Why Nozbe Is Still My Favorite Task Management System

I have been using task-management software since the late 90s, when I first installed a program developed by Franklin-Covey. Since then, I have tried almost every system available, including Things, Remember the Milk, OmniFocus, Midnight Inbox, iGTD, Wunderlist, and many more.

The New Nozbe for Mac

But the one I have used for more than four years is Nozbe. In my view, nothing else comes close. The company just released a new desktop version (both Windows and Mac), which I have been beta-testing for the past few months.

If you are looking for a task management software tool—or are tired of the limitations of the one you have—here are eight reasons you should consider Nozbe:

  1. It follows the GTD methodology. This is the task-management methodology made popular by David Allen in his best-selling book, Getting Things Done (i.e, GTD). Rather than organizing tasks in a rigid, hierarchical fashion, he developed a flexible system for organizing tasks according to the context in which they are done (e.g., while online, while at the office, while at home, errands, phone calls, etc.) Nozbe follows this structure.
  2. It has an elegant, beautiful interface. The interface is much different from the web version, which, frankly, was showing its age. (Note: it, too, is being completely redesigned.) The desktop version is faster and easier to use. In my opinion, it still needs some work. It is missing a Preferences panel, for example, along with standard Mac menu items and keyboard shortcuts. For example, rather than entering ⌘-N to start a new task, you enter the letter “a.”
  3. It has the ability to share projects. This is one of my favorite aspects of Nozbe. It is designed with teams in mind. You can easily share projects with others, so they show up in their Nozbe. You can then assign tasks to individuals. The best part is team members can comment on individual tasks to update the status of the project, share resources, and ask questions. For example, my wife, Gail, and I use this for sharing shopping lists.
  4. It syncs seamlessly in the cloud. This is the primary reason I stopped using Things, another GTD task management system. It allowed you to sync over a WiFi network but not in the cloud. This proved to be too cumbersome in every day use. (The developer finally has a cloud version in beta, but the process has been painfully slow.) Nozbe uses auto-sync in the latest version, so everything is instantly synced in the cloud and pushed to every other device you have running Nozbe.
  5. It works with third-party applications. This is another aspect of Nozbe I love. For example, you can forward e-mails to Nozbe so a task is automatically created and the e-mail is attached as a comment. You can also sync individual Evernote items to specific projects. This is very handy if you use Evernote as much as I do. You can also attach individual files to projects or link them using DropBox. This makes Nozbe a veritable command center.
  6. It is available on almost every device. I use Nozbe on my MacBook Air, my iPad 3, and my iPhone. It is also available on Android. As a result, I always have my cloud-synced task management system with me, no matter what device I am using. The iPhone app in particular is a delight to use. And, I understand a HTML 5 version with offline support is in the works.
  7. It provides a Quick Entry mode. Nozbe is easy to use but was built with power users in mind. The new quick entry mode, for example, allows you to enter a task and then, using a hashtag (i.e., the pound symbol) immediately add a context, project name, due date, etc. This is a big time-saver.
  8. It is supported by an active development team. The founder of Nozbe, Michael Silwinski, is a personal friend of mine. His energetic, can-do attitude is infectious. He has a great vision for the product, leads a talented team, and is committed to releasing updates every few months.

The more I use Nozbe, the more I am impressed. It’s not perfect—and it’s not the least expensive—but it is better than anything else I have found on the market. The product is at once simple to use and yet full of numerous, advanced features. It is the only task management system I feel comfortable recommending.

The app itself is free. Nozbe makes its money by charging a subscription fee to sync your data between devices. It is worth every penny. However, you can try this service risk-free for sixty days. You can download the free Nozbe desktop apps (Mac and Windows) from the Nozbe home page.

Question: What task management software are you currently using? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Maciej Liziniewicz

    So happy you have mentioned Nozbe! It has been founded by my fellow pole – Michal Sliwinski! I love the fact that it is such a great tool!

