8 to-do list apps to use daily (plus features and benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 6 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

To-do lists are sets of reminders that people compile to help them stay organised throughout a given period, such as a day or week. To-do list apps are electronic versions of to-do lists that enhance the concept and make managing lists easier for users. Knowing about various list apps and what they can do might help you decide whether these tools are right for you and which one to select. In this article, we explore what to-do list apps are, list various examples and discuss each of their features.

What are to-do list apps?

To-do list apps are digital to-do lists that contain various tasks that a person considers to be important. They serve to notify people of what 'to-do', often in the order of their importance, so that people don't forget their responsibilities. Various kinds of these apps exist and each has its own unique set of features and benefits. High-quality to-do list apps contain the following features:

  • Add tasks to lists and remove them once completed: This is the primary function of these apps and enables users to create and manage their list of tasks.

  • Various ways to organise tasks: Organisation features include tags and categories and users can segregate tasks in ways that make sense to them.

  • Notification reminders: This means sending a notification to your phone when a deadline is imminent or when a task requires the user's attention.

  • Pleasant user interface: This refers to how easy and enjoyable it is to use and interact with the app.

  • Synchronised across different devices: With data synchronised across devices, you can access your list from your computer, mobile or tablet.

Popular to-do list apps

Here's a list of 8 popular to-do list apps that you can use to manage your tasks and stay organised:

1. Todoist

This is one of the most popular to-do list apps on the market because it strikes a good balance between capability and simplicity. Users can easily add new tasks and remove them with a single touch once they complete them using this tool. Its language processing features enable you to type something like 'doctor's appointment Tuesday', and the app adds the task 'doctor's appointment' and sets a deadline for Tuesday. Paid users gain access to some additional features, such as the ability to create labels and custom filters.

You can also use Todist for workflow management, as the app provides basic collaboration features and kanban boards. The developers of this app update it regularly, adding new features and optimising old ones. Another great thing about Todoist is that you can integrate it with other popular apps, like Google Calendar, Trello, Gmail and Slack. Once integrated, you can create tasks from emails, chat messages or calendars.

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2. TickTick

This is another to-do list tool that is rising in popularity and offers some features that are similar to other apps and some that are different. It also contains a language processor that you can use to convert text into tasks, meaning you can simply type 'buy toothpaste tomorrow' and the app creates a task with a deadline for tomorrow. This app contains embedded calendars and timers that you can use to perform a variety of functions. It has something called a 'Pomodoro timer' that lets you start 25-minute work sessions, with optional white noise in the background.

Another unique selling point of this app is the universal keyboard shortcut offered on the desktop version. The mobile version includes pinned notifications and widgets. These features enable users to quickly add tasks before resuming their work on another application. The organisation features allow you to arrange tasks using due dates, tags and lists, making it easy to keep track of different responsibilities. Some other unique features include the habit-tracking tool and the Eisenhower matrix view. The habit tracker shows you how well you stick to commitments, like a diet change. The Eisenhower matrix is a tool for prioritising tasks.

3. Things

Users report that this app offers lots of features while retaining a simple user interface. This is what many people want from a to-do list app, as it's important for them to offer a range of features without being confusing and difficult to manage. Things is unique in that it offers many variations for organising tasks, as you can add projects, break them down into tasks and create sub-tasks. People praise this app for its uncluttered design and its wide range of tools. You can also integrate Things with your calendar and sync it with your mobile to receive notifications.

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4. Microsoft to-do

Microsoft bought a to-do list app called Wunderlist back in 2005, which they have since converted into a new kind of application. The user interface is simplistic and presents easily digestible information while still enabling lots of features. This app stands out amongst other to-do list apps because it integrates with Microsoft's wider ecosystem. Once integrated, users can speak to Cortana and tell it to add tasks to their to-do list. It also allows users to sync tasks they created in Outlook with the to-do list app.

Microsoft to-do also offers some great customisation features for changing aesthetics, such as adding background images for each to-do list. Images can help to quickly remind you of what a list of tasks relates to, such as by using an image that denotes the theme of the list. This app is also one of the few apps that are completely free to use, having only a premium version that users can access immediately.

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5. Omnifocus

This application only works on Apple devices, which is a downside for some. Although, those using Apple devices can benefit from this app's powerful workflow management features. The developers of Omnifocus built the app around the 'getting things done' (GDT) philosophy, which has the following core principles:

  • Capture: This refers to writing down important tasks, ideas and projects so that you don't forget anything.

  • Clarify: To clarify is to evaluate tasks and determine which are the most important and which to abandon.

  • Organise: This means grouping related tasks and creating a workflow for projects so that you can address them step-by-step.

  • Reflect: Reflection means reviewing the work you have completed and checking that tasks are still relevant, in addition to making sure you haven't forgotten anything.

  • Engage: This refers to completing the tasks.

By designing the app around these principles, the developers have successfully produced a tool that professionals can use for most kinds of organisational systems. This app offers many different ways of organising tasks, as it is so feature-rich, making an excellent workflow management tool.

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6. Habitica

This app is unique, as it uses elements of game design to encourage users to complete tasks. The app gives you a character who levels up when you get things done and takes damage when you miss tasks or complete them late. There is also an in-game currency that your character can earn, which you can use to buy in-game items like clothing and weapons. It also has the necessary features that make it an effective to-do list app, such as the option to add tasks, habits and daily activities.

Habitica also acts as a social app in some ways, as you can find friends, create parties and play games together in a multiplayer mode. This app has limits when users want to manage long-term workflow projects, but is an excellent choice for those who want to motivate themselves to complete more tasks.

7. Tasks

For people who frequently use other Google products, such as Google Docs and Gmail, this app might be exactly what you need. This app integrates with Gmail and Google calendar primarily, and you can add tasks from those applications. It also integrates with many other apps and has a dedicated mobile app. While using Gmail, you can drag emails into the Google Tasks sidebar and convert messages into tasks on your to-do list. You can also view your tasks on your calendar, enabling you to better visualise due dates.

8. Any.do

Developers designed this app for use on mobile primarily, and its simplistic design makes it easy for users to add and manage tasks. It has a unique feature called 'plan my day', which is great for people who need the motivation to complete tasks. The feature forces users to input exactly when they shall complete tasks, which creates pressure to be productive and serves to remind you of deadlines. You can also integrate this app with other popular apps like Google calendar and Outlook.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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