If you’ve been looking for a single application to help you “sort out your life”, look no further because I might just have the answer to all your prayers.
Yes, that’s right. Your quest for the perfect task management app might have just ended here.
At least that is how I felt after finding it.
So, let me introduce you to the Amazing Marvin!
Amazing Marvin might look pretty basic at first sight, but trust me, the number of optional features you can activate on this app will blow your mind.
In fact, my exact thoughts when I opened Marvin for the first time and saw the dashboard were, “Well, this looks pretty basic. It’s kind of just a task list.”
But I made a big mistake in letting the minimalist design of the initial main view deceive me.
Marvin is packed full of features – and I mean seriously PACKED.
Selecting Workflow Library or Strategies from the main drop-down menu is like rubbing on a magic lamp and releasing the Productivity Genie.
The range of options is, frankly, ridiculous – in a good way, of course.
So those initial thoughts were then quickly superseded by: “Holy crap! This app is not playing around!”
As someone who spends a lot of time researching time management and productivity tools, I could quickly appreciate the depth of the features laid out before me.
However, if you’re relatively new to this stuff, you could be forgiven for feeling a bit overwhelmed on seeing all of these options and you might not know where to start. Because as I think I might have mentioned already, this app really does have A LOT of features.
There is no need to be intimidated by this though because the team behind Marvin have your back.
The built-in guidance and video tutorials are fantastic and make things very easy to understand and Marvin (the little brown chocolate marshmallow guy) pops up with hints and prompts all the way through when you first start using it.
And once you comprehend the capabilities of this app, everything starts to fall into place and using Marvin become much, much easier.
One of the recurrent themes on this blog is that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to time management and the same applies to the way we manage our workflows.
Different things work for different people and the modular design of this app takes this into consideration since it allows you to switch features on and off easily.
You can introduce them at your own pace and if they’re not working out for you, then you can simply turn that particular function off and introduce an alternative – or not – so you’re never stuck seeing features you never use.
The list of features this app offers is way too big to cover in depth here, so I just want to give you a bit of an overview and an introduction to some of the bits that I really love in particular.
First of all, the design is beautiful and navigating the different screens is easy and intuitive.
The main view is fully customizable and the layout can be set up exactly how you like it via the Workflow Library.
For example, if you use David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” strategy to organize your day or maybe the Eisenhower Method, you can select a workflow designed exactly to support that mode of working.
There is also a section of templates that mimic some of the other popular task management apps available.
So, say you’re already used to an app such as Things 3 or Todoist, you can configure Marvin to mimic the set up of that app with just a click. This gives you the user experience of an app you’re already familiar with, but with all the fantastic add-ons Marvin provides. Double whammy!
The main block of operational features can be found in the Strategies section of the app and this is where things get interesting and where Marvin starts to pull away from other task management tools I have used to date.
What makes Marvin unique is that it is highly customizable and you can really tailor it to your own preferences to suit exactly how you want to work.
Some people complain that many task management apps are too restrictive and that you are resigned to working to templates created by the developer, whether they fit your requirements or not. This is not a complaint you’ll have with Marvin.
Marvin allows you to turn on and off the modules you need for your day-to-day work. You can strip it down to the bare essentials or use as many of the functions as you feel necessary to keep you on track.
Of particular mention are the strategies designed to overcome procrastination, which is one of the biggest barriers to effective time management and getting things done.
These are my three personal favourite “anti-procrastination” features:
These “cards” above are taken from screenshots of the Strategies section of Marvin. As you can see, they are clear and easy to activate/deactivate. Some of these features, such as the Decision Makers group, may seem gimmicky at first glance, but there is some serious psychology behind them and they have not just been thrown in for the sake of it. These things can make a huge difference to your productivity.
And here are some of the other features I have been using:
- Built-in Pomodoro timer
- Backburner for tasks and ‘wishlists’ without start dates or deadlines
- Eisenhower Matrix, so you can organize and prioritize your To-Do-list according to importance and urgency
- Time blocking feature for the calendar
On top of all the great features, the Marvin developers provide top-notch support, which includes a Facebook community of so-called ‘Marvinauts’.
Why people might not like Marvin
Personally, I was really struggling to find reasons not to like Marvin, but you’re always going to get some haters. Here are a few reasons I have found after reading some other reviews with my rebuttal:
- One of the major complaints about Marvin is the lack of multi-user collaborations features, but for me, that’s like saying that your Porsche doesn’t have enough room to carry your family of seven. Maybe it wasn’t designed to be a collaborative tool, so those people should quit their moaning really. But anyway, according to the Marvin Product Roadmap, this is one of the many additional features that is going to be added soon.
- Marvin might be a bit too complex for some users. I think it may seem that way at first, but once you comprehend its capabilities, everything suddenly becomes much easier.
- It could be seen as too pricey. It’s $8 per month on the annual plan, but when you consider how much functionality you get for the price, it’s actually quite a bargain really.
- A lack of features on the iOS version has also been a complaint, but since I don’t use an iPhone, I can’t comment. I am on my MacBook all day and so I use the web version and the Mac app. I do also have the app on my Android phone but found that I didn’t really use it, other than to add tasks when I was away from my computer.
- Marvin does require you to invest a little time initially in order to set up and get acquainted with the many different setup options available. However, the tutorials are excellent, as is the customer support, so there shouldn’t be any complaints at all here really.
Time Hack Hero Takeaway
Marvin developers, Christina and Mark, clearly understand a thing or two about productivity and time management and the psychological barriers so many of us face when it comes to implementing strategies to improve the way in which we organize our lives.
And the Marvin app clearly reflects that.
This definitely isn’t some half-hearted attempt at an app thrown out to try and cash in on a growing market sector. It is clear that Marvin is the result of countless hours of painstaking research, effort, attention to detail and a genuine desire to help people lead a more productive life and be more in control of their time.
So should you try Marvin?
Well, that’s not really the question.
The question should be, “When should you start using Marvin?”
And the answer is: right now!
I don’t think there’s a more comprehensive task management app out there at the moment and given the developments in the pipeline (according to the roadmap, at least), the distance Marvin has opened up on other apps in this space looks like it will only continue to grow.
Do yourself a favour – go and sign up for the 30-day trial right now and see for yourself how good this app is. It won’t solve all of your time management and productivity woes, but I am confident it can go a long way to solving most of them.
I mean, short of making you a cup of coffee in between your Pomodoro sessions, Marvin does pretty much everything you need to help you stay on top of your tasks each day.
Why everyone isn’t using Marvin already, I don’t know.
Seriously, get it now. Sign up for the 30-day free trial. You’ve got nothing to lose.