What you use to manage your daily tasks as a programmer?

  1. I use Outlook built in Tasks Manager.
  2. I track them by emails.
  3. Use third party software for task management.
  4. I remember my all tasks.
  5. Or Others?
+1  A: 

FogBugz and 3x5 cards*

*My setup's not that complicated but it's what I aspire to.

Mark Biek
+5  A: 

I use a pencil and sheet of paper. There is also a decent task list built into Visual Studio.

Ben Hoffstein
+12  A: 
while (true){
    1. Check emails.
    2. StackOverflow
    3. Reddit.

    { code }
Steve B.
Mark Biek
I think you get a fatal exception on step 2 and you are unable to continue. So only step 1 and 2 remains :)

There are tasks, and there are daily tasks. When I think of daily tasks, I think of the recurring, repetitive stuff you have to do every day. In that case, are we programmers for nothing? Mine are automated to the point where it's usually just a quick glance at a report to make sure everything went as expected.

Joel Coehoorn
+1  A: 

See the answers attached here:

The post you linked to seems to be more about time tracking for hours or billing. This is about task management.
it's the same question; and most of the same answers apply here
For the record, I up voted you to try and combat some of the lunacy in here.
Chris Lively
+12  A: 

I find the most important thing to keep control over is my non-programming work.

If I do it as it comes in, I get too many interruptions to be productive. If I put it off, I either get interrupted (when it becomes so urgent that it can't wait any longer), or I end up dropping the ball.

What seems to work best for me is to just write off a day or two a week for what I call "crap work." I show up at work and think "Today I won't worry about getting any real work done. I'm just going to catch up on my crap work." I've been doing this for a few years now, and it seems to work really well for me.

It usually gives me at least three days a week of uninterrupted time to focus, and I find uninterrupted time orders of magnitude more productive than time with interruptions.

I wish I could vote this up more than once, because setting aside time for the crap work has turned out to be a huge helper for me.
Brock Boland
+2  A: 
  • A flip-up spiral-bound notebook and a pen for daily tasks. I make a TODO list at the start of each day, then take notes throughout the day on:
    • Errors that I made and how I fixed them
    • Follow up tasks
    • Anything else I learn during the day
  • Outlook and Google Calendar (now integrated since we upgraded to Office 2007) for meetings and appointments.
Scottie T

Post-It notes which I stick to my desk in groups of "Urgent!", "Later", and "Done! Woot!"

David Dorward
+1  A: 

Little slips of recycled printer paper, scattered all over the desk.

Have tried a number of electronic methods, but they all fail the "annoyance test" (annoying me more than they help).


I'm now using the Journal app on a Tablet PC and I no longer need the little scraps of paper at all.

Brian Knoblauch
+2  A: 

I've learned the hard way that you should get all your orders and tasks in email. Keep them in case you do something questionable (like "Please delete this live database"), so that when things go wonky, you can say "My line manager told me to do it, its his fault!". Apart from that, wire bound notebook for minor things like "Must remember to send email to 3rd party" etc etc etc...


Post-It notes.

I keep them in order of priority on either the cube wall or stuck on the shelf-edge. Simple to reshuffle them, or add new items. When I'm done they go into the bin. Easy.

Steven Adams

I have a piece of paper for short term tasks, and a notebook for longtermers.

Plus bugtracking via email.


I use a tool that essentially records a journal of everything I do. I can at any point type a quick indicator of what I am doing or of what I need to do, and later review it to eliminate things. The tool also tracks the code I was visiting or editing at any time, so when I go back to a task I often know where to start or at least what my last changes were.

+1  A: 

I keep my Inbox empty, pending tasks in a Pending e-mail folder that always shows the number of emails, regardless of whether they're read/unread, and move everything else either into Done, Finished, Spam or a project-specific Folder (of which I have perhaps half a dozen). Everything is then indexed by LookOut^W Windows Desktop Search. This technique is based on an article derived from the "Getting Things Done" book.


NowDoThis. So perfect for my needs to stay focused. One look and I remember what I am (supposed to be) working on.

Note that they now have tab contexts, see their blog post.

+1  A: 

I find the Windows freeware program DevProject Manager really helpful. It lets you track and prioritise development work in a really simple manner. Here's what it does

  • create new projects (optionally in "folders")
  • associate with a folder on your computer / pen drive
  • make rich text notes on each project
  • assign tasks / bugs etc to the project categorised according to your own terms (e.g. Release, Spec, Development)
  • prioritise tasks
  • view all tasks from all projects
  • set deadlines

It's also portable so you can keep it with you on your USB pen drive all the time.

Odilon Redo
+2  A: 

I've found backpackit to be an excellent way to keep my to do list in a centralized spot where peers/management can see what's currently on my plate. You can drag and drop tasks up and down and create separate lists for different projects/clients. And since it's web based it's available anywhere.

Cory House

I have a giant whiteboard in my office where I keep a to-do list, of sorts. I love it because I can easily include drawings with to-do items.

+1  A: 

I've come to rely quite heavily on ToDoList by abstract spoon for task tracking and Evernote 2.2 for notes.

I have become so dependent on ToDoList I don't think I could be effective without it.


Fogbugz for project management and OmniFocus (a Mac app) for all other personal and "daily" tasks. Also, iCal for my calendar.

All of my development is done on Windows virtual machines running on Macs using VMWare fusion. This permits me to back up my entire development environment and, as a side effect, lets me use OmniFocus as well as the Mac version of Photoshop (which is significantly faster than the Windows version) for web graphics work.

Mark Brittingham
+4  A: 

Actual detailed project tasks are handled by our internal SharePoint project sites, but handling every project, task, and to-do list in my life is handled by Remember The Milk!, an excellent GTD-type web app. With mobile access, SMS reminders, e-mail support, and Gmail and iGoogle plug-ins, it's the easiest method I've found for making sure all of my "next actions" stay in front of me wherever I am. It also has a nice iPhone friendly web-interface, but only in the pay version. Pretty much all of the core functionality is free, though.

Overall, if you feel that your are overwhelmed by your tasks (work and personal), I would really suggest reading Getting Things Done, by David Allen. The GTD approach really works well for me.

NOTE: Despite my enthusiasm, I do not work for Remember The Milk! or the David Allen Company :-)


I've been using Monkey GTD for a really long time now, and it works like a breeze. I love how it can handle parallel projects, and tasks that are in "wait" stage but need my attention/prompting from time to time. Plus, it's super customizable.


We developed an internal application that manages all of our tasks, as well as tracks bugs etc. Based on our tasks, we can automatically generate our timesheets at the end of the week.

+1  A:

It is really useful because it is very easy and quick to add tasks to the Inbox and in the Calendar.

It is so precious to me and it doesn't cost a penny. Highly recommended!