There's a real range of to-do software out there: Whatever your way of working, there's a technology-enabled solution. To save you the time of sorting through all the apps, here is a selection of some of the best. Looking for more productivity apps and services? Check out our guided to the best iOS apps and best Android apps. The app from Cultured Code is one of the most aesthetically pleasing to-do apps out there. Unfortunately, it is only for iOS and Mac but there are ton of options for those who decide to go for the app. Tasks can have large headings with sub-groups and checklists underneath them, you can drag tasks with a finger on mobile to reorder them, and reminders can be set to pop up at a specific time.
There's a fairly high cost to Things: Todoist attempts to gamify productivity. A lot of apps use animations to add cues to their interface; Things makes it buttery smooth. Animations are tricky. When done right, they can add context, give subtle hints about what is possible, and add delight. Cultured Code nailed the balance between subtlety, utility, and delight with the interactions included in the latest version of Things. When we talk about the design, we should also include the navigation of the app itself.
Any good Mac app includes keyboard shortcuts that enable the user to be more efficient.
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Things 3 nails this as well. Open the app and just start typing. Rather than force you to open the Quick Find modal, Things starts displaying search results when you type anywhere in the app that is not an input. Why not just show people what they need immediately? A pleasure! One has to search to find a piece of functionality that is not available via the keyboard.
And when it comes to design, there is one characteristic of Things that got my attention more than any other. That is…. When I first gave Things 3 a look, this is the feature that sold me. A long time ago, Things was my first task management tool as a new Mac user, but with the slow development times at Cultured Code and a lack of sync support, I made a move to OmniFocus. For the better part of 5 years, I never gave Things any further consideration. When I first tried Things 3, something clicked for me. I wrote about it in my initial review:. There always needed to be a secondary piece of software required.
Things 3 is the first tool that made me think there was a chance I could handle it all in one place. And indeed, a project in Things feels very much like a blank document rather than a rigid checklist. There is space for notes and reference information that does not feel like a simple free-form text field that is a second-class citizen in the apps UI. Things, as well as many of the apps in this space, do a good job of making it easy to get stuff into it. Using the Quick Entry dialog, you can quickly type a customizable shortcut and enter in a new task.
Most task management apps offer this feature, but what I like about Things is, again, the usability. The form includes all the necessary fields, while also including excellent support for using just the keyboard. Even better, with the Things Helper, you can create tasks from a currently selected item in other apps. Using this, Things will include a link back to the original item.
Using one master inbox for all your inputs becomes a lot more feasible with this type of functionality. One of the aspects of Things that has always been important is how it structures the tasks that make up your life. That allows you to structure your projects, tasks, and checklists according to the various roles you play project managers, designers, and accountants, but parents, volunteers, coaches as well.
It even gets its own icon! This approach to the foundational structure in Things makes it easy to focus on one area at a time. Further down the structure, each project is also given a nice visual treatment. Again, this concept of a blank document works well. This allows you to include any background information or reference materials required at the top of the project. From there, you create the tasks required to complete the project. If your project has specific categories of tasks or is broken into segments, Things lets you create headers to add structure to the project itself.
Further, each task can include notes or documentation, and tasks can be recurring or include a checklist.
Add it all up, and you get this beautiful document of what needs to be done. You can set this view up to sit on the side of your screen as you plug away. Another aspect of Things 3 that I admire is the consideration of how to use time. Yes, you can assign a due date for tasks or projects, but you can also specify a time when you want to work on your tasks but they are not necessarily due.
This is how you add items to Today. This implementation in Things is very well thought out. If I have a task I want to complete tomorrow, I set that value in the task itself all from the keyboard, mind you. Most other task managers would treat this as an overdue item and give you a glaring read badge.
This is a far friendlier way of allowing you to address intention when managing your tasks. Due dates are still there for when needed. For me, hard due dates are rare, so the more relaxed approach to time in Things is welcome. Most task managers give you the option to use tags.
Yet I and believe many other Apple users never seem to get around to using them. Not in the file system, and not in my main applications. However, I really like the way Things handles tags. The basic structure of Things is as mentioned above. You create high-level Areas of Responsibility or high-level projects to Things. From there, areas can include multiple projects and tasks.
