I’ve been trying to find the perfect “to do” app for quite some time and I think I might have finally found it!

I tried using EverNote back in the day, and it felt like it just had way too many features. I would get bogged down with the technical implementation of adding things when all I wanted was a simple to do list.  EverNote seems more like a brain wiki than a to do list!

People at work literally freak out over OmniFocus – like its life changingly so!  Sounds like a cult to me!  Plus its not cheap!

I tried Google Keep, and that was just too simple of a solution.  Then I tried just using a plain old Google doc – but it was just too slow everywhere.

Up until recently I’ve been using Trello, and that worked pretty well.  I didn’t quite like how it worked on my phone and when I would have it as an always-open browser window it never felt like it worked correctly. (The responsive nature needed some work.)  It handled multiple lists (a.k.a. boards) well, but they were always separate and no way to mix or cross populate.  I think Trello is a great solution for basic project management with a small team!

So lets recap what I need want in a “to do” solution:

  1. Gotta be quick and easy to use!
  2. Gotta work well both on my phone and computer
  3. Has to sync across all devices
  4. Needs to be able to seamlessly handle tasks for both Personal and Work (i.e. different lists)
  5. Elegance wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

Solution: Any.do!

I don’t even know where I heard about Any.do other than just finding it randomly when I wasn’t even looking for a replacement to Trello.  It immediately stood out because its a great looking app, has a Chrome extension that works well and looks very similar to the app, and even has some cool bonus features!

The app itself is very basic, and very sleek.  The thing I love the most is how it feels like its built into my phone. The notification system is really well done and unlike any I’ve seen in an app before. The tasks themselves are very basic with a simple list.  You can expand on each adding notes, priority, reminders, share with people, etc, etc.  There’s a lot of options, but they are deeper so that if you want to only focus on jotting down tasks it does it well.  You can write tasks with the keyboard or by voice – and as you type it has great auto suggestions as you go. (i.e. I added “Paint the bathroom ceiling” by simply typing “Paint” and then selecting: bathroom, ceiling.  It was like it knew what I had to do!)

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The best part is the Chrome extension.  It runs as a simple icon in your extensions list, with a small number to indicate the count of tasks you have remaining for Today. And because I use Any.do in both my browser and phone, syncing works perfectly! Clicking the extension icon drops down the list in place, with a handy pop-out button which I love.  Popping out the list opens a small window that is the perfect size and works well dashed off to the side or corner. 

The actual list itself is broken down into: Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming, Some day.  Every item in the list can be assigned to a folder (the default being Personal and Work).  When viewing the list by day, you see every item (regardless of which folder its assigned).  You can switch to folder view, if you only want to view items by category (i.e. Personal, Work, or whatever you’ve created).  All tasks in the list can be easily dragged between days (Today, Tomorrow, etc) to reorder. Anything that is stored in Tomorrow will automatically become a part of Today’s list on the next day. Anything that was still in Today remains.

The other aspect I love about this app is the way it integrates with my phone. The app itself is very nice and works very well, almost exactly the same as the Chrome extension. However the way the notifications and reminders work is very well done. The stock Android notification list has a new permanent entry for Any.do that is interactive. You can see a count of items due today, quickly scroll through each item as well as add a new item. When a specific task has a reminder set, the app pops up an overlay on the bottom half of the screen regardless of any app you are currently running.

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One last feature that I haven’t really used that much yet is Any.do Moment – a daily interactive guide to plan your day.  The app will prompt you with a list of all of your currently scheduled tasks and you can quickly make changes to each (like are you still planning on actually doing this Today, or maybe Tomorrow, snooze reminders, etc).  You can schedule what days of the week this happens and at what time.  I just set mine to Mon – Fri at 6am.  I’ll give it a shot this week and see how it goes!

I love that I can now very easily manage my tasks no matter where I’m at!  I highly recommend Any.do if you’re looking for a elegant, quick, clean way to manage your day to day simple to dos!

Side note: I use Pocket to handle all my web article “bookmarking for later” which I keep separate from my “to do” list so as to not clutter my list with things that don’t actually need to be done any time soon.