Get more done on any device
You can no longer escape unfinished business, now that tasks and projects follow you on your smartphone. Thankfully, the right app can help you crack the whip. Many task-tracking apps sync with work email and calendars, and let you collaborate with colleagues. Best of all, each tool runs on more than one platform, so there's something in this roundup for everyone on the team.
Free; iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry, Mac, Windows, Web
Pros: Makes inputting text, audio, images, and Web content easy; OCR for images and handwriting
Cons: No calendar sync, reminders, or true collaboration features in the free version
Evernote is perhaps the most popular note-taking app, and a favorite of GTD aficionados. Although it isn’t a to-do app, you can make it act like one by activating its checkbox feature. You can share notes via email, easily insert photos and audio clips, and organize items by date, tags, and location. Evernote Business ($10 per user per month) adds a companywide Business Library and admin console.
Free; iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, Windows, Mac (within Microsoft Office), Office Web Apps
Pros: Simple interface; collaboration; free cloud syncing for up to 500 notes
Cons: Lacks tagging
OneNote Mobile comes on any Windows Phone device and integrates nicely with Microsoft Office, making it a good choice for work-related activities. It syncs automatically with Microsoft SkyDrive and SharePoint. As with Evernote, you can make OneNote act like a to-do list by activating checkbox formatting within a note.
Remember The Milk
Free ($25 per year for Pro); Web, iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8 (MilkMan app), Gmail and Outlook extensions
Pros: Simple; syncs with Google and Outlook; adds tasks quickly
Cons: No collaboration; limited automatic syncing in free version
Remember The Milk stands out for its sheer number of platforms and ways to schedule a task. You can speak to Siri, use email, even tweet tasks. Options for sorting tasks include “smart lists” that update based on criteria you define; for example, you might set tasks in a Work list as high priority. And the "smart add" feature can add tasks with date and time reminders, locations, and tags all on one line.
Free; Web, plus (with gTasks apps) iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8
Pros: Seamless experience for Google power users; easy to use
Cons: Minimal features
Pretty much everyone and their mother has a Google account these days, so it's natural to turn to Google Tasks for creating dead-simple to-do lists. gTask apps are available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8. Each one syncs seamlessly with Google services (including Gmail, of course), so you can add, edit, cross off, and delete tasks.
Free; iOS, Android, Web, Mac, Windows
Pros: Sleek design; useful collaboration and reminders; automatic syncing
Cons: No priority task assignment
A sleek interface and plentiful features make Wunderlist one of the best freebies. The landscape layout offers a wide view of upcoming projects and tasks, with wallpapers for customizing the design. You can invite others to collaborate on tasks, and use a nifty "activity center" to manage the status of projects, tasks, and lists. You can also create subtasks and attach and detach sticky notes to tasks.
Free; iOS, Android, Chrome extension, Web
Pros: Clean look and feel; predicts text as you type; audio note-taking
Cons: Limited collaboration
Any.Do can predict task-related text while you type, which is a big timesaver. On top of that, it takes full advantage of multitouch and motion functionality on your smartphone. You can drag and drop action items, swipe to mark tasks as complete, and shake your device to clear completed projects. Android users get a home-screen widget while iOS users get a landscape mode with calendar view. Although you can easily share tasks, you’ll find better collaboration options elsewhere.
Free ($53 per year for ConquSync); iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Nook Color, Mac, Windows, Linux
Pros: Beautiful on tablets; simple task delegation; useful filters
Cons: Cloud backup and collaboration cost extra
Conqu's useful filtering system is sure to please GTD nerds. You can set up the app to organize tasks automatically by context, energy level, time required, and so on. Have a low-priority project? Move it to Conqu’s back burner, a procrastinator's dream. Assigning tasks via email is a snap. For true collaboration, however, ConquSync integrates tasks within a team and adds mobile backup to the cloud.
$2; iOS (Android and BlackBerry via third-party apps)
Pros: Flexibility to meet individual needs; "hotlist" compiles important tasks; good collaboration
Cons: Dated look; no native Android or BlackBerry app
Toodledo won't turn heads, but it’s packed with features. It works with a ton of third-party apps, from which you can easily import to-do lists. (Try Ultimate To-Do List for Android or BlackBerry.) You can break large tasks into multiple subtasks, group action items by location, and view graphical stats of your progress. Collaboration is solid: When you share tasks, you have control over who can read, edit, or add.
Free ($29 per year for Premium); iOS, Android, BlackBerry, Mac, Windows, Web, plus extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Outlook, Thunderbird
Pros: Email, browser, and platform integration; customizable views
Cons: Must pay to search by keyword; no sharing
Thanks to its HTML5 foundation, Todoist is especially speedy. Plus, its extensive platform support means you can fully manage your tasks across tech tools. Unfortunately, it's lacking in collaboration features. (Business users working in teams should check out Wedoist, the developer’s Web-based project-management tool.)
Free ($20 per month for sharing); iOS, Android, Mac, Windows, Google Apps
Pros: Sleek look; robust collaboration; automatic cloud syncing
Cons: Sharing costs extra
Producteev is perhaps the most business-friendly task management app, thanks to its workspace and collaboration functionality. The latter isn’t free, but it lets you assign tasks, add comments, and monitor your team in real time to keep projects on target. In addition to using the various apps, you can post items to your to-do list quickly and easily through email or IM.