which productivity apps do you use? And how are they integrated?

Use case: starting a new job, taking a uni course, writing a masters thesis, plus personal goals to achieve. Walking around with a massive to do list in my head.

I'm trying out apps to keep track, but they're not integrated. Think mail in one app, calendar in another, Nextcloud + deck, tasks in a notes app. Since it's not integrated, I'm often doing double work or lose track. How do other people do this? ๐Ÿค”

ยท ยท Tusky ยท 29 ยท 14 ยท 15

@Gina I've mostly been using NextCloud Notes for that, but tried some other solutions on NextCloud as well (including just syncing markdown or text files using WebDAV). It works, but still in quite some situations you feel the price of using FLOSS - in terms of integration and tooling support, there are limits). Might depend on your actual requirements though - what kind of integration do you have in mind? ๐Ÿ™‚
#askthefediverse #foss

@z428 I think the one that I most desperately need is a NC deck - Calendar integration. Which should be possible with NC tasks and caldav, if I remember correctly.

Buttt I use a foss calendar I found on fdroid, which doesn't support integrations. Maybe I just need a new calendar.

As far as I know, most calendar apps, even FOSS ones, use the internal Android calendar. So it should work with DAVx5.

NC-Deck has a Calendar integration since one of the last update. ๐Ÿ‘ I use the heck out of it.

@cappuMUC Cool, wasn't aware of that, need to give it a try for sure.

@Gina I've been using some caldav based tasks app for a while which actually was pretty neat, think it was Astrid (which even supported hierarchical tasks). This, then again, worked pretty poorly with the NC web calendar. ๐Ÿ˜

@z428 @Gina
The time you spend to try apps, to ask your fediverse bubble and to try out new apps is wasted while your todo list keeps growing.

Donโ€™t waste your time with lists anyway (and apps for managing those lists).

And if you need time to arrange your ideas, use pen and paper.

Off you go! ๐Ÿ‘Š

@Qwertziop @z428 haha thank you for that completely useless advice. Off you go!

@Qwertziop ๐Ÿ˜ Well yes, but.... in my last job we've been using the Google apps for this purpose, and still it then and now feels weird that real "on-par" alternatives are just arriving very slowly. Pen and paper is cool for some purposes but a rather sad option if chosen just as a fallback to compensate for a lack of features in today's tools. ๐Ÿ˜‰


@Gina I know this isnโ€™t exactly what you want but, have you tried just carrying a small notebook around with you?

Tech has done a terrific job of convincing us we need more layers of tech to solve problems introduced by more layers of tech. This leads to needing yet more layers, and it doesnโ€™t end.

Using a notebook that I carry in my back pocket was the unsolution I found.

@jameschip considering I spend 10.000 hours a week on my phone I'd really prefer mobile apps ๐Ÿ˜… plus, I really need the notifications, otherwise I'm still trying to remember tasks.

@Gina ah yes another app to make it 10001 hours :). The paper approach is not for everyone, granted, and it is infuriating that there isnโ€™t a one app to do it all at once. Best of luck in your hunt.

@Gina and yes, that can be read as binary 17 or 10k1. I suppose it depends on how good the solution you find is.

@Gina @jameschip Got an app called tasks in which you can assign a task, a deadline and in what completion stage are you currently. Also for tracking your habits, loop habit tracker is there. I use tickmate as a small journal of what things were done that day :)

@Gina For my personal stuff, I'm using emacs and org-mode on my laptop for tasks. My org files are synced to my phone via nextcloud, and I have orgzly installed on my phone.

I'm also using emacs to manage my email, so creating tasks in org from a mail is trivial.

I don't use org for heavy scheduling though, nextcloud calendars take care of that. Orgzly sends me a notification at 9am with tasks that are due that day, that's all I need.

I love org mode. There is a bit of a learning curve but it's one of those things that once you dig in, you realize it can do just about everything. The really nice thing about orgmode is that it's all plain text. So you can sync with just about anything. Orgzly has a nice widget too that makes adding tasks easy and seeing what you have.

@Gina I know what you answered the other person, but I will mention it once more.

A paper notebook.

With the right set up, it can work just like notifications.

Having tried both apps and paper, I felt more relaxed with the latter. There is some psychological trick to it. Phones are the source of distraction and chaos. Managing and sorting that wealth of daily info on paper can bring back order. The fact that it is not your phone is why it works so well.

Of course, ymmv. Best of luck!!

