Be more productive with these handy to-do list apps.
If you’re looking to get organized and stay organized, a task manager is a great place to start. The best task managers are more than just a checklist or a reminder app. They help you manage projects, collaborate with others, set due dates, priorities, and more. I have used a lot of them over the years. Here are some of my favorites.
For many people, the search for the best task manager starts and ends with Todoist. Over 10 million people count on Todoist to help them organize their lives, and it’s easy to see why.
The interface is intuitive and easy to master. You can add tasks quickly, use natural language to include a due date, and set up recurring reminders for those daily and weekly chores.
You can add labels to tag your tasks, create filters to show only the ones you want, and switch to a Kanban-style board for a big picture view. Got an important email you want to keep track of? Forward it to Todoist. Need a reminder at a specific time or location? Todoist can do that too.
Todoist works everywhere. There are apps for Mac, Windows, Linux, iPhone, iPad, Android, and Apple Watch. There’s also a great web app and an extension to grab things from the internet. The free plan is enough to get you started, but be prepared to upgrade to the Pro Plan for full functionality. At just $36 per year, it might be the best $36 you spend.
Learn more at todoist.com.
2. Microsoft ToDo
Microsoft took its time getting this app right, but the result is more than worth it. Microsoft To Do was born out of the now-defunct Wunderlist, which Microsoft bought to give them a platform to build a task manager that would rival anything else that is out there.
For the most part, they succeeded in doing just that. To Do is a very reliable task manager with a lot going for it. It has apps for Windows, Mac, iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and is completely free to use. Sign in with a Microsoft account, and you are good to go.
If you use Microsoft Office, To Do can be integrated with Outlook to help add and manage tasks, but if you don’t use Office, there is still a lot to like. Tasks can have notes, subtasks, and due dates or reminders. Your lists can be shared with friends and family, color-coded, and sorted with smart views like My Day to help you see what you need to focus on.
Learn more at todo.microsoft.com/tasks.
If Todoist doesn’t feel right, then TickTick is an excellent alternative. It has a similar look and feel but is distinct enough to stand on its own two feet compared to the competition.
To help you get organized, you can have folders, lists, tasks, and check items. In addition, there are smart lists, tags, filters, and the ability to set a priority level on an individual task. And, like Todiost, you can forward emails to your task list.
The variety of calendar views is an excellent way to get an overview of scheduled tasks, and you can even subscribe to work or personal calendars to view everything in one place.
TickTick has a generous free plan, but it’s worth unlocking all the features with an annual payment of $27.99. In addition, students and teachers can save 20% with TickTick’s education discount, or you can use a referral link like this one to get a free month of TickTick Premium when others sign up.
Learn more at ticktick.com.
4. Apple Reminders
Apple’s answer to task management is the Reminders app. It’s one of the default apps like Safari or Notes that have been preloaded onto new Apple devices for years. Up until 2019, it was little more than a checklist app, but the advent of iOS 13 and macOS Catalina put Reminders on a whole new path. Now, it’s all grown up.
I love Reminders. Not many apps make more sense if you are all-in on the Apple ecosystem. In addition to managing your tasks on an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you can also add tasks with Siri on your Apple Watch or while driving and connected to CarPlay. That’s super convenient!
Recent updates have included assigning tasks to other people and the ability to hide or sort smart lists. In addition, you can now add tags to tasks to create custom views and create Smart Lists that include tasks with specific tags, locations, dates, or times. Natural language can also be used for quickly adding times like “every Friday.”
Learn more at support.apple.com/en-us/HT205890.
This is a really interesting app. It’s not as well-known as some others on this you see here, but if you are a fan of Getting Things Done (GTD), then Nirvana should be on your shortlist.
When you first log in, you will notice a variety of lists have already been created for you. For example, you have an Inbox to capture tasks quickly, a Next Actions list, a Projects list, a Waiting For list, and everything else you would associate with a typical GTD setup.
You can assign tags, notes, and due dates when creating a task. However, you can also add the energy level required to complete this particular task — low, medium, high. This is useful to know when you are looking for your next task to finish.
You can access Nirvana on the web, on iOS and Android, or via the Mac and Windows desktop apps. The free account will get you started, but the Pro account unlocks unlimited projects and recurring tasks for $29 per year.
Learn more at nirvanahq.com.
6. Google Tasks
Google’s lightweight task manager is simple to use and easy to learn. It’s not the most robust task manager on this list, but if you spend a lot of time in a Google environment, then this could be just what you need.
