Advertising
Advertising

The Complete Guide to List and To-Do Apps

The Complete Guide to List and To-Do Apps

Are you a list-maker? Probably. Do you make to-do lists? If so, do you also make other types of lists such as reading lists, checklists, shopping lists, and reference lists? Undoubtedly. Do you find it difficult to find the list app that best suits your method of list creation? There are many different tools out there that help you to create lists: most of them are focused on “to-do” checklists, and each have their own specialties to match the different ways in which we create lists.

I’ve spoken with approximately 200 people so far, and  have discovered both a wide range of different techniques that people us to create and manage their lists, and a variety of tools that are used. This is a breakdown of some of the most popular tools, and how they are used, so you can determine which list-creation app is best suited to your needs.

Wunderlist

    Wunderlist is a straightforward, uncomplicated task management to-do list app that works on multiple platforms, and syncs seamlessly across them all. It’s ideal for people who make task lists and check lists, as you can create notes for each task if you need to add a more detailed description, prioritize, share the main task list, and even set deadlines. It’s one of the few tools out there that has a downloadable Mac and PC app as well as web, android, iphone, ipad and blackberry versions. This is a great tool for task management.

    Asana

      Asana is ideal for more complicated projects and collaborative task management. You can create different projects and assign many tasks to them, and each task can be assigned to an owner who will then see it under their list of responsibilities. Deadlines can be set, tags can be created for easier searching, files can be attached, and you can create sub-tasks for each responsibility. Tasks can even be set to be repeated as needed. Essentially, it’s a highly effective collaborative task management tool.

      Advertising

      Remember the Milk

        Remember the Milk provides pre-built list categories such as inbox, personal, study, work, with options to sort your outstanding tasks by due date. You can add notes to each task, and can easily postpone an assignment with a tap of a button. Tasks can be prioritized, set to repeat, or moved to different lists. The main feature from the mobile app is its ability to see what tasks are due by day, whereas the website version is a lot more difficult to navigate, with many features that are hidden and difficult to find. This is another app that is highly focused on task management and to-do lists, and is available on Android, iPhone, and iPad, as well as the website.

        Any.do

          Any.do is set up to help you organize when your tasks need to be completed. You list tasks under headings such as today, tomorrow, this week or later, with different lists categorized in various folders, and then create sub-tasks using the notes feature that lives under each task. By default, any task created in a folder is set to today and you have to switch to the timeline view to change the date. It’s an aesthetically pleasing to-do task management app that’s available on Android, iPhone and a Chrome Extension.

          Todoist

            Todoist focuses on projects instead of lists: tasks are created under different projects and you can create reminders, tags, repeated tasks and all the usual to-do features. Tasks are prioritized using color coding, can be moved across projects with due dates, and adding notes to a task is a premium feature in this app. There are some preset views where you can see which tasks are due today, or see tasks arranged by their priority level. Todoist is also available across most platforms.

            Advertising

            Evernote

              Evernote is not limited to to-do; it’s a note taking app that lets you create many types of lists. You can consider each list as a personal notebook: inside each notebook, you can create multiple notes/list items with the  WYSIWIG editor that helps you create different types of formatted notes for a wider variety of lists. On the free plan, you can attach up to 10 files to each note—up to 25MB in total. Available across most platforms, this is more flexible than a to-do list app and definitely a great one to help you remember and store details, but it’s not the simplest app available if you’re just looking for something to help you create lists.

              Listible

                Listible is still in beta: it’s a list-making app, and in its current form, is not only about creating to-do list apps, but also for a wide variety of different lists. This tool comes with a bookmarklet that lets you clip text, URLs and images into your lists. There are some to-do features available such as archiving (i.e. completing) a list item, but currently it does not have due dates, reminders or repeating tasks. Currently there is a web version available, with mobile apps in the pipeline.

                Workflowy

                  Workflowy takes list creation in a different direction: it’s aimed at people who like plain documents, nesting and bullet points. When opening the app, you are presented with a blank sheet, similar to a piece of paper. From here, you can start creating lists and indenting list items to create sub-lists, and when you complete tasks, they’re marked as finished by being struck through. It’s great for jotting things down quickly as well. This app is still under development, so some to-do related features are still being polished up. Currently it’s web only, with mobile apps in the works.

                  Advertising

                  Google Tasks

                  Google Tasks is a web app that’s built into Gmail. To see it, click on Mail in the top left corner of the Gmail screen, and a drop-down menu will appear from which you can select Tasks. It’s a simple task management tool in which you can create different tasks, check them off, and organize due dates for each assignment. It’s a basic task management tool—the main bonus being that it integrates with Google calendars quite easily to synchronize your tasks that have due dates assigned to them.

