Too many applications exist for to-do lists. It would be a huge undertaking to try them all, and I should know since I have.
Why are there so many applications for tasks that can be completed quickly using sticky notes? because it takes a lot of human effort to manage things. Everything that doesn't seem correct will be rejected by people. Although that is a wise inclination, it makes it challenging to choose the best software.
In order to uncover the top to-do applications for diverse use scenarios, we have been working hard to conduct our study. For these works, much research was conducted. First, we researched the top applications for Android, Windows, macOS, and iPhone/iPad. Then, we downloaded the best apps available in each app store and spent far too much time switching between them to manage our personal to-do lists.
And now I'm giving you what I believe to be the best of the best. There is an app here for you no matter what you're looking for. You may read more about each app by clicking on it, or you can continue reading for more information about to-do list applications.
The best to-do list apps
- Todoist for balancing simplicity and power
- TickTick for embedded calendars and timers
- Microsoft To Do for Microsoft power users (and Wunderlist refugees)
- Things for elegant design
- OmniFocus for specific organizational systems
- Habitica for making doing things fun
- Google Tasks for Google power users
- Any.do for people who forget to use to-do apps
- Other options, incorporating practical tools like project management software, note-taking applications, and others.
What makes the best to-do list app?
Since 2009, I've been writing about technology in general and productivity in particular. I've personally tested pretty much every to-do list software that has been released over that period, and I typically rely on at least one of them to work.
Everyone has various standards when it comes to organizing a to-do list online, of course. As I tried, I kept this in mind and discovered a few aspects that set certain apps apart from others.
The top task management applications are:
- Make it fast to add and organize tasks. A job should ideally be added and categorised with just a few taps or keystrokes.
- Offer multiple ways to organize your tasks. The finest to-do applications have at least a couple of these categories, and tags, lists, projects, and due dates are also beneficial.
- Remind you about self-imposed deadlines. If you're using an online to-do list, it should assist you keep track of what has to happen when through notifications, widgets, and emails.
- Offer clean user interfaces. The greatest to-do software integrates with your workflow so you can return to your original tasks.
- Sync between every platform you use. Which platforms you use will determine which ones I mention, but I didn't take anything into consideration that doesn't sync across desktop and mobile.
I looked for task management software that could balance these elements in different ways. All of these choices won't be suitable for you, but perhaps one of them is. Let's start now.
Best to-do list app for balancing power and simplicity
Todoist(Web, Windows, macOS, Android, iPhone, iPad)
The to-do list website Todoist isn't the most effective one available. It's not the easiest either. That's kind of the point: this software strikes a balance between complexity and capability while operating on virtually every device in use. That's a compelling selling feature, which is likely the reason Todoist is currently one of the most well-liked to-do lists.
In my experiments, adding tasks happened quickly across all platforms, in part because of natural language processing (type "buy milk Monday" and the task "buy milk" will be added with the next Monday set as your due date). Setting due dates and moving new tasks from your Inbox to pertinent projects are also options. Paid users get access to some basic collaborative tools as well as the ability to design their own filters and labels.
Todoist is adaptable enough to fit into the majority of workflows while without being overly complex. Additionally, it frequently adds new capabilities. For instance, you may see projects as a Kanban board, and recent upgrades have made using the keyboard to navigate the program considerably easier. Overall, if you don't know where to begin, this is a nice to-do list app to check out.
Todoist price: Free version available; paid version from $4/month.
Best to-do list app with embedded calendars and timers
TickTick(Web, Android, Windows, macOS, iPhone and iPad)
TickTick is a task list software that is rapidly expanding and provides a wide range of functionality on virtually any platform you can think of. Thanks to natural language processing, adding tasks is quick. Additionally, the desktop versions feature a universal keyboard shortcut, and the mobile versions include widgets and pinned alerts, making it simple to add a task before returning to what you were doing. Lists, tags, and due dates may be used to arrange tasks, and every work can have subtasks added to it.
TickTick provides all of this with native-feeling programs; for instance, the macOS version differs from the Windows version in ways that are reasonable given the differences between the two operating systems. In addition, TickTick provides a few features that set it apart from competing applications.
First, there's a built-in Pomodoro timer, allowing you to start a 25-minute work session for any of your tasks (complete with numerous white noise options, if you want). Second, there's integration with various third-party calendars, allowing you to see your tasks and your appointments in one place, and even do some time blocking. There's also a built-in habit-tracking tool, allowing you to review how many days you did or didn't stick to your exercise and diet commitments. And an Eisenhower Matrix view allows you to prioritize your tasks based on what's urgent and what's important. It's a great collection of features, unlike anything else on the market.
TickTick price: Free version available; paid version from $2.40/month.
Best to-do list app for Microsoft power users
Microsoft To Do(Web, Android, Windows, iPhone and iPad)
Microsoft acquired Wunderlist in 2015 and hired the team there to work on a new to-do list software. As a result, Microsoft To Do was created, and elements of Wunderlist can be seen all over it. Although adding tasks is easy and the primary interface is tidy, there is a lot of versatility hidden behind the surface.
But the element that really stands out is the close connectivity with the Microsoft ecosystem. For instance, every email that has been highlighted in Outlook appears as a task. Users of Outlook may finally sync their Outlook tasks to mobile devices by transferring their tasks from that app to Microsoft To Do. Windows users may create tasks by typing in the Start menu or by using Cortana. For instance, typing "add rice to my shopping list" will add rice to the "shopping" list. This application is for you if you use Outlook and Windows.
Because task management is so individualized, choosing the best method may be challenging. Please let me know if there is anything I overlooked in the process.
