FacileThings

Improvements in the Engage Stage

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez

Today we have updated the Engage stage of FacileThings, whose purpose is to provide good options about what you can be doing at any time of the day, according to the GTD four-criteria model for choosing actions.

As you probably know, this section was previously called Dashbaord and, although it also served to help you work on your day-to-day, it had a slightly different purpose than what the Engage stage of the GTD workflow should have. That is the reason why we have modified its design.

With this new design we wanted to give greater relevance to both work lists, the Calendar for Today and the Next Actions list, improving the structure of the page and the scroll system so that its use is smoother in all browsers. Now the lists occupy the entire length of the page:

engage lists

You can even hide one of the two to better focus on the other:

today calendar

The list items now show the Area of Responsibility and the Objective assigned to the action.

The system reminders now appear on the top left, with a dimmer color that darkens when you hover the mouse over it.

The charts and the text of your purpose have a solely motivational function and that is why they have gone into the background. They appear in the lower half of the left panel, they are smaller and you will only have one of them at sight. Choose the one that most motivates you with the “dots” menu that appears in the upper right part of that panel.

  • Done Actions: It shows the actions you are completing throughout the day and in the previous days. The effect of “crossing tasks off” can be an important motivation when you are focused on the tasks of the day.
  • Areas of Responsibility: It shows how you are distributing your time among the different aspects of your life. This chart can motivate you more when you are looking for a better balance in your life.
  • My Purpose: Having your purpose present at any time will motivate you to get things done from a higher perspective.

Other improvements

  • Now you can set the duration of the events generated by Routines. The field is activated when you are editing a routine and, in the Advanced section, you select a time of the day.
    duration of routines
  • The drop-down list to select the Calendar view has been changed by four buttons, so you can switch among views directly with a single click.
    calendar views menu
  • In Kanban-style projects, the reminder of the action is now shown if it belongs to the Calendar. In this way, the scheduled events are easily recognizable.
    reminders in kanban
  • The list of most used tags that appears when Capturing, Clarifying, and editing actions, so you do not have to type the most frequent tags, is now refreshed every 5 minutes.
  • Integration with Evernote: Now the notes’ titles are synchronized when they are updated in Evernote. However, the Evernote tags are not synchronized, as they often have nothing to do with the context topology used in FacileThings.
  • The use of the CTRL+1 shortcut (Capture) is blocked when the Capture window is already open. Before, the window opened again and you lost what you already had written.
  • When the user cancels the FacileThings account, the integrations with Evernote and Google Calendar are totally disconnected, if they exist.

9 comments

9cd70d1618626771db040f235218eafd
Commented 16 days ago Ziyad

Wonderful work! Thank you very much :)

9cd70d1618626771db040f235218eafd Ziyad

Wonderful work! Thank you very much :)

892783ab2600008ccb3560f2e1cfa724
Commented 15 days ago Steve

Yet another great update. Great work! Thanks!

892783ab2600008ccb3560f2e1cfa724 Steve

Yet another great update. Great work! Thanks!

B5cff9b601ba1c0838acc783157faac5
Commented 15 days ago Harold

I'm going to make some comments here, and I hope they will be taken as constructive:

I really think the Engage tab/stage upgrades are, overall, a step back in the following ways:
First ... the page now looks and feels too busy in comparison to the previous arrangement, not to mention very cramped, especially when viewed in tablet mode (for those who have 2-in-1 laptops). Also, when in tablet mode, and using Chrome, I have to MANUALLY reduce the size of the page view to now around 65% to view all columns, etc. (before, I still had to manually reduce, but only to 75%).
Second ... I'm not sure it's the best idea to have reminders and done actions/areas of responsibility/objective now arranged to the left. Most people (apologies might be needed to some of our middle-eastern users) will naturally read from left to right, and in the previous setup I was fine with the Calendar and Next Actions being on the left because I'll primarily work with those columns and my "eye" flowed there.
Third ... though I like the next actions now showing their linked perspective components, I'm not sold on having the Calendar and Next Action columns occupying full page length (adds to the cluttered/cramped feel and look).
Fourth ... I really liked having my purpose ("prime objective") arrayed and centered at the bottom of the Engage page ... for me it showed as the first essential paragraph, and if needed I could click there to view the full expression ... again, from a natural eye gravitation, it was nicely placed for an "at-a-glance" look in the previous arrangement.
Fifth ... I really would like to see more meaning to the Areas of Responsibility visual ... the circle segments, colors and legend are incongruous with each other ... and I'd love to be able to do some "drill-down" into more detail of what makes up a given segment (I know ... may be asking for a bit to much right now ... it's on your development roadmap, I'm sure).

