Sometimes, pen and paper just don’t cut it. It’s easy to forget or lose where you’ve written down everything you want to get done.
On other occasions, it’s just impossible to fit everything on one Post-It note.
Thankfully, there are plenty of options when it comes to digital to-do lists. The productivity sections on most app stores are crammed with tools to help you organise your life. There’s a real range of to-do software out there: some are feature rich and others are little more than a simple checklist. Whatever your way of working, there’s a technology-enabled solution.
To save you the time of sorting through all the apps, here is a selection of some of the best.
Looking for more productivity apps and services? Check out our guided to the best iOS apps and best Android apps.
The app from Cultured Code is one of the most aesthetically pleasing to-do apps out there. Unfortunately, it is only for iOS and Mac but there are ton of options for those who decide to go for the app. Tasks can have large headings with sub-groups and checklists underneath them, you can drag tasks with a finger on mobile to reorder them, and reminders can be set to pop up at a specific time. There’s a fairly high cost to Things: on Mac it is £48.99, iPad £19.99 and £9.99 for iPhones.
Todoist attempts to gamify productivity. For completing tasks you get awarded karma and over time it is possible to track how much you are getting done. There are apps for almost every device (web, iOS, desktop and Android), plus it also integrates with web browsers and there are plugins for Gmail and Outlook. There are options to review the upcoming week, colour code priority tasks, and delegate items to other people in shared lists. There are two tiers of Todoist: a free version exists but there’s also a premium model that adds extra features – such as location-based reminders, templates for tasks and automatic backups – that costs £27.99 per year.
This Apple-only productivity manager is built for people who like to seriously organise themselves. It’s based on the Getting Things Done time management method and has options for seemingly every possibility. Omnifocus has folders, subfolders, projects, contexts, flags, reviews, forecasts and much more. Custom views can show only the next task in each product to help you keep focus. For some people, there may be too many options. A Pro version lets you run AppleScripts to add automation and offers more extra features. On Mac the standard version costs $39.99 (Pro is $79.99) and iOS is £39.99 (Pro: $59.99).
This German-created app is on its last legs. After Microsoft purchased the startup that created it in 2015, the tech giant committed to closing Wunderlist. Microsoft is replacing it with a Wunderlist clone called To-Do but so far it hasn’t managed to replicate its success. Wunderlist is still one of the best options out there at the moment. It’s free, easy to use, syncs incredibly quickly, has options for due dates, sub-tasks, attachments and much more. Most importantly, it’s available across all devices. The big caveat is that we don’t know when Microsoft will pull the curtains on the service for good.
The chances that you own either an iPhone or Android device are pretty high. If you’re looking for a barebones to-do list tool that’s built specifically for your phone then both Apple and Android-based phones have their own offerings. Both are straightforward and don’t come with any thrills. On iOS and Macs, Reminders is a checklist based tool that lets you have multiple lists and items contained within each. You can also set when and where you want to be reminded, add notes and due times. Whereas on Android, Google has recently released Tasks, a new app that’s fairly similar to Reminders. There aren’t any advanced features but Google’s version works with Gmail and its other apps.