What was once the simple choice between using a notebook, legal pad, or stack of Post-it notes to manage your personal to-do list is now a mind-numbing decision between dozens of to-do apps. Flashy apps that offer more features than you could ever use. Free apps that are so bare you wonder how they'd be helpful at all. And paid apps that look just right, but you're not sure it's worth paying the price just to find out.
Wonder no more. We've rounded up 40 of the most popular to-do apps, ranging from simple apps with just a list of tasks to advanced apps that let you organize your tasks, projects, notes and more. You'll find original reviews, pricing and platform support information for each app, along with app tables to help you quickly sort through the apps—and a downloadable cheat sheet as a quick reference of the best to-do list apps. No matter which task management method you use, there's an app for you.
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"There are approximately 17 million software applications and web sites out there built to manage your to do list," Gina Trapani, founder of Lifehacker, wrote in 2006. Nearly 10 years later, the actual number might be twice that. Well, if you remove a few zeros, that is. Search "todo" in Apple's iOS App Store and you get 3,680 results. In the Mac App Store, 195 results. In Google Play, a seemingly infinite scroll of results.
So where do you begin? Certainly not in those app stores. Instead, start with your task management method—how do you go about ticking off your to-dos? Do you group them in a certain way? Are you in need of extra details, or do you keep task descriptions short? Are you a more visual person wanting to see your progress? Do you want to keep a record of what you've done?
Answering these questions helps you decide which task management method you follow. If you simply need a list of to-dos to start ticking off, look for a "Grocery List" app". If you like the idea of organizing your tasks into detailed projects with subtasks, attachments, and more, get a Getting Things Done app. If seeing your tasks go from "to-dos" to "doing" to "dones" is helpful—or you want a more graphical way to manage tasks—check out a Kanban board app. Or if it's all about keeping it simple and, for the most part, staying out of app, try the plain text approach perhaps paired with Todo.txt, an app by Trapani.
Once you've landed on your favorite to-do app, rely on app integration tool Zapier to fit it into your workflow. If you're tracking personal and work tasks in Evernote, for example, but you team relies on Asana, use Zapier to keep your team in the loop with what's on your plate.
If you rely on Trello and your team is in Asana, use Zapier to create a new board for each project.
Keep your to-do dates from Trello on the top of your mind, too, by automatically adding new tasks to your Google Calendar.
Zapier supports nearly a dozen task management apps making task integration and automation, like recurring tasks in Trello, just a few clicks away. To get started, sign up for a free Zapier account, then make the integrations you need for your app.
If your to-do app of choice isn't yet supported, reach out to the app maker and encourage them to integrate with Zapier. In the meantime, you can use nearly any to-do app with Zapier by employing the app's "email to task" feature. Many of the apps in this roundup—including Wunderlist, Any.do, OmniFocus, Remember the Milk, and more—include an email address that you can use to add tasks to the app. Just send an email to the address you'll find in your app's settings with your task in the subject and its description in the body, and it'll be added to your task list. You can then use Zapier's email integration to send tasks from hundreds of other apps to your favorite task manager.
If you want to dig in further, there's even more ways you can use to integrate any app with Zapier, to get all of your favorite tools working together with your new to-do list app.
And now, without further ado, here are over 40 great apps you can use to manage your tasks.
For a simple way to manage your tasks, apps that follow the Grocery List method are by far the most painless. You list the things you need to do, much like you'd list the things you need to buy at the store, and that's it. There may be some extra features like notes or due dates, but the main focus is just on listing the things you need to do.
Grocery List apps are the most common type of to-do list apps, especially on mobile devices. While they're each similar and are all simple to use, there's a number of apps with their own unique take on simple task management. Here are some of the best.
