Published May 3, 2017|6 min read
There’s a reason that Wunderlist frequently graces the lists of best to-do apps, with some going so far as to name it king of the crop. Wunderlist is a well-designed, intuitive app that is available on every major platform. It lets you easily share lists with others and collaborate on tasks. It’s also mostly free – there’s a paid option for some advanced features, but the vast majority of users could and do use it for free.Technically that last paragraph should be in the past tense, because Microsoft announced that it was getting rid of Wunderlist after purchasing the company in 2015. Wunderlist will be replaced by Microsoft To-Do, an app that is currently seriously lacking, but it won’t shut down until To-Do has incorporated most of its features.But don’t fret, Wunderlist users – app stores are full of to-do list apps, most of them with an icon that looks like a big checkmark. With Wunderlist’s planned exit, now is probably a good time to start looking at the wide world of to-do apps. Here are three that you should consider for your homescreen.
Price: FreePlatforms: Android, iPhone, Windows 10, WebNote: Requires a Microsoft accountSo, what’s wrong with Microsoft To-Do? For starters, To-Do isn’t available on every platform yet – you can access it on the web, iPhone, Android, and Windows 10, but you’re out of luck with tablet and wearables. You also can’t share lists with To-Do. Being on multiple platforms and featuring some sort of collaboration are the basic building blocks of any good to do list app—features Wunderlist has had for years.It’s not all bad, though, and in some cases, To-Do shows promise. If you’re big on Microsoft’s ecosystem, especially Outlook, To-Do is going to have a lot for you… soon. Microsoft promises that you’ll be able to integrate To-Do with all of your Office 365 products eventually, though there’s currently no indication of how deep that integration will run.To-Do also has a neat Suggestions feature that looks at your to-do lists and intelligently suggests which ones you should get done today. For people who dump everything on their to-do lists without doing any manual prioritization, this feature could be a lifesaver.Still, if you loved Wunderlist but you’re not all-aboard the Microsoft train, you might not be a fan of To-Do’s cold, minimalist design and lack of features. While most people will want to wait and see how development progresses, To-Do could one day turn into the best Wunderlist replacement available.
Price: Free, $28.99 per year for Premium featuresPlatforms: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Web, Browser (Chrome/Firefox/Safari) extensionsIf you want to replace Wunderlist right now, Todoist seems like the natural choice. Todoist, like Wunderlist, is simple on the surface, but can also accommodate complex needs and workflows, with features like sub-tasks, priorities, and custom labels and filters.My favorite feature is probably shortcut offered in the the text box where you type tasks. Even though there are a bunch of buttons around the text box that can set the due date, a reminder, the priority, and other labels, you can also set all of these while you’re typing out the task. If you type out "Read PolicyGenius blog every 14 days p1 #inbox @blogging," Todoist will create a task called "Read PolicyGenius blog" that recurs every 14 days, goes straight to your inbox, is of the highest priority, and is labeled "blogging."Todoist also has a fun Karma feature that tracks your productivity and gives you points for regularly adding and completing tasks. The rules are made up and the points don’t matter, but it’s still a fun psychological boost to get points for being productive.One big drawback to Todoist is that many of its best features are locked behind the premium paywall – features like location-based notifications, task labels, and the in-depth productivity tracking that powers your Karma score. While the free version of Todoist is perfectly fine, you end up running into that paywall frequently.Sure, $28.99 per year (who chose that number?) is not bank-breaking for professional software, but if you’re coming from Wunderlist, it may be a shock to learn that you now need to pay for features you’ve been using for years.
Price: $3.99 (iOS), $9.99 (macOS)Platforms: iOS, macOSIf you’re the type of person who spent most of your life scribbling your tasks on various Post-it notes strewn about your desk, then you’ll love Doo. Doo’s main interface is a stack of tasks – not unlike those Post-it notes or a deck of notecards – and when a task comes up, you can either complete it or send it to the back of the stack. This makes Doo ideal for people who want to stay focused on one task a time. Like other apps, tasks can also be triggered at a specific time or by visiting a specific locationDoo recently added new features that lend it bit more flexibility as well. Doo 2.0 adds task collaboration and checklists within tasks, which brings it up to speed with its competitors while still maintaining its simplicity.The developers behind Doo should be commended for creating a to-do list app that goes beyond creating just another to-do list. For people who were never quite able to get into Wunderlist or other list-based apps, Doo might be the ideal alternative. However, if you prefer the idea of having all of your tasks in a list, or need more advanced labeling and filtering features, Doo is not the app for you.
No, Paper Notebook isn’t some new skeuomorphic app for your iPad Pro and Apple Pencil – I just mean a good ol’ paper notebook. Companies have been making journals and planners for decades, and there are new systems cropping up all of the time. One new system, The Bullet Journal, is both a to-do list and journaling system that encourages you to catalog your life. Another, The Passion Planner, is designed around the ideal of taking steps every day that get your closer to your 3-month, 1-year, 3-year, and lifetime goals.Of course, you could also just scribble your to-do list in any blank notebook. Some of my favorite memo books come from Field Notes, who make well-designed, pocketable notebooks for an affordable price.There are some obvious drawbacks to paper notebooks – no online backup, no filtering, no push notifications, limited collaboration features, etc. – but sometimes, the best thing that you can do for your productivity is to go analog.
Wunderlist users among us – are you looking for a new app to replace your old favorite? Are you regressing back to paper and pen? Are you going to stick with Wunderlist until they take it from your cold, dead hands? Report back in the comments below.
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