I recommend "davx5" for syncing any caldav calendar with android

@Gina I try to keep it simple. In my experience when I have too many tools I spend too much time maintaining these tools (or just having them in my mind - did I clear that notification? did I check that feed?) and when "everything is integrated" then it starts to affect the way I tackle tasks because I start to organize and plan things not the way I want but the way apps support that.

So I ditched all extras and now I mostly use just three apps - Nextcloud Notes for quick notes, Tasks ( for reminders and quick lists and Zim (desktop wiki) to organize my projects and keep important notes. None of these are really unique and you can easily replace them with something else but I like these the best.

@Gina I've started using just a couple text files for everything. Less distractions and clutter. A modified version of this.

@Gina i've been using org-mode recently and found it quite useful. if youre on android the orgzly app has notification for due dates. you can have separate notebooks for work/studies/projects etc and use a combined view too. thing is it took me an afternoon to learn and given what you have on your plate already, might not be the right time to start with it (if youre not already familiar with org).

1. Pen and notepad. You dismiss others as stupid when they say this, but in my experience, it's the most effective. Pre-corona, I had to travel to uni on the tube/train/bus, and the notepad was better than any flimsy app.

Very easy to "sync" and keep track, and infinite battery. No need to rely on some big company for storage or authentication.

Technology should be there to help us, not absorb us. I say this as a person who codes. Avoid #bloat!

2. Have one source of truth. Whatever it is (your notepad, a single markdown file you sync across devices, your todos app, emails...), decide wisely and strictly treat it as such. Maybe look into #BuJo.

Similarly, compartmentalise:


And learn vim if you haven't already!

long reply 

@Gina Major 'been down this rabbit hole' mood. I'd advocate for not doing something as complicated as what I do now...

since you're already in Nextcloud, centering that might be a good idea - you have calendar and todo there already, plus file storage for project folders are notes backup - next step would be to integrate it. Nextcloud supports webdav / caldav, which means independent of the client software you may be used to using, you can use it within your calendar apps, there are todo apps that sync to it, etc. On desktop, thunderbird is effective for this, and will also integrate it with your mail environment. On android, search through f-droid for the webdav connector, it will direct you from there.
alternatively you can go for another sync method and todo tracking platform. I'm heavily FOSS so I don't use something like todoist, but those are an option. Or, there is the todo.txt format, which a number of desktop apps support and is designed to be easy to work with as plaintext, and there is an android app in f-droid called Simpletodo I think that supports it. This has all the tagging and filtering you expect if you do GTD available so if you need organizational big guns in one file it's a great approach. I would personally sync that via syncthing not nextcloud just for simplicity since it doesn't support webdav directly. Syncthing is definitely a tool to remain aware of when you need files to self-organize between machines.
and then there's what I'm moving to... I have a directory of org-mode files, with subdirectories of project materials, synced to my nextcloud, and then pulled by the app orgzly on my phone. This gives me a running sorted agenda I can check things off of on the phone, room to ramble when I want to expand documents or project plans on the go, and the [evil laugh] power of a fully operational task management system when I hit the desktop again. Only downside is I have to hit sync manually on the phone but maybe I'll find a way around that soon. Using org-mode has a huge barrier to entry unless you're already an emacs user (which I'm guessing not). For me spacemacs forms a bridge over that, but it's still been aaaaargh getting into it. Otoh now that I am, it's taking off.

I work under a similar load of projects, and any one of these systems would suffice if tasks were tagged consistently, but as the boss fights level up I'm leaning into being able to work in individual files then have a collated agenda view more and more.

for larger stuff (actual writing, not the task list) like dissertations, my discipline results in writing them in LaTeX so sorting those files necessarily happens in its own way. If I were doing it again however, I would definitely consider using something more suited to being an outliner such as pandoc or org-roam then dropping that into the LaTeX template after it had started to take form.

re: long reply 

@Gina & I know you know this but it has to be said -- back up your thesis!!! nextcloud is good for this. but also back up all of your research notes leading up to the thesis; losing 300 pages of calculations and reference quotes does noone any good.

re: long reply 

@feonixrift haha that's going to be my next question, what do yall use to back-up Nextcloud?

re: long reply 

@Gina @feonixrift A shell script to dump the database regularly, and rdiff-backup to back up to a USB disk that used to be stored at my office pre-covid. Haven't found a good replacement for that now I'm wfh.


* Sensing the name of the ancient one Org Mode has been uttered

I use pandoc to temporarily convert my existence out of Asterisk into Reality.

