My Latest Book

To pre-order my latest book Secrets of Productive People click here.

To be published on 27 August!

My Books

Click to order my books, and the best of the rest.

To Think About . . .
Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone. Picasso
Search This Site
Latest Comments

FV and FVP Forum > Willy Wonka and His Delicious New Chocolate Bar

I've been testing many apps and methods over the past month for using with Autofocus, SuperFocus, and Final Version. Recently, I've been dialoguing with an app developer who has created the app I've been looking for. It's a non-linear writing tool. You're gonna love it.

Over the last two weeks, I've been beta-testing new builds of the app and reporting bugs to the developer. He has gone through his creation with a fine-tooth comb perfecting the app for you. He has also added additional functionality. This app contains all the very best features from the list apps I've tried. I have been looking for an app that features the following:

• Tapping the bottom of the screen instantly scrolls to the end of the list
• Tapping the top of the screen instantly scrolls to the top of the list
• The holy grail: The ability to quickly scroll your list stacking tasks into sublists/projects that can be maintained as part of your main list
• Sort order is perfect, every time
• iPhone and iPad versions
• Edit lists on a Mac and a PC
• Share lists with others as importable/exportable files
• Email any list as text with notes
• Paste a list of tasks into a list in one go
• Enter a quick succession of tasks in one dialogue
• Searchable notes and non-searchable notes
• Clean and classy looking
• Fast
• Crash-free
• Passionate, reliable developer
• Check-off daily routine lists that are maintained as part of your main list
• One-tap-reset of daily routine lists
• All tasks entered go to the bottom of the list
• All moved tasks go to the bottom of the list
• All moved sublists/projects go to bottom of the list
• All moved tasks keep their sort order when moved
• Dim or grey-out tasks that you want in your list, but want to easily skip over
• Highlight tasks that you especially don't want to skip over
• Quickly scroll the list marking multiple tasks to move to another list
• All lists are individually searchable
• Clickable links
• No calendars, visual clutter, or check boxes
• Hide your notes or see them inline with your tasks in your list
• Writers of any flavor can quickly get their ideas into the app in a non-linear way, freely re-arrange the items like index cards on a cork board and then export those ideas as a formatted document that matches the sort order you created — perfect for all sorts of writing
• iOS multi-tasking enabled

He's nailed nearly every one on the list.

Stay tuned.
June 7, 2012 at 2:11 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Sounds promising. What i would wish for win is a portable version e.g. For running from an usb stick
June 7, 2012 at 9:56 | Unregistered CommenterJens
What a tease. Sounds too good to be true. When can we expect a preview website with a video demo?
June 7, 2012 at 21:43 | Registered Commenterubi
Hope there's an android version... :)
June 8, 2012 at 3:31 | Unregistered CommenterJD

"Hope there's an android version... :)"

... iOS exclusive.
June 8, 2012 at 4:49 | Registered CommenterMichael B.

"When can we expect a preview website with a video demo?"

... I'm waiting for a little more development of the iPhone app before I post my method of use. The developer has been quickly resolving bugs and adding new functionality. The time is nigh though, as I went from testing ten tasks at a time in the app, to today dumping in my entire list of 616 tasks, including nine routine checklists.
June 8, 2012 at 5:39 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Would it by any chance be the "Index Card for iPhone"?

The "non-linear writing tool" reference seems to fit but i'd never remember using it for task management.
June 9, 2012 at 1:25 | Registered CommenterHugo Ferreira
or might it be ita? (not tried yet, just learned of today)
June 9, 2012 at 2:39 | Registered CommentermatthewS
The test build I'm using will be released in a week or so. After a full day of tests with all my tasks I'm confident this build is the one to start from. It's refreshing to have my personal tasks, work tasks, resettable checklists, projects, notes, contexts, dated recurring tasks, and tasks on hold all in one continuous list.
June 9, 2012 at 6:17 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Any updates? It's been almost a week. . .
June 14, 2012 at 18:30 | Registered Commenterubi
Interesting - I have been using focuspad for FV but this one sounds tempting...
June 15, 2012 at 13:06 | Unregistered CommenterPiggler
I find focus pad absolutely amazing. I'm surprised more people aren't using it or referring to it, but I'm kind of a lurker so maybe they do. Looking forward to this new app.
June 15, 2012 at 15:04 | Unregistered CommenterPaul MacNeil
FocusPad does FV very easily and intuitively for me. "I use "(Get) item (____)" to minimize entries, calendar(s) for dated/timed items, and checklists. I hope Michael B. and his developer aren't trying to make an everything-for-everyone, Swiss Army Knife, super-stuffed app that's too complex to use easily. Think KISS!

