How To Get It Done: GTD Apps to the Rescue!

Monday 26th, September 2011 / 10:36 Written by
How To Get It Done: GTD Apps to the Rescue!

Here, we are going to use some apps which will remind us what to do today and any other day. These apps are important if you are a businessman, you have lots of exams coming your way or if you just have lots of stuff to do and you forget some of them. If you don’t want any trouble at home, work or school, you might want to have one of these apps here. Let us ask a simple question;

What would one expect from a “To-Do List Application”? I would expect from it to;

  1. Make them available from everywhere, even when I forgot my device at home,
  2. Let me add and remove tasks and notes easily,
  3. Let me hide and lock some notes and tasks when needed,
  4. Be able to warn me a certain time before the event, for example 5 minutes or one day,
  5. Have a widget to prevent me from wasting time,                                                                        (Image Courtesy Flickr)
  6. Provide a nice environment and look&feel which let me find whatever I look for easily,
  7. Do its job instead of providing some other features which make the application more complex,
  8. Surprise me with some extra features which I would think useless by making them useful to me.

Although last 2 wishes seem to conflict each other, we all know that there are some features which are only useless and complex and some features which make life easier in various ways.

So, in the light of these wishes and hopefully some surprises, together we will try and find the best “to-do app” in this article. Because we will review lots of apps here, we will give points to each app from 1 to 5 for each “wish”. This will also make it easier to find the app which best suits you. Not all the best apps are the best app for me, sometimes the 3rd best app was the perfect app for me. I presume this is true with you guys too. So, giving them points for particular features seems like a good way to please you.

The points we are going to give to the apps aren’t reflecting their absolute qualities. We are giving these points just to choose the better one. Giving 4/5 to an app doesn’t mean that the app has an overall rate of 4. Likewise, giving 1/5 doesn’t mean that the app is useless, it is just not good enough to beat the others. So, let’s begin!

Astrid Tasks

Astrid Tasks shows some tips to get you started when you run it. It has a widget which is pretty simple and not offering something else than you will need in a widget.  You can synchronize your tasks on Astrid.com, Google Tasks and Producteev. For now, it is only available on Android and on your pc via Astrid.com of course. You can easily add tasks using the widget. It takes you to the app. And you can edit your new and existing tasks by just tapping on it and then pressing Edit on the popup menu. You can share the task with your coworkers and friends, you can hide the task from the list until it is due, or after it is overdue and for a specific time/date. It can warn you at a certain time. It has a mascot who “talks” to you and reminds you that you have stuff to do. It also motivates you time to time. A nice add to the very simple yet nice environment. The app is free, there are no ads to support it. This provides a clean environment on the screen. But if you want some extra features while supporting this application and its developers, you can buy “Astrid Power Pack” for $ 3.99. Instead of just donating, you buy some extra features including voice reminders. Astrid Tasks gives you just what you need and can give you more if you buy the add-on.  It is neat, it is totally free and has a clean screen, it has a nice mascot and its widget is as neat as a widget should be.

Check out Astrid over at the site, here.  Get it on your Android Device from the Android Market, here.

Total: 33
Wish 1: 3 – Wish 2: 5 – Wish 3: 4 – Wish 4: 4 – Wish 5: 4 – Wish 6: 5 – Wish 7: 5 – Wish 8: 3

 

 

 

 

 

Do It (Tomorrow)

Do It (Tomorrow) has a lazy name which tells me to do things tomorrow instead of now. Let’s see if it is as lazy as it sounds or it is my mind that is responsible for this impression. The app has a simple UI which also reflects the idea behind the app. It only lets me add task for today and tomorrow.  This looks like an app to type your shopping lists or things to do tomorrow instead of the things your boss told you to do 1 week later. This is not a bad thing. If you don’t want to worry about things you have to do the days after tomorrow, it makes this app a perfect app for you. It is available on iPhone, iPad and Android devices. This makes it a powerful tool to synchronize your tasks. You just log in with your e-mail and password and it is seen everywhere you are, even in your friend’s iPad. It doesn’t have a widget but you won’t need it. One of the nice things about the app is that you can move a task to tomorrow which you had to do today but you couldn’t get it done. This is not done by editing the whole note again. It is just done by a touch to the arrow. You can also move a task from tomorrow to today in one simple touch. To sum up, the app is not as lazy as it sounds, you can add tasks for only today and tomorrow. If you plan your days daily, this app is probably the best app for you. With its very simple interface, it prevents you from wasting time on adding your tasks to a list instead of completing them. The relatively low point it got from me does not reflect its value. Like I said before, we are looking for an app which is for everyone. We look for an app which Bill Gates, Eric Schmidt, Justin Bieber and you and I can use. Although some of us can use this and need nothing more, some of us just need more.