  • Kevin

    I’ve been really happy with Things ever since the sync beta. But I’ve lusted after nozbe’s email and evernote integration since you’ve been discussing it.

    I took the nozbe plunge today and was happy until I realized that they’ve cinfused next items with focus and don’t have a true next items view. Now I’m feeling buyer’s remorse. Michael, what’s your workflow like with Nozbe?

    Thanks,

    Kevin
    http://www.kevinrothermel.com

  • http://twitter.com/MarlaCummins Marla Cummins

    I agree, Michael! As an ADHD Coach, this is the task
    management I use and recommend to my clients. Its simplicity, organization and ability
    to sync with Evernote and Dropbox were the determining factors for me.

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  • Hero

    Take a look at task management solution QL Task: http://www.quantumleap.eu/ql-task/

  • Ingo

    If Nozbe or a third party would ever create a usable Android app, I’d jump ship from Toodledo in a heartbeat.  But they just can’t seem to do that.  The latest rewrite is still a clunky thing that doesn’t bother to follow Android conventions in the least.  I had to rate it one star.

    This is why I keep renewing my Toodledo Pro subscription every year.  There are multiple great third-party apps available.  My current favorite is UTL (Ultimate Todo List), but DGT GTD is making great strides.

    I just wish they’d implement GTD as well as Nozbe *seems* to.

  • Ingo

    Thanks for your comments, Michael.  I’ll keep trying to use the updated Android app from time to time.

    But in regards to not following conventions, I chose an Android device, I expect my apps to all behave basically the same.  Any app that requires me to think in a different fashion than all the others breaks my flow.

    Breaking my flow is not what you want when you’re trying to Get Things Done.

    I don’t want to offend, but in my view it’s hubris to believe that Nozbe’s universal conventions are better than following established conventions.   

    What if Saab had decided that since they used stick controls on their airplanes that their cars would also use them even though every other car out there uses a steering wheel?  Would they have done well forcing their customers to relearn how to drive just their cars?

    Google’s Design Guide (http://developer.android.com/design/get-started/principles.html) exists for a reason, so that users can get a consistent interface across all apps and don’t have to waste time learning each new one.

    Actually, nothing makes my point better than this review of Windows 8:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTYet-qf1jo

    Again, I don’t want to offend.  I respect what you’ve done with Nozbe, I’ve been watching the product a long, long time, just waiting for the Android app. Please consider this constructive criticism if you can.

    • http://www.michaelsliwinski.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Thanks again for your comments. I take all the constructive critisism very seriously and as I wrote above, our goal is to make the best Android experience for our users as possible.

      We do however need to find equilibrium between OS conventions and our apps conventions. People who drive cars don’t usually buy planes. People who own Android phones very often also own an iOS device (and the other way around).

      Anyway, thanks again, we have the same goal as you do – to make our Android app the best we can so we are working hard on making this happen. We keep pushing better and better updates every other week. Thanks again.

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  • Stuart Tattum

    Any thoughts on the following issue?

    I send an e-mail to Nozbe with attachments. The attachments are loaded as Rich Comments in the task and as Files in the Inbox.

    I process the task by assigning a context, project etc.The attachments in the Rich Comments move with the task to the project. The attachments loaded as Files in the Inbox remain as Files in the Inbox and have to be manually removed.

    Is there a way to not have the attachments be loaded as files in the Inbox?

    I don’t think this feature is usable for me if I have to remove every attachment from the Inbox files manually.

    Thanks,

    Stuart

  • http://twitter.com/bhorvath77 Brian Horvath

    Michael and fellow readers – Have you seen how you can use Alfred & AppleScripts to post tasks without going through Nozbe directly?  I found this neat web page….Thanks ProductiveWizard!
    http://productivewizard.com/2012/07/quickly-create-nozbe-tasks-from-anywhere-with-this-keyboard-shortcut/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Nozbe now has a built-in Quick Entry hotkey, so you can enter a task from anywhere. It works really, really well. Thanks.