My list is shorter and I have more discretionary time as I travel the road to Get Everything Done, thanks to Mark Forster's Final Version and these Forums.

June 15, 2012 at 17:57 | Unregistered CommenterDjorn

I'm emailing the developer a short video demo today as I'm finally descending flu mountain. The older build is still live in the app store, so I'm sure he's designing and coding at present or Apple is reviewing what he's submitted.
June 15, 2012 at 19:15 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B.:

If the "older build is still live in the app store," does that mean it's available for purchase/download already? If so, why the mystery about which app you are talking about?
June 15, 2012 at 19:40 | Registered Commenterubi

"If the "older build is still live in the app store," does that mean it's available for purchase/download already?"

... Yes.

"If so, why the mystery about which app you are talking about?"

... A few reasons:

1. People will download the older build of the app, experience the bugs, crashes, and me describing features which are only in an unreleased build they aren't using and thus can't use with the method I describe. Some will then promptly write complaints about it here and in the app store. It's not ready for general FV use yet, but is ready to be talked about a little and privately tested and perfected. The same as Mark describing the benefits of FV, noting his progress, having a working version, and yet testing and refining it privately until it was good enough for public release. I found an app with potential, wrote the developer, became a tester, have had many dialogues with the developer since, and have created and refined a method of use that could be ready for release (and my own full-time use) with just a few more essential additions to the app.

2. Some additional vital features are missing for general use. It took a lengthy, complicated workaround for me to import my tasks into the app. It required using a paid desktop app that allows import of tasks in a very roundabout way. I had to experiment to find a solution. Many will download the iPhone app and say, "It crashes, it's buggy, I can't import my tasks", and on and on.

3. While I don't believe that 99.9% of forum members are like this, some angry, entitled, impolite person may be lurking who will download the current build, use it without a solid method and complain that the app has ruined their lives, has no value, and with steam jetting from their ears, white-hot lava spitting from their open fissures, will demand a refund from the developer and an apology from me. So many on the app store express how destitute and emotionally broken they were left when they parted ways with their 99 cents or so and didn't like an app. I'm not about to encourage even one of those people to download it yet.

I was out with the flu for about a week and am feeling better, so I'll be back in regular communication with the forum and the developer now and can perhaps help things speed along.
June 15, 2012 at 22:19 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Thanks for the explanation, MB, and sorry you've been suffering with the flu. You've left a trail of hints here that make it sound like you're talking about IndexCard (iOS) & Scrivener (Mac/Win), which appear to be great tools for collecting and organizing snippets of text and other info for creative writing; they don't appear well suited to checklists or to-do lists, at least in the online descriptions I found on the denvog and literatureandlatte sites. Might have to check out FocusPad while waiting for this new deliciousness. ;-]
June 15, 2012 at 22:32 | Registered Commenterubi
Michael B.:

Thank you for your explanation and, as a software developer myself, I fully understand and appreciate your reserves.

If the developer could use an extra pair of hands to help squash the last range of bugs, ramping up to the release, I would like to help.

I've been involved in the beta testing of a few apps before (, and can be reached at

(yes, "curiosity killed the cat" :D)
June 16, 2012 at 0:30 | Registered CommenterHugo Ferreira
While reading through the list at the top of this thread, it seemed to me that almost every one, if not every one, of those features is already provided by Toodledo in its website and iOS app (Android users can use it offline through its mobile website). It works especially well if you sort the list by Date Added in reverse order (oldest at the top) and use stars for dots. When a task is actioned but not finished, just clone it, which creates an exact copy with a new creation date. Then check off the older copy. If you keep your list in one main folder and use tags or contexts to filter it, you can reduce it as you see fit. And if you subscribe for a very reasonable $15 a year, you can have subtasks that can be seen inline or not as you choose, on both the iOS and web platforms. Finally, Toodledo lets you control what fields you see, so it doesn't look nearly as cluttered as (say) Appigo Todo.

