Do you have a favorite TODO list APP/program or method?

I really liked Wunderlist, before Microsoft bought and killed it off. I’m trying to get used to Microsoft TODO, which is supposedly made by the same team that made Wunderlist, but to meet Microsoft’s requirements and interoperability. It supposedly allows you to use Outlook Tasks to interface to it. I think you have to use Outlook online to do that. Microsoft has a bunch of list/task/TODO things. Microsoft TODO has some nice features, but I’m having difficulty falling in love with it. Maybe someday they will have a convincing narrative, or consistent approach?

I have a couple of accounts with Toodledo. It has evolved, a lot, since I first signed up, and seems quite powerful, but there is something just too “computery” about it. Kind of looks and feels like a DB front end. In fairness, I might just need to spend more time with it, but it does not “suck me in”.

I’ve looked at a number of other app/programs through the years. Just wondering if anyone has found something that they really like and use everyday.

I really like David Allen’s GTD (Getting Things Done) approach. I’ve watched a lot of presentations from him on YouTube and read a couple of his books. He just makes sense. I love to hear his presentations and interviews with him. I’ve not found anything that seems to really facilitate implementing GTD on a computer/phone/tablet/etc. Anyone have any recommendations?

Are there other systems out there that you like better than GTD?

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I imagine you’ve seen it, but I wrote an article about How to start choosing a task/project manager. There are so very many options that it really helps to get a sense of what you want/need and like, either beforehand, or as part of the investigation and testing process. Take notes (as it seems you may have done), like you mentioned, “seems computery”, or that you like GTD. These insights will help narrow your list of options to something more manageable.

Personally I think GTD is seldom done that well in tools, so if you really get along well with it, you might have significantly fewer tools to try by focusing on it. A couple of thoughts on that though.

First I’d suggest trying the GTD paper workflow, if you haven’t already. Even just for a week or two, and even alongside a digital task manager. It’s important to really know whether you like using it and not just the idea of it.

If you do decide you really like GTD in practice, then you’ll find that most GTD-capable tools either have articles/knowledgebase entries/or presets that implement GTD (for example ToDoist or Amazing Marvin), or will even explicitly mention GTD as part of their core methodology. So simply searching “task manager GTD” will bring up some of the more GTD-oriented tools.

That said, if you’re unsure, I do recommend taking some time to experiment with Amazing Marvin. There’s a 30 day trial (although no free version after that). And the nice thing about it is it is flexible enough to implement a variety of strategies, and their Workflows library allows you to quickly switch between some pre-configured setups for some popular ones (including GTD and Eisenhower Matrix), so you can get practical experience with different approaches fairly quickly.

You can read more about their “Workflows” in their generally excellent documentation.

So even if you don’t end up wanting to actually use Marvin after the trial ends, you can still get a lot of value out of it just as a testbed to determine what methodologies might resonate with you. A word of caution, though. Amazing Marvin is incredibly flexible and has a ton of options, so it can be easy to get overwhelmed and not know what to enable or disable and how to configure things. The Workflows are a helpful way to get started and switch between popular, pre-made setups, and I recommend you start there before trying to play with many of the Strategies yourself (Strategies in Marvin are basically sets of functionality you can individually enable/disable; Workflows are comprised of combinations of strategies).

If you do give Marvin a try, they have a very active and incredibly helpful Facebook group, as well as a channel in our Discord where the staff are active and will answer questions. Or you can email them directly, their support is generally excellent. But I do find the community help on Facebook or the Discord is even quicker and generally great too.

Thanks for the detailed thoughts. Just what I was hoping for. Several of your thoughts were new to me, even after all my years of researching.

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Excellent, glad I could help! If you feel like elaborating, I’d be curious to know what seemed novel, despite your own research. I hope to improve my advice in this area over time since it’s something I think a lot of people unfortunately - and somewhat ironically - struggle with.

I love that there are many people trying to solve the task and time management problems, and I am sure that there are different preferences that must ultimately require different solutions. But I can’t help but feel as though we are well beyond the maximum useful number of options for people. :smile: So having methods of wading through all the options and finding what actually works for a given person can be really valuable, I think.

In particular, I was not familiar with Amazing Marvin. I think I might have seen it mentioned previously, but I had not bookmarked it or looked into what it offered. Kind of a silly name, but naming things is truly hard.

I certainly did not have a mental picture of what it consists of. Your thoughts make me want to find time to dig into it in more depth. I don’t really want to pay for another service, but it looks like it might be worth the investment. Seems like it would certainly be worth the time to explore the free trial.

I agree there are a lot of options available, on the other hand, I think there is still room to improve upon what is available. As a programmer, I like to imagine that I could do it better. I don’t really know what that means, but I’m always interested to see how things are currently being done, and try to imagine what I would do to take it to the next level.

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Yes, you may be on to something with the name issue, because overall it does not have as much visibility in the task management/productivity space as many other options. Even newer and less capable ones. Partly this no doubt has to do with marketing, and since they’re a very small ~3 person team, they probably don’t have much budget for that. In any case I hope to make more people aware of it as an option, so I’m glad that was the case here.

I heartily agree! We are not “there” yet, and I’m not sure we ever will be. I’d be curious if you have more specific ideas to share on what you think could be improved. I hope to share some of my own thoughts on that in the future, either in my digital garden, or here (or both).

I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who is not completely satisfied with the state of things. That’s my general approach to life. I’m still researching what is available in many areas. There is certainly a lot of stuff out there, some of which is very good, and I don’t want to spend a lot of time and effort and create something that is not as good as what already exists.

I posted this:


on the Tools for Thought forum a little while ago.

I don’t yet have specific thoughts about what I’d like to see done differently, but I hope to spend a lot of time chasing this kind of thing, now that I’m retired and have pretty much worked through the main things that have monopolized my time for the last couple of years.

I thought that when I retired, I would have time to work on the things that I really wanted to do, but that has not been my experience up to this point. I hope this is not just wishful thinking.

It seems you have some pretty good ideas on a lot of subjects. I look forward to learning your thoughts on what you think could be improved. I just subscribed to your digital garden and added it to my daily list of links to frequent.

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Awesome, thanks! I too am trying to find time to talk about all my thoughts and ideas for this sort of stuff, let alone actually doing anything about it. And I’m a ways from retirement! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes: Hopefully we’ll both be able to share more and more such stuff here and elsewhere with time. :slight_smile: