1. pjdell's Avatar
    I currently have a droid X2 and i'm looking for a combination of apps that will help me organize school/work/everyotherthing. I like to be able to add tasks quickly and easily, like when a professor assigns me a homework assignment, i want to be able to put it in my phone quickly and categorize it. I then really need to be able to view my to do list from the computer, and would like it to have a nice easy on the eyes interface. I've enjoyed the app Any.Do on my phone, but it doesn't have the easy to use online viewing/completing of tasks. On top of that I'm wondering if there is currently anything out there that would be able to send notifications to my computer so that I can have a script that will only unlock certain websites/programs when my task list is completed.

    Any other awesome things you can tell me about that will make my life easier?
    09-25-2012 09:37 PM
  2. ellemca's Avatar
    There are so many different options. I really haven't found anything that's exactly right for me. I've been trying to adapt GTD for personal use. I also need something that has a web version.

    I am a Google Apps user and right now I use GQueues for organizing tasks. I really like it, enough to have purchased the full version (I don't remember what's missing from the free version), but it doesn't have a native Android app (although the developer is getting lots of pressure to create one). I use the HTML5 mobile web interface on my phone. It's not ideal for adding tasks from my phone but its other strengths are enough that I can live with it. One big plus for me is that GQueues (the paid version) allows me to sync with Google Calendar, which is how I get phone reminders (you can do notifications, email, and/or SMS, and I have a Chrome extension for desktop notifications). I can display any scheduled task on my Android home screen with the calendar widget. That works fine for me because if I haven't scheduled a task, I don't miss it from a home-screen display. But this doesn't allow you to check off completed tasks; you have to use the mobile web version for that. I really, really like the full web interface but it's a bit sluggish. If you like to structure your tasks in hierarchies, it's great because it doesn't limit the number of levels you can create. I've used it in the past for collaborative work projects, too.

    Because I'd be interested in a purpose-designed widget, I'm currently test-driving a combination of ToodleDo (which I'm not liking) as a web back end and two different Android apps that interface with it: Ultimate To-Do List and DGT GTD. Both have home-screen widgets (for display and access to the app) and reminder capabilities. Ultimate To-Do list is powerful and can sync with Google Calendar but I think its interface is terrible. The free app is full-featured but only a 14-day trial, which just isn't long enough for me to decide. The only feature I've found that it has over and above the other is location–it will notify you if you have a task configured with a location that is in proximity to where you are. That's not useful enough for me to counterbalance the interface.

    The interface of DGT GTD is better, not great, but the app is pretty flexible and it's growing on me. You can create several different kinds of structures for organizing your stuff: folders, projects, checklists, contexts. Hierarchies are limited, though, and I don't think it can do calendar syncing. The version I have is only an alpha; I would guess it will ultimately be a paid app. If I could live with a stand-alone app, I would seriously consider DGT GTD. The biggest problem I have with either of these ToodleDo interface apps (there are others I haven't tried) is that I am really picky when it comes to interfaces and theirs just don't do it for me (apps or widgets). I really don't like ToodleDo's interface, either, and I'd need to pay to get the features I need. I hate paying for any program whose interface I don't like.

    I've tried a number of other Android apps. Wunderlist is pretty flexible. I liked it but when I tried it, it couldn't do recurring tasks, which is a deal-breaker for me. It's been a while since I tried it, though. Remember The Milk gets lots of good reviews; I just never liked it, especially its web interface. GTasks syncs with Google Tasks if you use that. Its widgets are a little better but Google Tasks is too limited for me and you have to pay to get recurring tasks in the app. Astrid gets good reviews. It also syncs with Google Tasks and has paid add-ons for location awareness and widgets. It's on my list to try if I continue experimenting. I'm a heavy Evernote user and ReQall has the (paid) ability to sync with it, so I might investigate that, as well.

    For really light weight, unstructured purposes, I was just using Evernote. While it's still a mainstay for me, I recently discovered GNotes, which has a widget that I am addicted to. You can choose any note to display on your homescreen. I keep one for my shopping list and one that's kind of my catch-all notepad; anything that really needs to be organized on a continuing basis ends up in GQueues (tasks) or Evernote (documentation). I really like how Gnotes handles checklists. It also lets you set reminders and it's got some other nice features. It has secure notes (pattern or pin), which I've used to temporarily remember passwords, and it syncs with Gmail; all of your notes show up as archived email messages with the label "Notes." So far, I'm finding this latter feature quite useful. It can sync with a web version as well but the Gmail and web syncing are mutually exclusive. If it looks like it's going to develop into a stable app/service with solid features and decent support, I might consider using it more heavily, but it's hard to imagine transitioning away from Evernote.

    I'd love to know about other combinations of web and Android apps that others have used.
    09-25-2012 11:53 PM
  3. pjdell's Avatar
    I will have to try some of those. I'm literally to the point where I'm considering writing an app. All of the apps I try are either way to complex or way to simple for what I need.
    09-26-2012 09:46 AM
  4. ellemca's Avatar
    That would be an interesting project, especially if you're studying programming. (And I think there are markets for GQueues and ToodleDo apps, so if you really get into it maybe you could capitalize a little....)

    I've done a lot of project management and I've spent a lot of time using different task and workflow management applications. I think they're deceptively hard to design, as it's a pretty big solution space. Every one I've ever used, be it large or small, had as many weaknesses as strengths. I've never found one that was an ideal fit for its chosen use. It ultimately has boiled down to different choices for different purposes and contexts. Old fashioned methods always persist, too. Despite all the electronic tools available, there's nothing like a big wall and color-coded sticky notes for certain kinds of design and organization. I've also painted a few walls with whiteboard paint in my day.

    I usually end up with a combination of apps, each of which has a more limited scope, and I use them in concert (as I'm doing now with GQueues, Google Calendar, Evernote, and GNotes). I'd love to tie in Tasker, too, for my current purposes. I use it now but I haven't taken the time to really learn it. I wish there were some unified, master task management component library in the sky so I could easily cobble together something that would be just right for me—it would be fun and oh-so-satisfying. Let me know if you find one!
    09-26-2012 08:42 PM
  5. ellemca's Avatar
    I forgot about another web service I tried over a year ago, Todoist. I remember it being relatively simple but I liked it better than Remember the Milk, in part because, like GQueues, it allows flexible indentation/hierarchy of tasks. I think you have to subscribe to get reminders and calendar sync, but there's an API (ToodleDo, RTM, and others have APIs as well; GQueues does not). There are Android apps for Todoist but I don't know anything about them.
    09-27-2012 01:29 PM

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