Weeks 2 & 3: More features and improvements

The last two weeks we have been busy improving and adding some additional features to Thymer, based on the initial feedback (thanks everyone!). Here’s an overview of the changes you’ll notice most:

Date formats (German, Swedish)

Date Formats

Some German and Swedish users pointed out they would like to see support for date formats used in these countries. As we want Thymer to work for people in many different countries, we started out by added some additional date formats. More to come.

Inline Discussions


It’s now possible to leave comments and discuss tasks without having to leave the page. An option to view the discussion on a separate page is also still there. As we also happen to often close a task after leaving a comment (like “I don’t think it needs to be improved any further”), we added an extra completed button which will post the comment and mark the task as done.  Comments can also be edited now.

Double Click to Edit

Some of our users told us it would be useful to be able to edit a task by simply double clicking it. We added this feature too.

Fixes and other improvements

  • We changed the way task lists are rendered now, so it should feel faster and snappier.
  • Just after the first users signed up, Internet Explorer 8 was released, and apparently there were still some issues for IE8 users; those have been fixed as well.
  • Times are now shown in a more readable format (like 15 minutes ago).
  • When many active projects are created, they will all be visible, spanning multiple lines.
  • Project names can now be edited, using the ‘Edit’ button shown at the bottom of a project’s task list.

For all those who signed up for a beta invite, watch your mailbox the next few days.

Have a nice weekend!

Week 1

It’s been a wild ride the last week. The reactions we got on Thymer have been absolutely great! We’re glad so many of you like it. Many of you came up with feature requests and suggestions on how to improve Thymer. We can’t fix or improve everything at once and obviously not every request can be built into Thymer. Some suggestions contradict each other while others are not a priority yet and maybe interesting for later versions. We will, however, consider all your suggestions, so let us know what you think – and we’ll see what we can do.

Our main focus will always be to remove any bugs, keep the User Interface clean, intuitive and overall responsive. As long as you and we are satisfied on these points, you can be sure many more feature ideas will be added.

Based on all your initial feedback so far, we’ve already resolved some of the most reported issues: editing tasks caused recurring user name tags; projects, dates and user names are now case insensitive on input, but your casing will be preserved; some issues with using unicode have been resolved. More improvements (fixes and features) are on the way, stay tuned.

We are also happy to announce that we will very soon send out many more invites, and we’ll have some more news next week.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

What are those flags ‘D’, ‘!’, ‘$’ and ‘w’ for?

We’ve received a tremendous amount of feedback in the last couple of days. Lots of questions, bug reports and feature requests. Thanks everybody! In the next couple of days we’re going to highlight a few features of Thymer that have raised some questions.

Today’s topic is about the buttons to the very right of every task that look like this Discuss Flag, Priority Flag, Billable Flag, and Waiting For Flag. This post explains what the buttons do and what they’re good for.

The first thing I should mention is that the flags don’t actually do anything. If you click on a flag it lights up, and it stays lit until you click it again. That’s pretty much it. We think this is a really simple way to quickly add some more details to tasks, without having to click around a lot or fill in additional forms.

The flag discuss Discuss Flag

The discuss flag can be used to indicate to other people in your team that the task should be discussed first. Suppose you see in the task list that Bob is going to design a web page, but you remember that you’ve built something similar a few months back, and you think some of the work can be reused. So you can add a comment to the task with a link to the previous work, and flag the Discuss Flag so Bob knows that there’s something to discuss. Bob can then decide whether to look into it, to ignore it, or to discuss it with you. The point is that by simply clicking on Discuss Flag the person responsible for the task knows there’s something to discuss and can react accordingly.

The flag important Important Flag

The important flag should be pretty self-explanatory. If something is important you don’t want to forget it, and a red box draws your attention to it. Especially if you make the schedule for your week every Sunday night (or Monday morning[1]) you won’t miss anything with a big Important Flag next to it.

