Managing your tasks with Nitro

Nitro logo Lately, I’ve been going back to living a lot of my life in plain text. A number of reasons for that, but suffice it to say that plain text works for me. One of the tools that I find essential for doing that is Todo.txt. It’s a command line, plain text utility that lets me efficiently manage my tasks. If you’re interested, I’ve written about Todo.txt here and here.

I realize, though, that the plain text life and a plain text todo list isn’t everyone’s cup of caffeinated beverage. Enter Nitro.

Let’s take a look at it.

Getting going

The first step, obviously, is to install Nitro. To do that, swing by the Nitro website and either download the archive or the Arch Linux package. Or, if you use Ubuntu (or an Ubuntu derivative like Linux Mint), add the PPA and install Nitro by running the following commands:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:cooperjona/nitrotasks && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install nitrotasks

Then, launch the application. I found it in the Linux Mint menu under Menu > Office. I just launch it using Kupfer.

Nitro after the first startup

Using Nitro

Nitro is a very basic tool. Which makes it easy to use and easy to maintain your tasks. To add a task, click the Add button. Nitro adds a blank task.

Adding a task

You can type a description of the task, like Write post about Nitro, and add a note about the task – for example, Schedule for publication on June 3. You can also add a due date for the task by clicking Set Due Date.

Setting a due date

If you need to change a task, just click it and then click the Edit button. To mark a task as finished, click the check box beside it. Nitro moves completed tasks into what it called the Logbook, which is just repository of all such tasks. To view the Logbook, click the gear icon in the top-right of the Nitro window.

Working with lists

Notice that on the left-hand side of the Nitro window is a pane that’s divided into two parts: Focus and Lists. I’ve been ignoring Focus, if only because it seems a bit too GTD for my tastes; I’m not a big fan. Lists, on the other hand, I find very useful.

Why? Well, chances are you have a lot of things to do. And I know that many people let their to do lists get big and unmanageable. Using lists, you can group similar tasks together. I usually use three lists:

  • Writing
  • Personal
  • Blogging

I might occasionally throw in one or two lists that I use for a project or a presentation. When I’m done, I get rid of them.


Using Nitro in Chrome or Chromium

If you like working in your browser (a lot of people do), you can install an extension for Chrome or Chromium that gives you all the goodness of Nitro – right down to the desktop app’s look and feel – without installing it on your desktop. Of course, the problem is that you can’t yet share your task lists between computers.

Notice I wrote yet. The developers of Nitro are working on a sync feature that works with Dropbox, Ubuntu One, and Google Drive.

Note: Since I wrote this post and queued it for publication, the developers have added the sync feature. I haven’t had a chance to give it a go yet. When I do, I’ll post an update.

Summing up

Nitro is simple, easy to use, and effective at helping you keep track of your tasks. It might not pack all of the features that some task management tools possess, but that’s OK. Why? Nitro doesn’t need them. And once it has the promised sync capabilities, it will be a solid choice for anyone who wants to manage their tasks in a fast, attractive, and friendly environment.

This work, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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  • Andreas

    The sync feature doesn’t seem to work properly … It seems that Nitro can only write to Todo.txt but not read it. everytime I start Nitro it simply overwrites the Todo.txt file with the tasks as they are in Nitro … so any changes made from another Todo.txt client are overwritten … do you experience the same?

  • Scott Nesbitt

    I’ve only started to experience that. And only with the version of the file that I’ve synced on Ubuntu One. That is mentioned in an upcoming post where I take another look at Nitro.

  • Edwin Lee

    Is there a way to move an item back from the logbook into the original list? In addition, I really don’t like the launcher item showing a zero. This is an open bug on launchpad, but it doesn’t seem anyone is actively working on the project now. You know anything I don’t about these issues? Thanks!

  • Scott Nesbitt

    Sorry, I don’t know anything about those issues. Best if you contact the developers.

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