Task Managers... What you got?

I’ve been using Wunderlist for years, I get along with it, purely because I’ve bent my way of doing things to suit. But sometimes I do feel that it’s not the most suitable for the task. I suspect I’m not even using it for it’s intended task.

So, this is how I used it…

  1. An email comes in from a client with a request for some work.
  2. In Wunderlist I have a list set up for each client, so once a request comes in I create a “to-do” and add the task. Typically giving it a descriptive title, then copy the email they sent me into the comments section of the to-do. Any files they send me I drag and drop into the to-do.
  3. If the task is just added to my to-do list I don’t set a due date, if I’ve scheduled the task in, I add a due date.
  4. Once I’m doing the task I update the to-do in Wunderlist as needed, often splitting it into individual tasks, then clicking done when it’s done.

Wunderlist works pretty well for all that, although of course there is no calendar, which can make scheduling a bit cumbersome. Although, is truth, for small task I rarely bother to add them to my work calendar.

To keep on top of things I have Wunderlist open all the time, and regularly refer to it: When I ever finish a task and need a new one I look at it, scan the list, and select the next task.

A big annoyance for me though is that Wunderlist doesn’t hide due tasks until x number of days before due. That would be a nice feature, but I don’t think it’s ever coming.

That’s my workflow, so what do you use to manage yours?

I know some might say if it works, it works. But, everyone who knows I use Wunderlist says words to the effect of “why you using it, it’s shite, I tried it and didn’t like it.” etc. So curious what else is out there.

It is now Microsoft’s To Do. That should be the kiss of death.

I really like 2Do (and it is on Setapp)

  • I live in my email and the Airmail integration is awesome! One key click, and the email is in my 2DO inbox, with link back to the original email
  • Great iPad app (and the Airmail/2Do integration works there as well)
  • 2Do allows nesting of tasks in Projects and “List Groups” of Projects
  • 2DO also has one other killer feature - START DATES, not just “due dates” I don’t know why almost no other task manager has this…

I use two different apps. First is OmniFocus (OF). Wonderful app. It also has start and due dates (both of which can be quite important). Perhaps not important to your use, but OF syncs quickly to my 2nd Mac, iPad, and iPod touch. This is very important for my use. Also OF integrates with my email service easily (shortcut command for me to make an email a task in OF).

Another very different, but quite useful app, that I’m using more and more is NotePlan. It works very differently. It has a calendar view and a notes view. The notes are all in markdown format. Beyond the fact that I love markdown, the notes files are stored either on iCloud or Dropbox. This means it’s easy to open up a note about a project (or subproject) and edit in any MD savy editor (if you want). This allows me to put in not just “stuff to do” but clear extra notes about the issue or task or project.

I don’t know if either of these solutions will enhance your situation: but they are at least worth looking into. I find both very valuable.

Powerful, flexible and the very best I have ever found for task managing/organising/achieving and more for ALL of everything in my life!!

I LOVE it!!!


+1 for OmniFocus. I’m still on v2 on my (very old) Mac and it’s quite powerful and has all the features I need. Nearly all of my tasks from clients come via email - and with one click (thanks to Keyboard Maestro), those emails are flagged AND sent to the OF inbox. From there, I can assign categories and due dates and tags (which I underuse). Each morning I flag the tasks that need to be done first but it’s also easy to see them sorted by due date, by client, by type, whatever. And as Mitchell states, it syncs with ipad and iphone and even my watch although that’s not super helpful. A bit pricy but one-time only.

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Another vote for OmniFocus! I couldn’t manage projects (or life) without it

I recently switched from OmniFocus to Things (mainly based on this review https://thesweetsetup.com/apps/best-personal-gtd-app-suite/ ).

A lot of tech type businesses use Trello. I have it installed and it’s good for focussing on details, especially on bigger projects. If it’s a straightforward website with no particular deadline I can ignore it.

I used Todoist for a long time, but switched to Things a couple of years ago and haven’t looked back. I find that it hits the sweet spot in terms of balance between complexity I don’t need and simplicity that limits me. It does what I ask of it, and does it with a clean and pleasing UI.

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I’m resurrecting this thread.

After Wunderlist changed to ToDo (Miscrosoft) I stuck with it for some months, but the glaring holes and issues are clearly never going to be fixed, so it’s time to jump.

