Here you will find "how to" guides for all of Marvin's basic features.
Strategies are extra features that you can enable and disable at any time. Strategies allow you to customize your workflow and create a unique productivity system that works for you.
Exiting out of Overlays
Your home screen and the first page you will see when you open Marvin is the "my day" view. When you navigate to some parts of Marvin (e.g. master list, calendar, super focus mode, etc.) they open up in an overlay on top of your main view.
To exit out of an overlay and return to your home screen you can either press the "esc" key on your keyboard (top left) or click the little "x" on the top right of a overlay.
Renaming items (categories, projects, tasks, and subtasks) in Marvin couldn't be easier. Just click on the title you want to rename and edit it like regular text. Press the "enter/return" key on your keyboard or click outside the task when finished.
To delete items like categories, projects, recurring tasks, tasks and subtasks, you can click on the trashcan icon ( ) that appears to the right of the items when hovering over them.
After deleting some items a notification will pop up on the top right of your screen. Clicking the notification will undo the deletion. The notification is only visible for a few seconds.
Deleting a timer (or others like task jar, filters, etc.) is done by clicking the small "x" that appears directly above it. There is no undo in this case.
When hovering over items like categories, projects, and tasks there are small icons that appear on the right. Hovering over these icons will tell you what they do. Most of them open a mini dialog where you can further interact with the item. Things like adding due dates, scheduling to a different day, adding labels, etc. all happen via mini dialog.
To create a task in either place you click into the task input bar (at the very top of the window), type out your task and hit the return/enter key on your keyboard.
To rename a task, you simply click on the task title and use the cursor that appears to make changes to the title. By default, the entire title's text is selected when you first click on it. You can then click again to deselect the title before typing. Once you are done hit the "enter/return key" on your keyboard or click outside the task to stop editing.
To delete a task, hover over the task and navigate to the trash icon that now appears on the right of the task. Clicking the trashcan icon ( ) deletes the task.
Immediately after deleting a task, a notification pops up on the top right corner that alerts you of the deletion. Clicking the notification will undo the deletion. After a few seconds the notification disappears and after that there is no way to undo a task deletion.
Tasks can be re-ordered in your daily list and in the master list. To re-order a task hover over the task you want to move, click and hold the mouse button down, and drag the mouse to move the task to another location. Other tasks will move to make room for wherever you drag the task. Once you have found the perfect spot for your task, let go of the mouse button to drop the task in it's new place.
Each task has a schedule icon ( ) that appears when you hover over the task. Clicking the icon opens up a mini dialog. Click on a date in the mini dialog's calendar to schedule the task.
There are also a few commonly used options ("Back to Master List", "Today", "Tomorrow") at the top for quick rescheduling.
Moving a task back to the master list
If you move a task from your daily todo list back to the master list, it will go back to the category/project it is assigned to. If you never assigned it to a category or project it will go into the default "Unassigned" category.
Moving a task to a different section in the day
If you are using a "sections" strategy to add sections to your daily todo list you will also be able to assign the task to a section within the schedule mini dialog. This can be easier than dragging and dropping a task to a different section when you have a lot of tasks in your day.
You can add subtasks to any task by clicking on the edit icon ( ) on the right that appears when hovering over a task. After clicking the "add subtasks" button, a task input bar will appear within the task which you can use to create subtasks. Once you are done, you can press Escape on your keyboard, or click anywhere outside the task.
Subtasks can be checked off individually but at the moment they cannot be re-ordered and also don't show up in the super focus mode.
To add a due date to an existing task, hover over the task and click the edit icon ( ) on the right. A mini dialog opens. Click on a date in the mini dialog's calendar to set the task's due date.
To add a due date as you are creating the task in the task input bar you can just type "due " followed by the date. A dropdown menu will appear with a few due date shortcuts that you can click ("tomorrow", "next week" etc.) as soon as you type "due ".
How can I easily see when a task is due?
A task's due date is shown just below its title.
If the task is due today or tomorrow, there will be a red bar on the left of the task. This is to alert you that this is an urgent task. Marvin also schedules a task that is due tomorrow automatically into your day if the task was still in the master list or scheduled in the past.
Tasks that are due soon also show up in your dashboard.
How can I remove a due date?
To remove the due date, click the trashcan icon ( ) next to "add due date" in the edit mini dialog. You can change the due date at any time.
To add notes to your tasks, you must first enable the "Let me jot this down" strategy. Once this strategy is on there will be an additional note icon on the right of a task when hovering over it with your mouse. Clicking the note opens up a space below the task where you can create your note. Clicking the note icon again will hide the note. You can see which tasks have notes since their note icons are permanently turquoise.
To add labels to your tasks, you must first enable the "Task Labels" strategy and create any labels that you plan to use in the strategy settings.
To add labels to an existing task click on the edit icon ( ) on the right of the task and select labels from the "Add Label" dropdown menu.
