Monday, July 24, 2006

Interesting time/task management utility

Saw a reference to this on Larry O'Brien's blog--it's software to help you keep track of recurrent tasks that have "squishy" deadlines. There are plenty of to-do managers for one-time tasks, and calendars work great for things that have hard deadlines. But there's a whole list of things that fall into the nether regions between. For example, I have to do three takeoffs and landings at night every 90 days to stay night-current. I don't have to do it right at the 90-day mark, but sometime around there is good; when I do it, I want to restart the "clock". Likewise, bills need to be paid around a certain time of the month; a little earlier is fine, a little later is OK (so long as you set the time correctly!). Or you might want to exercise a minimum of three times per week.

The program is called Sciral Consistency, and it has an unlimited free trial (registering, for $25.00, unlocks some unspecified limits).

As their website says, "If you water your plants or exercise as consistently as you breathe, you probably don't need Sciral Consistency for those tasks. But if you examine your life, you may find a surprising number of activities unique to you in both your personal and professional life that could benefit from more Consistency."

They point out that, over time, the patterns of colors teach you where you're doing well and where you could spend more effort.

The screenshot shows that it's about time to water the plant in my office, that sometime in the coming week I ought to run the satellite-vs-pyranometer insolation comparisons, and there are 271 procrastinating days remaining before I have to change the Arlington anemometer and wind-direction instrument. The colors brighten and dim according to criteria too detailed to list in words, but transparently obvious in practice (e.g., dim red == potential trouble; bright red == problem).

Doubt it'll revolutionize my life, but I'm liking it so far. I dunno about you, but I have the most trouble with precisely this kind of thing: No hard deadline, but I don't want it to slip into the never-done past, either.


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