March 27, 2012 1 Comment
I have been a long time user of “to do” lists, both at home and at work. Making a list of the things I need to get done is the best way for me to keep my world organized. When I started working at my current job, I was introduced to a formal list making program by the folks at Franklen-Covey. Once I got my very own Franklin Planner, I never looked back. I am never without it.
Once my family gave me my original iPad, I started to think that perhaps I could replace the physical planner with an electronic one on the iPad (and hopefully the iPhone). I’ve been searching for a while, and I think I might have finally found my replacement. Let me walk you through all of the apps I’ve tried and my thoughts on their usefulness.
The first app I tried to use was Evernote. I still think that Evernote is an awesome app and gets daily use on my iPhone, iPad, and my Mac to share bits of this or that as I coordinate my life. The synchronization between all of my computers makes it a hit. I can use it from whatever Apple device I find myself using at the time, and all of the data is gathered into one place. It’s a great way to gather data into topics for use later. I’ve taken to using it as an invaluable tool in the planning of our Family Disney World vacations. But it’s not a to do list app. It’s too much for that. I need something a bit more simple that just does lists.
Then I tried a series of apps specifically called “to do” or “getting things done” apps. All of them let you manage lists and some offered the ability to put those lists into related folders, but none of them were easy to use. I kept using my physically planner, hoping I’d eventually find something. Among them were: Nubi Do, Toodledo, and Apple’s Reminders. I thought that both Nubi Do ($4.99) and Toodledo (free) did what I wanted but I didn’t care for the interfaces. I actually started to use the Reminders app (also free) at the beginning of the year as an experiment, but since I am not yet moved to the iCloud, I couldn’t sync between all my devices so I stopped using it.
Then I read a review on the blog of a fellow Disney fan, Kidani Katie, of a to do list called Wunderlist. As Katie puts it, this one is also free so it doesn’t cost you anything to check it out. Immediately, I liked the interface. Versions are available for just about any platform, mobile or not, that you can think of. I downloaded it to my iPhone, my iPad and to my Mac OS X laptop. Even though I am an iOS fanatic to the core, I still find typing just a bit easier with a physical keyboard over a virtual keyboard. There, I said it, and I will deny having said it to anyone.
I started by setting things up with the Mac OS X app interface. First, I set up a wunderlist account. This is how all of your lists will synchronize across your devices. Since I will be sending these lists up to a server, I am mindful not to include anything that I wouldn’t want to be saved to a cloud interface. Next, I set up boxes for work, for home, for kids specific, etc. In my Franklin Planner, I’d categorize my to do list by splitting it into two: work and home. Wudnerlist allowed me to break that down even further. Then I went about figuring out how to enter to do items. It took me a few minutes of tinkering to figure out how to link those to do items with a date. If they are entered under the boxes they don’t have a due date. You have to put those in by hand.
Once everything was set up, I logged into the wunderlist app I’d installed on my iPhone using the same account I’d set up on my OS X machine. After a little bit of syncing, all of the boxes and to do items I’d created on my Mac magically appeared.
I found the iOS interface to actually be a bit more intuative than the Mac OS X interface. It was easier for me to add information (notifications, due dates, categories, notes) to individual to do items via the iPhone than on my Mac just because of the layout on iOS. In spite of not initially thinking I’d use the iPhone interface other than to add or check off the occasional items from my lists, I actually do most of my list making on the iPhone. I think that once everything was set up the way I wanted it to be, that day to day entering is simpler on the iPhone.
My great experiment really started when I noticed half way through my day that I had left my Franklin Planner in a bag in my car. I hadn’t even needed it. I did all my lists entirely electronically and aside from some notes I took in a notebook in a meeting, I didn’t even need paper.
It’s been about a month now, and I can safely say that the iPhone has replaced my Franklin Planner in tracking my to do list. It’s always with me; fits in my purse; is on my night stand. In fact, I use the iPhone more than the iPad to do my list tracking because it is the thing that I always have on hand.
If you are looking for a getting stuff done to do list tracking app, I’d heartily recommend you give wunderlist a try.