** I look like I haven't seen a mirror in years

I have a look of a scientist you shouldn't trust in my eye

** I open my mouth and proclaim

+work-boss+PRIORITY="A"+Coffee="unlimited"+Effort<2 +With={Sarah|Denny}+SCHEDULED>="<2008-10-11>"

before the spacetime-bulletpointspace rift destablizes and I am sucked back into the portal

Wait, did you get a new job? Congrats! ๐Ÿ‘

You remind of my sister, taking on so many things at once. Kudos! I'm too lazy for that! ๐Ÿ˜œ

@normandc thanks! :) I'm tooting about it tomorrow!

@Gina I use DAVx5 to sync:
- SimpleCalender over caldav
- tasks with OpenTasks (over the caldav)
- contacts over carddav
- k9mail for mail

All connected to hosted Mailcow, which uses "SoGo" for a web portal for all the over items.

I have similar problems with docs n notes but

@Gina first of all, congrats! Multi tasking like a champ! I'd just use Nextcloud and all its apps (notes, tasks, contacts, calendar, file management, even email)

@Gina I've been using Kanboard a while now and I love it. It has smart features and have a simple design (just like Miniflux).

@Gina I've tried a lot of e-tools over the last year. The only one that stuck was a paper journal - 'engineering day book' sounds cooler - and using the Bullet Journal method. Keeps track of my tasks, progress towards goals, events, ...
Keeping it up for now, been since September so it seems this is sticking.

@myrmidex @Gina Never heard of the bullet journal method...interesting.

@Gina At first i used caldav to sync my tasks, but now they are on etesync. I use on my phone and evolution on the laptop, but its really awful for tasks management. I hope the caldav backend of gtg is available soon

Store you calendar/todos (caldav) and your contacts (carddav) in Nextcloud and use DAVx5 on your phone to use/sync those same things on your phone.
And OpenTasks (or app allows you to create tasks/todos which are stored in your calendar (and thus stored/synced in NC)
Kontact also integrates with OC/NC.
I've been using that for many years now.

@FreePietje @Gina ditto on the calendar and integrations. I've given up on to-do list apps. Currently trying my hand at a zettelkasten/vimwiki hybrid where I add tasks to the index page.

@Gina If you're curious and collecting options, I can highly recommend Paul Fenwick's talk on Taskwarrior, specifically how he integrates it with a bunch of other systems *and* makes it play nicely even with his ADHD.

@Gina @artyr3 I tried and liked this suggestion.

There is something magical about looking back in time at your notes if you can manage it.

I'm running a #Wekan service on my #Yunohost server - and to me this really helpful to keep track of the many things I need to move forward.
All of this being #FOSS, I'd love to see #Nextcloud integrate more of that into #NextcloudNotes - but right now, Wekan still is worth the extra effort to me :mastolove:

@Gina Kontact, the @kde PIM so far has worked with everything I have thrown at it.

Two disclaimers, though:

1. I have been using KMail / Kontact from the early 2000s, so whether Kontact adapts to my workflow or I have unconsciously adapted my workflow to Kontact is anyone's guess

2. your specific needs will certainly make your mileage vary.

Either way, lots of luck on your search and let us know what you find!

@Gina Emacs. Handles mail nicely. Org mode for tracking, writing, structure, time reports. It is nicely integrated

Calendar (any, it doesn't matter):

- define time blocks for your week ( job / study / etc )
- add physical appointments ( dentist / gym / etc )
- Do not add tasks from a time block.
- Refactor every weekend to make sure you're adapting it to what you'll be able to commit next week.



Text editor (vim only!... Ok joking ):
- For each subject that you reserved a time block for ( job / study ), create a Backlog listing all the tasks you need to do, and a Sprint where you move only the tasks you need to finish at the current week.
- Check the each sprint daily , only at their specified time block
- Update the backlog and sprint every weekend


Don't over obsess on the achievement of the whole sprint/tasks defined. Try to make sure you're always...

@Gina ...committed and showing yourself up for all the time blocks defined, and you'll get better on setting up expectations for the next sprints

@Gina Trying to create it by myself. Which is hard since I keep losing track planning this project, too. ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

@Gina NextCloud has a suite of extension and corresponding mobile apps that work well together.

Notes, Talk, Bookmarks, and News all have Android apps.

NextCloud Tasks integrates beautifully with, though I think you also need DavX for Android installed for sync.

Pretty much any run-of-the-mill Contacts app or Calendar app can also make use of your DavX sync with NextCloud.

Personally, I use Tasks, Notes, and Calendar reminders the most.
Sign in to participate in the conversation

Fosstodon is an English speaking Mastodon instance that is open to anyone who is interested in technology; particularly free & open source software.