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


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.



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