10 To-Do Apps for 10 Kinds of People: Your Life Just Got a Whole Lot More Productive
Odds are high that you’re probably not as obsessed with your task list as I am. No, really: I’ve been known to spend more time organizing my to-dos than actually doing them. Why am I telling you this? Because I’ve pretty much tried every task like app out there—and I’m like a kid at Christmas whenever I discover one that I love.
So, that means that I not only know almost every single one that exists, but I know what their individual benefits are—plus, what kind of person should use each one.
What’s that? You already have a system that works? Well, that’s what my husband says, too. And all I know about his system is that it’s keeping the sticky note manufacturers in business. While jotting down his tasks definitely gets the job done, it’s not nearly as efficient (or 2015-esque) as it could be.
There are so many to-do apps out there nowadays that there’s surely one that’s right for you—and better than what you’re currently using. Here are my 10 top picks that you should consider.
1. If You’re Beyond Busy: Things (iOS and OS X)
When you’ve got a million things on your plate, the last thing you have time for is fussing with an app. You need it to be easy and fast to use while still offering you enough features to keep you organized. Things touts itself as being the app that you don’t need a manual to start using, and it promises to speed up capturing your tasks by providing a keyboard shortcut as well as copying text from other apps.
Similar multi-platform option: TickTick
2. If You’re a Visual Thinker: Trello (Multi-Platform)
Did my sticky note comment hit home with you? Then take a look at Trello. Unlike most list-based task managers, Trello is based on a system of cards and boards–think of it like a virtual bulletin board. You can add photos, notes, files, lists, labels, color codes, and more to the cards to make sure all your information is included. And you can easily drag and drop to re-organize everything just about whatever way you see things in your mind’s eye.
3. If You Live in Your Calendar: Fantastical 2 (iOS and OS X)
OK–Fantastical is actually a calendar. But, by including a task manager, it becomes a to-do app worthy of its name. Instead of just seeing a list of items to complete each day, you’ll see your to-dos at the exact time you want to get them done. That way you’ll be sure you have time for everything no matter how hectic your day is.
Similar multi-platform option: Swipes
4. If You’re Feeling Frazzled: Any.do (Multi-Platform)
From the second your alarm rings until your head hits the pillow at night, it’s go-go-go for you. Some days you feel lucky to remember your own name, much less your task list. In steps Any.do and its “Moment” feature. This is a gentle, but firm, daily reminder for you to review your day’s tasks so that you’re sure you’re set with a plan for a productive day.
5. If You’ve Got All the Tasks: OmniFocus (iOS and OS X)
If your to-do lists have to-do lists, OmniFocus is the one for you. As the most feature-rich and complex app, it lets you filter and sort your work in a number of different ways so you see only what you need at that moment. So, no more worrying about your home reno project when you should be figuring out what else you have to prep for next week’s presentation at work.
Similar multi-platform option: Toodledo
6. If You Switch it Up: Todoist (Multi-Platform)
So many devices, you say? Not a problem with Todoist. It has versions for iOS, Android, and the web and browser extensions of every sort–not to mention integrations with email clients like Gmail and Outlook, plus services including Dropbox, IFTTT, Google Maps, and so on. That means you’ll stay on top of your to-do list with Todoist any time, anywhere.
7. If You’re a Purist: Reminders (iOS)
Reminders is the stock iOS app for tasks and, of course, reminders. It offers all the standard fare of to-do apps, but the reason to use it is the reason some people climb mountains: It’s there. That might sound like a silly reason to choose (or not choose) it—but it also means that it automatically works with other iOS apps and services. And, of course, it means it features Apple’s trademark design and ease-of-use.
Similar Android option: Google Now (Android phones don’t have a stock to-do app, but Google Now integrates easily and allows you to create reminders.)
8. If You’re Not Alone: Wunderlist (Multi-Platform)
Are you constantly collaborating at work? Or do you need to wrangle the chores your partner needs to do around the house? Wunderlist makes sharing tasks simple. With just a few taps, your colleagues or family can access lists. And, with the pro version, you can put them to work by assigning them tasks right from the app.
9. If You Think Looks Matter: Clear (iOS and OS X)
Could a wonderful-to-look-at task manager tempt you to pay more attention to your to-dos? It could be worth a try. And the Clear app has you covered there. I mean, the makers themselves say it’s “a mighty fine-looking app.” Check it out if colorful, simple, and themes are words that turn you on (scheduling-wise, of course).
Similar option for Android and the web: Google Keep
10. If You’re a True Procrastinator: Carrot (iOS)
Sometimes tough love is the only solution to a real problem. Carrot won’t have a problem being hard on you if you don’t stay on top of your to-dos. But, it also plays fair by rewarding you in unique ways when you do live up to its expectations. It’s not an app for the faint of heart, but it could be the one to finally help you conquer your tasks.
Similar option for Android: HabitBull
All of these 10 options offer similar functions, but each has special features that are as unique as you. Choose the app that fits your personal style, and you’ll soon be checking off tasks with the best of us.
Photo of man texting courtesy of Shutterstock.
Kelli runs customer support and creates content for Skillcrush, a digital skills training and education platform with friendly instructors, an active student community, and laser focus on helping you achieve your career goals with technology. She has an MBA and successfully ran an international company and her own freelancing business before pursuing her passion for tech by taking advanced web development classes. Kelli loves listening to tech podcasts at 2x speed, looking for cute Corgi photos online and teaching and performing country line dancing—as a true Texan living in Finland would do. Say hi on Twitter.More from this Author