|Apple Reminders||quick location-centric to-dos||Free||iOS, Web, Mac|
|Google Keep||sticky note-style task management||Free||Android, Web|
|Google Tasks||to-dos inside Gmail and Google Calendar||Free||Web|
|Remember The Milk||simple task management without distraction||Free; $2/mo. Pro||Android, iOS, Blackberry, Web|
|Momentum||simple to-dos in your homepage||Free||Web|
|Checkvist||outline-style tasks and keyboard shortcuts||Free; $3.30/mo. Pro||Web|
|Everyday||quickly swiping through projects||Free; $2.99/mo. Pro||Android, iOS, Web|
|Paperless||simple, paper-style task lists||Free Lite version; $2.99||iOS|
|Clear||simple, gesture-based interface||$4.99 iOS; $9.99 Mac||iOS, Mac|
|Swipes||snoozing your tasks until you're ready to do them||Free||Android, iOS, Web|
|Begin||focus on what needs to be done now||Free||iOS|
|TeuxDeux||a daily list of tasks||$3/mo.||iOS, Web|
|SomTodo||tasks with folder organization||Free; $3.60/mo. Premium||Android, iOS|
|Pocket Lists||advanced features like subtasks and OCR||$4.99||iOS|
|CARROT||turning tasks into a game||$2.99||iOS|
|Cheddar||keyboard powered simplicity||Free||iOS, Web, Mac|
|Taasky||simple task categories||From $1.99||iOS, Mac|
|Due||time-based reminders||From $4.99||iOS, Mac|
|Any.do||task collaboration||Free; $2.99/mo. Premium||Android, iOS, Web, Mac|
|Wunderlist||managing work and personal tasks together||Free; $5/mo. Pro||Android, iOS, Windows, Web, Mac|
for quick location-centric to-dos
If you use an iPhone, iPad, or Mac, the simple Reminders app that's built into your devices might be the easiest way to keep up with things you have to do. You can add tasks, sort them into lists, drag-and-drop them to the order you want, and view them on any of your devices—or online at iCloud.com. And if you're in a hurry, you can even add tasks via Siri.
Then, if you want to do more, there's a lot of power hidden behind the i button on each task. You can add a due date to tasks—or, enable the calendar view from the menu and you can drag tasks to their due date—or have Reminders send you a notification about tasks at specific locations so you won't forget to pick up stuff at the store, say. There's even a note field, and the option to share task lists with other Reminders users.
Apple Reminders Pricing: Free with Apple device
for sticky note-style task management
You know of Google Docs and Gmail, but how about Google Keep? This little known app is a board of virtual color-coded sticky notes where you can add images, text notes, and lists. These lists can hold as many tasks as you need, each with different due dates and location reminders. Individual lists and notes can be shared with other Google users, for easy collaboration on small projects.
It's just the basics, but its sticky note-style interface just might be to-do system you need if you're used to sticking tasks to your desk or refrigerator.
Google Keep Pricing: Free
for simple to-dos in Gmail and Google Calendar
There's also an even simpler to-do list lurking in your Gmail and Google Calendar account: Google Tasks. Just type G then T anywhere in Gmail, or click the Tasks calendar in Google Calendar, and you'll get a simple to-do list on the right side. Type in tasks, then click the arrow on the right to add a due date or note, or click and drag on a task to rearrange them to the order you want.
It's extremely basic, but it's also a convenient way to keep up with what you need to do in the apps you're likely using most already. Plus, there's keyboard shortcuts to manage tasks in Gmail so you can add to-dos to your emails and more.
Google Tasks Pricing: Free
For a deeper look at Google Tasks features and pricing plans, check out our Google Tasks review.
See Google Tasks integrations on Zapier
for simple task management without distraction
Remember The Milk was one of the first Grocery List-style task management apps. Though it hasn't changed much over the years, it's still a nice option for going back to basics with a text-centric interface. You can add your tasks and organize them in lists, each of which are shown as tabs on the top of the Remember The Milk web app.
You can add due dates, locations, and reminders to your tasks to keep everything in one place. Reminders are set independently of the due date—so you can be notified of a task before it's due with a push notification or email. You can also integrate it with Google Calendar, Gmail, Outlook and more to see all of your tasks wherever you work.
Remember The Milk Pricing: Free; Around $2/month Pro for Outlook sync and more
For a deeper look at Remember The Milk features and pricing plans, check out our Remember The Milk review.
See Remember The Milk integrations on Zapier
for simple to-dos in your homepage
Momentum isn't really a to-do list app—it's a Chrome extension that gives you the time, a photo of the day, a daily quote, and an awesome little to-do list on your Chrome dashboard. The to-do list is completely bare bones with no due dates or other clutter—just a small check-list at the bottom right-hand corner of your Chrome dashboard. But, it's enough to keep track of the things you need to do most.
Then, every day when you first launch Chrome, Momentum will ask you for your daily focus—the thing you'll be working on most today. This focus will be shown on your dashboard for the rest of the day, making sure it's on your mind until the focus is completed.
Momentum Pricing: Free
for outline-style tasks and keyboard shortcuts
Checkvist prides itself as being the task manager for geeks, and with Markdown and code support, it lives up to the claim. Tasks in Checkvist can be formatted using Markdown and are created using keyboard shortcuts. For example, just tap Return on your keyboard and start typing to add a new task.
Subtasks can be organized into a task hierarchy to keep track of the order you need to work in. Then, to add more info to tasks, double-tap the "A" key on your keyboard to bring up the actions menu where you can add due dates and other information to tasks without leaving the keyboard.
