Chaos Control Mac and iOS App provides a solid, user-friendly way to control projects and tasks.
For about 18 months now, I’ve been working as a Project Manager for a marketing and communications agency. As a Project Manager, you are in charge of many moving parts of jobs day in and day out. It’s organized chaos at its best. One thing that has been a struggle is keeping track of it all with a pen and paper. My employers have been researching a system that will work for project management company-wide, but that doesn’t necessarily help me in the interim. Even though my job doesn’t involve a life or death situation, missing a deadline can me the difference between a happy client and a client pulling their work from us. So, my job really means that I keep the client happy and their business with us over another agency.
I’ve been searching for many months trying to find a suitable option for a project management app that will help me keep track of the multiple aspects of my work projects. The problem I run into is the level of complexity involved with each project and the many layers that are needed to have a complete profile of the project. Chaos Control is a personal project management app for
entrepreneurs and busy people and it works with Mac OS and iOS so that you have 100% coverage while you manage your projects.
Even though I consider myself tech savvy I must admit, I was a bit lost when I opened up the Mac app for Chaos Control. The interface itself is pleasant to look at, clean, and fairly intuitive as far as organization goes. My issue came with where to start. When you open the app for the first time, there are pre-loaded projects and tasks from the developer that are intended to help you learn how to use the app. For me, I prefer to start from scratch.
So, when I cleared out all the temporary projects and tasks, I was left with a blank screen – ready for input. On the left-hand side of the screen, you will see a navigation bar (pictured at right here). Now, without any guidance, I really wasn’t sure where to start. After reading a bit on the Chaos Control website, I discovered that you want to start with the projects tab.
When you click on the Project tab, the first thing you want to do is click on the “+” sign. This gives you the option to either open a Project or a Folder. I quickly discovered that what you want to do is create a Folder first, and then rest the Projects inside of them. The Folders are used to categorize the Projects. Once you have created a Project, then you can add in Tasks for that Project. These tasks are then given start and end dates, which push the information into your Daily Plan, which is another section of the app. Even though there is another way to utilize the organizational functionality of Chaos Control (using Chaos Box), setting up Projects is the best option to get the most out of the project management aspect of this set of apps.
You can see from the screenshots below, that I used a set of projects as an example for how things lay out inside this section of the app. The first image shows the folders set-up, the second shows a closer look at the Jawbone folder with the four projects I set-up, and the last screenshot shows the tasks set-up for the eBrochure project.
With the task set-up, you have several different options to create details that carry through the entire Chaos Control system. You will see from the image to the right that you can add a Memo, Context, which is sort of like a hashtag, Date, and select whether or not it’s a repeating task.
This really helps define the different elements of a task. The only thing I don’t like about this is that you can only see the Memo when you open this window. All the other pieces of the project or task definition are viewable in the list view, but not the Memo. I’m hoping this is something that will be updated in future versions.
This part of the app confused me at first. I really wasn’t sure what it was used for and just like other parts of the app, there were some pre-defined Contexts included. They look like a Twitter user name “@home”. Basically, when you add a Context to a Project or Task, it’s like adding a Hashtag to a topic on Facebook or Twitter. The app pulls together all elements that have the Context added. For example, if a Project has a Context of @Office, and then you go to the Context screen, any Project or Task that has that applied, will show up in the Context list.
I mentioned earlier that the best way to get the most out of the Chaos Control set of apps is to fully set-up Projects and set Tasks to them. But, as any Project Manager will tell you, sometimes you just need to make a quick note or reminder for yourself and you don’t always have time to set-up a full Project. That’s what Chaos Box is for. The developers put a quick note area into the apps that give you the option to drop moment-to-moment tasks into it. You have the option with these task to go back in and organize them at a later time.
One aspect of Chaos Control I’ve not touched on is its syncing capabilities. The apps use a Cloud sync function to share information between the different app platforms. To use it, you simply create a free account and then log in on whatever devices you want to use. It syncs very quickly and flawlessly.
Chaos Control has a lot of potential and I’m excited to see what future updates may bring. My advice to anyone looking to use this set of apps is to familiarize yourself with the methodology behind how the app works and then start filling in your project information. The app felt a lot more user friendly once I did that. Also, I would recommend using the Mac (or PC) version of the app to set-up Projects and then use the mobile versions to keep track of your tasks.
Chaos Control is a really nice, clean set of apps that give you the option to take control of the chaos in your life.
DOWNLOAD – Chaos Control – $4.99 – iOS
DOWNLOAD – Chaos Control – $24.99 – Mac