Notes on Task Management Software
Updated 12/10/08, Updated 12/11/08, Updated 12/15/08, Updated 01/27/09, Updated 03/03/09, Updated 11/27/10
Updated 01/24/11, Updated 01/30/11, Updated 03/06/11, Updated 03/25/11, Updated 05/09/11, Updated 07/14/11
Updated 11/11/11, Updated 01/08/12, Updated 02/03/12, Updated 04/05/12, Updated 06/05/12, Updated 07/25/12
This category of software was PC-based for many years, and then migrated to web applications. During 2008-
2010, a large number of companies migrated their task management systems to iPhone and iPad platforms.
These include “Toodledo”, “Things”, “Todo”, “Ta-Da List”, “Errands”, and “RTM (Remember the Milk)”. The
first two are ones that we actively use, the rest were parts of evaluations, and there are over a dozen more.
There is a comparison chart from Toodledo at http://www.toodledo.com/info/compare.php
Common Concepts and Differentiating Concepts
All of these apps have a facility for entering a task, and showing a list. Most have task’s that can be scheduled,
and most have a priority assigned to a task.
Where they differ:
sorting and organizing tasks: some have tags, some have categories, etc.
prioritizing tasks: some have “hot” task indicators, some try to determine an “effective priority” out of
the various attributes of the task
notes/attachments: some can add a note text, some can have entire attachments (usually in combination
with a web application)
alerts/reminders: most have something like this
synchronization with a web-based counterpart system (or Outlook itself)
support for a “system” or “philosophy” of task management, such as “Get Things Done”
Toodledo is a powerful task and note manager, for the iPhone and iPad. It will help organize your to-do list and
notes, and make you more productive. You can use Toodledo as a standalone application, or you can have it
seamlessly synchronize your lists with Toodledo.com, one of the most popular online task managers.
This app has Desktop, iPhone, and iPad versions. The current version on the iPhone is 2.3.0, released July 25,
2012. Version 2.2.0 added sounds for the alarms. Version 2.2.1 supports expanding and collapsing list dividers.
With Toodledo on the iPhone you can:
Track the priority, start date, due date, time, length or status of a task.
Assign the task to a folder, context or goal.
Flag the task with a visual star or tag it with keywords.
Get audible popup alarms for tasks that are due soon, using Apple's Push Network for remote
notifications. There are 20 high quality alert sounds to choose from.
Add a free-form note to your task.
Take longer, non-task related notes in the Notebook section.
Create tasks that repeat on a schedule of your choosing.
Search through your tasks to quickly find the ones that you want.
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Drill down into your to do lists by a variety of useful criteria. For example, if you want to see all the
overdue tasks, just go into the "Due Dates" to do list and select "Overdue".
Apply filters to your to do lists to hide unimportant tasks.
Sort your list by multiple fields, to ensure that important tasks float to the top.
Quickly find important tasks with the "Hotlist". This smart to do list is automatically populated with
important tasks based on priority and due date.
Securely sync your todo list with Toodledo.com for backup purposes, and to use the additional
functionality available on our website: file attachments, subtasks, sharing/collaboration, forums, etc.
Pro subscribers who use subtasks will have full access to subtasks on the iPhone.
Here is a sample screen:
Free version of the desktop service, plus Pro version for $14.95/year and Pro Plus version for $29.95/year.
The iPhone version is $3.99. This can be used on a self-contained basis, or with sync to the desktop service.
We created a number of todos, gave them priorities. Some of them are supported by notes. To see the note, scroll
to the bottom. Set up at least one that was recurring. Priorities default to low (at least with the current settings)
Then created a number of folders, gave them names.
Task Home is different from All Tasks: Task Home (also the front screen of the app) provides you with a way to
select how to view tasks (such as by priorities, by due dates, or by folder. All Tasks provides a prioritized view of
all tasks. You can change the default initial screen.
Starring is different from setting a priority. You turn the star on or off.
Folders contain tasks or notes, but you don’t see both at once.
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Settings control the font size to use, how dividers should be drawn, and what is the initial screen. The fact there is
a setting for the initial screen implies that there are different screens of value (sure enough, these might be lists
with a given filter applied or others).
There is also Sync to a desktop. There is also Purge.