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  • Jhansen

    Does this software show a checklist of whom has completed a task and who has not?  I need something to track a team that all have the same task.

  • RichardHaralson

    You are right, Nozbe is on the $pendy side. Curious about Opus Domini – has anyone used it. D o you like it. Thoughts?

  • Chuck Balsamo

    Dear Michael,

    I’ve been trying to love Nozbe as you’ve suggested. I greatly value your opinions.

    I’ve watched every tutorial, read books, articles, etc… and cannot figure out how I should set up Nozbe for Team Collaboration.

    How are you using Projects, Contexts, Labels, etc… to best maximize the Nozbe software?

    Here is my situation:
    * I am a Pastor/Author/Speaker.
    * I lead a team of 6 executives at church.
    * I have an assistant for my Author/Speaker life.
    * I have a personal life shared with my wife and kids.

    Should I create a CONTEXT for EACH major life/business category… and then create projects and tasks for each?

    Or…

    Should I create a PROJECT for EACH major life/business category… and then create tasks for each project? (limits my options)

    Or…

    Should I create a LABEL for EACH major life/business category… and then use contexts, projects, and tasks as they were designed to be used? (the problem with this option is that there is no easy way to manage the label list)

    I’m a huge fan of yours. Please help me if you can.

    Dream Big,

    Chuck Balsamo

    • http://twitter.com/chuckbalsamo Chuck Balsamo

      Also, I have a team meeting today about productivity. No pressure. lol

      But really, if there is anyone else in this network with great ideas for my situation… I would really appreciate your input. Thanks a bunch!

  • Martin

    I use Remember The Milk of which the filtering is very usefull. i am doubting to switch over to Nozbe…

  • http://www.waynestiles.com/ Wayne Stiles

    Michael, I just saw that Evernote can turn notes into calendar events with notification: http://lifehacker.com/evernotes-missing-feature-how-to-add-reminders-to-you-508195172

    Have you heard of this? I wonder if this will dethrone Nozbe. Thanks.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Thanks for this link, Wayne.

      I love evernote as my electronic brain but I don’t like it’s interface for day to day task management. Maybe it’s just me?

      But adding this feature is surely a step in the right direction!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t think it will. I still maintain that Evernote is a great tool, but not for task management—at least not for me.

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  • Kristi Bothur

    How does this work with, or differently from, Evernote? I would like to use as few apps as possible to get as much done as possible.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I don’t use it with Evernote. If it has to do with writing, it goes in Scrivener. Everything else goes in Evernote. I tried writing in Evernote for a while, but it just isn’t designed for writers. I found it too distracting.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Hmmm… Considering this. Been using Wunderlist, but it’s a little buggy when it syncs.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It’s worth giving a spin.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It’s worth giving a spin.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      It’s worth giving a spin.

  • http://orgspring.com/ OrgSpring

    Asana, michael. Youve got to try asana. Its free and am amazing cloud app. Syncs to you gmail, ical, or outlook calendar, and allows for team project management.

    Learned about it from the guys at open church 2 years ago and have been using it ever since.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I tried it about a year ago and couldn’t quite get the hang of it. I’ll have another look. Thanks.

      • http://orgspring.com/ OrgSpring

        It’s a little funky with the sliding panel, I had the same reaction. but it’s just so powerful, and now it has something called organizational teams which lets you move projects between teams . The calendar integration for me is great too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.kaufmann.1612 Ben Kaufmann

    Manage tasks in a better, efficient and more time saving way with Task Management Software.Team Task Manager is designed to minimize the time it takes to keep your projects up-to-date. Assign tasks, setup due dates, add task dependencies, attach files, view progress reports and much more…
    http://www.deskshare.com/team-task-management.aspx

  • Ana Joseph

    Recently I have signed up for Brightpod ( http://brightpod.com ) , a project management app specifically for marketing teams. Includes readymade workflows & a whole bunch of collaboration features.