It’s Available on Android, here, iPhone, here (free) and here (paid) and the iPad too! (here)

Total: 25
Wish 1: 4 – Wish 2: 5 – Wish 3: 1 – Wish 4: 1 – Wish 5: 1  – Wish 6: 5 – Wish 7: 5 – Wish 8: 3

 

 

 

 

 

GTasks

GTasks starts with asking your permission to use Google Tasks. This means it will start to synchronize your Google tasks to your phone immediately and without even asking your google account information. But if you directly go to Settings and tap to Account, you can see that it can work locally too. You can use more than one account on the same device. Adding a task is very easy, as it should be. Instead of task, “note” word is used in the app. You can set a “due date” to your note. When adding a note and adding a due date to the note, you can set the time for the reminder. But this will make me confused after a while and make me ask this question: “Is this the time the event I have to go starts, or is it the time I should start to prepare for it?” Although I could add a time to my note easily to avoid this question, the main reason I use this kind of app is that I forget things. It should have had an option to warn before the due time instead of expecting me to set the due time a little earlier than the actual time. It has a nice and neat widget. Like I said with the others, it is the way a to-do app widget should be. Nothing complex, no big ‘functions’, no unnecessary fanciness. It has a nice and simple UI. There is nothing that would make you feel like that you were a child in a carnival. It is definitely not one of the apps which are full of features and make you confused about why you installed them in the first place. It is not a free app actually. You will see small ads in your screen. To remove them, you should buy a key. To tell the story in two lines: this is a task list app, it lists your tasks, it is simple and it does what its name says and it promises: Reminds and synchronizes your tasks.

Get it from the Android Market, here.

Total: 28
Wish 1: 3 – Wish 2: 4 – Wish 3: 1 – Wish 4: 2 – Wish 5: 4 – Wish 6: – Wish 7: 5 – Wish 8: 3

 

 

 

 

 

Mobisle Notes

Mobisle Notes is a simple and functional app. Yes, it is both. There are two versions of this app. One is free and called “Lite” and the other is paid and called “Pro”. The differences between Lite and Pro are demonstrated in a video which you can see by tapping “Go Pro” and then “See Video”. We will go with the Lite version and rate the Lite version as the most of the people would love to try the Lite version before paying for the full version. It has simple interface. You add a to-do name (let’s call it a list name) then you add things to do to the list and you can check them when you are done with it. You can also lock them and if you lock them, you can’t see the items unless you enter the password you have set, of course. Naturally, you can set reminders for the notes. While you are adding items, you can swipe them to left or right. This will be useful if you have a job which has to be done in three steps. You name the job, you type the first step and swipe it to right and type the other steps. You can disable this feature if you can (Settings>Activate Indentation). You can back up your notes too. Lite version doesn’t have a widget. If you have lite version, you cannot synchronize your notes to a server, but Pro version offers to synchronize with Google Docs.

The points will be given according to Lite version of course. Because we would love to try the free one before paying for the Pro version. Although Android Market allows you to try it for 15 minutes, this wouldn’t be enough for me. I could decide not to buy it because I missed some features, right? Google, I’m talking to you; Even 1 hour would be enough.

Get the Lite version here and the Pro version here.

Total: 29
Wish 1: 1 – Wish 2: 4 – Wish 3: 5 – Wish 4: 4 – Wish 5: 4 – Wish 6: 4 – Wish 7: 5 – Wish 8: 2

 

 

 

 

 

Task List

Task List is another simple to-do app. It has an ad-free version which you can buy for $1.99 from Market. The first thing you will notice is that it splits your notes into two categories: Business and Private. This didn’t need to be there, but it seemed necessary now! Like any other app we review in this article, you learn the basics with the notes included. The rest is can be learnt from app FAQ. It is sad that the app doesn’t offer an option to synchronize your notes. You can only Import/Export them, which is pretty much the same as backup. If you forget things too often and forget your phone too, here you are without your to-do list. Unfortunately, there is no way to hide the apps from the curious eyes who had your phone to “play a game”. Private tab just doesn’t help. This app has something else which the others don’t have: You can set priorities for your tasks. You will see yellow dots near the tasks, if you edit them, you can see that you can set color and icons! To make the app easier, you can set some swiping commands. This was another unexpected thing. It has three widgets with different sizes and you can set their themes from the app too. Like in any other app, you can find what you look for just by long tapping or pressing menu button. You can set due dates for your tasks.

This app has some extra features and they implemented them so well that they don’t disturb you and doesn’t prevent the app from doing its thing and make it look like it is some other app when you first look at it. This is good. Extra features to make you happy.

Get it from the Android Market, here..