Last night I downloaded trail versions of 2Do and Things. I really liked Things, a lot. I found 2Do nowhere near as intuitive to use (after some time clicking stuff I still couldn’t work out how to add a file to a to-do item. I’m also not a fan of the whole “start by” and “Due By” thing. I don’t do start dates, and so found having to input two dates a pain.

I was settled on Things, then discovered they don’t make a version for Android. So that’s that one dumped then!

I am going to revisit 2Do today, but I’d love to hear any more suggestions.

Others mentioned above, like Omnifocus, is overkill for my needs. I manage everything via To-do lists, so really I just want a nice and clean to-do list manager.

I’m getting very tempted by Setapp, so if there is anything on there that you know of, let me know.

I used 2do for a while but it is overkill.

Apple Reminders is actually very capable these days. And if you need more than it can do then Good Task (available on Setapp) uses Apple Reminders as the base and builds upon it. That’s what I am currently using.

Oh I really didn’t like Reminders! I’m sure it’s changed a lot since it first arrived and i first tried it, but I really didn’t get along with it.

I don’t like much of the software that Apple produces to be honest (even the OS’s are bit shite IMO nowadays). Maybe things have changed in the last few years, but I always find their stuff “not-logical” to use (for me anyway!). And I’ve always found it tries to force you to work “their” way, not your way.

I’ve just setup Things for a proper two week test, opposed to just having a play. Maybe I’ll try to live without my to-dos on my phone (no bad thing really!).

Glad though that it wasn’t just me not liking 2Do. I must say, Things is rather lovely to use. The interface is perfect and it’s really easy to pickup: I always try new stuff like this refusing to RTFM. I figure if I can at the very least get the basics done based on intuition, then it’s worth RTFMing to really understand it…

Hi Steve
I used to use Wunderlist all the time…switched to TickTick (https://ticktick.com/?language=en_US), love it.
Dont know if it does exactly what you need but is regularly updated/cross platform (Mac, IOS and Android) and I imported all my Wunderlist stuff into Tick Tick
It is free but has a premium level (dont know what extra that does??)

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Question for the Things users: Can you/how do you get a badge for the number of items contained within a project or area?

As standard there is no way to know how many tasks are inside these things without opening them. That seems daft.

I still stand by 2Do - and it is on Setapp.

  • It integrates with Spark which I’m using for email now. Just hit “shift>left-arrow” on an open email, and I now have a new task in 2Do, with a link back to the original email, and it will open up no matter what device I’m using, Mac, iPhone, iPad.
  • I like having “Start” dates - in my case I use them to tag when I received an email, or when I plan to start a task, and still have a “due date” as well

Yes there are a lot of options available in the tasks, which can be “overkill” but you don’t have to use them all, and it is nice that you can customize your workflow the way you want, not the way the task app wants you to…

  • I use the “GTD Inbox” settings, so all new tasks go straight there from Spark
  • the “Smart Lists” are awesome - I have it set with “lists of tags” filtered with different conditions
  • And having “List Groups” not just “Projects” makes grouping things easier

It did take me a few days originally to get my workflow setup the way I like, but now several years in with 2Do, I have changed email apps 3 times (Sparrow>Airmail>Spark) but never looked back on changing my task app, as 2Do integrated with all of them seamlessly.

I was looking at Setapp earlier, it’s only for one machine, right? That’s a deal-breaker for me. I work regularly across four machine, by the time those are added in Setapp suddenly isn’t the deal it appears.

It seems that Things can not add the number of tasks inside a project or list, by way of a count badge or something, which to me is completely daft. So if you want to see how many tasks are left on a project, you have to open every project. This seems like a huge oversight. So, I might go look at 2do again anyway.

Setapp actually allows installation on 2 devices, so fine for my Desktop/Laptop setup. There is an option to “add seats” but if you need 4 devices, it does look like it would add $5/month to the cost…

I actually have both a “paid” version of 2Do and the Setapp version. I know the “Paid version” is good for up to 5 devices, so that may be a good fit for you.

Ticktick has a project count

I’ve been playing with Ticktick, and it’s really good. Simple, but really easy to use. But, with the free version you are limited as to what you can do; like you seem to only be able to add one attachment per day!

I’m not sure I’m keen on a yearly sub for a to-do list, so it might not be viable. But will certainly give it some more thought, thanks for the heads up.