#16: How to Pick a To-Do App

I’ve reviewed hundreds of productivity apps. There are hundreds more.

To help you make sense of them all, here’s my framework for grading them so you have something to hold on to while surfing the waves of lame marketing slogans, overhyped features, and other attempts to distract you from what’s most important: removing any friction that keeps YOU from doing what you need to do.

First, the app needs to help me empty my head anywhere, at any time. This means it needs to have an easily-accessible inbox that I can dump my thoughts into.

Second, it needs to give me ways to make sense of what I got out of my head. Is it a business idea? A simple task? Something I’m waiting for? Being able to assign labels goes a long way here, as well as differentiating between tasks and notes.

Third, I want to be able to build some sort of infrastructure in the app that makes sense for me and aligns with how I organize my life. For me, this means creating several lists and organizing them in a nested format with projects being nested underneath their associated life responsibility area.

Fourth, a productivity app should allow me to easily zoom out and reflect on my progress by having an easily navigable UI, providing templates for reviewing rituals, and various way to sort my to do’s like priority, status & time.

Lastly, my ideal to-do app gives me exactly what I need to do when and where I need to do it. This can be achieved through filters, mobile widgets and a beautiful design to stop me from dreading even using the app in the first place.

For a more advanced walkthrough of my productivity app review framework, subscribe to my YouTube channel where I’ll release a full video on this subject tomorrow.

Actionable advice for this week: create your own productivity app must-have framework.

What relationship do you want to have with your to-do app? What does it need to… well.. do for you? Think about the features that support these needs, and make a change if it turns out your current tool stack doesn’t support this.

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