Five Best To-Do List Managers

Everyone has some kind of to-do list, but which tool do you use to get it out of your head and keep track of the things you have to do? From simple, all-text applications to fancy, cloud-based web apps with mobile components, here are our top five to-do list managers for getting things done.

Photo by Juhan Sonin.

Astrid

Long gone are the days when Astrid was essentially only an Android fan's to-do manager. Astrid is available for Android and iOS, it has a great web app for managing your to-dos, and it has a Chrome extension to help keep you organised. We love it, and since its redesign and jump to iOS, it's only been gaining steam. You can sync and share to-dos across devices with other users, manage your to-dos from the web, see changes on your phone, enter to-dos by voice, manage your to-dos by email, get push notifications on the go, sync with Google Tasks and more. Best of all, it's completely free (although Android users can juice up the app's features by dropping a little cash for the Power Pack or Locale add-on).

Remember The Milk

Remember The Milk has been around for a very long time, and it's still helping us get things done. You can still manage your to-dos through the web app, the Android app, iOS app or Blackberry app. You can also integrate Remember The Milk with Gmail, use Siri to add to-dos, sync with Google Tasks and more. Best of all, the service has largely dropped many of its premium barriers and offers the bulk of its tools to free accounts. You'll still have to upgrade to a $US25/year pro account to get access to "Pro" versions of the mobile apps and Outlook task syncing. Adding and managing to-dos in Remember The Milk is simple and easy, and the service recently overhauled its iOS and Android UIs to make the app even easier to use.

Any.Do

Any.Do is probably the newest of the top five, but it's been getting a lot of traction thanks to its sharp-looking iOS app, its gesture-based Android app, and most recently, its upcoming web app, new Chrome extension and updates. Any.Do looks great, it's easy to use, syncs your to-dos across devices flawlessly and does it all for free. Any.Do syncs with Google tasks, autocompletes to-dos as you type them, organises tasks based on priority without your help, and colour codes them so you can always see at a glance what's at the top of your list. We're still waiting for an Any.Do web app, but we'll make do with the Chrome extension and mobile apps for the time being — the tool is just that smart.

Toodledo

ToodleDo is one of the most robust tools in the roundup, partially because of its huge feature set, but also because it's part to-do manager and part project-tracking tool. It's available as a web app or as a mobile app for iOS, Android and BlackBerry. Toodledo imports tasks from other to-do managers, syncs with Google Tasks, lets you share and organise to-dos with groups if you need to, and even lets you add/complete/manage to-dos via email if you have to. Toodledo's "hotlist" gives you a one-glance view of all of your most important to-dos, and you have as many sorting and filtering options as you could possibly need to keep those to-dos organised. The tool will even notify you when it's time to get started on something, and it will keep track of how long you've been working on a task so you know how long it'll take in the future. Oh, did we mention it's free?

Wunderlist

We liked Wunderlist so much that it swept our picks for best to-do app for Windows, OS X, Linux and Android. It may not be as feature-rich as some of its competitors (most notably, it doesn't support recurring to-dos, although they say this is coming in the next update), but it's that strict focus on adding to-dos, organising them into simple lists and then actually completing them that makes Wunderlist so appealing. If you're really looking for a to-do list manager that forces you to spend more time actually doing the things you do instead of organising them into groups and lists and colours and things, this is it. It's free on all platforms, fast, lightweight, easy to use, available on the web and syncs across all of your devices.

Honourable mentions for this week go out to Google Tasks, which syncs with many of the top five services above. Also worth mentioning is pen and paper — there are plenty of people who effectively keep to-dos written down in notebooks or on sticky notes.

Did we miss your favourite? Have something to say about these five to-do list managers? Make your case in the comments below.


Comments

    I like Clear, it's good for short term things for today and tomorrow and it's funky and makes funny noises.
    OmniFocus for the more complex information and diary type things.
    I only use them on the iPhone because I don't carry an iPad everywhere.

    What about the "Reminder" App that comes free with iOS 5?

    Trello is cute for keeping track of to do lists associated with particular tasks.