The flag billable Billable Flag

The billable flag is to make it easy for people to keep track of their billable hours. You can create reports that only contain billable tasks, so you can be sure your grocery list won’t show up on the bill to your client.

The flag waiting for Waiting For Flag

The waiting-for flag is probably the most important flag: it tells you that you’re waiting for somebody else to take action. Because it’s really easy to lose track of what other people have (or should have) done the visual reminder is really helpful.

Perhaps you’re expecting a letter, an email or a phone call, or waiting for somebody else to finish another task. If you take a minute every week to make a schedule you’ll immediately notice when something is amiss. (The supplies still haven’t arrived? Better pick up the phone before we’re all out!)

Up next

In the next few days we’re going to highlight some more features of Thymer, talk about a few new features and more. So watch this space.

  1. Later, in another post…. how we use Thymer for the weekly review.

Thymer Updates

Thanks everybody who has already expressed their interest in the upcoming beta release Thymer. We’re happy to announce a lot of progress has been made. Based on some initial feedback, we added some new exciting features and polished the look & feel. We hope you’re going to like it, and we look forward to hearing from you during our private Beta, which will start really soon. If you’re interested, sign up at thymer.com.

Check out our new screencast and new screenshots:

New screenshots:

Todos & Planning
Todos & Planning
Changelog & Reports
Changelog & Reports
Time Tracking
Time Tracking

For more, check out www.thymer.com.

Next to preparing for the private Beta of Thymer, we have some more products in the pipeline. Stay tuned for some more announcements in the coming weeks.

Prioritizing and Planning: The Urgency Trap.

A big problem when it comes to task management and planning is assigning priorities.

Don’t you just love software that presents you with a lot of priority options when adding a new task? For example, you can set the priority to ‘Important’, ‘Medium’, ‘A little bit medium’, ‘Something less medium’, ‘Not so medium’. Sometimes these priority-levels are expressed as numbers, which is even “better”! Priority of this task? 7. No. Wait. It’s 6, yes that’s it. Or maybe 8.

Not very helpful.

To figure out the priority of a task, I look at two factors: Urgency and Importance. This is based on a well known concept in Time Management, Covey’s 4 Quadrants. In this concept, tasks are split up into four different categories:

1. Important and Urgent
2. Important and Not Urgent
3. Not Important and Urgent
4. Not Important and Not Urgent

A lot of people sort their Todo List by Urgency (i.e. due date). This is where it goes wrong. The key is that Urgency says nothing about Importance. An urgent task can be important, but it doesn’t have to be.

It’s pretty clear that tasks that are urgent and important should be done right away (Real Actual Work).  So which task will you pick next if your tasks are sorted by due date? Tasks from category 3 – Nag Tasks, because they are also urgent. But didn’t category 3 say ‘Not Important’? It sure did. So why am I working on this? Simply because there’s some feeling of urgency to these tasks.

The Nag Tasks (3) are the worst kind of tasks. They usually don’t help your long term goals and interrupt you from important things. There’s just too much of this stuff: writing useless emails or documents, or pointless assignments. To make it worse, after working an entire day on category 3 tasks, you feel like you did a lot of work but didn’t really achieve anything. It didn’t help you get closer to your goals.

So, after working on Real Actual Work-tasks, you should start on tasks in category 2 (“Zen Work”). This forces you to eliminate (or delegate) as much as possible of category 3 tasks, or postpone them until you’ve done enough work in category 2. Many category 2 tasks have to do with achieving long term goals, whether it is brainstorming about new ideas, building relationships, doing research or simply relax to become more productive.

The ordering of tasks in Thymer allows for a mix of using deadlines and the importance you assign to a task. Adding deadlines to tasks will automatically sort them if you want, but they can simply be dragged into a new planning that better reflects the importance. A special flag is available to mark certain tasks as extra ‘important’.

Here’s an example of a todo list, in which some todos have deadlines, some have not. Some deadlines will be missed, as the tasks are not really important.