When you've got too many things to do, how do you keep track of them all? Have you started using a new to-do list app recently, or found an old one is still doing the job well?
The last time we discussed to-do list apps, it turned out some of the most popular options weren't to-do list apps at all. @dharmesh stars emails to save tasks; @NBNite and others used Notion to list tasks in notes.
What's your favorite way to organize the things you need to do today?
Used to use ToDoist, never loved it. I won't list out the reasons why unless someone is really curious. 😄 Even while using it I still occasionally used reminders from Google Keep (it's just convenient to have a note pop-up for direct, immediate use vs. clicking a link in a task), and I also still use Google Calendar a little.
I've tried tons of other options, but one thing I realized I needed was really good calendar functionality built-in to my task manager. Most people seem to feel GCal integration is all they want, but I actually feel like GCal is a pretty mediocre, outdated, clunky tool by modern standards (the last "major" update was merely a visual redesign to bring it up to other Google app design language). So I wanted to find something that had that integrated. I tried many options, ClickUp, TickTick, and more.
Currently seem to have settled on the surprisingly little-known Amazing Marvin. It's a bit daunting to configure at times as it is incredibly flexible (you can implement a much better GTD workflow in it than in ToDoist, for example, but also Eisenhower Matrix and much more). But that same configurability means I can make it do almost exactly what I want. And I find it in general far more pleasant to use and less clunky than ToDoist in most respects. It has its share of rough edges, but unlike many other larger ToDo apps the developers are highly available and responsive, e.g. in their Facebook feedback group. So you can very often get answers directly from someone on the (very small) team.
Like I said, for some reason it's not a very well-known tool. But I think it's worth a look for anyone who has yet to find a tool that works they way they want it to.
Btw another interesting potential aspect of the discussion is personal vs. professional tasks. Do you intermingle them, or keep them separate? If separate, what apps do you use for each respectively? If together, how do you keep them organized in your app of choice?
What I found myself doing was jumping from app to app since nothing seemed to be the perfect match. Ultimately, this approach was flawed. What finally clicked for me was discovering the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology and then configuring an app following that approach.
As one commentator mentioned, Amazing Marvin is truly an incredibly powerful productivity app. The whole premise behind Marvin is that you can reconfigure it any way you want - even having it mimic the workflows of other popular productivity applications. Which is just...brilliant. It's a fabulous product as well. Fan of Omnifocus but on a PC?
Marvin has that configuration. Like Things or ToDoist but want to change one or two things which aren't ideal? Marvin allows for that.
Why this tool ultimately has been the One for me is that when I find myself struggling with one workflow aspect, I can modify it. OR if I get bored, which I do frequently, I can reconfigure the layout such that it feels new. I have not needed to rip and replace - which I have done a fair number of times.
However, if you do not have confidence in whatever approach or system you are implementing, ultimately it will fail. This is why GTD has been so pivotal for me. It solved that precise problem and I've literally never been more productive or on top of my game with GTD + Amazing Marvin.
Can't go past todoist really. I usually don't go for tools that try to do EVERYTHING (eg outlook), since usually they're a compromise in some areas. Instead, I tend to go for tools that have a dedicated function (and do it well) but also have GOOD INTEGRATIONS with other tools, to create a workflow.
Todoist has a seamless 2-way sync with google calendar, which in turn works with gmail, so email, calendar, and todos get all synced up automagically.
Plus todoist has amazingly powerful filters where you can write your own conditions, once you're used to that no other conventional todo app can compare (I've used it to create my own version of the 'Getting Things Done' methodology, and its great!)
I recently started using AmazingMarvin, and it is such a gem. Gone past the configuration stage. I absolutely love it.
I've tried them ALL. To do lists are my jam, and I'm the person who adds something to the list after I've already done it, just so I can mark it done. I'm currently using NotePlan to combine notes and tasks, and love the simplicity as well as the syncing to both iPad and phone. it also shows little green or red dots for each task when you're looking at the calendar view, which feels good and shows you tasks you left undone from a week ago.
That said, I'm also experimenting right now with a "straight to calendar" approach. The idea is to just schedule any task that takes longer than 10 minutes to do. It clutters my calendar a bit, so it needs some refinement, but I like the concept so far. Anyone else doing time blocking rather than to do lists?
I mainly use my gmail inboxes (4 different accounts) as my todo list. I keep it empty and snooze regularly. Previously I could use Google Inbox to add todos but Google killed that feature. So now I use Braintoss instead!
The very very basic Microsoft To Do works well for me. I have different lists for different parts of my job and it's simple to add new to-do's and mark them complete. It makes a satisfying little "ding" when you complete a task, and then shows it crossed off below the active list so you can refer back to it. I tried Trello but it didn't work for me- the simpler the better!
My favorite app right now is "Dalo" - in conjunction with Timestripe. Dalo for all kinda tasks, using a simple but imho very clever time-management system by Mark Foster. Timestripe for keeping an eye on the big picture / projects. This arrangement needs sometimes some extra time, since some stufff needs to be on both of them, but that also helps from "accidentally" forgetting something.