More powerful than the $3.95 price implies. The level of flexibility is quite good. In some respects, the “View by
Due Dates” is similar to the main screen of GTD, which is “today”, “next”, “scheduled”, “someday”. Only feature
that we are missing is the “View by Project”, and perhaps that can be done with tags (I had to turn “tags” on as a
“Things” from Cultured Code
This task organizer follows the Get Things Done concepts better than any other. Available as a desktop app for
Mac with a version for iPhone and iPad, “Things” is considered to be the top of the line. Following GTD, it
allows you to group todo’s as follows:
Inbox is used to collect tasks which have not been filed in a specific place yet.
Today highlights tasks which are due on the current day or are intended to be completed that day.
Next is an overview of upcoming tasks in all of the program's areas and projects.
Someday is used to catalogue tasks which need to be done, but are not time critical.
Scheduled contains recurring and delayed tasks and projects.
Projects are collections of tasks related to a specific larger task
Areas are like projects
Log book is for tasks that are done
The current version is 2.0.0, released in August 2012.
One reviewer wrote:
Things from Cultured Code is one of the first programs that I install on all my Macs. This task
management software helps organize my busy and somewhat hectic life. If you keep a “To Do” list on
you all the time then Things is a program worth owning, especially used in conjunction with an
iPhone/iPod Touch or now the iPad. For more information about Things for Mac please check out my
review from last year.
Today I’ll be looking at the iPad app iteration of Things. This version is designed to take advantage of
the iPad’s strengths such as larger screen real estate and capacitive interaction. Its user interface is very
reminiscent to the OS X version. Things for iPad can be used in isolation or in conjunction with the Mac
version. Personally, I think using Things with both the iPad and Mac provides the best user experience.
Version 2 introduced cloud sync.
Version 2 also introduced a scrolling date picker.
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iPhone and iPad versions
They are very similar, both having the same features, but the iPad version uses the larger screen space to show lists
on the left, item editing on the right, as well as having facilities to drag items and projects (or other groups) around
on a visual editor. Because of these additional features, the iPad version is twice the price of the iPhone version.
The iPhone version is $9.99, and the iPad version is $19.99.
How to move a task? Rearranging items works like in other iPhone applications. In any list just press the "Edit"
button at the upper right. At the right side of every item a new control appears (three gray stripes). Tap it and drag
it to another position in the list.
How do I edit a project's title, due date, or note? To go inside a project and see all contained to-dos tap on the
project's title. To view or edit a project's details (title, due date, or note) tap on the blue arrow.
How do a delete a task? Tap “Edit” button in upper right. For each item a red control appears on the left to delete
Can I have recurring tasks? Just like on the Mac version, repeating tasks can be created from within the
Scheduled list. For that, we have a new button in the toolbar, which looks like a loop with a plus sign. However,
this is only visible in the “Scheduled Tasks” view (since unscheduled tasks can’t have a repeating schedule).
When you tap the button, a new modal view comes up that is specifically designed for repeating tasks.
At the very top, we show an English sentence that describes the current recurrence rule. Below, you can enter the
title, tags, and notes of the repeating task, and also specify whether it should create instances with due dates.
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Note that we pre-populate the recurrence rule based on the current day of the week. In most cases, the rule you
want to specify probably differs from the one we show by default.
After we enter the additional repeating task properties and tap “Save”, the new task shows up inside the Scheduled
list. If you later revisit the repeating task, you will conveniently see upcoming recurrences:
Can I set alerts and reminders for a specific time? Apparently no. They will all be sent for the day at a specific
time that you enter in the “Settings” screen.
Todo™ is a powerful set of tools that makes task management simple and fun. Use Todo on your iPhone, iPod
touch, or iPad, keep your tasks synchronized using Todo Online, a new cloud sync service for tasks, and even
access your tasks on your desktop in iCal or Outlook. Todo helps you focus on what matters most and allows you
to integrate the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology or your own.
Task management has never been this easy. Simplicity, however, is not achieved at the expense of powerful
features. Download your free trial today and start getting more things done with less effort.
Release 3.6.4 features:
Retina Display Graphics
Local Task Alerts (multiple per task)
Live Badge Updates
App Passcode Protection
Syncs with Todo Online
This is part of Basecamp and is covered in our document “Notes on Basecamp”.
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This is a dead simple manager created by 37signals, the influential Web application company. You create a list
(say, "Move to Alabama") and then you begin adding specific tasks ("Hire movers," "Sell snow shovels," etc.).
Once you create a task, you can reorder it in the list or check it off as done. That's pretty much it. Ta-da List is
free, and it looks great, especially on the iPhone.
This is free for the iPhone/iPad.
