How I use TaskPaper

I enjoy TaskPaper, a lot. Even if I don’t use it in the same way as everyone else does. In fact, I depend on TaskPaper. I use TaskPaper with Curio now. Together, these two apps make a killer combination.

I don’t use too many calendar dates at this time in my life. I don’t use TaskPaper to keep track of my appointments or set dates for when a thing has to be completed by. I know many use TaskPaper for this. I am glad that they can.

I use BusyCal to set my appointments and I use my iPhone and my Mac to keep my appointments. With this in mind, I thought it might help others to understand or at least to appreciate how much TaskPaper, and especially TaskPaper and Curio together, can be useful in a work-flow.

There are a few areas where TaskPaper and Curio overlap. Curio can do all the timeline and scheduling tasks you could ever want, so technically you could use Curio instead of TaskPaper. TaskPaper can also launch linked files and track appointments so to a degree, Taskpaper can be used instead of Curio. Except that, Curio is so much more than that. And Taskpaper has such a simple yet elegant and robust interface, I would not want to get rid of it any time soon.

One example:
I have had it on my goal to continue to pay off my debits and improve and monitor my credit score as I can. Two of my cards from different banks are offering a zero percent balance transfer for a year. One of my other cards is dormant and may be putting a burden on my credit score. I have other decisions such as shifting my direct deposit and what fees if any this will create.

Under a Project named “Money” in TaskPaper I have several tasks that I need to attend to before making the decisions I need to make and getting everything lined up. TaskPaper is great for doing this. Review terms of he balance transfer, set up bill pay in new account, make sure changing direct deposit won’t generate additional fees, etc.

In the Curio Money project I have put all my research findings in one place for easy review. There I have made notes as to what each card has for a balance, what it’s interest rates are, etc. If there is an email offer such as the zero percent offer then I drag that email link to the Curio document as well. TaskPaper gives me legs to take care of business, do the research, etc. Curio does the heavy lifting, gives me a space to gather the results, evaluate, link other documents, etc.

After the Money title in the Money Project is a hyperlink to the relative Curio document. In this way all the tasks that I am taking care of using TaskPaper can very easily be connected to in the Curio main document.

I have almost 40 projects like this in TaskPaper and each one links directly via hyperlink to a corresponding Curio file for that project. Not all of them are of earth shattering importance. For example to get better at playing music; keyboard, electric, guitar, dobro, and harmonica each have corresponding Curio documents where I have put lessons, links to artists I like in styes I like and even performance dates where appropriate.

What makes Curio nice for me is that it is made for people who think visually. I can customize those idea spaces in Curio to my hearts content, drag in images, embed links including hyperlinks, make lists and convert them into mind maps and back again. I can make a Curio project interact with my calendar too.

Which brings me back to how I use TaskPaper. When I get a project going in Curio as I just descried, I copy a hyperlink from any element on the Curio page. Then I simply paste that link into my TaskPaper document. Clicking on that link in TaskPaper takes me directly to the Curio page I wanted to work on.

In TaskPaper I make heavy use of the less style sheets. TaskPaper has certain basic behaviors that make it enjoyable to use. The rest is all about style. And, I love the visual style I can get to in TaskPaper. I use two TaskPaper documents everyday. I have a Keyboard Maestro macro that has assigned to my F9 key a process that launches a TaskPaper document that I use as a scratch pad, resizes it to the left half of my main screen, kills it’s sidebar, selects it’s style sheet, and does a “find anywhere” to get to the main page fo that document. Then it opens a second TaskPaper document, my main organizing TaskPaper document, resizes and positions it on the right half of my screen, puts back the side bar for that document only, chooses a different style sheet and uses “find anywhere” for where I want it to end up.

In the sidebar I have hidden everything but the searches. As I have been discovering my own processes with organization I have made repeated use of the less style sheets. I have made more than a few changes and trial and error discoveries to find ways to track my own progress that makes sense to my brain.

One way to say this is that, TaskPaper does the legs and Curio does the heavy lifting. Perhaps at some point in the future I will get more comfortable with how Curio tracks things, but I am very content with how TaskPaper tracks things. I cannot see any reason to stop using TaskPaper. By using TaskPapers tags, searches, styles and more, I am able to remember what I wanted to work on. Even better, when I want to return to a project I have not been working on in a while, finding that project in TaskPaper and clicking on it’s Curio hyperlink, will take me to a sort of console (the page I created in Curio) for that project.

One last observation is that, there are things I can do with Curio that I cannot do in TaskPaper. Therefore it is very important to track the process steps and link to the actual project using TaskPaper but do the work in Curio. I am working on a book now. It can get very confusing when I am pulling together so many ideas and seeing how they will fit together. When I am writing I am using Nisus. But I find that Curio allows me to pull in the headings and sub headings, etc and make a mind map out of it. This makes my organizing work a good deal easier.

The TaskPaper Project for that book links to the Curio page with that mind map on it now. And also on that page is a clickable link to the Nisus document to do the writing. Yes, TaskPaper can launch links too. I love using TaskPaper, I hope that point has been well made here? But, the one two punch of TaskPaper and Curio has been, fantastic.