To add labels to a task as you are creating it in the task input bar, just type "@" followed by the label. A dropdown menu will appear as soon as you type "@" to make selection quicker.
To add time estimates to your tasks, you must first enable the "time tracking" strategy. Then, while creating a task, either type "~" or "ca. " followed by a time. Use "h" for hours and "m" for minutes.
A time estimate can either be added in the task input bar when creating the task or on an existing task by clicking the title to rename it.
To remove a time estimate simply use "~0" or "ca. 0".
To track the time it takes you to complete your tasks, you must first enable the "How long will this take" strategy.
To track the time you have two options, either you complete the task in super focus mode where the time is tracked automatically, or you click the "play" icon on the right of the task when you hover over it with your mouse. You can tell that the time is being tracked when there is a dot circling on the left side of the task.
To pause time tracking you can click the "pause" icon on the right when you hover over a task with your mouse (it alternates between the play and pause button). Similarly, in the super focus mode there is a pause button on the bottom right that will stop the time tracking.
There are a few handy shortcuts you can use when creating a task:
To plan a day, click the green "Plan Day" button at the top-middle of your screen. A Master List overlay will open. But instead of being able to create tasks in your master list, you can select tasks to schedule into your day. To select a task, simply click on it. A selected task will have a turquoise background. You will be able to see the total count of your selected tasks and the total time (if you are using time estimates).
Once you are satisfied with your selection, click on the green button on the bottom right of the overlay to schedule your selection. If you exit out of the overlay before you do so, no tasks will be scheduled and your selection will be lost.
If you don't finish your daily todo list the uncompleted tasks will remain where they are until you re-schedule them. To make sure you don't forget about these tasks, there will be a dialog box telling you that there are tasks left behind.
Clicking on "Reschedule them" button will allow you to bulk reschedule them.
To prevent over-scheduling your day and leaving tasks unfinished, read through our best practices guide on how to plan the right amount of tasks.
Underneath every daily list is a "Bulk Reschedule Tasks" button. Clicking it opens a dialog that helps you quickly delete or reschedule multiple tasks.
You can manually select tasks (selected tasks have a turquoise background) or click "select all". On the top you specify where you want to move the tasks ("tomorrow", "next week", etc.). Then clicking the green button on the bottom right reschedules all selected tasks to the specified date.
Having one long todo list for your day is often not ideal. Most people like to break up their daily todo list in Marvin. There are a several strategies that help you do this. Go to strategies and click on the "sections" tag. You will then see all the current strategies that add sections to your day.
At the top of each day you will see a green completion bar that shows you the ratio of completed tasks to total tasks scheduled for the day.
If you have the time tracking strategy enabled and you want to get a nice breakdown of your time spent for the day, each completed task should be assigned to a category or project and have a time (the time it took you to do the task).
If a task is missing one or both of these pieces of information, there will be a button shown above the completed tasks that will alert you of this.
Clicking the button opens a dialog that lets you assign tasks to projects or categories and add the missing time (use your best guess).
Recurring tasks come in handy for tasks that you have to perform daily, weekly, monthly or any other regular interval. You just specify the task and when you need to do it, and then it will be automatically scheduled for you on the approriate days.
To add a recurring task, first navigate to "Recurring Tasks" in the ( ) menu at the top right of your screen, then click the "Add Task" button and fill out the form, and finally click "Add Recurring Task". Back in the list of recurring tasks, hover over a recurring task with your mouse and click the ( ) icon to edit it or the ( ) icon to delete it.
A routine is just a recurring task with subtasks. This can be useful, for example, if you have a fixed morning or evening routine with a bunch of steps you always perform in order and you want to contain the entire routine in one task.
To create a recurring routine, navigate to "Recurring Tasks" in the ( ) menu at the top right of your screen, click the "Add Routine" button, fill out the form, then click the "Add Routine" button at the bottom of the form. Back in the list of recurring tasks and routines, hover over a routine with your mouse and click the ( ) icon to edit it or the ( ) icon to delete it.
If you are using Marvin as your task storage and not just to plan your day, the master list is a very important tool. The master list is where you can store and organize all your tasks and projects.
Make sure to read through our best practices guide on how to set up the master list in order to get the most out of Marvin.
In Marvin, your tasks and projects live in categories which can be nested just like the files and directories on your computer.
The master list consists of multiple vertical columns. The column on the right always shows the contents of whatever is selected in the column immediately to its left. So, in the example below, if you click the Work main category in the left column, then the middle column will be populated with Work's subcategories and tasks.
The breadcrumbs on the top left show you the currently selected category path.
To add a main category click the ( ) icon above the left-most column. Click the title to rename it, just as you would rename a task, and when you are done press enter/return on your keyboard or click anywhere outside. You can change a category's name at any time.