In my view, this to-do list software is also the cleanest one available. You may choose unique backdrop photos for each of your lists, making it easy to identify which list you are viewing at a glance. Your task list will be something you'll be looking at all day, so make sure it looks excellent.
Microsoft To Do price: Free
The best to-do list app with elegant design
Things (macOS, iPhone, iPad)
The two types of to-do list applications that are most common are the complicated and the minimalist. Things are in a way both.
That's pretty much the highest recommendation I have for a to-do list software. Although this program has a ton of functionality, it never seems complicated to use. Both adding tasks and arranging them take little time, but there are countless different methods to do it. Projects, tasks, or headings that can also include tasks can all be found in areas, and tasks can also, if desired, have subtasks. It seems complicated, but it's not, which demonstrates how well Things is made.
Other applications provide these functions, but Things does so in a way that never seems crowded, allowing you to finish glancing at your to-do list and continue working on your current task without delay. Include features like a system-wide tool for rapidly adding tasks, calendar integration so you can view your appointments while organizing your day, easy keyboard shortcuts, reminders with native alerts, and syncing to an iPhone and iPad app with this combination of practicality and aesthetics.
The main drawback is that there are no versions for Windows or Android, but this choice likely let the developers concentrate on creating a simple product. You owe it to yourself to test Things if you use Apple products.
Things price: $49.99 for macOS (15-day free trial), $19.99 for iPad, $9.99 for iPhone.
Best to-do list app for users with a very specific organizational system
OmniFocus (Web, macOS, iPhone, iPad)
OmniFocus is extremely adaptable. This David Allen-owned Getting Things Done (GTD) philosophy-based program for Apple may be used with just about any organizing system you can think of thanks to a variety of features. For instance, depending on whether activities need to be completed in a specified order or not, you can set up three distinct types of projects. By default, there are six major views that let you arrange your tasks according to factors like due dates, projects, and tags. If you have the Pro edition, you can even add more views.
You see what I mean. If there is a function you desire, OmniFocus offers it, so you can organize your tasks pretty much anyway you choose. OmniFocus is a power user's dream, with more options than anyone can expect to combine into a workflow.
Only Apple devices can sync with one another. There is an online version available, but non-Apple users are generally better off looking elsewhere. The web version is designed for occasional use away from your Apple equipment.
OmniFocus price: From $99.99/year for the recurring plan, which includes all apps and the web version. Also available as a one-time purchase from $49.99 (14-day free trial).
Best to-do list app for making doing things fun
Habitica (Web, Android, iPhone and iPad)
How else can you explain all the time you've wasted on pointless fetch quests? Games are excellent at inspiring monotonous activities. Habitica, originally known as HabitRPG, attempts to employ game design concepts to inspire you to do tasks, and it is incredibly successful. A list can be expanded to include duties, routine activities, and habits. Additionally, you have a character that gains experience when you do tasks and loses it when you put them off. Additionally, you may get in-game cash by purchasing in-game things like guns or even ridiculous hats, as well as offline incentives like a snack.
Habitica price: Free version available; paid version from $5/month.
Best to-do list app for Google power users
Google Tasks (Web, Android, iPhone and iPad)
Google Tasks is an apparent free to-do list application to try out if you just use Gmail and Google Calendar. This is due to the fact that it provides several integrations and is conveniently located in the sidebar of those two apps. There is also a specific smartphone app.
The actual software is simple. Although adding tasks is easy, there aren't many organizing options, especially if you use Gmail frequently. Due dates, lists, descriptions, subtasks, and the option to "Star" tasks are all included. Beyond that, there isn't much, which is alright. The Gmail connectivity is a major selling feature for desktop users. A task may be created from an email by dragging it to Google Tasks, for instance. If you'd like, you may also view your tasks on your Google Calendar.
A to-do app that is constantly accessible is the greatest. It's difficult to find an app that is more useful than Google Tasks if you're the type of person who has Gmail open on your computer at all times. These jobs are portable thanks to the mobile versions.
Google Tasks price: Free
Best to-do list app for people who forget to use to-do apps
Any.do (Web, Android, iPhone and iPad)
A extremely beautiful mobile software from Any.do makes it simple to enter tasks, group them into categories, and assign due dates. The daily "Plan my Day" tool, though, is where it truly excels since it compels you to schedule when you'll do your numerous duties, helping you to remember to really follow through. With the help of Any.do's seamless integration with Google and Outlook calendars, you can view all of your appointments and tasks in one location. If you're the type of person who adds items to a list and then forgets about them, you need this.
The desktop version lacks some of the sleekness of the mobile version; it feels crowded and may be a bit perplexing. Even so, Any.do's mobile app alone is a strong incentive to give it a try, especially if you conduct the most of your task management on a mobile device.
Any.do price: Free version available; paid version from $2.99/month.
Other to-do list options
In this overview, we concentrated on to-do list applications, but many other programs may serve the same purpose. If none of the above quite suit what you're searching for, here are a few suggestions:
- Project management apps like Trello and Asana, especially if you already use them to organize your other work, may be utilized as to-do lists.
- Note-taking apps If you want to combine your to-do lists and notes, programs like Evernote, OneNote, and Google Keep also have to-do list features.
- If that's where you spend the most of your time, you may use Notion as a to-do list, and the many Notion alternatives function just as well.
- Time-blocking apps are still a good choice. These incorporate a to-do list with your calendar, enticing you to schedule when you'll complete each activity.
- Google Sheets can be your to-do list.
- Sticky note apps can also be effective. The same is true for paper. Avoid overanalyzing things!