The problem was finding a single to-do list app that worked on all my Apple iDevices, gave me some flexibility, some synchronicity, and some alerts in addition to simply tracking my lists. In the end, the problem was me. Once I made a list of what I wanted, it was much easier to match my needs to an app.
This is the story of Todo (Mac, iPhone, iPad).
How Much Is That To Do App In The Window?
We call it a simple to-do list, but it ends up being more than that. Any rinky dink text app can store a list of items you need to do.
What’s needed is the ability to sort those items, prioritize those items, and give you an alert when something is due.
Add to that the not-so-subtle difference between a to-do task (an item on the list) and a task that’s part of a group of tasks which makes up a project.
See? To-do lists can get complicated rather quickly. But once my criteria was etched in stone, the search was easy.
What do you really want in a to-do list?
To Get A To Do List App, Make A List
That’s what I did. First, I wanted an app that made it easy to create a to-do item, add a due date, add an alarm. That’s easier said than done.
Second, the to-do app must go beyond mere lists and group tasks (to-do items) into a project.
Third, the to-do app must also run on Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and keep to-do items synchronized. That separates the many to-do app wannabes from the good ones (fewer).
The iPhone and iPad have Reminders. Using iCloud, Reminders will sync between devices. There are alerts, but there’s no grouping of tasks into projects.
Apps like OmniFocus, which is task management personified, for Mac, iPhone, and iPad, are also complex and expensive. I’d used the popular Things off and on for a year, but the WiFi sync became painful to use.
What To Do? Or, What? Todo!
After trying out over a dozen apps I settled on Todo for Mac (and the companion iPhone and iPad apps). All three apps are less expensive than Things or OmniFocus, but matched my criteria perfectly.
On the Mac, Todo looks like this. Simple, not spectacular.
Scheduling is drag and drop or click. Todo does simple checklists or multi-layered subtasks (tasks within a project).
Double clicking on a list item brings up addition details and capability.
As your tasks and projects increase in number, Todo’s built-in search brings you the details. Each to-do item and project can have one of multiple alerts.
There’s even support for David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) method with contexts and tags.
To-do items can be repeated, whether tasks or projects.
What sold me was the seamless synchronization of data between devices. I’m on my Mac most of the day, so it’s handy to have a Mac version of Todo always on screen.
In the evening, the iPad is ever near, not the Mac, and the iPad version works the same way. When I’m mobile, it’s Todo on the iPhone which keeps the tasks and projects going.
Data sync is handled a number of ways, including Dropbox, iCloud, and Toodledo.com. I chose Dropbox. The only real negative is that when a Todo alert goes off, it goes off on all three devices at the same time (somewhat controllable but with different settings at different times it’s troublesome management at best).
So far, Todo has worked flawlessly. The learning curve is straightforward. I started with a simple to-do list and expanded to projects and alerts, then added the iPad and iPhone version and synchronized.
The end result is that I get more done because I can keep track of more tasks and they’re with me wherever I go, Mac, iPhone, or iPad.