                  Reminders

                    Reminders is a default to-do app that comes with your Mac, iPhone, iPod or iPad. It’s a task management tool that integrates with the alarm system of your device. It’s easy to use and simple to create a list of tasks that need handling, with a default view for today, and the ability to create repeating tasks. This app is only available on Apple devices.

                    Toodledo

                      Toodledo is another one of the task management app specialists. Focused on productivity, it has 5 levels of priority for your tasks and has most of the same features as the other task management tools listed earlier. Like some of this others, this app uses folders for different lists, so you can move tasks into different folders to organize the assignments you have to complete. It provides multiple views that you can select to organize your tasks by due date, calendar, folders, or priority. This app also has a notebook feature in which you can create different types of notes, but unlike Evernote, it uses HTML markup for formatting the notes. It’s available on iOS and web, and there are a bunch of third party apps on Blackberry and Android that integrate with Toodledo.

                      Which App is Right for You?

                      If you only ever create task lists, there is a plethora of apps beyond those listed here that you can use. Most of them accomplish the job quite well, so your preference will depend a lot on your existing task-making habits and the aesthetic of the app itself. The features that most have in common are generally due dates, and task prioritization. There are some slight differences in them, however, as some apps will use numbering for prioritization (like Toodledo) whilst others will use color (Remember the Milk, Todoist, any.do). Due dates are also used as method of prioritization ( by Wunderlist, Reminders, Google Tasks, and Asana).

                      Advertising

                      Task sub-lists are another feature differentiation:  Workflowy is particularly optimized for nesting and creating sublists, as are Asana and any.do. In terms of collaboration and assigning tasks to team members, Asana is specficially designed with this in mind and is much more convenient for group projects.

                      If you want to create a wider variety of lists, then Listible and Evernote are your best bets. Evernote isn’t strictly a list-making, app so it’s not as easy to create lists, but its great for adding a lot more detail into your lists. Toodledo also has note-taking features, so if task management and note taking are your main needs, Toodledo would be your best choice. Listible is particularly useful and easy for creating a wide variety of lists clipped from around the web due to its bookmarklet, and also because it can display the images and links in your list.

                      Each of these list apps has its own group of fans, because we all create different types of lists in different ways. There are a bunch of different techniques you can try to optimize how you organize your lists… but that’s an article for another day. Feel free to share any list-organizing tricks that you use, and what you favorite list-making app is.

                      Featured photo credit:  Office desk via Shutterstock

                      More by this author

                      Hoi Wan

                      Hoi is a mobilist who blogs about technology trends and productivity.

                      30 Inspirational Songs that Keep You Motivated for Life How to Use the S.M.A.R.T. Approach to Achieve Your Resolutions Vitamins Cheat Sheet: What They Do and Good Food Sources [Infographic] Nutrition: Minerals Cheat Sheet & Food Sources [Infographic] The Best Body Hacks You Should Know About

                      Trending in Productivity

                      1 50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success 2 How to Make a Positive Change for a Fulfilling Life 3 The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work) 4 10 Practical Ways to Improve Time Management Skills 5 How to Master the Art of Prioritization

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on January 13, 2020

                      50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success

                      50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success

                      Let’s face it – no matter how excited you are about a new project or priority in your life, there will always be days when your motivation lags. Days when – despite all the progress you’ve made in the past – it just sounds easier to sit on the couch playing video games than to buckle down and crank out the work needed to meet your goals.

                      In order to be successful, you must be able to motivate yourself past these humps. Whenever you feel your drive and determination lagging, turn to these motivational quotes for work to provide the extra spark of passion needed to keep you on track.

                      Quotes about Goal Setting

                      Whether you’re still in the planning phases of your business or whether you’re plotting a plan of attack to bring about your long-range vision, setting good goals is a critical part of succeeding in business.

                      Check out these quotes for extra inspiration on how to turn your dreams into reality:

                      quote-Benjamin-E.-Mays-the-tragedy-in-life-doesnt-lie-in-106113

                        “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”– Benjamin Mays


                        “By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”–Mark Victor Hansen


                        “Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master and you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty.”–William J. Bennett – The Book of Virtues


                        “The entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and actualizer… He can visualize something, and when he visualizes it he sees exactly how to make it happen.”–Robert L. Schwartz

                        Quotes about Achieving Excellence in Work

                        Once you’ve got your goals together, you’ll need to put in 110% of your effort in order to transform these visions into reality. To increase your motivation to work at a consistently high level, take a look at the following words of wisdom:

