Review of Top Time Management Apps

Lori GrimThe start of a new school year signals the end of a too-short summer and a return to the schedules, processes and tasks of the academic grind. There are PTA meetings, volunteer duties, extracurricular schedules, school fundraisers… on top of your existing work and life responsibilities. It can all get a little overwhelming. (In fact, I’m feeling overwhelmed right now, as I write this.) Not to worry – there are tools that can help you manage.
App stores are filled with powerful task-management systems that will help you whip your chaotic life into shape. All it takes is a few taps and swipes on the touch screen of your device and you’re on your way to a happier, stress-free life. (OK, so maybe I’m exaggerating a bit.) But these apps offer some unique benefits. Activities tracked in mobile apps can be shared across other devices and online so that all members of the family can work from a shared calendar and task list. Mobile apps allow you to build in alerts and reminders so that important activities can be surfaced when they are needed. And some are quite flexible so that users can customize options, like data views, to make them easier to use.

There are many task management apps available, offering a variety of features and functionality. The cost can range anywhere from $.99 to $19.99 and up. Here’s a quick overview of three of the most downloaded and highly rated mobile apps.

“Remember the Milk” – available for iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry and a variety of online services

Remember the Milk is a fairly straight-forward task management system. It allows users to organize tasks into lists, to prioritize according to color and to set reminders. You can also add tags, such as “home,” “work” or “school” to categorize. Remember the Milk can be synched across multiple devices. Users can integrate the online service with sites such as Google and Twitter. Best of all, a solid version of Remember the Milk is free (a pro version is also available for $25 per year).

“Todo” – available for iPhone, iPad, Mac and online

Todo is an easy-to-use, powerful app with a cool user interface that mimics a tabbed notebook. It offers online synching, the ability to group related tasks together in a checklist or project view, and multiple task alerts so that you can set as many reminders as necessary. If you use the Getting Things Done (GTD) project management methodology, Todo allows you to organize your tasks in a way that integrates with GTD. The mobile app means you can take Todo anywhere you take your iPhone, but there are also versions for the iPad and Mac and, since you can synch Todo through an online service, you can track your tasks from any device or computer.

“Omnifocus” – available for iPhone, iPad and Mac

If Remember the Milk is task management at its most basic, Omnifocus is task management on steroids. Omnifocus includes basic offerings such as synching and search functionality. But Omnifocus also takes advantage of the iPhone and iPad’s features to offer unique and powerful tools. Using GPS, Omnifocus can read a user’s location and show available actions nearby. So if you need to go grocery shopping or get an oil change in the car, Omnifocus can show you the places nearest to you. You can also create entries based on a voice memo or image that you capture over your device. At $19.99, Omnifocus is one of the more expensive task management apps available, but if you have a demanding schedule and you’re serious about keeping your life in order, this may be a relatively small price to pay.

The most important thing to remember when considering a new task management system is that it has to work best for you. It doesn’t matter how many fancy bells and whistles a system might offer… if it doesn’t make it easier to manage your life, then it doesn’t work.

Your turn…do you use a task management system? Which one and why? If not, what features are important to you?

%d bloggers like this: