In my 20s, I had one of those daily planner notebooks. If you’re over 40, you probably remember them—one page per day to jot down your tasks and appointments. It worked pretty well. Then I got my first Palm Pilot, and made the transition over to a digital task list.
Back then, there weren’t options. You used the task app on whatever device you decided to purchase. I went from Palm to Windows Pocket PC to Blackberry, and used the task app on each.
Android and iOS opened up more mobile task management options, and today you can throw a rock in any direction and hit a task management app.
Options are good. Too many options fry my brain.
I’ve cycled through so many task management apps at this point, I don’t think I could even list them all. I’m neck deep in the Apple ecosystem, so I’d love to be able to use the native Reminders app, but let’s face it—it still pales in comparison to almost all other options.
Every year between Christmas and New Years I look back at the past year to see if there’s anything I should be doing differently. I’m a fan of efficiency, so I tend to take a close look at productivity apps to see if they’re actually helping me be more productive, or if they’re getting in the way. Last year, I bounced around a bit between a few apps.
- Microsoft To Do
- Microsoft Planner
- Remember the Milk
I’m a big Notion fan, but the lack of true offline access is a hard stop for me. If I’m on a plane, or out in the sticks with no service, I want to be able to work access all of my tasks. Getting tasks into Notion takes a few extra steps as well. I used it to manage all my work tasks last year, and it has a lot of promise. It just isn’t there yet for me.
Remember the Milk was my first non-OS native personal task manager. It synced up with Evernote reminders, or it let me attach Evernote notes to tasks… I can’t remember exactly. But it worked well with Evernote, and I lived in Evernote back then. For work, I just used Evernote reminders, and I had a solid workflow.
When the company I work for went all-in with Microsoft O365, we discontinued the Evernote Business account and I had to move everything to One Note. One Note 2016 worked alright with Outlook tasks, but it wasn’t perfect, and only functioned on a Windows PC. The Mac version of One Note doesn’t handle task management at all.
Wunderlist was a decent app until Microsoft bought it and stripped away one of the features I really need at work—time stamped notes/comments. A lot of my tasks stretch out over days or weeks or even months, so having a chronological log of activities is important. The only thing To Do has going for it is that it’s easy to add a task from Outlook. Planner has time stamped comments, but no integration with Outlook. If I have to enter tasks manually, I’m going to use something that has more of what I’m looking for.
I bought Things awhile back, and while it’s a decent little app, it’s missing a ton of features offered by other apps. I like the fact that it isn’t subscription based, but that wasn’t enough to keep me using it.
So over the holiday week, I moved all of my tasks from Notion back to Todoist. I can easily separate my personal and work tasks, I can email tasks in, subtasks are easy and intuitive, saved filters work well, and pricing is very fair.
There are templates, but I haven’t found a need for them yet. The integrations with other apps are interesting, but I found that while Todoist works with iOS Shortcuts, it doesn’t currently work with macOS shortcuts. The browser extensions have been great for work, but I don’t find myself using them a lot for personal tasks.
Bottom line–Todoist just works for me.
Obviously, for people who use task managers, there is no one size fits all. Everyone has different requirements. I’m curious–what do you use and why?