I know you just released this update, and I'll do my best to explore it's changes and work with it. But, I did want to convey my initial thoughts on it. Still a Facile Things user, fan and promoter!

B5cff9b601ba1c0838acc783157faac5 Harold

I'm going to make some comments here, and I hope they will be taken as constructive:

I really think the Engage tab/stage upgrades are, overall, a step back in the following ways:
First ... the page now looks and feels too busy in comparison to the previous arrangement, not to mention very cramped, especially when viewed in tablet mode (for those who have 2-in-1 laptops). Also, when in tablet mode, and using Chrome, I have to MANUALLY reduce the size of the page view to now around 65% to view all columns, etc. (before, I still had to manually reduce, but only to 75%).
Second ... I'm not sure it's the best idea to have reminders and done actions/areas of responsibility/objective now arranged to the left. Most people (apologies might be needed to some of our middle-eastern users) will naturally read from left to right, and in the previous setup I was fine with the Calendar and Next Actions being on the left because I'll primarily work with those columns and my "eye" flowed there.
Third ... though I like the next actions now showing their linked perspective components, I'm not sold on having the Calendar and Next Action columns occupying full page length (adds to the cluttered/cramped feel and look).
Fourth ... I really liked having my purpose ("prime objective") arrayed and centered at the bottom of the Engage page ... for me it showed as the first essential paragraph, and if needed I could click there to view the full expression ... again, from a natural eye gravitation, it was nicely placed for an "at-a-glance" look in the previous arrangement.
Fifth ... I really would like to see more meaning to the Areas of Responsibility visual ... the circle segments, colors and legend are incongruous with each other ... and I'd love to be able to do some "drill-down" into more detail of what makes up a given segment (I know ... may be asking for a bit to much right now ... it's on your development roadmap, I'm sure).

I know you just released this update, and I'll do my best to explore it's changes and work with it. But, I did want to convey my initial thoughts on it. Still a Facile Things user, fan and promoter!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented 14 days ago Francisco Sáez

Hi Harold,

We have tested the Engage page on a 2-in-1 laptop with Chrome (12", tablet mode) and we do not see the problems you see in yours, not even the need to reduce the size page. We can see everything correctly. Please send us an image via Support, to see if we can do something in this regard.

Beyond the fact that we usually direct our gaze from left to right when dealing with information, here we look for consistency with the rest of the application. If you notice, in all the sections (lists, projects, etc.) the real work area is on the right, while on the left there is less relevant information. This means that the user's mind does not have to adapt to different structures on each page.

We plan to improve the Areas of Resposibility chart, allowing the user to choose their own colors and select from there the actions of each portion. Thanks for the suggestion!

The rest of the topics are decisions that we have taken by design, usability and feedback of many users. Of course, we will also take into consideration this feedback and future comments for future modifications.

Thank you all for your encouragement and feedback!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Hi Harold,

We have tested the Engage page on a 2-in-1 laptop with Chrome (12", tablet mode) and we do not see the problems you see in yours, not even the need to reduce the size page. We can see everything correctly. Please send us an image via Support, to see if we can do something in this regard.

Beyond the fact that we usually direct our gaze from left to right when dealing with information, here we look for consistency with the rest of the application. If you notice, in all the sections (lists, projects, etc.) the real work area is on the right, while on the left there is less relevant information. This means that the user's mind does not have to adapt to different structures on each page.

We plan to improve the Areas of Resposibility chart, allowing the user to choose their own colors and select from there the actions of each portion. Thanks for the suggestion!

The rest of the topics are decisions that we have taken by design, usability and feedback of many users. Of course, we will also take into consideration this feedback and future comments for future modifications.

Thank you all for your encouragement and feedback!

B5cff9b601ba1c0838acc783157faac5
Commented 13 days ago Harold

Thanks for working to address my previous thoughts, Francisco. By way of your comment, I have noticed the other sections layout being similar to the new engage setup, but in most of those cases it makes more sense that way because what's on the left are "selective indexes" where I can select what to view on the right ... so my "minds eye" would gravitate there more naturally. That's not true with the new Engage layout ... info on the left is really less relevant and not necessarily linked to what you see on the right side.