Checkvist Pricing: Free; $3.30/month Pro for attachments and notifications
See Checkvist integrations on Zapier
for quickly swiping through projects
Everyday is a minimalist Grocery List app where your tasks look like they were jotted down with a pencil. You can organize tasks into lists and add sub-tasks, reminders, and due-dates—or you can just keep things simple with basic tasks. Then, you can complete your tasks quickly with gestures. Swiping right on a task marks it as complete, and swiping left brings up a menu where you can set an alarm, delete the task, or move it to another list.
It's a simple app, one that'll keep you focused on your tasks without having to worry about extra features unless you really need them. And for a bit of extra power, you can use its Chrome extension to add tasks from the web.
Everyday Pricing: Free; $2.99/month Pro for extra lists and calendar integration
for simple, paper-style task lists
Paperless is the epitome of a Grocery List app for iOS. This application lets you create lists and tasks, and that's it. There are no due dates, no reminders, and definitely no subtasks to be found in Paperless. But there are lists, each with an icon so you can quickly identify what that list is for. There's also notes, so you can write down your thoughts on your tasks and turn them into simple projects.
Without all the extra features, it's an app that's perfect for making packing lists, recipes, and hey, maybe even a real grocery list.
Paperless Pricing: Free Lite version; $2.99
for simple, gesture-based interface
Clear is proof that simplicity is bliss. The application has identical interfaces on iOS and Mac and is completely gesture-based. Swiping up creates a new task, and swiping right marks a task as complete. There are no menus or buttons in Clear; you'll pull down to go to your list of lists, and pull down again to see the settings.
Tasks in Clear are organized in color-coded lists, with color themes you can unlock by completing tasks, downloading companion apps and more. You can't add notes to tasks or collaborate on tasks with others, but you can add reminders that send you a push notification when tasks are due, so you don't forget anything. With bright colors and game-style sound effects, it's a fun way to do your tasks.
Clear Pricing: $4.99 iOS, $9.99 Mac
for snoozing your tasks until you're ready to do them
Most simple to-do list apps are designed around making it simple to enter tasks in their app, but Swipes has a different take. If you're already using Evernote to take notes and clip snippets of articles for research, it'd likely be easiest to just add tasks there—and that's what Swipes is designed around. It'll watch your Evernote account for new tasks on notes, then turn them into full-featured tasks and projects on your phone automatically.
You'll likely end up with more than you can get done today, so Swipes also takes a page from Mailbox and other simple email apps with a snooze button that'll push your tasks off until tomorrow or another day when you're ready to complete them. Then, when you get your lists cleared out, Swipes will help you celebrate with a notification about how many days in a row you've completed all of your tasks.
Swipes Pricing: Free
for focusing on just what needs to be done now
Begin is an iPhone app that helps you manage tasks in the short-term. The app has three lists: Today, Tomorrow, and Yesterday. All tasks added to Begin must due during one of those days, so there is no place for long-term tasks in the app.
Like Clear, tasks are created by pulling down on the to-do list and marked complete by swiping to the right. Begin clears out old to-dos on a daily basis, giving you a clean slate. You won't be distracted by needing to set due dates or add reminders—all you'll have to focus on is what you need to do right now.
Begin Pricing: Free
for a daily list of tasks
Your tasks don't all need done today—you likely have things you need to do every day this week. TeuxDeux is a simple todo list that makes it easy to keep your entire week's work organized. Just type in simple tasks on the day of the week that task needs done, and that's it. You won't need to tap anything else to schedule the task—it's already listed on the day it needs done.
And then, if you don't get everything done, don't worry. You can just drag the task to the next day's column. Or, you can add the text "every day" to any text, and it'll automatically turn into a repeating task.
TeuxDeux Pricing: $3/month
for tasks with folder organization
SomTodo makes sure you don't forget about your simpler tasks, while still help you keep track of your projects and the things you need at the store. It'll show your unsorted tasks in a list right at the front, and then above them will show folders of your other tasks. Those folders can include anything from simple tasks like your grocery list to detailed tasks with notes, reminders, and due dates.
And if you need to make sure you don't forget one of those tasks in a folder, just add a star and it'll show up on the front screen, too.
Somtodo Pricing: Free; $3.60/month Premium for extra storage and more
for advanced features like OCR
Pocket Lists is a Grocery List app that makes it simple to track your tasks and subtasks. You can write out your tasks in a simple list, then swipe right on a task and it'll be turned into a subtask of the task directly above it. Then, you can organize them into lists, with hundreds of icons to make your lists easy to identify.
If you're used to writing your tasks on paper, you'll appreciate Pocket Lists' built-in OCR—Optical Character Recognition—functionality. Just take a picture of a store list, handwritten to-do list, or other list, and it will be automatically imported as a to-do list in Pocket Lists. That's a nifty option if you'd like to combine your paper-based to-dos with your smartphone.
