Update 12/1/2022: I have decided to go with Microsoft To Do. I found out via the following reddit thread that Microsoft To Do syncs with Apple Reminders and I have tested the reminders functionality as well as the syncing between the apps and it is phenomenal compared to Todoist. I don’t even need To Do installed on my iPhone/iPad for the syncing to work. So, I am switching back.
I have also updated some of the pros/cons listed below.
There are so many task managers out there, it can be hard to find a good/”perfect” task manager application. I have been trying to find the “perfect” task manager out there for me so I have tried a whole bunch and each time I gave them over a month of usage. Problem is, there is no such thing as a “perfect” anything. Everything has flaws. I’m going to go over all these flaws today so you can find the task manager app that’s best for you. I’m going to go through Todoist, Apple Reminders, Microsoft To Do, and just using a Note-Taking app to keep your to do lists in.
To preface this: I wanted to make everyone aware that I use an iPhone, iPad and Windows PC. I will not be able to speak on how well these items work on MacOS.
This is how I have my Todoist is setup. I have Todoist Pro which is $36/year or $4/month. Todoist does have a free option. If you follow my link, you will get 2 months of the Pro plan for free so you can try it out for yourself. I don’t care if you do though, I know everyone has their own preference.
Anyway, you can see Todoist has support for Markdown as well as having different priorities for tasks. It is very versatile and just like Notion in my Note-Taking Apps blog from last week it’s application on the desktop and mobile all run the web applications. It works a lot better than Notion and does not lag at all. The one thing I have found with Todoist thus far is a known issue with background syncing on iOS. They are actively working on a fix and it is annoying but it isn’t the end of the world.
The reason why I am steered away from Todoist is primarily the price. It is not expensive, there are many other things like Newton Mail that are more expensive (that is $55/year) there is still a cost and smart people will want to justify their costs of what they spend each month to make sure it is worth the money you are paying for it. In this example, do I use Todoist enough to justify the $36/year or just under $0.10/day. In my case, I am able to justify it. Though for a while I wasn’t so I was using Microsoft To do.
Microsoft To Do functions extremely well on every device I’ve tried it on. Using Shortcuts from my Homepod Mini’s did have some failure rate but that is due to Shortcuts and not due to Microsoft’s product. It is better than OneNote and doesn’t lag with the sync or give false sync errors like OneNote does. It looks very clean and looks the same on the web, desktop and mobile applications. I don’t believe this runs the web version in an app like Todoist or Notion. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t, just that the applications are so good I can’t tell.
Anyway, I didn’t like the way To Do handled links. As you can see below, you type out the URL and it just sits there next to the task. As opposed to Apple Reminders, which I will touch on next, where it is below the task or Todoist (which you can see above) where you can use Markdown to make some of the text a link that is clickable on any device.
It isn’t bad, it is just really annoying and I feel like it clutters up my task list unlike with To Do and Reminders.
Also, you cannot set different priorities for tasks. It is either staring them (as you can see in the pictures above) or not staring them. It’s nice being able to work from priority 1 tasks down to priority 4 on Todoist, or even on Apple Reminders how you can set the reminder importance level.
It does sync extremely well with Apple Reminders. I tested adding a task with a reminder and a due date and everything synced just fine between both apps. The only flaw I could find with this is that if you have the To Do app installed for whatever reason with the Reminders app, you will get duplicate/double notifications for those tasks. This syncing solves the problem with the iOS 15 Widgets, Apple Watch Widgets/App, and pretty much any “problem” I’ve had with Task Managers.
You can see you can have dark mode/light mode on Reminders. The links are shown nicely underneath the reminders and it is very nice how tags are displayed. This screenshot is from my iPad Pro. Just like Apple Notes, Reminders is severely limited on PC/Browser. This is how it looks on my browser:
You can see, I cannot see my smart lists that I created on my iPad nor can I see any links that show up under the tasks. I would need the link inside the title of the task as you cannot view more information on the tasks in any sidebar or anything. This makes it very limiting for Windows PC users as well as users that use any kind of browsers. Also, you can see on the second line I am showing you how it looks to add a new task, it is extremely simple and I can only add tasks to the inbox as that is the only list I have that is not a smart list. It is insane the amount that the apple ecosystem is locked down on PC and Android and Linux.
What about using a Note-Taking app for my tasks?
While this can work, I definitely don’t recommend it. I don’t recommend it because then your tasks get lost in your notes and you have to look everywhere to find them and it can take you longer to find the tasks than it would take to actually complete the tasks. I don’t know of anyone that would recommend using a note-taking app for your tasks. They are 2 separate things and made for that.
What task managing app do you use? Do you agree with what I pointed out?