But again, thanks for all you are doing!

B5cff9b601ba1c0838acc783157faac5 Harold

Thanks for working to address my previous thoughts, Francisco. By way of your comment, I have noticed the other sections layout being similar to the new engage setup, but in most of those cases it makes more sense that way because what's on the left are "selective indexes" where I can select what to view on the right ... so my "minds eye" would gravitate there more naturally. That's not true with the new Engage layout ... info on the left is really less relevant and not necessarily linked to what you see on the right side.

But again, thanks for all you are doing!

A639c30296695cdabb498e70b64f8f2d
Commented 11 days ago Aaron Goodwin

Thanks for the update. I am really liking where you are taking this solution. Are there any plans to display the full task title in the multi-day calendar view when the cursor is hovered of it? Right now it only 15 characters and if you click on it it brings you to the actual task. It would be great to just have it full task name pop up if hovering over it. Another useful feature would be to be able to display 2-3 days in the calendar instead of just 1 or 7. This would help with planning next days events.

A639c30296695cdabb498e70b64f8f2d Aaron Goodwin

Thanks for the update. I am really liking where you are taking this solution. Are there any plans to display the full task title in the multi-day calendar view when the cursor is hovered of it? Right now it only 15 characters and if you click on it it brings you to the actual task. It would be great to just have it full task name pop up if hovering over it. Another useful feature would be to be able to display 2-3 days in the calendar instead of just 1 or 7. This would help with planning next days events.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented 10 days ago Francisco Sáez

Hi Aaron,

Yes, showing the description of calendar items on hovering is actually in our backlog. I'm noting down your suggestion of a 2-3 days calendar view to consider later.

Thanks!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Hi Aaron,

Yes, showing the description of calendar items on hovering is actually in our backlog. I'm noting down your suggestion of a 2-3 days calendar view to consider later.

Thanks!

31e9edb3d10859de6e8c0396325ef3ec
Commented 6 days ago Michał

Hi, I'm very pleased with the revamped Engage section. Although at first I didn't like the idea that Areas of Responsibility/Tasks done/Purpose are on separte tabs i got used to it. Anyway, this is what I really like:
- full height column with Next Actions (the less scrolling, the better)
- info below next actions not only with project name but also goal and area of responsibility - I'm lovin' it!
- I'm not sure but I feel there is much less scrolling overll, thta's great.

Two things that will make ENGAGE section even more productive for me in the future:
First is custom colors for areas of responsibility. I'm so happy that you have it in your backlog. That will immensly help with sorting and focusing on what to do next.
The second one is pre- and post-performance routines. I know it is not strict GTD (although it's compatible), but it helps enourmoulsy with lowering strss and/or anxiety whiledoing tasks. Of course, I fully understand there are much more pressing matters/issues/features before you can start brainstorming introducing them.

I can't wait to see next feature rollout of my favorite productivity app! :)

31e9edb3d10859de6e8c0396325ef3ec Michał

Hi, I'm very pleased with the revamped Engage section. Although at first I didn't like the idea that Areas of Responsibility/Tasks done/Purpose are on separte tabs i got used to it. Anyway, this is what I really like:
- full height column with Next Actions (the less scrolling, the better)
- info below next actions not only with project name but also goal and area of responsibility - I'm lovin' it!
- I'm not sure but I feel there is much less scrolling overll, thta's great.

Two things that will make ENGAGE section even more productive for me in the future:
First is custom colors for areas of responsibility. I'm so happy that you have it in your backlog. That will immensly help with sorting and focusing on what to do next.
The second one is pre- and post-performance routines. I know it is not strict GTD (although it's compatible), but it helps enourmoulsy with lowering strss and/or anxiety whiledoing tasks. Of course, I fully understand there are much more pressing matters/issues/features before you can start brainstorming introducing them.

I can't wait to see next feature rollout of my favorite productivity app! :)

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented 4 days ago Francisco Sáez

Hi Michał,

I know that at the beginning any change is a pain in the ass for the user, just because they are used to the previous version, even with its limitations.

I am very happy that in the end the new distribution of the Engage section will help you be more effective. That is the purpose of any update.

Thanks so much for your comments!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Hi Michał,

I know that at the beginning any change is a pain in the ass for the user, just because they are used to the previous version, even with its limitations.

I am very happy that in the end the new distribution of the Engage section will help you be more effective. That is the purpose of any update.

Thanks so much for your comments!

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