By Erfan / / Apps

Speaking of to do lists, well, we’ve got to talk about those because I get a lot of questions about which app or tool out there is the best one for managing your tasks. Today, I want to try to answer that question.

So, I’m going to be sharing my top 3 to do list applications that I think are going to be the best options for most people. So, let’s get into it!

1. Todoist

Now, back when I was in college, I used to use a task management app called Wunderlist and I absolutely loved it. But, a few years ago, Microsoft actually bought it and they made the announcement that it was eventually going to be going away and as a result I moved over to Todoist.

I think that to Todoist is probably the best to do app out there in terms of features and capabilities. The number one feature that offers something that I find invaluable in my workflow is natural language processing. It means that you can add tasks along with all the details needed for those tasks, such as tags and due dates and assignees and things like, that just by typing what you want in the main task bar or by saying it. I’m also a big fan of the quick add feature.

When I’m using the app on my desktop or in the browser, I can just have the letter Q or I can just hit the plus button on my iPhone and I can easily enter a task in seconds. It reduces a lot of friction in my system.

Additionally, I’m a big fan of its integration with voice assistance. It’s got Siri integration and it’s also got Amazon Echo integration. Don’t worry, I’m not going to say the A word in this video. But if I want to I can easily tell my Echo to add a task and it gets automatically added to my inbox, and I love that since I have several of them in my house.

Not everything is perfect with Todoist. I do think that the way it handles sub tasks is a little dated. I’m not a big fan of how you just indent things in your main task list instead of having a real subtasks view. And the windows app doesn’t work quite like the desktop app, the Mac app or even the mobile apps. It’s got kind of a different UI, and it doesn’t work quite as well.

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Todoist is not the cheapest app and the personal productivity space. Especially since they just raised the prices to $4 a month, so that might be a bit of a turnoff. Though it is worth mentioning that there is a student discount, though they did make the baffling decision to require people to sign up for a business account before asking for it. But even still, it reduces the price down to about a 1.50 per month, so if you are a college student that is an option for you!


2. Microsoft To-Do

There’s something else that you’re going to want to look at, and that is Microsoft To-Do. If you’re somebody who just does not want to pay for to do list application and you have simple needs, then I think Microsoft To-Do is the absolute best option on the market right now.

A couple of years ago, I would not have made this recommendation as when it came out as the replacement for Wunderlist, there were a lot of missing features. But over the past couple of years Microsoft’s team has added a lot of needed features to the app and honestly it’s pretty damn good, especially for having absolutely no premium tier whatsoever.

You’ve got the ability to make multiple projects. You can color code those projects. Subtasks actually work like they’re supposed to, and unlike Todoist’s free plan, you can add comments and file attachments to your tasks in Microsoft To-Do without paying anything.

This is actually the main reason why I recommend Microsoft to do over Todoist, it’s a free plan if you just don’t want to pay. I do think Todoist is more powerful overall, but I think a lot of people are going to want the ability to add descriptions and comments to their tasks, like say if you want to set up a PO box, and you need to put the address of the post office box in the task, you have to pay for that with Todoist.

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Now, granted Microsoft To-Do does not have natural language features, so you do have to set your due dates and stuff like that manually, but if you want something simple I think it really works. And it also has some pretty cool features that you’re not going to find an other apps, such as the My Day feature which doesn’t pull tasks based on due dates but instead lets you manually add tasks from your list.

Of course, there are some things with Microsoft To-Do that I don’t like. For instance, there isn’t a dedicated Mac app right now, so just like To-Do is on the Windows side, I’ve got to use Microsoft To-Do in the browser. Additionally, like I said earlier, it is not quite as powerful as other apps like Todoist. You don’t have the natural language features, you don’t have tags and filters and smart lists and things like that, but again, if you don’t want to pay and you want something simple, I think it is a very compelling option.

3. TickTick

If you’ve ever used TickTick before, you probably know that it is very similar to Todoist. Just like Todoist, it’s got those natural language features which allow you to get tasks into your system very quickly and have it just parse all the information you want instead of having to set it yourself.

It’s got tags you can add to your tasks and it’s got something called smart lists, which function basically the exact same way that filters do in Todoist. But there are some features in TickTick that you’re not going to find in Todoist. Just for example, there is a built in calendar view, so if you want to look your tasks on a by week or by month basis, you can actually do that.

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There are start times, you can add your tasks, which I don’t personally use, but some people find to be very useful. There is a builtin pomodoro timer which can actually be tied to your tasks, so if you want to do pomodoros throughout the day and actually bind them to the tasks you have in your system, you can do that, and sub tasks actually work the way that they should. You click into a task and you can see your sub tasks along with all the related information like file attachments and comments.

Beyond that there are even more features in TickTick such as desktop widgets, which I kind of irrationally love. Not sure why I liked them so much, but it’s kind of cool to have like a semi-transparent box on my desktop with all my tasks.

On the mobile side there’s a feature called Plan My Day, which helps to intelligently plan out what you want to get done on a given day.

Given all these features and the fact that TickTick is cheaper than Todoist at $28 a year versus their $36 a year, it might seem like TickTick is the better option, and for some people it might be, but there are a few caveats.

For one TickTick does have those natural language features, but they’re not as strong as the ones found in Todoist. For example, I can’t use T-O-M for tomorrow, I actually have to type out the entire thing. And when I’m using a really complex request, like having a task with a specific first due date along with a recurring option, it can’t really parse it. Todoist handles it like a champ, but I have to go in and manually set that kind of thing up in TickTick.

appsMicrosoft To-DoTask Management AppsTickTickTodoist