Even the busiest people can use a little coaching now and then, but most of the time they're on their own. Task Coach is a free, open-source task and to-do list manager that can help you manage the most hectic schedule and just about any kind of task. For example, you can drag an e-mail message from Outlook, Thunderbird, and other e-mail clients and drop it right into Task Coach to view, attach a task or subtask, or create a new task or reminder. It can track time spent on tasks, export task data as CSV or HTML, and more.
Task Coach's user interface is nicely rendered, with an efficient layout displaying Tasks in the main window and Categories in a smaller sidebar. A small tooltip noted that Task Coach's toolbars are customizable, as are most other parts of this flexible tool, either by clicking the View menu or opening the tabbed Preferences sheet. Task Coach offers a lot of assistance on the Help menu, including support options, but we've always found that the best way to get a feel for how easy a tool like Task Coach is to use is simply to use it. It didn't take long to find the New Task icon, which opened a tabbed, wizard-like dialog that let us quickly create and configure a task. We wanted to start easy, so we named our new task, "Watch TV." We created a Category and scrolled through the wizard's extensive lineup of tabs, including Attachments, Effort, Budgets, Notes, and Appearance. The ability to customize color-coding of entries is invaluable for managing lots of tasks efficiently; better yet, like so many parts of Task Coach, we had more than one way to do it: from the taskbar, from the menu bar, or by right-clicking an entry and choosing from an extensive menu of options. A system tray icon and hot keys add even more access.
What else? How about portability, an XML database, and synchronization with Funambol and iOS devices? No matter how busy you are, Task Coach is worth your time.