An application called Today was released recently by the developers of PocketTweets. It's a $15 application that integrates with iCal to display tasks and events, offering a complete interface for entering new tasks and events without opening iCal. It came at a time when I was furiously trying to make a homebrew task management system come to fruition using iCal and Mail, but ultimately left me in a not-much-better place than I started. I appreciate the simplicity of the app, but it doesn't provide much power beyond just using iCal to begin with.
So I tried to make my own way...
Anxiety, which is free (and features a HUD interface which somehow always earns points in my book), provides similar integration -- at least for tasks -- as do several other great little applications. But none of them allow for the task sorting, flagging, etc. that would make them truly useful to me.
This round of solution-searching began with a post by Dennis Best titled Getting things done (simply) in Leopard. It outlined a system where iCal calendars are your contexts (or areas of responsibility), To-dos are created in Mail, Mail Notes become projects, and Smart Mailboxes were used to interesting ends. It even had a tagging system, allowing for great flexibility. This was highly appealing to me given its close integration with my primary source of tasks and information: email. Add things like automatic Jott integration, external links, a certain amount of AppleScript integration and the possibilities seemed pretty intoxicating.
I currently use OmniFocus for task management and I'm happy with it in most areas. In the end, though, I'm searching more for a project management system combined with a GTD application; one that can handle project notes and file attachments more fluidly. But the more I toyed with variations on Dennis' system, the more I ran into deal-killing problems which can be summed up fairly quickly: note editing in Mail stinks, linking external files is a pain, and sorting tasks and defining next actions scattered throughout Mail Notes is just too much work.
Like I said, OmniFocus is quite good. And I do have a lot of hope for Things. A recent post at the Things blog details the upcoming iCal integration, which looks spectacular and allows smaller apps like Today or Anxiety to act as interfaces. I'm hoping it catches up soon with features like Applescripting and Mail integration.
What I really want is a solution that wraps up the fun and power of Bento and the note-taking, link-handling greatness that is VoodooPad Pro or Mindjet MindManager into something as skilled at task management as OmniFocus or Things. Until I find it, I'm sticking with OmniFocus and a barrage of Applescripts. And when I do find it, I'm sure that -- as if by magic -- I'll become so productive that I can make up for all of the time lost searching for it.