Using Ulti-Planner for Mac to plan Ulti-Planner for Mac

When you make productivity apps for a living, you should be testing those apps in every day use, and what better way than to plan the building of a new app with itself. I love the idea of that.

I did it once before with Extreme Agenda, by setting up a Getting Things Done like reminder list for Extreme Agenda 5.0 in the early builds of EA5, which I covered in another blog post. This same system could be done in Ulti-Planner even better now, our reminder lists have grown to be crazy powerful.

But I wanted to take advantage of the new Project views inside the app and see just how great that would work on the desktop. Yes, Kanban also lends itself to a GTD like idea, with items draggable between columns to easily change status.

We had started with Ulti-Planner 2.0 and had some basic ideas what the big pieces would be. The Mac version was not a part of that, and was scheduled more for this summer. But on a whim after reading some Tweet and checking out a competitor’s pretty bad Mac app that they push heavily, I decided to compile the app in Catalyst and see how close ours was. The iPad app did lend itself to a pretty nice start in this regard.

I had always knew I wanted to not just release an iPad copy, the quality needed to be there, which is why it hasn’t materialized until now. But after seeing where Apple has catalyst now(a system to re-use iOS code for Mac), I knew I could get it to where I’d be comfortable in a short period of time.

So Mac was added to the 2.0 plan.

I setup a UP project with a custom ‘status’ system that is a hybrid I often use, with an ‘Inbox’ for new tasks, a ‘Next’ up status for things on deck, an ‘Active’ status that I’m actively working on now, and then a ‘Maybe’ section for stuff if I have time. I also have a ‘Push’ section for ideas that have to wait for another version, or feature creep wins, which it did for a few years for the 1.0 of Ulti-Planner 😅. And then if you scroll over the final column is ‘Completed’. You like that one getting very full.

I tend to like the ‘Cards’ for this view, as it mimics online project management boards I have used on other projects. Setting the priority of each task allows it to stay sorted with the most important on top. Clicking on items shows it’s card view with easy access to notes or embedded lists attached to each reminder.

Having the real estate of the desktop with the dragging of cards and the quick right click for context menus makes using this a breeze, I stayed extremely focused and got the app to Beta in a very quick turnaround. Using it frequently, it made me see where a few shortcuts could be added to make the Mac experience even more smooth.

And then our projects can also keep track of events associated with the project. To stay on task and get 2.0 out the door before a major vacation, I had some milestone events saved that show up in the main screen of my project, as well as right on the calendar.

Marketing plans of Ulti-Planner 2.0 is covered in its own project, and is heavily dated reminder orientated, to hit those milestones right from my daily calendar checkins and complete them.

And just like that the big new version of our popular calendar app has been planned out and completed, using itself!

Hopefully having a Project system built right into your calendar can help you be more productive too. Whether it be Mac, iPad, or iPhone, it helps get things done.

Your calendar evolved.