                        “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”–Aristotle


                        “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”–Charles R. Swindoll

                        Desire is the key to motivation

                          “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”–Mario Andretti


                          “The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”–Pearl Buck


                          “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”–Vince Lombardi

                          Quotes about Determination and Persistence

                          Since every business or other endeavor is bound to hit some rough patches, it’s often a person’s level of determination and patience that brings about either success or failure. These positive quotes give you an extra boost of encouragement:

                          “Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat. Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses… on your powers, instead of your problems.”–Paul J. Meyer


                          “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”–Hal Borland


                          “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”–Calvin Coolidge

                          quote-Thomas-Fuller-an-invincible-determination-can-accomplish-almost-anything-92190

                            “An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”–Thomas Fuller

                            Quotes about Leadership

                            Whether you use it to engage your employees, to encourage teamwork or motivate others to follow your unique way of thinking, leadership is crucial. Take your leadership cues from these renowned leaders’ famous sayings:

                            “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born — that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” –Warren G. Bennis


                            “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”–John Kenneth Galbraith

                            Leadership is not magnetic personality

                              “Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’ — that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”–Peter F. Drucker


                              “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”–John Buchan


                              “High sentiments always win in the end. The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.”–George Orwell

                              Quotes for Success

                              Think of success as a holistic process – one which results from the combination of goal-setting, excellence, patience, determination and leadership you prioritize throughout your career. These highly successful people provide you with an excellent source of motivation:

                              Advertising

                              “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.”–Stephen Covey


                              “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”–Norman Vincent Peale

                              Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

                                “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”–Winston Churchill


                                “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”–John Maxwell


                                “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”– Thomas J. Watson


                                “The great successful men of the world have used their imagination.  They think ahead and create their mental picture in all its details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this a bit and that a bit, but steadily building – steadily building.”–Robert Collier


                                “It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.”–Arnold Toynbee

                                Sports Quotes for Athletes

                                You don’t need to be a Michael Jordan-caliber athlete to draw inspiration from the following quotes. Even if you’re just a recreational player or someone who’s using sports as a means to get back in shape after long periods of inactivity, the following motivational sports quotes will encourage you:

                                “My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”–Michael Jordan


                                “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”–Lance Armstrong

                                Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.

                                  “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”–Arnold Schwarzenegger


                                  “I know what I have to do, and I’m going to do whatever it takes. If I do it, I’ll come out a winner, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else does.”–Florence Griffith Joyner


                                  “Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100% – You make it that much easier for me to beat you.”–Unknown


                                  “If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don’t nurse your bruises. Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter. This is the only way to take life – this is also ‘playing’ the game!”–Emily Post


                                  “We must train from the inside out. Using our strengths to attack and nullify any weaknesses. It’s not about denying a weakness may exist but about denying its right to persist.”–Vince McConnell

                                  Quotes to Motivate Learning

                                  Committing yourself to pursuing knowledge in a single area is a tremendous endeavor – one that often seems overwhelming given the depth and breadth of information that’s available today. Keep the following motivational quotes in mind if you’re learning:

                                  “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”–George Washington Carver

                                  quote-William-Arthur-Ward-if-you-can-imagine-it-you-can-36189

                                    “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”–William Arthur Ward


                                    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”– Aristotle


                                    “Success is not the key to happiness.Happiness is the key to success.If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”–Albert Schweitzer


                                    “Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket: and do not pull it out and strike it, merely to show that you have one.”–Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield


                                    “He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”–Chinese Proverb


                                    “Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.”–William Arthur Ward


                                    “Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life’.”–Helen Exley


                                    “A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”–Chinese Proverb

                                    All-Time Favorite Positive Quotes

                                    Finally, whatever your goals are in life, you can’t go wrong by taking the advice of the following famous motivational quotes:

                                    “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”–Norman Vincent Peale


                                    “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”–Steve Jobs


                                    “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”–Maria Robinson


                                    “Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.”–Albert Einstein


                                    “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”–Lyndon Johnson

                                    If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.

                                      “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”–Thomas Edison


                                      “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”–Wayne Gretzky


                                      “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”–Winston Churchill


                                      “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson

                                      Final Thoughts

                                      To use these motivational quotes effectively, find the one that speaks to you. Although all of the phrases listed above can be considered “motivational,” only you can decide which one resonates with you most directly.

                                      Next, take the quote you’ve settled on and copy it onto small index cards or other pieces of paper that can be stored around your home and workspace.

                                      If you’re creative, you can create inspiration boards, signs or other decorative displays featuring your favorite motivational quotes – really, though, the most important thing is that your chosen phrase be accessible in a variety of different places. This will make it easy to access and review whenever you feel your motivation slipping away.

                                      More Inspiring Quotes

                                      Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

                                      Read Next