Pocket Lists Pricing: $4.99
for preventing procrastination
Have trouble getting your homework done on time? Finish is designed specifically to help students stop procrastinating. Tasks in Finish are organized by due terms and are split up by short, mid, and long-term due dates. You'll set thresholds for each category when you setup your app, and then organize your homework and other school projects based on your academic year.
When creating a task, you're immediately asked to give it a due date or place it in a due term. You can then add a specific due time to tasks (say to mark that something is due at noon), add notes to keep track of everything in your assignment, and even set repeating times on a task to keep track of weekly quizzes. Then, you can ask Finish to Bother Me, which will send you a push notification when a task is due.
Finish Pricing: Free
for turning tasks into a game
CARROT is perfect for those who need a push to complete tasks. Dubbed as the "to-do list with a personality," CARROT rewards you when you finish tasks with new features, "fortune cookies." and other rewards. However, if you slack off, CARROT gets upset, taking away points and giving you borderline sadistic "rewards."
As far as actual task management goes, CARROT is extremely simple. There are no lists and no subtasks—just a pen-and-paper style to-do list. After reaching level 18, you'll unlock the ability to add due dates and reminders to your tasks, making for more practical task management. You'll just have to make sure you're being productive for a while if you really want those features.
CARROT Pricing:: $2.99
for keyboard powered simplicity
Cheddar—a to-do list app with the same orange color you'd expect from its namesake cheese—keeps task management simple by making everything about your keyboard. Open a list in the app, and you can immediately start typing to add a new task. Press Enter, and your task is saved and you can immediately add another task. And if you want anything else—tags, formatting, links, or even emoji—you can add them with markdown formatting.
There's simple lists in Cheddar to organize your tasks, and a web and Mac app to see your tasks everywhere. It promises to sync your tasks instantly, and it's free. It's hard to ask for more from a dead-simple task app.
Cheddar Pricing: Free
for simple task categories
Taasky is a simple todo list that focuses on your most important task. Swipe left on a task, mark it with a star, and it'll show up on the top of your task list in a larger font. You can only have one prioritized task, so you'll know precisely what's most important to focus on.
You can also easily sort your tasks into simple, color-coded categories for an easy way to keep everything organized. You could have one list for your work tasks, another for tasks at home and your store list, each with their own priority task.
Taasky Pricing: $1.99 for iOS; $3.99 for Mac
for time-based reminders
The most important part of your tasks may be its due date, so Due makes adding a due date and time to your task as simple as making the task in the first place. You'll type in your task, and can immediately add a due date a pick a common time to set its reminder. Then, you'll be able to keep up with all of your time-specific tasks in a simple list that shows everything you have to do in order.
There's support for recurring tasks, so you'll always be reminded to pay your rent and get your haircut on time. And if you also need help remembering how long you need to boil eggs or wait for laundry, you can use Due's preset timers instead of setting a new timer on your phone each time.
Due Pricing: $4.99 for iOS; $9.99 for Mac
for task collaboration
For a more feature-filled take on the Grocery List method, Any.do is a great cross-platform task management app. You can organize tasks in two different ways: by due date or by category. When organizing by due date, it gives you four separate lists: Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming, and Someday. Then, with categories, you can add your own categories to organize tasks, in addition to the built-in Personal, Work, and Store categories.
There's the other advanced features you'd expect, including subtasks and notes, along with file attachments if you have a Premium account. That upgrade also lets you share tasks and list with others, for a simple way to collaborate on your work.
Any.do Pricing: Free; $2.99/month Premium for collaboration and file uploads
for managing work and personal tasks together
Ever wanted a fancier way to manage your todos? Wunderlist just might be the app for you. It includes beautiful backgrounds for your tasks, along with a colorful interface where your notes are on a yellow pad and your sub-tasks look like they've been added on a piece of paper.
Creating new tasks in Wunderlist is simple: just select a list, start typing, and your task will show up in the quick add box on the top. Then, select a task and a sidebar will open, where you can add sub-tasks, notes, file attachments, and comments. You can also share your task lists with others—even with the free version—to collaborate and, perhaps, manage anything from a project to a grocery list together. It's a simple but powerful tool for staying productive.
Wunderlist Pricing: Free, $4.99/mo Pro for unlimited subtasks, assigned tasks and more
For a deeper look at Wunderlist features and pricing plans, check out our Wunderlist review.
See Wunderlist integrations on Zapier
If Grocery List applications are too bare-bones for your workflow, a Getting Things Done app may be just what you need. These apps, which follow a task management method popularized by a book with the same name, are designed to let you mange every single thing in your life. You'll be able to organize your tasks with projects, categories, locations, and more, and can add notes, audio recordings, file attachments and more to ensure you have everything needed to complete a task.