    • http://www.sahilparikh.com/ Sahil Parikh

      Good app!

  • Anwell Steve

    I can say that Nozbe is a hit and it will continue its popularity to all busy entreprenuers out there. It can be a little daunting at first, exploring the app but once you know the system, it will be surely easy for you. I can say that it’s indeed one of the best productivity software.

  • http://about.me/annakaliska Kaila

    I think you should check ot the SmartTM app. This one is strictly based on GTD and hase totally awesome, beautiful interface. Also this one syncs with Evernote, iCal, Google Calendar so it’s simple to manage all tasks in one place as simple as it can be!

  • Michael Douglas

    I has used the DayTimer software for years but they discontinued it. I’ve just been using excel for a few years and have wanted a more formal system. Thanks for the tip on Nozbe.

  • Ellis Thomas

    Person to person the tools varies and my part of task management is taken care by task management tools from Replicon for getting my things done up. What is your thought about that?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m sorry, but I am not familiar with that software. Thanks.

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  • Bruce Abadian

    Using proofhub (www.proofhub.com) these days but this tool too seems to be interesting. I will surely try this.

  • http://www.scottsjoblom.com/ Scott Sjoblom

    I need the ability to manage my tasks across a variety of platforms (PC, Mac & iOS) and so far Nozbe is doing a nice job of it.

    But I have two questions that perhaps someone can help me out with:
    1. Is there a way to set up due/overdue notifications?
    2. Is there a way to integrate it with iOS’s reminders?

    Thanks!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I’m afraid I don’t know. I don’t use notifications.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your questions, Scott!

      1 – Notifications of due/overdue tasks are coming in Nozbe 1.9 in January – stay tuned :-)
      2 – Nope, we don’t intergrate with reminders at this moment – how would you see this kind of integration? Why would you want this? Reminders are a very simple to-do system and Nozbe is a much more robust time/project management system and it’s actually a great substitute for reminders :-)

      Thanks again for considering Nozbe!

      @Michael, thanks again for endorsing us :-)

      • http://www.scottsjoblom.com/ Scott Sjoblom

        Thank you for responding! That is great news about the notifications. I am generally pretty good about reviewing my stuff each day but I like the confidence of knowing that if I set a reminder that I will be notified.

        As for the iOS Reminders app… not having integration is certainly not a deal breaker. Sometimes if an app has integration with it you can tweak it to use with Siri. Really just more curious than anything else. Thanks again.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I just heard from my friends at Nozbe. Here’s what they said:

      1. It is possible thanks to the Nozbe-Google Calendar integration. Tasks defined with particular date will have the same notifications as regular G-Cal events. Nozbe 1.9 is going to offer some native notifications, and Nozbe 2.0 – even more.

      2. We are working on implementing integration with iOS reminders in the future versions.

  • http://www.lachaineweb.com/ Jean-Christophe Dichant

    Do you suffer from the recurrent bugs from the latest Nozbe releases ? Every new release has a major bug (iPad blank screen, Win 8 with no display at all, etc.) and I spend more time trying to fix the software than using it. This is a major issue with respect that the annual fee is more expensive than other services (RTM) being much more stable. Any feedback appreciated ;)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      No, honestly, I haven’t. But I use the Mac version and don’t use it on my iPad. Sorry for your troubles. Thanks.

    • http://www.michaelsliwinski.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Hello Jean-Chirstophe and sorry you’ve been suffering from bugs in Nozbe. It’s not our intention to have our customers suffer problems – with each new iteration of Nozbe we’re trying to make your life easier with better features, not harder. Contrary to other solutions you mention, which are based on the web mostly, we support many platforms and we’re aiming at giving simultaneous updates to all of them at a time. For Nozbe 1.9.x we had to prepare 7 apps: Web app, Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, Android and Android for tablets apps.

