Ideas aren't tasks, but for some reason, many of us manage our ideas alongside our to-do lists. Wunderkit, on the other hand, gives you a platform specifically for managing your ideas. It's a great idea bank — or a place for all of your projects, goals and the things that come out of your brainstorming sessions that you catch yourself wishing you could remember later.Wunderkit is made by the same people who built Wunderlist, our pick for best to-do app for OS X, Windows and Linux. If you're familiar with Wunderlist, Wunderkit will feel very similar. If not, don't worry — it's very intuitive. The service gives you a workspace to arrange your ideas and projects into separate projects, tag them, assign due dates to them, and even bring in other people to help you.
I tried getting into Wunderlist to manage my to-dos, but I never really found myself really using it every day as I already had a great to-do tool. I didn't need an app to remind me to remind me to file a report every Monday; I needed something to hold all of my ideas: future Lifehacker posts, my bucket list, and all of my personal projects and goals. Here's why Wunderkit is a fantastic tool for this:
It keeps your ideas neatly organised . Part of what sets Wunderkit aside from other to-do apps is the fact that you can have different boards for different projects, each with their own sets of tags, due dates and ideas. None of them intrude on the other (unless you want them to). For example, I have boards for "big brainstorm" ideas for large projects, article ideas, household projects, tech projects and so on. Inside each of those boards, I have individual lists, ideas and to-dos, all tagged and organised even further. From there, you can filter them so you only see the ones you're interested in at any time.
It's fast. Wunderkit is primarily a web app, but it's also available as a standalone app for iOS and OS X. The tool itself is fast enough, but what we really mean is that adding ideas and tagging them is as easy as typing a few words. It has lots of keyboard shortcuts, and almost every action is a keystroke away.
It keeps your ideas in sync. If you use the OS X app (which is essentially a container for the website), the iOS app or the web app, you'll notice they're always in sync. Your to-dos, tags, notes, and any custom icons or wallpapers for your workspaces are synchronised in the background and available on any device with a web browser.
It's free. Wunderkit is free and always will be, according to the developers. The Wunderkit team will eventually offer premium features in the future, but everything here now will always be available for free. The mobile apps are also free, with no in-app purchases or other "pay more to get this tool that actually makes it useful" tricks up their sleeve.
Part of the reason Wunderkit works so well may be because it's not trying to replace your standard to-do app. It's smooth and easy to use, but it's not a calendar or reminder app, and it doesn't want to be. Some people will just consider it another app they have to have open to stay organised, but if you're using Wunderkit as a place to store your ideas — not your to-dos — you only have to look at it when you're ready to take those ideas and start working on them.
Organise Your Ideas and Projects with Wunderkit
Getting started with Wunderkit is easy. Sign up for an account (or link your Facebook or Twitter account) and you'll land on your dashboard. The dashboard gives you an overall picture of what to-dos you have in progress and which ones you've completed, along with any other recent activity, like freshly added notes or tag changes.
Let's say you want to plant a garden — create a new workspace for your garden by clicking "create new workspace" in the left sidebar. You can even upload and assign a photo of a plant or flower to your workspace so you can tell at a glance what it's for. From there, you can dive right in and start adding the to-dos required to get your garden up and running.
For example, you'll probably want to research what grows well in your area, make your shopping list, and then shop around at different nurseries to get the best prices on what you want to grow. Add each of these as to-dos for your project. Since your shopping list might get long, you may want to tag that to-do with "shopping", and then use the Notes section to build your shopping list out and include things like soil, fertiliser, pesticides, some fencing to keep the dogs out, and the plants or seeds themselves. Tag your note with "shopping", and both the note and your to-do will appear if you do a search or filter for shopping tags later.
If you want to organise ideas or to-dos even more discretely, you can star them to mark their importance, heart them to indicate favourites, and sort them into individual lists inside of a workspace. I've found that tags and stars are sufficient, but it's nice to have the option. You can also assign due dates to any of your ideas, and when it's time to work on them, they'll appear in the "What To Do" panel at the bottom left of the screen (indicated by a check mark).
Wunderkit doesn't have all of the bells and whistles that some to-do apps have, but it shouldn't be judged based on a checklist of features that you may or may not use. What makes Wunderkit really useful, in this writer's opinion, is how easy it is to add and organise your ideas, retrieve them when you want to review a specific tag or project, and how good you feel when you click that checkbox and see your idea join the others you've completed at the bottom of the screen. You don't spend a lot of time digging through ideas and adding new projects in Wunderkit — you dive in for a little brainstorming or something to do, mark them complete, and feel good about doing your work. That's a wonderful thing.
Use Wunderkit to Collaborate and Share with Others
Up to this point, we've discussed how easy it is to organise your thoughts in Wunderkit, and that's by far its strongest suit. However, the app has a collaborative dimension that's useful if you work on projects with groups, especially if you can convince them to sign up. If you want to bring in someone else on a workspace, you can invite them via email or select from your Facebook friends or Twitter followers (if you've linked your account with one of those services.). As soon as they sign up and you grant them access, you can assign them to-dos, get their feedback on your ideas, or get them to help you organise, and you can see their activity on your dashboard.
For example, one of my workspaces is exclusively ideas for articles and features to write here at Lifehacker. When Adam Pash comes calling, asking if I have ideas for a feature next week or a post tomorrow, instead of trying to brainstorm on the spot, or pull specific ideas out of my list that I think he might support, I can invite him to view my workspace and weigh in on the ideas he thinks has legs. Similarly, if I need help researching some of those ideas, I can invite one of our interns to my workspace and assign one of my ideas to him so it appears on his dashboard. When he's finished, he can update the task, I'll see it on my dashboard, and I can start writing.
This is especially useful if you're collaborating on the same ideas with someone else, or if you have someone who needs to see what's on your plate, like a manager or supervisor who can help you prioritise all of those ideas you've added to your workspaces. Wunderkit's real power is in helping you organise your own activities, but it's really nice to give someone else a window to what you're working on and get their feedback from time to time.
Not a To-Do List
Wunderkit is a platform, and the developers behind it say more tools and built-in "apps" like the dashboard, tasks and notes are on the way soon. Even without them, it's a powerful tool for organising your ideas and creating a constantly growing well of creative ideas.
It's not perfect; you can't link notes with to-dos (but you can tag them so a quick search will pull up any relevant notes as well as to-dos you want to see). I also wish it could sync with my calendar for alerts or reminders. Even so, it still complements the to-do app I already use, and I think it'll work well with yours, too. If you need a to-do app that will pop up a reminder to do something, Wunderkit isn't that app right now. It may develop some of those features in the future, but its real strength is in how it complements those traditional tools as a bank or well of ideas that's quick and easy to update as soon as a new one pops into your head.
Do you use Wunderkit? What do you think of it, and what do you use it for? Share your experiences in the comments below.