There is a learning curve that comes with Getting Things Done applications, especially when learning how to use calendar views, perspectives, and more to sort your tasks. If you take the time to get used to them, though, you'll find yourself more organized than ever.
|OmniFocus||managing every aspect of your tasks and projects||From $19.99||iOS, Mac|
|Things||simplified GTD with separate projects||From $9.99||iOS, Mac|
|Todoist||elegant, cross-platform productivity||Free; $2.42/mo. Premium||Android, iOS, Windows, Web, Mac|
|Toodledo||outlining your to-dos||Free; From $1.25/mo. subscription; $3.99 iOS||Android, iOS Web|
|TickTick||simple tasks and subtasks||Free; $1.99/mo. Pro||Android, iOS, Web, Mac|
|Todo Cloud||collaboration with full GTD features||Free; $1.99/mo. Premium||Android, iOS, Web, Mac|
|Firetask||organizing lots of ideas||From $5.99||iOS, Mac|
|Doit||goal-oriented tasks with reports||Free; $2/mo. Pro||Android, iOS, Windows, Web, Mac|
|Nozbe||productivity on every platform||$8/mo||Android, iOS, Windows, Web, Mac, Linux|
|2Do||advanced features||From $6.99||Android, iOS, Mac|
|The Hit List||timing your work||From $19.99||iOS, Mac|
|GoodTask||turning Reminders into a GTD app||Free; from $4.99||iOS, Mac|
for managing every aspect of your tasks and projects
OmniFocus is one of the best-known Getting Things Done apps for Mac—and for good reason. Starting out as a customization of its sister app, OmniOutliner, OmniFocus has over a decade's legacy in managing tasks. Tasks are organized by project and context, and can be organized in a project based on their order, priority, and more.
OmniFocus offers several "perspectives" that let you view your tasks and projects in different ways. There's Project, Context, and Flagged views to show tasks organized in their categories, and you can add your own perspectives to show tasks from, say, just certain projects or due date ranges. Then, the Forecast perspective shows all of your tasks ordered by due dates alongside your calendar events, making it easy to plan tasks around events and get a quick look at the day ahead.
Tasks in OmniFocus can have plenty of features, too, from advanced repeating schedules to location awareness. Projects can be set to only show tasks as due when earlier tasks are completed, so you can always know what needs to be done in order. OmniFocus has AppleScript support as well, so you can automate your task management or integrate with your other Mac apps. There's even a Review view to let you look back over your projects and see how productive you've been or what you've missed.
For a deeper look at OmniFocus features and pricing plans, check out our OmniFocus review.
See OmniFocus integrations on Zapier
for simplified GTD with separate projects
If OmniFocus looks like feature overload to you, Things may be a better option. Tasks are added via the Inbox and can then be viewed using different Focuses—a due-date centric take on OmniFocus' perspectives. These focuses—Today, Next, Scheduled, and Someday—organize tasks by their respective due dates or lack there of.
Then, you can organize your tasks into projects, each of which give you a special place to store tasks related to one particular project. You can then tag tasks and projects with Areas, which are similar to OmniFocus' contexts except this time more directly related to where you'll do a task. That way, you can separate your work and personal tasks—and more—in the ways that make the most sense to you. And you'll still know all of the tasks you need to do today with the beautifully designed Daily Review screen that shows the tasks of the day.
Things Pricing: $9.99 iPhone, iPad $19.99; $49.99 Mac
for a visual take on GTD
Todoist is a stylish, cross-platform Getting Things Done app, with your task schedule center-stage. Tasks are organized into projects and subprojects in Todoist, so you can keep your tasks as neat as you'd like. You can then see all of your upcoming tasks in the Today and Next 7 Days views, for a quick look at what you need to be doing.
Tasks in Todoist are displayed as simple checkboxes, but have plenty of productivity features hidden within them, including color-coded priorities and task delegation options. If you're a visual person, Todoist Karma will become your best friend, tracking your productivity patterns using graphs and charts. And if you need more features in your tasks, you can get a Premium subscription to add notes, file attachments, and more.
Todoist Pricing: Free; $2.42/month Premium for notes and file attachments
For a deeper look at Todoist features and pricing plans, check out our Todoist review.
See Todoist integrations on Zapier
for outlining your todos
Your tasks and projects are rather similar to an outline, so Toodledo lets you manage your tasks on one page with outline-style formatting. Projects turn into section headers, with your tasks and sub-tasks nestled underneath—and you can collapse sections to help you focus on the most important things.
If you'd rather use a traditional tasks view, Toodledo includes one as well, along with the project and organization features you need for a full GTD workflow. There's also a notes and table view, to keep track of your text notes, finances, and more all in one productivity app.