It’s available as a mobile app for Android and iOS. However, you can only access it on the web via the sidebar on Google apps like Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. If that’s a problem, apps like TaskBoard or Full Screen for Google Tasks will give you additional flexibility.
As you might expect, Tasks integrates well with Gmail and Google Calendar. You can add an email to a list in Google Tasks and view and create time-sensitive tasks in Calendar. This seamless integration makes it worth more than the sum of its parts and a worthy option for many people.
Any.do is a very popular task manager. It’s intuitive and much less intimidating than some of the competition. You can use it for a to-do list, a calendar, a grocery list, reminders or as a daily planner.
Tasks can be organized in lists and projects. You can add colored tags to set priorities and categories and include notes, subtasks and attachments. Working with others is easy too. In Any.do you can share lists, assign tasks, monitor progress and chat with others.
When you create a grocery list, food items you add are automatically grouped by categories like Baked Goods or Fruit and Vegetables. You can also keep last week’s grocery items for the next week so you don’t have to start from scratch each week. Getting groceries at multiple stores? With Any.do you can have a grocery list for each store you visit.
You can use Any.do on just about any device you can think of, including Amazon’s Echo and the Google Home smart speakers. There are apps for Mac, Windows, iOS, Android and the web. It’s free to create an account and $36 a year if you want to unlock premium features like recurring reminders, themes, and WhatsApp integration.
Learn more at any.do.
Things is often referred to as one of the best task manager apps, and it’s easy to see why. It has a plethora of unique features that by themselves are not necessarily a game-changer, but when viewed collectively, they help you understand why so many people appreciate this app.
For instance, the Magic Plus button for the Things mobile app is intuitive for creating a task and dragging and dropping it into the right place or for sending a task straight to your inbox from inside of any list.
Headings are a great feature in Things. Headings let you divide a project up into sections, so if you were planning a vacation, you might have a heading for Documents, Things to Buy, and Places to Visit. Under each heading, you can have a collection of tasks.
Checklists are also handy. Have you ever gone on vacation and realized that you forgot your phone charger? Checklists can help with that. You can create a vacation packing checklist and check things off as you pack them. Best of all, you can use this checklist time and time again.
Perhaps the only downside to Things is that it’s only available for Apple devices. There are apps for Mac ($49.99), iPhone ($9.99), and iPad ($19.99).
Learn more at culturedcode.com/things.
Actions is a task manager app made by Moleskine, a company that made its name selling paper notebooks and planners. Actions offers a unique card-based approach that is both colorful and visually appealing.
Tasks created in Actions are called Action Cards. Each card can have a title, due date, or a reminder. Cards are organized by adding them to a list and once completed; they are moved to a Logbook where you can see how productive you have been over time.
Actions doesn’t have a built-in calendar feature by default, but if you link Actions with the Timepage calendar app from Moleskine, you will be able to see your calendar events inside of Actions.
There are apps for iOS and Android, but you can also access all your tasks on the web if you prefer. The apps come with a seven-day free trial. After that, you can use Actions for $11.99 a year, or you can buy the $19.99 bundle if you want Actions, Timepage and Flow.
Learn more at moleskinestudio.com/actions.
If the other apps in this collection seem a little lightweight for your needs, then Omnifocus is probably your best option. Like Things, it’s a serious app for people who are serious about their productivity. It does have a learning curve, but most Omnifocus users will tell you that it’s worth taking the time to learn what it can do for you.
Tasks can be attached to projects and have due dates, reminders, tags, flags, attachments and more. The status circle on each task or project will give you a visual indicator of how soon it is due. There is also a really useful note taking area for each task. You can add as much information as you like here, including URLs.
One of the more unique features in Omnifocus are the perspectives. They are specific views that help give you a better overview of your tasks. For instance, the Review Perspective lets you check on the status of all your open projects. Should you put the project on hold, delete it, or mark it as done? Perspectives help you see the big picture and take action as needed.
Ominfocus is available for Mac, iPhone, iPad, and the web for $9.99 a month or $99.99 per year. It requires macOS 11, iOS 13, and iPadOS 13 or later.
Learn more at omnigroup.com/omnifocus.
Have Your Say!
So there you go. These are my picks for the ten best task manager apps to use in 2022. Which one is your favorite? Do you have others that you would add to this list? Let me know in the comments.
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