Apple iPad, Day 9: To-Do Lists and Task Managers

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So far on my 30 Days With the iPad journey, I have tackled email, social networking, and managing contacts. Another function I rely on my PC for day to day is tracking my tasks. Today, I will take a look at my options for managing my to-do list from the iPad.

Given my affinity for Microsoft Outlook it would be understandable to jump to the conclusion that Outlook is my preferred tool for managing my tasks. It's not. I have used it on occasion, and I like the integration with OneNote, but it has always seemed to me to be both more complex than I need for a to-do list, and too easy to 'snooze' and ignore.

To be fair, though, any tool is easy to ignore if you choose to ignore it. There is some measure of self-discipline required or the task manager is useless. But, I also need my task list to remain synced and updated across my PC, iPhone, and iPad--and Outlook is not capable of that. Having a Windows 7 PC and Outlook in the mix limits the choices a bit more, so if the iPad is my PC and there is no Outlook I have some more options available.

I tried a few different to-do list apps for the iPad, and RTM was my top pick.
I have tried out three different apps at some length: HiTask, ToodleDo, and RTM (Remember the Milk). I had used HiTask previously on my PC and iPhone. There is no iPad app for HiTask--which was almost reason enough for me to not even consider it for this experiment. But, I tried anyway and found that the app wouldn't work for me. I get a blank white iPhone-sized square in the middle of my iPad display, but no HiTask.

ToodleDo does have an iPad app. I like the level of detail and customizability of ToodleDo. In the Preferences, you can choose to display more task details, use a larger font, widen the task list pane, and more. You can also configure what information to display on the ToodleDo badge, such as Overdue Tasks, Today's Tasks, Starred Tasks, or Priority Tasks.

Under the Settings for Tasks, you can add or remove default fields to customize what kind of details and information you want to include in the tasks. ToodleDo also has an option to Purge Data. You can wipe out completed tasks older than one month, or all completed tasks, or you can purge it all and completely erase all tasks, notebooks, folders, contexts, goals, and locations--everything.

Finding productivity tools is largely subjective, though. It comes down to finding the app that clicks for you. For me, that app is RTM. I have nothing against ToodleDo, and if I wanted something more robust ToodleDo would probably be my next choice. But, RTM does what I want it to do with a simple, interface that jives for me, and keeps things synced between my iPad and iPhone (and PC, or virtually anything else via the RTM website).

RTM has some similar customization, but it is not as deep as ToodleDo. You can still configure things like what count to display on the app badge, or which fields to display by default for a task, but there are far fewer options than ToodleDo.

Again, though, that is partly just a matter of personal preference. My wife and I have both gone through a variety of tools over the past few months. She ended up sticking with ToodleDo, and I prefer RTM. What tool do you use to manage your tasks and to-do lists?

OK. Now I can go check off 30 Days With the iPad: Day 9 from my RTM to-do list.

Read the last "30 Days" series: 30 Days With Ubuntu Linux

Day 8: Managing Contacts on the iPad

Day 10: iPad 2 Just Keeps Going and Going

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