After my beloved Franklin Covey PlanPlus software put its foot down and declared that it would not play nicely with Windows 7, I was really at a loss. I’d been using it for years and didn’t realize how dependent I was on it…

I spent some time looking around at task management tools and even tried a few, including Remember the Milk, Todoist, and taskTome.

TaskTome is the one I’ve been using for the past two weeks, and it’s not at all bad, but it just wasn’t, well, right. Yesterday I opened it and saw all those tasks listed, and I was like, ‘what in the world am I supposed to do today?’ I couldn’t answer that immediately. So in desperation, I went Googling again.

Last night I found HiTask. So very happy!

HiTask is an online tool that quickly caught my attention because of one main thing – I can look at it and tell immediately what I need to do today vs. tomorrow vs. later this week (HiTask is shown at lower right, TaskTome at upper left).

HiTask has a clean, bright interface and it has a calendar right on the same page with your task list. Tasks can be grouped by Date, Color (priority for me), MyView (which is whatever you want it to be) and Project. My favorite is Date because of my aforementioned need to see exactly what needs to be done and not have to think about it too much.

A very neat feature is the ability to create Projects and then drag tasks into them, so you can see all the things that need to be done for that particular project or client.

HiTask also has a tagging feature so you can search by tag at any time, plus it has time tracking and reporting tools.

I’m using the free version and I’m very happy with it, but there is a business version available that will let you share HiTask among team members. The business account is $29.00 per month and includes 5 user accounts.

More Resources

Here are a few of the useful articles I used in my own research – maybe one of them will lead you to your own little Holy Grail:

Issues with slow or nearly nonexistent email services for my hosting clients during a RAID rebuild earlier this week scared me – enough to start investigating some new ways of managing and growing NOCO Hosting. This was only the second time in almost 3 1/4 years that I’ve had a problem that couldn’t be fixed very quickly, and it was a really frustrating few days (both for me and my clients).

A few changes I’ve already implemented:

  • Compiling an offsite contact list that I can use to reach clients in the event of an emergency. I already had this in place, but many clients had never responded to my requests for an offsite email address – they’re still using ‘me@mydomain.com’ for their account ‘www.mydomain.com.’
  • Creating a new Gmail address for NOCO, primarily for sending out notifications.
  • Compiling a list of SMS/text message contacts for clients who prefer to receive their notifications that way.

And some other things upcoming:

  • I’ll be adding some dialogue and changes to the hosting registration form that require an offsite email address as the primary contact address for any account.
  • I’ll be splitting client accounts between several servers to reduce by 50% the chance that any one client will b affected by a server issue.
  • I’m investigating DNS failover services now, and will be putting together a pricing package to offer to all my clients. I want to see who might be interested in such a service before I formally get it, but I think it might be a good additional offering for NOCO even if no one wants it now.
  • I’ll definitely be implementing one of the DNS failover services for my own business sites; I’ll probably try ZoneEdit because they offer their services for free for the first 5 domains

I’m also connecting with other hosting resellers and hosting providers in the Meetup group I co-founded, Fort Collins Internet Pros. Brainstorming with those guys might lead me to some other ideas I haven’t even considered yet.

Frustrations like the one this week make me take a step back and consider whether it’s really worth it to even offer hosting. But I think that it’s a value-added proposition for my clients (one-stop shopping, so to speak), and it’s nicely profitable. Until that changes, I just need to continue what I’m doing – communicating early and often with clients when the extremely rare server issue does come up, and doing what I can to lessen the impact.

Very happy to report that the new site for Loveland Habitat for Humanity launched this week. A pro bono project, I’ve been working closely with Habitat and Rob Advertising to ensure that the final result is easy to use (both for visitors and the Habitat staff that will be managing and editing the site), attractive, and focused on delivering the organization’s message with clarity.

I chose WordPress as the development platform because of its flexibility and low learning curve for the admin users. The new site integrates a custom theme, blog, Google events calendar, donation forms and Success Stories slideshow. WordPress will enable the Habitat staff to grow the website as needed in the future, and add new functionality without much fuss.

I’m also adding another custom WordPress site to the portfolio today, Front Range Factoring. FRF stretched my WordPress capabilities; the project’s intent at the beginning was adjusting a purchased theme for a live site, but in the interest of time and efficiency the client and I decided to create a new custom theme that would be easier for him to manage after relaunch.

Using the WP Framework  I worked with FRF to come up with a fresh design for his existing site. I incorporated a tabset plugin and column plugin for some of the internal pages, and learned how to add widgets wherever one might be needed in the page.

Finally, Kontour is the third new project going into the portfolio today. Kontour’s owner is a graphic designer and typographer, and she approached Red Kite to create a clean, well-commented XHTML/CSS template set that she could apply to the rest of her site redesign. I created a slideshow for the home page and a gallery template as well.