My first four weeks with the Bento Method app
For the past four weeks, I have been using the Bento Method app exclusively on iOS (for now). It is an application that has changed how I structure my day because it has allowed me to reflect on what needs to be focused on. I posted a video on YouTube about my five reasons why I use Bento daily. If you can't watch the video (please do), I've broken down the top five reasons below.
#1 - Ease of use
The application itself is beautifully set out and simplistic. Simple is good because some apps add too many features so it becomes troublesome to use - Calm meditation and Evernote come to mind. It has the right balance to allow users to focus on what the app should be used for. As the Bento Method team mentioned, this app is not a replacement for other task management apps out there. However, what it does do is let you sit down and think carefully about what needs to be done. I spend Sunday evening setting out my initial plans for the week and sort my focused tasks out into Bento boxes. On a Wednesday evening, I review my tasks and see what needs to change. If you don’t like the default theme of the app, there are six themes to choose from as well as a light and dark theme.
#2 - Focusing on meaningful tasks
Before using Bento, I averaged around ten tasks per day and some of them had subtasks, which I don’t class as unique tasks because they act as steps towards the ultimate goal. I have managed to reduce my cumbersome task list by re-evaluating my daily routines. Now I have three focused tasks and seven of my previous tasks are scheduled within my Google Calendar. I try to ‘Eat the Frog’ as much as I can. Simply put - I start with the most challenging task that is hard to swallow (like a frog). It is not always feasible because tasks from work must be completed first. What I have done for those tasks where they require multiple subtasks is create a project within Evernote. Other projects reside within my Google Docs and link to my Google Calendar.
#3 - Support
How I came to know about the Bento Method app was through my weekly viewing of Keep Productive (Yes, it’s a weekly routine). Francesco and his team have a great presence online and respond to individuals over social media. I like how developers of smaller apps have a close community. Getting in touch with Francesco and Karl to voice my opinion is a nice little touch too. They have made videos and documented the app nicely.
#4 - Bento timer
A set amount of time is given for each task in your Bento box. At the moment, you have a choice of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 minutes. I would like to be able to set the timer below five minutes for those smaller, critical tasks where they need 100% of my attention. Clicking on the arrow next to the task brings you to a timer function where a quick tap of the start button activates the time function and initiates some tranquil music in the background. At the moment, the music and end of focus alert do not work when the screen is locked. Hopefully, this will be amended and fully functional in a nearby update.
#5 - Documentation
Francesco D’Alessio, of Keep Productive and creator of the Bento Method app, knows what it is like to experience a new app or service with his weekly reviews of products. It is clear from the get go that documentation and support were going to be important. The methodology of the Bento Method has been documented nicely within the app with a quick tap in the top left hand corner. This sends the user to a Medium page with guidance of the app. I like this idea and how it launches. My only little niggle is the documentation does not work offline. On Keep Productive, there are a series of YouTube videos in a playlist to watch if you want Francesco to break the app down into smaller chunks. As the Bento app becomes more popular and evolves, I can imagine the content available will too.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog (and YouTube video if you have). Please feel free to share it with others. It would be much appreciated.
Mark from Minimlr.com