What Are The Best Programs to Keep Your Lists Organized

Julie Shenkman
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Whether you're a marketing director working on your company's latest advertising campaign or an administrative assistant juggling supply orders and employee records, to-do lists help you stay on task and ensure you don't miss a single step. While the traditional pen and pencil list can be helpful, check out some of the best programs to keep your tasks on track.

Google Keep

Google Keep is available on the Web or as an Android app, and its simplicity makes it a favorite among users. Keep lets you create multiple checklists and color-coded notes, so you can keep professional duties separate from personal tasks. You can add photos or voice notes to your checklists and even create time- and location-based reminders so you never miss a deadline or meeting. Keep doesn't require you to create an account, but it does store all your information on the cloud for easy synchronization across all your devices.

Remember the Milk (RTM)

This Web-based program, which has been around since 2004, lets you create and edit to-do lists. It integrates easily with other applications, including Twitter, Google Calendar and Gmail. The program is also available as an app for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android devices. RTM allows users to set up recurring tasks or meetings, set priority levels, assign duties to other individuals and organize to-do lists by due dates. Remember the Milk program is free for basic use, but an upgrade — $39.99 per year as of 2016 — is available that provides priority tech support, bonus features and the ability to sync the program with Microsoft Outlook.

Todoist

Todoist lets you set recurring tasks, sync in real time, assign categories, manage priorities and share your lists with others. The program is available on the Web, as a desktop app for Windows and OSX, for Android or iOS, as add-ons for Chrome or Firefox, or as a plug-in for email applications, including Outlook and Gmail. As of 2016, a $28.99 per year premium account gets you email or mobile notifications and reminders based on your lists and priorities.

Microsoft Outlook

While you might think of Microsoft Outlook as only good for emails and calendars, this program can also handle to-do lists. It's likely that many of your tasks or priorities originate from client or co-worker emails, so this system makes it easy to integrate your to-do lists with your calendar and correspondence. The program syncs over many devices for easy access. If you don't already have the program, the latest standalone version costs about $110 to purchase.

Wunderlist

Wunderlist lets users create lists, set up timed reminders, establish recurring duties, add notes and separate tasks into categories. The app is easy to customize according to your preferences, and it allows sharing with others. The program is available as a Web-based app or for Android or iOS. For a monthly fee — $4.99 as of 2016 — you can upgrade to the Pro version, which provides full security features and allows you to assign tasks to other users or upload files to the program.

Toodledo

Toodledo is available for free as a Web-based program that allows users to organize tasks or manage projects using folders, tags and subtasks. A "hotlist" lets you prioritize items with fast-approaching deadlines, and it's easy to collaborate on tasks with other individuals or groups. Print-outs are designed to fold into small booklets for easy reading. The app is available for download for iOS users for $1.99 as of 2016, while a Pro version — costing $14.95 per year — lets you track the progress of your goals or track priorities and tasks by location.

When it comes to planning, prioritizing and taking action, to-do lists make easy work of organizing your projects, as well as your life. Whether you access them on your computer, tablet or phone, these six programs offer plenty of features to help you manage your projects and daily duties without breaking the bank.

Photo Courtesy of tua ulamac at Flickr.com

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  • William Browning
    William Browning

    Do you have any suggestions for tools that help your short-term memory? All of these technological wizards are fine, but I like to try to commit stuff to memory as opposed to relying on software, programs and devices all of the time. Perhaps I'm a bit old-fashioned in this respect, but I'd rather have some to-do lists in my head rather than on paper.

  • Shannon Philpott
    Shannon Philpott

    I am an avid fan of the to-do list and have found that when working on large projects that need broken down into smaller steps, it is easy to manage on Trello. The free version of this online and mobile platform offer enough basic functions to create to-do lists with space for making notes about each task while also prioritizing.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    Thanks for the differing viewpoints. Everyone is different and uses different methods of keeping track of things. For me, I am like Jane. I keep a hand-written to-do list. It is very satisfying to draw a line through a completed item on my list which is why I like the manual process better.

  • Abbey Boyd
    Abbey Boyd

    I really like the idea of a program to keep my lists for me. I often have dozens of lists at any given time, and with all the scribbles and edits, they get pretty messy. Rather than spend the extra time to rewrite them or try and decipher them, it's easier to just pop open whichever program I use and read through my list there. With the computer program, I also don't have to worry about losing lists and notes, as they are always right there in the same spot.

  • Jane H.
    Jane H.

    The article suggests that software is the best way to maintain lists and I respectfully disagree with that idea. While it's true I have used Outlook to sync to-do lists across multiple devices in the past, at some point I finally decided I'd had enough of that and went back to good old fashioned spiral notebooks to track lists. As long as I don't lose the notebook, it also provides me with superior security, considering the frequency of online data theft these days. I have trust issues with the cloud.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Cory this is a judgment call. Personally I would not spend money on services that I could do for free if I did them myself. But that's the world we live in today. Anything to make life easier even if we pay through the nose.

  • Cory L.
    Cory L.

    Are any of these really worth hundreds of dollars? It seems to me like the services provided are more of convenience than exclusivity, so charging exorbitant amounts of money doesn't make any sense to me at all. Are any of these offering features that aren't just a more convenient way to do something that you are already capable of doing?

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