Total: 31
Wish 1: 1 – Wish 2: 4 – Wish 3: 2 – Wish 4: 4 – Wish 5: 5 – Wish 6: 5 – Wish 7: 5 – Wish 8: 5

 

 

 

 

 

Taskos

Taskos is simpler than you would think. When you start the app, it will show you the new features it has and you will be good to go to the app. You probably will be surprised by what you will see. You will see nothing more than a textbox and a microphone symbol. Once again, this is surprising. Your notes will be synched with Google Docs if you want. Entering notes was never that easy. You type what you want to the only area you can type and press the only button you can see (Plus button). Then it will be added and you will see the other options to edit. That’s it. You cannot hide your notes and tasks from the list once you created them. Like all but one app we are reviewing, this app lets you to edit a reminder for your notes too. Long tap on the note, tap edit, set due date and set alert. Good thing about the alert that you can set a recurring alert. If you are too busy to buy a gift to your fiancée today, it will alarm you the other day too. Just don’t forget the deadline. App has two widgets which are simple enough. They show you your notes and tasks and if you tap on it, it takes you to the app. I don’t know if you love this kind of interface, but I love more colorful interfaces. And I do want to try to tweak the app. It has some cool features. You can mark task as done by just swiping on them. You can clear all the done tasks by shaking your phone and it has voice recognition feature.

Get it from the Android Market here.

Total: 29
Wish 1: 3 – Wish 2: 5 – Wish 3: 1 – Wish 4: – Wish 5: 4 – Wish 6: 1 – Wish 7: 5 – Wish 8: 4

 

 

 

 

 

Thangs

Thangs made me feel like when I saw Do It Tomorrow; lazy. Because it has a ‘box’ called “Someday”. The interface is nice, but it would be cool if we could change the color of the interface. The idea behind the box concept is good: You have 5 boxes, you will open the inbox box when you feel like it is shaking. And today box will be there to be opened by you. At the end of the day, you will throw today box, label tomorrow box as today and take some stuff from scheduled box to the new today box. Someday box is there for you to look inside and add to one of the other 4 boxes. The app doesn’t have a widget. You can’t synchronize your list. This app is actually like Do It Tomorrow, very very simple. It is so simple that some of us can find it inadequate. But like I said, some of us love simplicity and don’t need more. This is why this app is here.

There is nothing much to talk about when it comes to this app. You can schedule some tasks, only if you will send it to Scheduled box. You don’t have any setting in the app. If you just unlock your device and take a look around in the day when you are bored, you can find this app very useful. Just open it, tap one of the boxes and see if you have something to do.

Download it from the Android Market, here. It is a Beta right now though.

Total: 19
Wish 1: 1 – Wish 2: 3 – Wish 3: 1 – Wish 4: 2 – Wish 5: 1 – Wish 6: 4 – Wish 7: 5 – Wish 8: 2

 

Wunderlist

Wunderlist takes some time to be ready to use. Let’s see if it is worth to wait for it. The list feature which the others have too has more focus here. In the main screen, you add a list, then you add your tasks into the list. It doesn’t seem possible to hide or lock the tasks. You can add due date and reminder for your tasks. The app has a widget on which you can see your tasks for the present day. Very simple, nothing fancy. It is good. Interface is nice and you can replace the background and make it look like just what you want. You can choose from 12 backgrounds. This app can be available from everywhere. It is available on Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows, Mac and Linux. Pretty much everywhere you could want. It synchronizes your tasks to wunderlist web site. One of the good things about this app is that you can add tasks by sending an e-mail to [email protected]. This eliminates the need for the app on an unknown device.

Download the apps from PC (here), Mac OSX (here), iPhone (here), iPad (here), Android (here), Linux (here) or use the Web App (here)

Total Rating : 32
Wish 1: 5 – Wish 2: 4 – Wish 3: 1 – Wish 4: 4 – Wish 5: 5 – Wish 6: 5 – Wish 7: 5 – Wish 8: 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

CONCLUSION

In our ratings, Astrid turns out to be the top scorer in this list of GTD apps with the top score of 33.  Like I said in the beginning, these total points don’t reflect the actual values of the apps. There are more than one reviews about applications for a reason; you don’t always look for what the author looks. You can read about the apps and try at least 2 of them and see which one is “the best” for you. And this was the main reason that we have used points.

Some great apps got low points because we were looking for something else than what they are meant to be used for. Simplicity is what we look for, but not so simple as Do It Tomorrow or Thangs. That’s why they looked like failed. If you were looking for a lightweight app which only keeps your notes, then they would possibly be the best for you.

All of the apps have at least one strong point. You should determine what is the most important thing when using GTD apps and choose the one best suits you. If you have more than one device (say an Android and an iPhone), then you will find Wunderlist the most useful one.

When you take a look at the websites of the apps, you will see happy, satisfied costumers posting their gratitude. This shows us that every app was coded for a reason and usage, and they were not wrong about making the app in that way.

To be honest with you, every one of these apps deserve to be reviewed seperately. But if you look for a GTD app, then you are a busy person. And if you are busy, you might not want to read eight different reviews to decide your GTD app.

Don’t forget to add “Visit MyPortableWorld” task to your GTD apps!

About the author

He plays guitar and drums, he is at Medicine Faculty, he loves his life. He loves money.

View all articles by Mesut Yasar

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