Stay On Track With NextAction

I keep track of my tasks in an Excel file, where I have macros that export the completed data to Access for invoicing.

I check the list every morning, and at the end of the day, but not very often throughout the day. So, while I might have an excellent plan for the day, it can go off the rails if I get distracted.

NextAction is a little program in which you can list your activities, then mark them as done throughout the day. It’s a free download available on the TimeSnapper website. I’m testing it to see if it will help me keep on track.

NextActionDone

When it’s not active, it’s still visible on my desktop, in the bottom corner of the second monitor.

NextActionFade

So far, the benefits seem to outweigh the negatives.

Benefits

  • I can copy and paste the current day’s task list from Excel, so there’s no time wasted in retyping anything.
  • The window stays on top of other programs (optional setting) with adjustable transparency. This keeps my task list visible, no matter what else I’m doing, and reminds me of the day’s list.
  • To keep track of start and end times, I can mark the task as Done when I start it, to create a time stamp. When I’m finished, I mark it Done again, to get another time stamp.

Negatives

  • There’s no way to export the data, so I have to copy and paste the completed tasks back to Excel. If I decide to keep using NextAction, I’ll write an Excel macro to clean up the pasted data and calculated the time spent on each task.
  • No drag and drop in the text editing, so I had to cut and paste to move things around.
  • After changing a couple of the settings, it lost its Stay On Top capability, even though that setting was still turned on. Exiting and reopening seemed to fix it.

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5 Responses

  1. secretGeek says:

    Thanks for the write-up Debra!

    Love the pictures!

    I’ve added “drag n drop text editing” as a suggested feature in our internal bug tracking system –> so you should eventually get what you want.

    “lost its Stay On Top capability” –> this is fixed in the next release (over due for release already…)

    cheers!
    lb
    (author of ‘NextAction’)

  2. secretGeek, thanks for the comment, and glad to hear that Stay on Top will be fixed. Hope you can add drag and drop too, which would make it even easier to use.

  3. JP says:

    Debra,

    I’m curious about the macros you use to export to Access. Any chance you could post them? Or are they already up somewhere?

    Thx,
    JP

  4. JP, nothing up currently, so I’ll post them here next week.

  1. November 4, 2008

    […] so I have to move the data from Excel to Access, usually at the end of the workday. Last week, JP asked about the code that I use, so here’s how it […]

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