In this way, Things operates a lot like folders on your file system. Tags are how you can view tasks across the different areas and projects in your life. You can view any given tag by using the high-level keyboard-based navigation. Simply start typing the name of a tag and then select it from the search modal. The result is a view that looks like a project. Except it can include tasks that are located in different projects, grouped by area.
Since there is little ability to create custom views in Things more on that below , this ability to view tags allows you the most flexibility. You can even filter your list of tagged tasks by other tags.
Things 3 Review: The Best Productivity App for Mac, iPhone, and iPad
So meta. Compared to some of the other options, a lot of people will find it too rigid. Whereas a tool like OmniFocus allows you to configure things in a myriad of ways, Things only gives you a minimal set of options. Nowhere is this more apparent than creating custom views. Where OmniFocus or 2Do allow you to build highly customized and specific views for your tasks, Things has almost no options at all. If you like to focus on one day at a time, the Today view is a good option.
The best to-do list to help boost your productivity
The same is true for viewing an entire area of your life. If you view an area that includes projects and single tasks, you cannot see all the tasks for the entire area. All tasks for a specific project can only be viewed by clicking into the project itself. Apart from the lack of customization which, I should add, some people would see as a positive feature , there are a few other missing features in Things. First, the lack of Markdown support or any other formatting is a bummer.
How much more useful would the notes be if you could add headers, bold or italicize text, or even include file attachments? Great if you want to have a partner, assistant, or spouse collaborate. You can even invite collaborators without them needing to have a Nozbe account. A Dojo-favorite feature is Project Templates, which lets you have a template for a set of tasks that you complete over and over again think trip planning or podcast preparation.
Click here to learn more about Nozbe. You may be surprised to find Trello on this list. You can move items between them as the tasks move through your workflow. There are different ways to do it, but at a high level:. Click here to learn more about Trello. If you want a traditional web-based task management system, it is hard to beat Todoist.
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Many email programs and web services have Todoist integration built in, so it makes it fast and easy to capture tasks or ideas to the Todoist Inbox. Click here to learn more about Todoist. Then, most if not all of these tools have a free trial. Download the app or sign up for the web service and give it a try.
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If you like the feel of it, then you can purchase or subscribe. Remember that just adding an app to an ineffective process or workflow will be a band-aid at best, and may even make things worse. Inside the Dojo, our community that comes with a library of productivity courses , covers a lot of these apps in more detail and how to use them.
It will help you zero in on your biggest productivity challenges, and give you actionable advice so that you can be working efficiently and effectively. That, combined with the right GTD app, will help you achieve superhuman productivity! This one lifehack led to the biggest breakthrough of my career. People like Steve Jobs and Oprah have used it to catapult their success, and now you can too. You missed Nirvana at http: I am in the group of folks who are locked into Outlook by corporate IT.
One macro asks me if I want to create a task after sending an email and if I do, the email is embedded within the task. Great for follow up. Another macro allows me to select multiple tasks and move them forward into the future all in one click. My point is that if you are in this situation, there is hope for you. His approach complements GTD but is not the same. It mainly comes into play in the Weekly Reviews. I have tried all the apps and I like the approach that many of them take. For me, I keep coming back to FacileThings http: It follows, almost to a fault, the GTD path. It keeps its users on the rails and everything is organized.
I think the best feature is that you can associate tasks to Areas of Responsibility and Goals without adding many, many labels.
FacileThings https: Apart from supporting the basic GTD workflow, it features areas of responsibility, horizons of focus, and weekly review. I prefer it becquse I have found it neqrly infinitely customizqble, qnd it has been able to grow with me as I have evilved my GTD system. Asana is a great cross platform web based app that is highly influenced in the GTD methodology.
You can use projects, as your specific GTD projects. Indeed, you can have an asana project named project list and link all internal projects within asana environment. You can use tags for contexts; and if you pay you can use also custom filters for it. The first one allows you have tasks linked to other tasks in the same or different projects. Leave this field empty. Download our free report that reveals the morning routines of Oprah, Tim Cook, Tony Robbins and other highly successful people. Get it Now. What Is GTD? At its heart, GTD helps you answer two questions: Is everything that I need to do captured in a trusted system so that I can use my brain power to focus on my important tasks instead of trying to remember and juggle information and to-dos?
Do I know what I can take action on next for each of my projects, given the constraints of time, place, and ability? When you apply the GTD system to the things you need to do, your work goes through five phases: Make sure everything you need to do or think about is written down in a trusted system and out of your head.