Toodledo Pricing: Free; from $1.25/month for collaboration, subtasks, and more subscription; $3.99 iOS
For a deeper look at Toodledo features and pricing plans, check out our Toodledo review.
See Toodledo integrations on Zapier
for simple tasks and subtasks
GTD apps don't have to be complicated, with, projects, contexts and more. TickTack packs the power of a GTD tool into an app that's as easy to use as a Grocery List style app. Just list your tasks, then tap any of the more complex tasks to add subtasks—and that task is instantly turned into a project. And that's it: your tasks and subtasks in one, easy-to-read list.
That's not all it can do, of course. Add todos to your tasks, and you can see them organized based on their due date automatically. Or, you can see your week at a glance with a list of all the tasks that are due this week. And if you need to do the same tasks repeatedly, there's simple repeating tasks tools to help you out.
TickTick Pricing: Free; $1.99/month Pro
for collaboration with full GTD features
Appigo's Todo is one of the original Getting Things Done apps, with both stand-alone downloadable apps and the new Todo Cloud subscription service to keep your tasks synced. Tasks in Todo can be organized by list, context, or tag—all of which can be tweaked as you need. It also has a built-in All Tasks list that gives you a quick look at everything you've added.
Most apps let you add notes, due dates, and more to your tasks, but Todo gives you those features in sub-tasks, too. That way, you can organize everything into projects, tasks, and subtasks, each with enough info to get everything done.
Todo Cloud Pricing: Free; $1.99/month Premium for advanced features
for organizing lots of ideas
FireTask has everything you'd expect from a modern Getting Things Done application, from focuses to projects to advanced task features. It also has unique ways to view your tasks that you won't find elsewhere, including Organize and Scratchboard views.
The Organize view gives you a glance at everything you need to finish. Tasks are organized by what's due today and tomorrow, as well as what's coming up in the future. It's great for big picture thinkers, as it gives you an overview of what needs to be finished over multiple periods of time. Then, the Scratchboard is, in short, a digital whiteboard. It's a space where you can jot down quick tasks or ideas—a great place to brainstorm future projects, or even write a quick grocery list.
FireTask Pricing: $5.99 iPhone; $7.99 iPad; $39.99 Mac
for goal-oriented tasks with reports
Like most GTD tools, Doit has numerous focuses, views, and contexts for sorting tasks. Tasks are automatically added to focusses by their due date, and contexts using their tags, or you can manually organize tasks into projects.
Doit's unique features lie under the Goals tab. Creating a Goal is like creating a Project, but for personal reasons like travel or home improvement. Tasks can be in both a Project and a Goal, so if you need to mesh work and personal tasks for say, time off for a vacation, you can add the time off request to both a work project and a personal goal.
Doit also has a unique performance feature that gives you insight into how much work you've completed in a given day. This feature shows you a pie chart with your tasks broken down by what has been completed, uncompleted, and deferred. You can also comment and rate your progress, letting you journal your productivity.
Doit Pricing: Free; $2/month Pro
for productivity on every platform
GTD apps help you keep track of everything, but sometimes that can lead to information overload. Your tasks will be in projects and have contexts, locations and more included, but that's only valuable if you can see it. Nozbe makes sure your tasks' projects are obvious with color-coded project labels and context icons that make your tasks easy to understand at a glance.
Nozbe works everywhere you do, with apps for everything including Linux and integrations with Evernote, Dropbox, Google Calendar and more. You can even use all of its features with your team, if you'd like, for GTD productivity in everything you're working on.
Nozbe Pricing: $8/month
For a deeper look at Nozbe features and pricing plans, check out our Nozbe review.
See Nozbe integrations on Zapier
for advanced features
2Do is a GTD app that started out as just a mobile app—unlike most GTD apps that started out on the desktop. But don't let its simple interface deceive you. 2Do is still an incredibly powerful tool to help you tackle all of your tasks with unique features that aren't often found in other apps. There's a task duration setting where you can estimate how long each task will take, batch edits to cleanup your tasks quickly, focus to show only the most important tasks, privacy settings, and much more.
You likely don't usually think too much about how you sync your tasks, but if you'd like the flexibility to pick, 2Do is a great option to choose. It can sync your tasks via Dropbox, or using any CalDAV server so you can also see your tasks inside your standard calendar app. Or, if you use Toodledo with your team, you can sync 2Do with it to keep track of your personal and work tasks together.
2Do Pricing: $6.99 Android; $9.99 iOS; $34.99 Mac
for timing your work
The Hit List's designers know that your tasks and projects are complicated, and will take time to complete, so they've designed their app to help you track everything and focus on just what you're working on right now. There's the standard features you'd expect to list your tasks—along with the amount of time you expect them to take to complete—and organize them into lists and projects.
