Wunderlist and Todoist

I recently started looking at different todo apps, having long been happy with Things, I wasn’t expecting too much.  I found two apps that not only rivaled Things, but that I actually think are better.  One has a limited life span, the other has become my new todo app.

Wunderlist is an application that has often been buzzing around the corners of my readings on productivity and often referenced by others as a great app.  I looked at it, was very surprised to see that it is free, and quickly dove in to using it.  Wow!  It is a great, great app!

It has all the attributes I want in a GTD oriented todo application:

  • Desktop and mobile versions that stay in sync
  • Ability to make tasks and projects
  • Drag and drop functionality
  • Reminders
  • Repeating events
  • An intuitive UI
  • Ability to tag or label your todos so that there is a means of organizing across projects, too.

It even had features I didn’t know I wanted that were missing in Things such as the ability to collaborate with other Wunderlist users.  It was with great disappointment that I learned that it would be gone sometime this year, being replaced by Microsoft (its new owner) with their new “To-Do” app.  The thing is, “To-Do” does not have all the features of Wunderlist, and if it ever does, it is likely going to be by blending in the tools in the Microsoft universe like Teams and Outlook.  Uggh.  Frankenstein.

So, goodbye to Wunderlist and off I went looking for another application.

Now that I was no longer completely wedded to Things, looking at other applications seems like a good use of time.  After a lot of experimenting and review, I have adopted Todoist.  Not only does it have all of the features of Wunderlist, it works well with Siri, does location based reminders (in the paid version), and has more useful settings like being able to have your “landing” page set to the next 7 days view or your inbox, finer tuning of notifications and many more useful adaptations.  Not only that, but there was an import from Wunderlist tool that worked flawlessly for me, too.

I’m sold. Long live Todoist!

I also think the $29 annual fee is worth spending even if I only use it to make a single “label” (what I still think of as a tag), and only dabble in the location based reminders so far.  A $29 annual fee for a highly polished piece of software that gets updates and has a great working culture, too, seems like money very well spent.  I use my todo app every single day.  This one is better than Things, and is cross platform.  I will be writing more about Todoist in the future, I’m sure.

Managing Disruptions to Your Work

Not-Available-for-Work-iconI suppose it sounds funny — thinking about how to managing disruptive work. If it is disruptive, how can one manage it, right?  Most people have plans for their day, goals or tasks that they hope to accomplish, and many (perhaps most) people also have the kind of work that one simply cannot plan — things that halt, or turn sideways, all of those big plans you had for your day.

My place of employment has what is known as an “open environment” – no cubicles, an open floor plan, with lots of people in a common area.  The theory behind open environments is that with no barriers, there will be more communication, sharing and collaboration.  In theory, that’s how it’s suppose to work, and it may well do so for some.  For me, however, it means wearing headphones and listening to music or something to provide white noise as a sound blocker is now an imperative.  (This blog post, “Why Open Floor Plan Offices Suck, Hurt Employee Productivity & Satisfaction” nails it for me.)  I’ve consequently become a Ninja at managing disruptions.

Here are the things I find work for making a disruptive work environment less so: Read more

Things and Evernote – tools that go together

EvernoteTwo tools I live, eat, and breath using are Things (from CulturedCode) and Evernote. I use Evernote for notes including captured images, documents and links and Things for task management using Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology.  Things IconIn theory, each could stand alone and I suppose I could get along with Evernote alone, but sometimes it’s better to not stretch a tool to be used beyond its primary purpose.

Evernote is ideal for note taking and capturing, well, anything.  Use your camera on your smart phone or tablet to capture white board meeting notes, or a page in a book (Evernote will use OCR software to make this text searchable, too), or a group of people you just met — anything.  Take notes on your desktop, phone or tablet – or use a web browser to login to the web app version.

The free version does all I need it to do.  I can take a photo of each of our car’s license plates and know that I’ll never need to look it up again or remember it.  I can take notes on my iPhone, company iPad or laptop — it all gets synced and is available to me on any device I need it on.  I can search the data, tag it and organize it in any number of ways.  If you love GTD like I do, you’ll quickly understand how this tool is the perfect one for capturing all the data you need to sort and organize.

Things is light weight and simple for me to drop my to-do lists into as well as do a mind sweep of all the various “things” my brain is over analyzing and trying to remember.  (GTDers, you know what I’m talking about here.)  I can capture a task quickly on my iPhone and then process it later.  If I tag it, my tags can reference Evernote tags, too.   Just like Evernote, it has a custom iPhone and iPad app, too, because mobile devices are used differently than desktops or laptops — and everything syncs across all of my devices.  Things is not free, like the basic version of Evernote is, but I’ve never regretted buying the desktop and iPhone apps once.

If you are looking for a way to increase your GTD adoption, I really recommend using both Evernote and Things together.