Maybe this new one will do more than Toodledo, and I will try it when you release the name, but I'm skeptical.
June 16, 2012 at 1:22 | Registered CommenterGeorge G.
Michael B.,

What's the status? I tried out FocusPad while waiting, but found it lacking (see postings in the other thread). So I'm back to Clear and waiting for this holy grail to appear.
June 20, 2012 at 19:16 | Registered Commenterubi
I must say all this coyness is getting annoying. Next time please wait to be allowed to say something useful before saying anything at all.
June 20, 2012 at 19:37 | Unregistered CommenterCog
@Cog. I have to say I agree with you. Let's hope something appears soon and is good enough to make the wait worth it!
June 20, 2012 at 19:47 | Unregistered CommenterGrik
"What's the status?"

... I'm using the latest build full-time and completed final adjustments to my method three days ago. I discovered a bug that causes the app to crash and not open again, so I sent off a video to the developer this morning.

"I tried out FocusPad...but found it lacking...I'm...waiting for this holy grail to appear."

... There is no holy grail. It's simply the best balance of minimalist form, function, and rare features that I've found in any one app, like: instant scroll to the bottom, sublists for projects, color highlighting, and the ability to use recurring checklists.

I tried FocusPad and though I want to love it, I would need to have a setting to use it as one long scrollable list, with instant scrolling to the bottom and sublists. I love the "check off and auto-add at the end" feature. Perhaps the developer of FocusPad has some creative new ideas now that FV has been out for a bit.
June 21, 2012 at 13:41 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Cog & Grik:

What are you using to manage your FV list?
June 21, 2012 at 14:12 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B:

Would this application support Prioritized FV as well, or just standard FV?
June 21, 2012 at 18:36 | Registered CommenterDeven
@michael B

I have tried clear quite successfully I love the interface but the method although ok is a little clunky
I use focus pad most of the time as the functionality is all there just it's looking a little old and as you say we really need to be able to filter selected tasks to just show the active chain. IMO this is essential for small iPhone screen

On my PC at work (I spend whole day at the screen :( )I use task paper with a few tabs set up (filters). I particularly like instant enter new task option / hot key. combo

Ideal app would be focus pad functionality with glossy tactile interface of Clear and the clarity of the Blanclist UI

Finally when I do DIY work I use good old paper and carpenters pencil !!
June 21, 2012 at 22:14 | Unregistered CommenterGrik

"Would this application support Prioritized FV as well..."

... It will work beautifully with it.
June 22, 2012 at 5:12 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Surprised to discover the newest build went live yesterday, June 20th! I downloaded it from the App Store this evening and replaced the "TestFlight" beta I was using. As Hugo and ubi deduced, the app is Index Card for iOS.


Download it here:

I'm recording a hands-on video tutorial now. I will post it to the forum within a couple of hours. It will show the method I use and how to use the app in detail.
June 22, 2012 at 5:40 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
this looks like great product, I just read of scrivener & started writing project that needs something like this, so going to get it for writing... however I don't get at first glance how this is a task app?
June 22, 2012 at 15:05 | Registered CommentermatthewS
I've produced a 30 minute video tutorial on how I use IndexCard with Mark's Final Version:
June 22, 2012 at 15:45 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B,

Thanks for the thorough demo. How did you produce it?

I think I'll spend the $2 to try out IndexCard (IC) on the iPhone. Seems like it will be genuinely useful for organizing and assembling thoughts. But the way you are using it requires many touches for each action, so I suspect I'll be sticking with Clear for the time being, for FV and most of my other lists, unless I can figure out a more streamlined approach that doesn't involve so much moving of cards between lists.

Above you wrote that one can:

• Edit lists on a Mac and a PC
• Share lists with others as importable/exportable files
• Email any list as text with notes
• Paste a list of tasks into a list in one go

Do any of these capabilities require Scrivener? That is, can I import a text file into a new or existing list, resulting in one card for each line of text in the file? I suppose I'll find out when I try it. . .
June 22, 2012 at 22:23 | Registered Commenterubi
Nicely done Michael B. Thank you for taking the trouble to record this for us to see your method.

Like ubi, i'm finding that it's still too many taps for regular common operations that are way faster on paper.

I've been using paper for years but this thread has sparked my interest in exploring alternative digital options, given that there were many new products launched in the meantime.