Errands is a task manager with a pleasing design and is easy to learn and use. Crafted with a blend of basic and
advanced features: Folders, Checklists, Task Images, Scheduling & Repeating, Alerts (alarms), Automatic Badge
Updating, Calendar View, Mail Tasks, Multiple View Modes, Search and more!
The current version is 3.0.4, released November 20, 2011. App is free.
• The overall user interface is tastefully designed with careful attention to detail and functionality.
• A universal app with full support for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
• Full support for iCloud sync (Premium). This allows you to keep Errands in sync on multiple iOS devices
(iPhone, iPod touch, iPad).
• Alerts (reminders) for tasks, with choice of sound and several repeat options. Plus automatic updating of the app
icon badge. Both of these work even when Errands is not actively running.
• Customizable folders, so you can organize your tasks to best suit your needs (for example, Work, Home,
Errands). You can have as many folders as you wish and folder attributes (name, icon, checkbox) are fully
• A Focus Folder which is based on a "star" system. You can toggle the "star" state for any task by tapping on the
star icon. When a task comes due it will be auto-starred. This makes the Focus Folder very useful for quickly
glancing at what you need to do NOW. The badge icon will reflect the number of tasks in the Focus Folder,
keeping you up-to-date on what tasks need attention.
• A monthly calendar view for tasks with due dates. To access it, tap on the calendar icon on the bottom toolbar.
The calendar displays items based on the current folder you are in. To see all tasks, choose the calendar from the
All Tasks folder.
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• View options allows you to switch between normal view (4 tasks per screen) and condensed view (8 tasks per
• Mail tasks (single tasks as well as entire folders).
• You can select from a built-in collection of image icons, choose a photo from your library, or take a new photo to
customize your tasks.
• A unique feature allows notes to be viewed as a checklist. This is particularly handy for small shopping lists,
multi-step tasks, etc.
• Tasks can be scheduled with a due date / time. There is a full range of repeating options.
• A convenient Recycle Bin allows you to easily create new tasks from previously completed entries. This is a big
time-saver given that many tasks are things that are done again (and again). And saving data-bits from the virtual
landfill makes you feel good!
• Tasks can be sorted by various schemes as well as arranged manually.
• Each task has a title along with separate detail and notes fields.
• Customize Errands to fit your tastes using the in-app Settings.
Here is another screen shot:
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Quite user-friendly, with icons.
Pocket Informant is a fully integrated Calendar, Task, Contacts and Notes solution for your iPhone/iPod Touch
that lets you focus on everything you do in a day – not just your Tasks list. With this highly customizable tool, you
have the power to change virtually every feature to suit your preferences. The full-featured Notes tab, and
Remember the Milk
RTM is a task management system which is delivered over the web and is now available on iPhone and iPad. It
got a great review in one of the PC magazines in late 2008.
There is a Free version and a Pro version. The Pro version offers email integration. Only $25 for a 1 year Pro
The company that runs it is based on Australia.
Our sample account has same username and password as AOL account.
Overview screen has today, tomorrow, and overdue. The overview is the first screen that you'll see when you
login. It's a handy way to see what's due today and tomorrow, and the things you've missed. Click on the Weekly
Planner to see upcoming tasks in a printable format.
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Introduction to lists
Your default list is the first list displayed when you sign in. Learn more about default lists.
You'll start with five lists in your account: Inbox, Personal, Work, Study, and Sent. The Inbox is just like your
email inbox -- except that instead of emails, you'll receive tasks. The Sent list stores the tasks that you've sent to
other users. You can create as many lists as you need.
Customizing your lists
You can customize your lists by going to the Settings screen, then clicking on the Lists tab. Here you can add,
delete, rename, and archive lists. To add a new list, click on Add List, type in the name for your list, and then
Setting your reminder preferences
You can set the time that your daily reminders are sent, e.g. 12am or 9am.
You can receive reminders for tasks with due dates. Before you can start receiving reminders, you should set your
timezone on the Settings screen. Then, click on the Reminders tab to set your reminder preferences. Learn more
about setting reminder preferences.
You can receive a reminder on the day the task is due, as well as before the task is due (e.g. 1 day or 2 weeks
before the due date).
Google Calendar, iGoogle, Netvibes, Dashboard, offline access, and more
See the Services section to find out how you can manage your tasks from within Google Calendar, add a
Remember The Milk gadget to your iGoogle or Netvibes start page, access your tasks on your Dashboard, manage
your tasks offline, and more.
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