Thoughts, stories and ideas.

To-do lists don't have to be complicated or so advanced that it defeats the purpose of even having one. Many people use a pen and paper for the job without any problem and yet a new to-do list app seems to come out every month. The reason for that is because keeping track of your life, your business, and the important things that need to be done are all so personal. As soon as the app doesn't feel right, people tend to put it aside instantly. So it's no easy task to find the right app.

For that reason, I've been hard at work researching the best to-do apps, trying to find the right tones for various uses and the one that best worked for me...I'll let you know in a bit which one that is. It's not an easy task to find the best apps when there are so many platforms to account for: Android, Windows, macOS, and Iphone/Ipad. I took the top rated apps for each platform and tried using it for a week and the results were pretty interesting.

Whatever it might be that you are looking for in a to-do list app, I'm sure one of these is going to be the right fit for you. For me, it was Things 3.

The top 5 to-do list apps

1. Things 3

This is the kind of to-do list that not only has a nice elegant design, but also has a minimalist yet surprisingly complex functionality at the same time.

I chose this as my personal to-do list app because it comes with no shortage of features, yet it always feels simple to use. Adding tasks is easy and quick. More importantly, it's easy to keep your tasks organized. The best part about this app is the various ways you can keep things organized. Areas can contain tasks or projects; projects can contain tasks or headers that can also contain tasks; even tasks can contain sub-tasks if you want. It sounds complicated, but it isn't at all, which is why it's number one on my list.

Other applications offer these features, but Things 3 does it in a way that never lets your tasks clutter your view of what needs to be done today. In addition, you get a system-wide tool for quickly adding tasks, integration with your calendar, so you can see your appointment while planning your day, smart keyboard shortcuts, reminders with native notifications, and synchronization to an Iphone and Ipad app.

The only con here is the lack of a Windows and Android version, but that is probably why the app is so well designed. If you are an Apple user, like me, you should for sure give Things 3 a try.

2. Todoist

Todoist isn't the most complex nor the simplest to-do list app out there. That is kind of it's strength: This app balances power with simplicity, and it does so while running on every major platform that is out there. That is probably why Todoist is one of the most popular to-do list apps currently.

Adding tasks was quick on any platform I tried it on. This was thanks to being able to process tasks based on natural language inputs (type "buy toilet paper Thursday" and the task "buy toilet paper" will be added with the next Thursday set as your due date). Like, Things 3, you can add new tasks to your Inbox and then move them to relevant projects; you can also set due dates. If you become a paid user, you can create and add custom filters and labels.

Todoist can adapt to most workflows, but without making it so complicated as to overwhelm you. Overall, it's a good first to do list app to try out.

3. Microsoft To Do

Microsoft To Do has a clean and inviting interface. Adding tasks is simple but also flexible in this app.

As you would imagine, this app is heavily integrated with Microsoft's ecosystem. If you have Outlook, you can sync your tasks from that application over to Microsoft To Do, which means you can sync your tasks to a mobile device. Another cool feature was the ability to add tasks using Cortana or by typing in the Start menu (for example you can type "add brownies to my shopping list" and brownies will be added to a list called "shopping.")

Microsoft To Do is a great to-do list for heavy Windows users and those invested into the office suite applications such as Outlook.

4. TickTick

TickTick is the newer of the bunch and is available on all platforms. Like Todoist, it also allows for natural language processing. It also has a universal keyboard shortcut available on the desktop version and pinned notification as well as widgets on mobil. This makes it quick so that you can get back to the task at hand.

A very useful feature to this to-do list app was it's built-in Pomodoro timer, allowing you to start a 25-minute countdown for any of your tasks. Another pro to using TickTick was that you could integrate it with various third-party calendars, allowing you to see your tasks and your appointments in one place.

TickTick comes with a plethora of features and if you sync between various platforms, it's a great option for you.

5. Google Tasks

Google Tasks is meant for those who heavily use gmail. This to-do list is all about keeping things simple and quick. Adding tasks is quick, especially if you spend lot of time in gmail, but there are not a lot of organizational features. All you get are due dates, lists, and that is about it.

It is the to-do list that will come in handy, but for those who really love using gmail. You can also use the mobile version to make those tasks easily accessible on the go.

Alternative Options
The list above really is all about to-do list apps, but there are many other softwares that can keep you organized and on track with your work. Here are a few ideas that can sometimes even be better than a dedicated to-do list app:

  • Project Management apps/software like Asana and Wesat can be very useful as to-do lists while also keeping them in scope with your projects.
  • Note-taking applications like OneNote, Google Keep, and Notion.
  • There are other free options that can help you as well. Checkout Top 7 Free Resources for Freelancers

I hope one of the above options ends up being the right fit for you. Keep a look out for updates to this list as new options are released!

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