Although I've already found a few possibilities for the desktop (keyboard shortcuts make operations *very* fast), I have to say I'm quite surprised at how hard it is to get a fluid workflow on mobile, one that beats or stands shoulder-to-shoulder with paper.
June 23, 2012 at 1:42 | Registered CommenterHugo Ferreira
the post is popular, you might want to post on YouTube as access frozen on the Dropbox

"Error (509)
This account's public links are generating too much traffic and have been temporarily disabled!"
June 23, 2012 at 4:30 | Registered CommentermatthewS

"How did you produce it?"

... Using an app called Display Recorder. It's a jailbreak app that can be found in the Cydia App Store.

"...the way you are using it requires many touches for each action, so I suspect I'll be sticking with Clear for the time being..."

... To build a chain from three tasks in Clear takes seven taps. To build a chain from three tasks in IndexCard takes seven taps. To go to your chain in Clear takes one tap, and in IndexCard two. 

To send three recurring or incomplete tasks back to the end of your list in Clear takes seven taps, in IndexCard it takes six.

In Clear, as you pre-select tasks each task goes to the bottom of your list. In IndexCard, your pre-selections remain where they are during pre-selection and are marked so you can easily scroll up to see what the last selected task was, and, if you wish to de-select any tasks, you can do so without changing the sort order.

"Above you wrote that one can:

• Edit lists on a Mac and a PC
• Share lists with others as importable/exportable files
• Email any list as text with notes
• Paste a list of tasks into a list in one go"

The long list of features I mentioned were things I said I was looking for in an app, and that this app included nearly everyone of my desired features — but not all. However, some of the features you mentioned are available in the app, including:

• Edit lists on a Mac and a PC
• Share lists with others as importable/exportable files
• Email any list as text with notes

"Do any of these capabilities require Scrivener?"

... Yes. Editing lists on a Mac and a PC.

"...can I import a text file into a new or existing list, resulting in one card for each line of text in the file?"

... No.
June 23, 2012 at 5:36 | Registered CommenterMichael B.

"I have to say I'm quite surprised at how hard it is to get a fluid workflow on mobile, one that beats or stands shoulder-to-shoulder with paper."

I agree. What we need is an independently-wealthy passionate forum member who desires a minimalist, tactile, beautiful non-paper mobile solution with plenty of white space, teamed up with a passionate designer with a minimalist design-philosophy and a skilled programmer, all of whom are willing to adjust their work based on input from the forum while knowing when to say no to extreme requests that would complicate the app's clean visual design.

I could design the perfect app if I had the enormous amount of money and time required to have it programmed. But most forum members could do that. The key missing elements are: money, time, and programming skills. And money. And also, money.
June 23, 2012 at 6:12 | Registered CommenterMichael B.

"the post is popular, you might want to post on YouTube as access [is] frozen on...Dropbox"

... Thanks!
June 23, 2012 at 6:26 | Registered CommenterMichael B.
Michael B:
I appreciate the effort you've put into informing us about Index Card (which I already own but don't really use) and I admire your excellent walkthrough. But I must say I find the method pretty underwhelming - especially considering the anticipation you created. I'll be sticking to synced text files - and real paper - for my FV needs. Less "automated" perhaps but way less fiddly; anything that requires that lengthy an explanation is likely to get in the way of actually getting things done IMHO.
In a way I'm grateful that you've hammered one more nail in the coffin of my search for the software holy grail. So thanks!
June 23, 2012 at 19:10 | Unregistered CommenterCog
Once again I am very much in tune with you!
I was very keen to try out this wonderful new solution as suggested by MB
I forked out the money and gave it a crack!

It's a good piece of software for what it's designed for and well done to the dev team!

I have to say that it just doesnt work for me for FV it's just too clunky and IMO a tad over hyped for this purpose
So I for one am still ranking Focus pad #1 and Clear #2 (when im out n about) with trusted pencil and paper as really the fastest! :)

June 23, 2012 at 20:19 | Unregistered CommenterGrik
"So I for one am still ranking Focus pad #1 and Clear #2 (when im out n about) with trusted pencil and paper as really the fastest! :) - Grik"

I stand with Grik. KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) is the way of FV.
June 23, 2012 at 22:10 | Unregistered CommenterDjorn
Clear is #1 IMO. Haven't found anything better. I'm willing to be persuaded, however, even at the cost of a few dollars in some cases.
June 25, 2012 at 17:47 | Registered Commenterubi