I’m looking for recommendations for a task manager/to do app please.
I’m currently an OmniFocus user. However, I’m coming to the end of my subscription period and, if I’m honest, I don’t love it. I don’t like the UI, but that’s only part of the story. I’ve never loved it. I’ve struggled to get on with it. I’ve read books, I’ve watched @MacSparky’s Field Guide. I’ve spent hours trying to arrive at a system that works, and it still feels I’m lost within it. I’ve given it a good go. But I’m going to start looking at alternatives.
The one feature I really like about OF3 is defer dates. I like the idea of tasks only flashing up on my list when I can do them, and thus not clogging up my list until then. I like to try and keep things as uncluttered as possible. If I know I can’t do x task until 8 weeks away, I don’t need it showing up constantly, nagging me.
Can I kindly trouble you lovely people for your recommendations? I don’t mind a subscription but would prefer a one time fee.
To-do apps are a highly personal topic and you’ll surely get a lot of recommendations here. From the most structured to the less structured there are a ton of options. Choose one that seems to have just enough structure to accommodate your own flow.
As per defer dates, Things uses a schedule to bring them to your today list for review. Should you decide not to do it today, you can reschedule it for a later date or just keep it in you Anytime list. Before the scheduled date it will not appear as a available task to make.
It might be helpful to create and work through a system of your own, independent of any app. This could be anything from pen and paper to PostIts to a whiteboard, or some combination.
Then when you’ve found what works for your brain and your projects, go searching for the tool that best suits what you’re doing. Odds are you won’t find one that does everything, you’re just looking for the best compromise.
This quest might involve using two systems in parallel, one that currently marginally works, along with the new system you’re building for yourself.
Personally, I use NotePlan. It is notes-centric, as the name implies. As above, it doesn’t do everything I would like, but short of writing my own system, none will.
I also use Things as my main task manager. I transitioned away from Omnifocus because I found it was too complex and I was spending too much time messing around in Omnifocus. Things has the right balance of powerful features and good design so I find myself focusing on my tasks. Also, no subscription.
I’ve landed on NotePlan as well. In addition to its features, it’s very actively developed, with a public roadmap of sorts. I don’t know if there are defer dates yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Eduard were considering it. It also has a great iOS/iPad app, and the added advantage of using plain text notes, so you everything is readable and editable even without NotePlan.
That said, I’ve also concluded that no task manager is permanent, at least for me. After a while they seem to become bogged down and less useful, or at least easier to disregard; then I try a new one or go back to one I’ve used in the past, and things work again. This is all about the user, not the software, of course. But I’ve decided to go with it instead of trying to find the One True Forever task manager…
There are A LOT of threads on to-do/project managers. Many of us have used and experimented with most of them. There is a lot to like about many of the apps and frustrations and limitations relative to our preferences, needs, and workflows.
After experimenting and using many of the apps, I’ve settled on the default Reminders app. The recent update made Reminders more capable than many realize. That said, though well designed, it is not the most feature rich. I’d argue that in terms of feature set it is a mid-level application, especially with the recent addition of tags and smart lists. Moreover, one can use GoodTask to enhance the underlying capabilities of Reminders.
I recently posted a thread on Reminders that you may find helpful:
I’m not advocating for your use of Reminders, merely that it is a worthy contender for many in the pantheon of to do apps. I believe that if one will take time to learn the many features of Reminders (too many of which are “hidden”) you may find that it meets your needs.
Like many have already said, there are a ton of threads on this topic so I’ll try not to repeat myself too much. My contender of choice is Trello, because I’ve always found a kanban concept best for visualizing how much I have to do. Trello also has nice tags, start/end dates, and rich media/attachment support.
Would echo the thoughts above re: finding a system and then matching an app to that system. I’d also encourage trying things that you might not have clicked with before, it took me a while to land on kanban but I loved it afterward. Even though I don’t use bullet journals anymore trialling one for a while taught me a lot about what I want out of a task manager.
By hidden I mean that they are difficult to discover due to a lack of GUI “pointers/tips/icons”. An example is the ability to select the subject or text in an Apple Mail message and add the email with a permanent link back to the message in Apple Mail from Reminders. I use this feature constantly but one would never know it existed by simply using the app. I don’t recall how I discovered this feature (this forum, YouTube?) but it is one that should be made obvious given the lack of a share sheet in Apple Mail.
PS, I’ll add that I too have moved all work and personal notes back into Apple Notes. It is working fine. I am comfortable doing this because of the availability of the Exporter app that enables me to export all of my notes as plain text files as needed. I do this every 6 months.
Reminders is almost there, but I find it a little bit lacking in terms of organization and, well, not having defer dates. GoodTask will cover this but the interface is even more cryptic than OmniFocus’.
I agree. I’ve tried GoodTask but I don’t like using it and seldom do but it does add a nice feature set. I like Things a lot but Reminders works well enough and is a bit better integrated in the Apple ecosystem. It is nice to have so many options but the downside is that so many choices can lead to too much experimentation and fiddling–it sure can for me!
Yes, it’s there. Best part is Apple is slowly adding features to it and it’s not going to stop (bad news for the traditional incumbents). I find it surprising it still hasn’t integrated Reminders into Calendar!
Or it could be that Apple sees Reminders as a framework for others to build apps on top of, the likes of GoodTask, Butleroy or Memento. Of these three Butleroy seems the most intriguing to me.
Unlike GoodTask (that adds this custom “notes” with metadata that only GoodTask can read), Butleroy just displays a timeblocking perspective on top of Reminders and Calendar. As such, its main value proposal is the autoscheduling by “the butler” which I dont find exceedingly useful, apart from that, it is basically doing what Fantastical already does and what Apple should be doing also!