Gneo: A Beautiful, Practical New Task Manager for iOS

This article first appeared in Alpha Efficiency Magazine: Issue 3: Organizing, subscribe and buy here

I’ve been using Gneo since November, so it’s a great pleasure to have them as a sponsor for Issue 3.  What I really like about Gneo is that it has struck a balance of great functionality, the power and flexibility to mold it to your own preferences and a great UI.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I love how Gneo looks.  It’s the best-looking task manager I’ve come across so far, and it flies on my iPhone 5. Gneo is comprised of three distinct screen layouts:

Forecast view: A data-driven view, integrated with your calendars, that allows you to view and edit upcoming tasks and appointments

List view:The powerhouse of Gneo, this is where you’ll do the bulk of your task list administration

Work Canvas: This interesting layout maps your tasks onto an Urgent/Important quadrant, but it’s not just a static view – you can edit your tasks and amend their Urgency/Importance directly from that view. This enables you to focus on prioritizing your tasks, rather than just “managing” them

I love how Gneo looks…it flies on my iPhone 5.

Moving between each of the three screens is a cinch – all you have to do is tap and hold the little button at the bottom and swipe it left or right – the layout will switch to your desired mode and you’ll be able to see what you’re getting before you release the button.

Once you’re in the desired layout, Gneo makes great use of swipe actions to allow you to view, edit and delete tasks as well as setting them to ‘follow up’ (hides them for a defined period)  – all from the primary screen.  In the forecast view the swipe actions are tailored to calendar actions, so you can create tasks from appointments and view your calendar.

Other great UI features include the way Gneo presents date and time options for things like reminders and follow-ups – Gneo presents a number of common sense presets (remind me early, lunchtime, late) or the ability to select an exact time.  You may think that this isn’t anything to get too excited about, but I’m grateful not to have to use the ‘fruit machine’ iOS date and time selectors constantly – instead I’m presented with a UI that’s intuitive and fast.

Powerful Evernote Integration

I find that Gneo works best when it’s working in conjunction with Evernote.  You don’t have to be a Premium Evernote user (I’m not) and you don’t have to be online, but some of the really smart stuff that Gneo does leverages Evernote functionality.

What I think is really clever about this approach is that some of the things you want most in your task manager – integration with other apps, smart notifications – come out of the box with Evernote.  The Gneo guys don’t have to spend all their time rebuilding that functionality – they can focus on the pop and sparkle.

A good example of this is how I integrate Gneo and Dispatch; because Dispatch has built-in Evernote integration, it also has, by default, built-in Gneo integration. Clever, huh?  When I want to send an email to Gneo as a task, I can use the ‘send to Evernote’ feature in Dispatch and pick the exact Gneo folder I want to put it in*, all from Dispatch.  I don’t even need to use a URL scheme!  It’s super smart.

Simple Yet Powerful

I’ll be publishing a more detailed walkthrough of Gneo functionality on the Alpha Efficiency website in a few weeks, but as soon as you download Gneo you’ll get a sense of its power and flexibility.  For those who want it, the ability to create as many tags and notebooks as you like is a boon.  It enables you to set your system up the way you want it.  The ‘Smart Notebooks’ function enables you to define a myriad of views, customized to your exact needs, that you can select easily each time.  I currently use this feature to give me “stuff I need to do today”, “next actions for all projects” and “all my completed tasks”, but I’m looking forward to expanding this to other views in the future.

As well as your basic date/time/tag functions, Gneo allows you to add files, text notes and locations to your tasks.  URLs are displayed as hyperlinks and will fire up Safari if you select them.  In the Edit Task screen, you’re also able to set your tasks as ‘Urgent’ and/or ‘Important’ using toggle switches, which will determine what you see in the Work Canvas view.

Power, Beauty, Value

I’ll finish off by saying that I think Gneo is a great package of form and function wrapped together in an intelligent and thoughtful way.  At $9.99 I think Gneo offers great value for money, especially when you consider it’s a universal app, which effectively gives you 2 apps for the price of 1.

Compared to the cost of other task managers I’m aware of or have used, I think Gneo represents a low-risk investment for anybody looking to take their task management and prioritization to the next level, and I encourage you all to give it a whirl.