      Some bugs are easy to spot and others are very rare and happen only to a few of our customers. In both situations we take them seriously and want to make our customers happy and productive.

      With each new release we’re improving our testing process and introducing longer “beta community testing” periods to make sure even the edgiest cases are covered.

      The next release 1.9.2 will have the auto-update mechanism improved (which is also a thing most of our competitors don’t have) so that each update to each new version goes smoother… and the upcoming Nozbe 2.0 version will have a month of community testing before we launch it for everyone.

      Suffice to say is that we’ve learned from our previous releases and as much as we like rushing to give you the best features, we don’t want to have you spend time debugging our apps, so we’re taking strong measures and putting emphasis on testing more than ever before.

      Thanks for being a Nozbe user!

      • http://www.lachaineweb.com/ Jean-Christophe Dichant

        Michael, thanks for taking the time to answer.
        I wouldn’t have left a comment if I was not enjoying the product so much. You pointed out the main Nozbe benefit, i.e. multiple platforms, offline mode and sync. It is true that other products are not at the same level, except RTM probably (but no Windows app).
        I still believe that Nozbe is the tool I want to use, but the fact is that I am obsessed every time I launch the app that it will crash for some reason.
        With 1.9, it looked much more stable, even iPad release was fine. I was very enthusiastic to see that 1.9.1 was coming and would again improve the stability. But it did not : my Win 8.1 was event not able to launch and display.
        Hopefully your online support is efficient and has all the workarounds needed.
        I do understand that it is a huge challenge to launch multiple releases at a time, I work in the software industry too. But some editors do.
        I know that you spend all required energy and time to have a great product, I am ready to wait for solutions, because the way you structured Nozbe is the way I need (GTD philosophy, etc.). But don’t take years ;)
        Anyway, your comment shows how dedicated you are, and I appreciate this, thanks for feedback.
        Greetings from Paris, France :)

        • KenJones

          Hello Paris? Shanghai calling… I share your frustration when things don’t work like I want them to…people too, for that matter…but I’ll tell you the best way to correct the errors we see is, in my opinion, to bother Delfina and the support staff with that little “email support” icon that is So Nicely situated right at the top of the page. That was one of the reasons I chose Nozbe…desiring to hear from users so much, they put a link right at the top.
          I’m older than the internet by far, and I’ve also tried many apps along the way. Remember Time and Chaos for DOS? Remember DOS? Anyway, I’m sticking with these guys. They’re on to something. And I love the way the look-and-feel remains consistent across platforms.
          Cheers from the wrong side of the Great FireWall.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

            I totally agree with you, Ken.

  • BIju Chacko

    Michael,

    Thanks for the post, I am currently in the process of deciding which project management software to use and I came across your post while searching for a review on Nozbe. Another tool/methodology I am considering is “THE SECRET WEAPON” (http://www.thesecretweapon.org/) which relies on email client and Evernote.

    I was wondering if you have any experience with that and whether or not you have any thoughts?

    Thanks,

    Biju

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I used The Secret Weapon for about a month. It didn’t work for me. I felt like I was using the wrong tool for the job and went back to Nozbe.

  • Benjamin Conway

    I have been using Nozbe for about 1 week now and it is far superior both to Remember the Milk and 2Do, the previous two programmes I used. I love how it helps me organize myself and the data… fantastic. Love being able to forward emails to Nozbe – takes them out of the inbox where they don’t belong and puts them into the processing stage. Brilliant!

    All I need to make it perfect is an app for Google Chrome that lets me send a website URL to Nozbe to read later…

  • Jaimie Bowman

    I have been trying to find the answer to this question – with Nozbe can you set alerts or reminders for actions due? My boss wants to be reminded 3x before the hour something is due. Would that be possible with this app? He doesn’t use Google Calendars, so we can’t set up reminders that way. He uses Outlook.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Nope, I am afraid not.