Then, you can select just one task to work on, and you'll see it full-screen with a large space for notes where you can plan out your work in detail. There's a timer as well, so you can keep track of how long you actually took on that task and see your task's progress at a glance. And your tasks will stay synced between all your devices, with The Hit Lists' included cloud sync service.
The Hit List Pricing: $19.99 iOS; $49.99 Mac
for turning Reminders into a GTD app
Apple Reminders is a great free Grocery List-style task app, but it can be so much more. GoodTask takes Reminders' basic features—and free iCloud syncing—and adds enough tools to turn it into a full GTD app. You can organize your tasks on a calendar, so you can see your events and tasks in one view.
GoodTask will help you keep track of your recurring tasks, even showing how many times you've completed them so far. It'll even make Reminders' lists more powerful with color-coded labels so you'll know which project a task is in at a glance, and let you search to find the tasks you need to work on. And if you ever need to check your tasks on the go, you can still use Reminders in iCloud to see everything you've added to GoodTask.
GoodTask Pricing: Free basic version; $4.99 iOS; $19.99 Mac
Your tasks aren't always simple enough to fit into a Grocery List app, and they might not fit into the more rigid projects and contexts of a GTD app. For something more free-form, flexible, and graphical, the paper-notes-on-a-bulletin-board inspired kanban apps might be the best solution.
Where most other to-do list apps put your tasks into a single column list, kanban board apps give you multiple lists on a single page, and they put your tasks on "cards" that you can move between the lists. That gives you a flexible way to arrange your tasks in a way that makes sense for what you're working on.
You could make your own kanban board at home with a whiteboard and post-it notes, or you could use these kanban board apps to keep your tasks organized.
|Trello||simple kanban productivity everywhere||Free; $5/mo. Gold||Android, iOS, Windows, Web|
|LeanKit||customizable kanban workflows||Free; $15/mo. Premium||Android, iOS, Web|
|KanbanFlow||simple subtasks in kanban||Free; $5/mo. Premium||Web|
for simple kanban productivity everywhere
If there's one app responsible for popularizing kanban board productivity, it's Trello. It's a new take on kanban boards that's easy to use, customizable, with a free plan includes very few restrictions. You'll start out with a demo board that includes sample columns and cards to help you get the idea of how to use it. Then, you can customize your columns for your workflow, add cards with everything you need to do, and even pick a background color or photo to liven up your work.
It's simple, but each card packs a lot of power. You can add descriptions and comments to tasks with markdown formatting, along with subtasks, attachments, and color coded cards. And you can bring along your entire team to collaborate—something that Trello's low price of free makes even easier.
Trello pricing: Free; $5/month Gold
For a deeper look at Trello features and pricing plans, check out our Trello review.
See Trello integrations on Zapier
for customizable kanban workflows
GTD apps have projects, lists, and subtasks, but kanban apps usually only have one level of organization for your tasks. LeanKit, however, lets you make kanban work the way you want. You can customize how many columns each of your lists have, and add sub-columns to keep everything organized. You can even collapse columns with tasks you're not currently working on, or add graphical tags to get more info about your tasks at a glance.
Lists aren't the best way to manage everything, so LeanKit also includes a calendar view where you can organize your tasks based on their due date or project duration. It'll even track statistics about what's been completed, and give you reports on your productivity and work progress.
LeanKit Pricing: Free
See LeanKit integrations on Zapier
for simple subtasks in kanban
All Kanban apps are designed to help you visualize your work, but KanbanFlow goes further by letting you show your tasks along with their notes and subtasks together. You can customize each column's view to automatically show or hide subtasks, or tap on a card to see and edit any of its info.
Then, KanbanFlow includes another tool to help you stay productive: a pomodoro timer. It'll time your work, remind you to take a break every so often, and log the total amount of time you've spent on your tasks. You can even keep up with the things that interrupted your work, and see reports of your productivity at the end of the month.
KanbanFlow Pricing: Free; $5/month Premium
Ever typed a quick list of the things you need to do in Notepad or the Notes app on your phone? That's plain text task management, one of the simplest and most flexible ways to keep track of your tasks.
You likely already have a favorite text editor—any app that saves your work as plain text files (.TXT)—or writing app, and that's all you need to manage your tasks in plain text. If you don't already have a preferred text editor, there are hundreds available for just about any platform out there. Some great options include Sublime Text, iA Writer, and Byword—all of which include features that can help you manage tasks. Then, when you save your plain text file, rely on Gina Trapani's Todo.txt app to turn it into an interactive to-do list for your mobile device.