Note of caution
If you want to get rid of a category and create a new one it is better to delete it and create a new one rather than just rename it. Otherwise, all your completed tasks that are assigned to the old category will be assigned to the new category. This can be confusing when looking at completion stats from the past, for example.
Picking a color for a main category
You can assign a unique color to each of your main categories. To do this, hover over a main category with your mouse and click the paintbrush icon ( ). Select a color and click "save color". The category's folder icon ( ) is now colored.
Main category colors appear throughout various areas of Marvin, such as for time blocks in the Calendar and in time tracking pie charts.
To add a project or a subcategory, click the plus icon ( ) in the column where you want to add it.
To add a task to the master list, click the task input bar, type your task name and press the enter/return key on your keyboard.
Marvin will then create the task in the right-most selected category or project (recall: selected categories/projects are turquoise). You can double check where a task is being created by looking at the breadcrumbs or the turquoise button that appears at the right of the task input (unless you are adding the task to Unassigned). In order to deselect a project or subcategory, click its parent, either in a column or in the breadcrumbs.
There are a few neat things in Marvin that are not immediately obvious. Here is a list of those hidden features.
If you click on the red box with the Marvin logo inside on the top left, the sidebar disappears. Click the red box again and the sidebar pops back into the screen. This can be useful when you want to have Marvin open in a small window next to your other windows.
Automatic Sand Timer
If you include a time duration in your task (e.g. 1h, 30m, 40m), Marvin will automatically convert the time into a clickable orange link. Clicking the link will automatically start a sand timer with the specified amount of time.
Add task to the top of the list
By default, a new task is added to the bottom of the list. But if instead of hitting "enter", you press "shift + enter", the task gets put at the top of the list.
Automatic Scheduling of urgent tasks
If a task is due tomorrow or before it will be automatically scheduled for you today and marked with a red bar on the left side. This helps you to not forget about urgent tasks.
There are two built-in timers in Marvin: a sand timer and a tomato timer. Click the orange button in the bottom quick access menu to set a timer.
The sand timer works just like a regular sand timer. You specify the amount of time you need and click "start timer". A sand timer will then appear on the bottom right of your screen with the sand slowly running out. Once the time is up you will hear a sound, and a system notification will appear.
When hovering over a sand timer with your mouse you will see how much time remains. While hovering, you can also pause the sand timer by clicking the pause button ( ) and remove it completely clicking the ( ) button.
If you include a time duration in your task (e.g. 1h, 30m, 40m), Marvin will convert the time into a clickable orange link. Clicking the link will automatically start a sand timer with the specified amount of time.
The tomato timer (also known as pomodoro timer) alternates between two modes: a focus mode where you work on a task without distraction and a break mode where you take a break. You can set the duration of each mode when you create the timer.
During the work mode you will see a red tomato at the bottom right of your screen that slowly gets eaten. Once the time is up you will hear a sound and the tomato will switch to a green tomato indicating that it's break time. System notifications appear when each mode finishes.
The super focus mode is a helpful way to get your daily tasks done without distraction. In super focus mode, you can only see one task at a time. This helps you to focus on the task at hand without being distracted by any of the other tasks in your list.
How to use the super focus mode
To switch to super focus mode, click the green button in the quick access menu at the bottom-left of your screen. You will then only see the first task in your list. Once you've finished the task, click the "Done" button and the task will be checked off on your list and moved to "completed tasks". Then the next task in your list appears.
You can also choose to skip a task (click the "Skip" button on the bottom left). The task will remain at the same place in your daily list. All it does is skip to the next task in your list within super focus mode.
Automatic Time Tracking
If you are using the time tracking strategy, the timer will automatically start for the current task in super focus mode. You can pause the time tracking by hitting the pause button ( ) on the bottom right. To resume time tracking, click the play button ( ) that replaced the pause button.
Timers in the super focus mode
In the super focus mode there is a clock icon ( ) on the bottom right which you can click to set a timer. This way you don't have to exit out of super focus mode. Clicking on a time duration within a task in super focus mode starts a sand timer the same way it does in the regular "my day" view.
If you have an iPad it's a great idea to have Marvin running on there while you work. Entering the super focus mode and placing it next to your computer will always remind you what you are supposed to be working on at the moment.
The dashboard is a place where you can gain an overview over your current productivity situation. The dashboard consists of multiple panels that each show you different information.
By default there are only two panels enabled: one that shows you tasks that are due soon and another that shows you projects that are due soon. You can schedule tasks directly from these panels.
Strategy enabled panels
Most of the panels in the dashboard only show up when you have the corresponding strategy enabled. There will be many strategies in future releases that will add panels to the dashboard (e.g. detailed stats on your productivity).
The time tracking strategy shows you how much time you have worked today and a pie chart of your main category breakdown.
The time goals panel shows you how close you are to meeting your time goals for the day with completion bars.