nozbe is a GTD web app I’d recommend to anyone looking for a free and flexible solution. And if you feel that you need to expand your team or require more than five projects, upgrading to any of the premium plans can be done in-app. At the end of the day, as you organize and complete your daily to-dos, you understand and experience the results of one of the most effective productivity systems known in the business world.
Founded on the Getting Things Done® productivity system, Nozbe is a productivity app that aims to help users focus and get more things done. The latest version features a full redesign of the web app and additional functionalities to make progress and tracking much more efficient.
- Nozbe 1.7 |
- Free / Premium plans start at $10/month or $8/month billed annually. |
- Michael Sliwinski