Advertising
Advertising

App Review: Wunderlist is a Cross Platform, Easy-To-Use Task Manager

App Review: Wunderlist is a Cross Platform, Easy-To-Use Task Manager

    If I’ve learned anything in my quest to become a productive person over the years by using technology tools it is the following two points.

    1. Love the tools you use.

    Advertising

    If you find something wrong with your productivity tool within the first 5 minutes of using it, chances are it won’t stick. There are a ton of list making and action tracking apps out there. Find one that has the features you want and is fun to use.

    2. Your tools have to be everywhere you are.

    The GTD guru, Mr. Allen speaks of making sure that you have a “ubiquitous capture tool” wherever you may go. I tend to take that one step further: you should have a ubiquitous set of tools wherever you go. This holds especially true with how much mobile computing has exploded in use and popularity over the past few years. We are all mostly connected via our smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc.; we should have our productivity systems with us.

    Advertising

    Like I said before, there are a ton of “GTD” apps out there that promise you how productive you will be and how easy they are to use. While there is no “best GTD app” out there for everyone, there are some that come close and can be highly recommended. The new kid on the block is Wunderlist (by 6Wunderkinder), a cross-platform “easy-to-use task manager” that is available for Windows, OS X, iOS (iPad and iPhone), Android, and the browser that includes over the air syncing across all apps. It sounds pretty awesome, huh?

    Today we are going to look at how Wunderlist stacks up as a productivity tool.

      Simplified task manager

      The thing that I like the most about Wunderlist is that it is dead simple. There are some task management apps out there that have folders, tags, contexts, priority, locations, subtasks, etc. Wunderlist isn’t like this; it gives the user the choice to create a bunch of list groupings (think contexts in GTD) and under each of those grouping a list of tasks. It appears you can have as many contexts as you want and as many tasks in each context as you want.

      Advertising

      Your tasks can have a due date, reminder, a note, or a star. They also can be dragged to any list grouping that you want (Windows, OS X, and web versions) or the list can be changed in the details of the task (iOS, Android). There is also a set of filters at the bottom of the desktop and web apps where you can see all tasks, starred, completed, and tasks due today, tomorrow, next 7 days, later, and without a date. One thing that bothers me about these filters is that when you press any option you get a blob of tasks with no indication of what list grouping they are in.

      Cloud syncing

      You can also set up a Wunderlist account and have all your data sync with the Wunderlist cloud which allows you to keep all of your devices synced up. In general this works well and is faster than any sync I have experience on a desktop task-managment app (I’m looking at you OmniFocus). I have an installation on every platform that is available and the sync seems fairly reliable. What I mean is that sometimes when deleting tasks or marking them complete, the mobile versions on Android and iOS have trouble updating list counts. This can be remedied by exiting and starting the app again but it does happen more often than not.

      Other features

      Other features include being able to print your current task lists from the desktop and web versions, publish your list “to the cloud” where you are given a “secret” URL to share with friends or colleagues, or email your tasks. And of course, what would Wunderlist be without its beautiful choices of background images? As far as I can tell you can’t add any background or your own without doing some “tweaking” of JavaScript which brings me to the last killer feature; Wunderlist is open source and therefore just begging to be added on to. It is made of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS and can be accessed via github to have your geeky way with.

      Advertising

        Cross platform goodness

        One of the other best things about this application is that it is truly cross-platform and for someone like me who is using Android, iOS, OS X, Windows, and Linux this is a major feature. All the versions of the apps seem to be similar in features and look-and-feel, and I have to say that 6Wunderkinder did a good job of porting this app to all platforms without totally changing the user experience. The mobile apps are great, but there is still some room for improvement of the UI and possibly utilizing location by providing location based contexts or tasks. But, for a first start that has only been available for a couple of months, Wunderlist hits the major features needed for a good GTD application on all platforms.

        Pros and Cons

        To wrap up let’s take a look at the pros and cons of Wunderlist:

        Pros

        • Cross-platform support: Windows, OS X, web, Android, iOS
        • Fast “cloud sync”
        • open source
        • Beautiful backgrounds
        • Easy task management including due dates, reminders, star, and list groups (contexts)
        • Search
        • Email, print, and “cloud sharing” options for tasks lists
        • Free!

        Cons

        • Sync can be unreliable on mobile devices at times
        • No options for subtasks or subcontexts
        • No start date or repeat options for tasks
        • No utilization of location on mobile apps

        More by this author

        CM Smith

        A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

        5 Project Management Tools to Get Your Team on Track To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better

        Trending in Lifehack

        1 Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them 2 The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness 3 20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity 4 A Review of the Book “The Art of Learning” 5 How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on March 31, 2020

        Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

        Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes & How To Tackle Them

        Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

        So what changed?

        I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

        My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

        Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

        But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

        1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

        Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

        If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

        Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

        Advertising

        How to Tackle It?

        Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

        For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

        Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

        2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

        This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

        The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

        How to Tackle It?

        Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

        If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

        Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

        3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

        This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

        Advertising

        The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

        The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

        How to Tackle It?

        Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

        For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

        A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

        If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

        4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

        Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

        Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

        How to Tackle It?

        It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

        Advertising

        Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

        For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

        Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

        In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

        5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

        This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

        Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

        However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

        How to Tackle It?

        Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

        Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

        Advertising

        Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

        If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

        Bottom Line

        I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

        You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

        I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

        I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

        Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

        Read Next