Beyond strict text editors, you can also keep it simple by relying on your note-taking tool, such as Evernote or OneNote. These apps allow you to add checkboxes and tags to a list, making it easy to organize and keep track of what you've done and what you need to do.
|Todo.txt||text-based to-do lists on mobile||$1.99||Android, iOS|
|Evernote||turning notes into to-dos with reminders||Free; $2.99/mo. Plus||Android, iOS, Windows, Web, Mac|
|OneNote||paper-style note and task management||Free||Android, iOS, Windows, Web, Mac|
for text-based to-do lists on mobile
Desktop text editors are great for tracking tasks at home, but using a text-based list on a mobile device can be a pain. Todo.txt aims to fix this problem by syncing your standard text-based to-do list in a mobile-friendly format via Dropbox.
When you import your to-do list to Todo.txt, the app will turn the list into a graphical to-do list similar to a Grocery List-style application, complete with swipe-to-finish and other features. You can add text-based tags and contexts, sync your changes to your computer, and even use a companion command line app in terminal to manage text tasks on the big screen.
for Markdown-formatted to-dos
If speed is your top priority in a to-do list app, Listacular is just what you need. You can type up tasks in any text editor, then paste the text into Listacular and it'll turn them into tasks, complete with Markdown formatting. You can then swipe right on a task to complete, or swipe left to pull up a calendar and assign a due date.
Your tasks will be listed based on their due dates for a simple way to see what you need to do next, and can be synced in a plain text file in your Dropbox account. That makes it the perfect companion for your desktop-based plain text task management system.
Listacular Pricing: Free
for turning notes into to-dos with reminders
Evernote is a notes app with a ton of different uses, and it works suprisingly well as a task manager. You can write notes about anything—including the things you need to do—and can add checkboxes to lists in notes to make for a more interactive text-based to-do list.
Additionally, individual notes can have Reminders attached to them, making every note a to-do. You can make a note about anything, dragging in related documents and more, then click the alarm clock icon and set a time to be reminded. That lets you turn anything in Evernote into a to-do, one that'll send you a notification when it needs completed.
Then, if you want to take this idea even further, create a new notebook solely for notes tagged with Reminders—or use multiple notebooks and tags to organize tasks like a GTD app—and you have a fully functioning Evernote task manager.
Evernote Pricing: Free; from $2.99/month Plus account
For a deeper look at Evernote features and pricing plans, check out our Evernote review.
See Evernote integrations on Zapier
for notes and to-dos on virtual paper
OneNote is one of Microsoft's newest apps for Mac and iOS—and one of the original tablet apps, albeit for tablet PCs. It's a notes app that lets you write free-form notes and recognize text from images, then organize your notes in notebooks and sections just as you would with paper notes.
It also includes a to-do tool for notes, which you can use to create simple tasks and then organize them with built-in tags. There's less features than you might get from another task management app, but you'll have more tools to organize your content and can keep track of it along with your notes, online clips, and more.
OneNote Pricing: Free
See OneNote integrations on Zapier
Not finding an app that fits your task management approach? Or have you tried each of these types of apps, but still want something different? Don't worry: there's more apps out there for you.
You'll find new to-do list apps show up all the time on the App Store, Google Play, and on sites like Product Hunt and Lifehacker. There might even be new versions of the apps above, that add new tools and features that fit your workflow better.
Then, there's other ways to get things done. Apps like Habit RPG (pictured above) turn your task management into a game, giving you little rewards as you get things done. Complete, another gamified task manager, uses your social network friends to motivate you to stay on track. You could even use a calendar to manage your tasks, listing the most important things you have to do as events.
If it's more features you're looking for, you might find that a project management app that's great for your personal tasks. Tools like Asana, Podio or Basecamp (perhaps its personal edition?) may be primarily designed for teams, but they can still be an effective way to keep up with your personal projects.
Or, maybe you'll ultimately find you're most productive away from all the technology. Try just going back to what you relied on in grade school: a pen and notepad. Either way you go though—with a to-do list app or without one—there's plenty of options to keep track of your tasks and help you be more productive.
Want a quick way to reference all of the apps listed in this article? We've put together a cheat sheet PDF that lists each of the 40 apps in this roundup, along with their best features, pricing, and supported platforms. It's a great way to share this list of apps with your friends and team members, or to find a new app to try out on your own later.
Just sign up for our blog and we'll give you our free ebook.
If you find the perfect todo list app for your needs—or already have a productivity tool you've been relying on—we'd love to hear why you picked that app in the comments below.
And stay tuned: we'll have an article with the best team task management apps soon.
Checkmark icons courtesy Ema Dimitrova via Noun Project.
Updated 3 Mar 2016 with The Hit List's new pricing and features.
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