    HiTask. Spent weeks evaluating alternatives and for my requirements (free, multiplatform, recurring tasks etc) was a clear winner.

    I use To-Do Lists from AntLogic. Sits on my desktop to keep me on task. Can sync with iCal (and hence iCloud/iOS reminders app) or sync via Dropbox with the iOS application

    I started using Toodledo twp years ago and haven't looked back.
    Excellent set of features, ease of use, and importantly doesn't have any features that suck away your time.
    After a hard disk failure at work I lost my traditional spreadsheet To Dos, and used Toodledo exclusively for a while.
    About a month ago I got disciplined with adjusting priorities and setting due dates, and as a result the Hotlist tool has become useful. I find myself going there to find the next task I should be working on when I have a gap in my calendar.

    I'm using "Priorities" (iOS), although the app is not free. I like the interface (simple and intuitive) and I can set a default reminder to be run every night at 9 pm; Quicker to make a todo list that way

    My way of working really requires sub-tasks.

    I used to use Todoist as a web based todo manager and now use Outliner for a iOS App based manager and it is quite good (though the iPad and iPhone apps are required to be bought separately which peeved me).

    Todoist really is a step above any of these pretenders. I presume that is why it isn't included. It's in it's own league.

      I agree. I like particularly that it can take the link from an email or website, so makes a great Chrome app. There are also many mobile apps - Buddoist the best of these for me.
      Otherwise, I like Do It Tomorrow to help really focus on what needs to be done today.

    I'm a gtd guy and love omnifocus. A bit full on for the shopping list but I run my whole work and personal life in there

    I've been using RTM for about 4 years and though I occasionally try others (including all but one of your list) I keep going back to it and happily pay the yearly fee even though I don't really need the premium features - to me it seems daft to expect such great tools to be free and I work hard to keep advertising out of my life as much as possible so their fee is a reasonable one. The product is perfect for my needs anyway.

    I use My Life Organised. The key features of any task list that I use simply has to be task hierarchies, pre-requisites and recurring tasks - and it's really hard to find a app/service that supports all three.

    Hey? Where's GQueues (http://www.gqueues.com/)? The only (good) free task manager I've found that allows for arbitrarily-nested tasks. Such a good free app in fact that I'm paying for the Premium version, which comes with Google Calendar sync and sharing/collaboration with anyone. The recent redesign makes it even more irresistible.

    Pretty stylesheets and gimicky gestures are no match for powerful and flexible functionality.

      Find it finally,
      I was looking for the same nested todo list manager.

      Thanks Oliver.

    Ta-da List had used a fairly simple to use and intuitive, but to see the difference in project management systems need to try and test the free version. In many known systems working together have free versions, for example on http://www.teamwox.com is implemented well. Or you can search for other systems.

    Any.do uses the principles I've been using with Appfluence's Priority Matrix! Haven't tried out any.do but the Priority Matrix app has been helping me organize my projects in the workplace. www.appfluence.com

    Neither Astrid nor Any.Do support Google Task syncing on iOS.. such a shame.

    Too bad we released our app too late.
    http://datasymphony.com.au/products/memability/
    It could have been in this list :)

    my favourite is orchestra, for the abillity to send tasks.

    http://www.orchestra.com/

    There is also http://weekplan.net for something different.

    My iPad has become true working tool in my professional life. I use Evernote, but recently the Evernote Trunk I discovered Beesy and since it’s become a really good tool for my iPad to-do manager: http://www.beesapps.com/iPad-meeting-note-Beesy/. Quick note-taking, sharing files and meeting minutes in one clic is really impressive, I love discovering new tools thanks to the Trunk.

    Astrid winding down - As of August 5, 2013, we will be closing the Astrid service.

    Bought out by Yahoo!

    I like the cloud based task management software and applications from Replicon - http://www.replicon.com/olp/task-management-software.aspx which could also be considered to be a part of this list. The hassle free experience with the user friendly and calendar based interface makes it alright to work better with the segment.

    I would like to add the one that I'm using for months now which is hitask (http://hitask.com), it is effective for teamwork because it delegate tasks and track the progress of projects. You can share tasks and projects with your team. You can assign tasks and get notified when done.

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