I love lists. Before iPads and iPhones, I used to create my lists in organisers, notebooks, Moleskins, Post Its, and goodness knows where else. I still go analogue every now and then, admittedly. But, my list-making inclinations are now mostly created with the use of my digital devices.
Since I find myself answering a lot of iPad/iPhone questions like: "What are the best 'To Do' (task management) apps?" on a regular basis, I think it's high time that I come up with my second round of recommendations. And, following on my theme of giving recommendations based on how I use the apps, I'd like to share with you five of my favourite task management apps.
Some of these 'To Do' apps would be universal apps, while others might be iPad or iPhone-specific. My top rated ones are those that generally work across gadgets. In fact, the more compatible they are with different gadgets and platforms, the higher I rank them. Mind you, once you find a task management app that works well for you, you probably don't need more than a couple of them in your list.
1. Wunderlist - This is probably the only multi-platform, multi-device, cloud syncing task management app that I am aware of. It has iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac, Windows, and web-based apps. That's why it's clearly my current favourite 'To Do' app. Wish I found it sooner! And yes, best of all, it's all free.
What I Love: Able to create several lists; syncs 'To Do' lists easily and seamlessly when connected to the web; able to share 'To Do' lists with others; multi-device and multi-platform compatible; simple list-making and able to make notes (including add due dates, stars for importance); did I mention it was free!?
What I Wish For: A way to get notified when someone adds or checks off a task in group lists; Ability to email and assign tasks; Give different permissions to group members; Ability to email lists
2. Things - I've been a 'Things' fan for a few years now. I downloaded and paid for its very first desktop release while they were still in beta and early release. When I bought my iPad, it was one of the first things that I purchased. Yes, even though it wasn't a cheap app and the sync between iPad and Macbook versions was only through wifi, and therefore, dodgy. When I finally got myself an iPhone, I hesitated to pay for the iPhone version because I already feel a bit ripped off having to pay for Macbook and iPad, then again for iPhone. But, I did it anyway, to show my loyalty. But, after a few dodgy syncs in-between gadgets, and the lack of other features that I need at this time of my life, I finally decided to abandon Things in favour of Wunderlist. It's a nice app, really. But, with so many other options out there and the lack of proper syncing and Universal app availability, I no longer think it's worth its price.
What I Love: Ability to create Projects, then Lists within those projects; Great interface and features; Recurring lists/'To Do's; ability to email tasks
What I Wish For: Multi-device and multi-platform availability (for Win, web-based, Android, etc); Improved syncing capabilities; Group lists; Universal app pricing
3. Google Tasks - If you're already a Google app user, then this might work well for you. It's available on the Google app suite (via mobile device, except it doesn't seem to work on the iPad + web interface). Tasks sync across platforms and devices via the cloud. Simple and also works with Google Calendar.
What I Love: Works well with different Google apps (Calendar, etc); Multi-platform and multi-device; Simple
What I Wish For: Group lists; Ability to email tasks; Email notifications; iPad integration
4. Notebooks - Seeing as it's one of my favourite notetaking apps, it's definitely one that I use a lot. And, it helps that notebooks can easily be transformed in to a task-management app. This is especially useful when I'm brainstorming blog posts or writing topics, so I can start listing them as 'To Do' lists and check them off when/if I complete them. Tasks may be given due dates and may be emailed too.
What I Love: Great notetaking app with several features; Syncs with Dropbox and several other platforms; May be integrated with a number of apps like Pages; has an iPad and iPhone version (not Universal - need to pay separately)
What I Wish For: Multi-platform compatibility; Universal app; Group lists/tasks; Desktop version
5. Bento - Primarily a database manager, Bento may also be used as a task manager as it comes with 'To Do' list templates and features. It has a great interface - and it's available via desktop and mobile devices. But, admittedly, it's not my default app of choice for task management. However, its 'To Do' list function helps when organising certain data. And yes, unfortunately, it can get expensive to buy in to the system.
What I Love: Templates and some features; ability to add different fields to lists
What I Wish For: Multi-platform compatibility; Need to improve overall list function; inexpensive alternative
I have tried many other task management apps on the iPad and iPhone, including Podio and Errands. I've also used 'To Do' list functions on other apps like iThoughtsHD, Corkulous, and Daily Notes. Although I like them and I can see some interesting uses of each one, I find that it's best to keep to a couple of systems.
What about you? What's your favourite task management app on the iPad and/or the iPhone?
Also see: Top 5 Presentation Apps for the iPad
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children's book. A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company's "Most Influential Women in Technology" list. Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.