Updated 12 October 2016
I am a list maker and have made them all my life going back to school days. In recent years I have tried to embrace the GTD (Getting Things Done) organisational method, whose basic philosophy is to make it easy to store, track and retrieve all information related to the things that need to get done. GTD also deals with contexts, e.g. home, work, phone calls, errands, school, computer, gym. Typically lists can be broken down into project and then you also give a list item a context, think of it as tagging.
I maintain some lists in email via tagging as explained on my email page. I also store voice todos on my phone voice recorder which I can easily access while biking or gasp driving, these usually get transferred to paper when I am back at my desk. Regardless of the voice todos, I still end up with scraps of paper and notebooks on my desk containing lists and it’s an ongoing challenge to centralise my lists!
I have checked out many software todo solutions over the years and when recently asked by a friend for recommendations I decided to put together this post. For the purpose of considering the software options available I will break them down into categories and I will discuss some of the best in the class for each category which I have come across.
- Web-based – requiring web hosting account
- Web-based – standalone
- Web-based – with SmartPhone App interface
Web-based – requiring web hosting account
If someone shows you how to do it, it is relatively easy to purchase your own domain and add downloadable software, such as TaskFreak!, The online demo shows how easy TaskFreak! is to use, you can create projects, give items a date deadline, priority, context, status (mark 0,20,40,60,80,100% completed) and also if you wish assign multiple users. TaskFreak! might be all you need in a ToDo List.
Web-based – standalone
Setting up a hosted account is not for everyone and you may be looking for a more ready to go solution.
SimpleGTD is a simple site to use, just lists of stuff with projects and contexts and no deadlines or anything else.
A real simple site, like SimpleGTD, but also allows you to share lists with other users and make public.
Toodledo is a step up from SimpleGTD and adds deadlines, schedules, goals in a still very functional site. Some of these advanced options which I have not check out require a subscription of $15 a year.
I flirted with this web app previously. It’s come on since I checked but I am no prepared to pay a subscription for a ToDo service.
Editable list no login needed. I tried this but did not stick with it.
Web-based – with SmartPhone App interface
As a smartphone user a todo app for me needs to be able to 2-way-synchronise between phone and web.
This is a simple todo list and one I heavily use currently. In gmail, under mail and contacts on the left you will see an option, Tasks, that toggles a pop up on top list in the bottom right hand corner of your browser. If you have an android smartphone there is a gtasks free app which auto sychronises with the online google tasks. There is a calendar/deadline option per task which I have not checked out.
Remember the milk is a really cool todo list site with plenty of bells and whistles. It’s free but also has a pro option for $25 p.a which includes a mobile app, which can’t be purchased separately. I used Astrid on my droid before I found out about gtasks. It’s a cool phone todo app well worth checking out. It can sync (free) with Remember the milk.
I’ve been using any.do for some years, on android and the web. It still suffers from no search or even tagging which makes it hard to use, especially on the phone, for large lists. But otherwise it’s perfect!
This is a good list of other todo list managers.