I have been with GTD for about 3 years trying to apply the workflow defined by David Allen (sometimes with success and sometimes with failure).
I've tried options like Facile Things and Nirvana (two tools are excellent flow for GTD but I can't get used to their layout and UX).
My vote is for Amazing Marvin. Very flexible, with many options but you can keep it simple. Excellent support and community.
My job is as a product manager, I work remotely and I use the computer approximately 80% -90% of the time.
Before looking for and testing tools, I think that the first step is to know and define "what you need" to work, depending on your job position and the place where you do the work.
When you have the above defined, in my opinion, the most important thing is to have a simple, agile and clear system (that is not subjective, that allows you to make decisions and place tasks without thinking too much).
Although I do not have the perfect system (I think it does not exist and can always be improved), currently these are the tools I use:
Braintoss (from mobile) and paper notes (everything else) as capture tools.
Amazing Marving: It is my main tool to manage lists in this order *:
Inbox, all my captures are processed here. I decide on all the elements (what they are and what degree of commitment I have or adopt towards them)
Maybe someday. Place where I have reminders of decisions that I have put off to make later.
This list has the sublist "not this week." This sublist is shorter (tasks or projects that I want to start soon) and makes the weekly review faster and more efficient.
Waiting for, everything I delegate to anyone.
Projects, for any result that requires more than one task
@people, any task that I can only do with a specific person (only the most common people)
Next actions, I have 8 contexts # (Focus, Web, Office, Email, Calls, Apps, Home, Street,)
Tickler, tasks that can only start from a future date.
List with links to applications and software that I use **
Google calendar, (sacred territory). For me task and projects, with specific day and time (always external, I don't decide them)
Evernote for the reference file. Everything that "does not require action but could serve me." I do not classify it in folders, I only write titles and text that allows me to store it in such a way that it is easy and fast to access it if at any time I need to.
Dropbox Paper and Craft.do for the support material. Documents that contain only support material for my next actions and projects (everything I need or can be useful to complete a next action: checklist, email links, pdf, notes, templates, etc.)
I’m desperately trying to figure this out for myself. Right now I’m defaulting to Things 3 for notes, Notion for knowledge management and schoolwork, ClickUp for software project management, and a hodgepodge of Apple notes + Bear for everything else.
Ideally, I would at least want tasks, notes, and my calendar in one app, but I can’t find a hybrid that has all the features of Things 3. 😞
I use OmniFocus. It's extremely robust. Specifically for "What to do Today" I use a custom perspective that combines tasks with due dates of today, tasks in the "Today" project, or tasks tagged with a "☆" tag. This allows me to pin tasks to my Today perspective from anywhere. So I use a combination of scheduled tasks and a "Time Sector" approach. I can go into "This Week" and just star tasks to pluck them out to keep them in my attention. There are two other important aspects of OmniFocus that make it work for me. One, its inbox, and sync is excellent. You can capture in many ways from many places, including your watch, share sheets, email. I use it as a universal inbox. The other is its review system. Everything comes up automatically for review. One quick review for the week ensures nothing slips through the cracks.
Having a "Trusted" system, and a "Single Source of Truth" is essential. I know if it needs to get done it's in OF. I also know if it's not on my "Today" page I don't even have to think about it. If I think of something that needs to get done, I just use OF's quick entry macro or quickly record it on my watch. Done.
I have a hard rule, if it's an action that needs to happen, it's in OF. Period. This includes recurring routine tasks which are all in a "Routines" project and scheduled ahead of time.
OF has been able to adapt for me overtime to work the way I want it to work as my process has evolved.
I use the default Reminders app a lot and have some collaborative lists that I share with family but I find it pretty limited so I did some research and found Goodtask which I LOVE. It is excellent, has a really active developer, ties directly into the Reminders database and allows for subtasks, advanced scheduling, color theming, and a lot more, plus it is available for iOS, iPadOS and MacOS. And since it ties into Reminder, you can even access the tasks on iCloud if you lose all of your devices in some tragic fashion :P
I also like to use Fantastical so I can see my reminders right in my calendar, and it plays nicely with Goodtask. If you mark something done in Fantastical, it appears checked in Goodtask and Reminders as well, since they all share the same information.
This has worked for me for years. I have explored Things, Notion, To Do, Wunderlist etc but this set up works the best since my wife only uses Reminders and I share household task lists with her and she definitely does NOT want to use other apps 🤣
It took me a while, but I ended up using Roam Research. And I ended up loving it!
I used tu use Notion, which was more than decent at managing To Do lists.
But since I spend already a bunch of time inside Roam, I found that Roam has a both powerful and effortless way to add ToDos, assign them to a date, find, and organize them.
I love how you can add any todo anywhere (but most often in a daily note) without having to think too much where to put it/how to tag it, etc.
The ones that are not yet available, Amie, Superlist and Symphony are for me the most promising products in the productivity space.
And don’t forget Glue ✌🏻
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