It’s no secret that I absolutely love paper planning. Don’t let the title of this post scare you – I don’t think any digital planning tool could ever be awesome enough to replace my love for putting a colorful pen to some pretty paper to plan my days! That said, I DO also love digital tools and apps to help organize, make lists, and plan. (I guess I’m a bit of productivity junkie. Ironically, I might actually get more done if I spent less time exploring new digital tools and creating new paper planners, but then I wouldn’t have all this information to share with you.)
So, here’s some of my favorite digital planning tools (and, yes, I’ve actually tried them all out myself, so I’m speaking from experience):
Todoist – My number one favorite is todoist.com. If I were stuck on a desert island and could only have one digital planning tool, this would be it. As I said before, I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of pen and paper, but if I absolutely had to, this would be the app I would use. A few months ago, I majorly injured my ankle and wasn’t able to walk for weeks. I would often be on the couch with my phone and laptop and almost never entered my office, so I didn’t want to keep up with a paper planner at all. I used this app instead while I was injured, and it worked pretty well. Here’s what I love about it:
- The free version is super useful by itself, but the premium version is very affordable.
- They have apps for everything that all sync up magically (mac, pc, web browser, browser extensions, iphone, android, apple watch, etc).
- The appearance is very clean and modern.
- It super easy to set up all types of recurring tasks. You can type things like “every friday” or “every first Friday of the month starting August 7”. I also love that you can set up tasks to automatically recur at a certain interval only after you’ve completed the task. For example, if I want to change my air filter every 3 months, but if I happen to change it late, I still want it to happen again 3 months after I changed it last.
- They have both tags and projects. You can have as many tags as you want on each tasks. Plus they have a great search. I use tags like 15 min, 30min, 1 hour, so I can easily find 15 min tasks. You can also use tags like errand, phone call, etc, so you can group together like tasks.
- You can forward e-mails to ToDoist plus you can append notes with each task. That’s handy for keeping info about the task right there.
- I like their inbox system where you can add new tasks and then assign them to projects later. There’s a great drag and drop interface.
Here’s what I wish were different:
- Cloning a project or creating a project template isn’t super easy. It can be done but you have to export/import. I wish you could easily clone a series of tasks.
- There’s really not a calendar view. That would be super nice to view tasks from certain projects laid out on a calendar and be able to easily move them. It does integrate with several popular calendars, but I would just prefer a calendar right in Todoist.
Any.do – I’ve tried out Any.do, and I have very few complaints about it. I thought it was slightly less powerful than todoist. It doesn’t have the tagging option that todoist has, but it does offer some different views, especially on a phone which are pretty cool.
Here’s what I love:
- Free version, plus affordable premium version.
- Syncs up on a lot of devices.
- Really nice modern appearance.
- It has a lot of really useful views, especially on a mobile device, that a lot of tools don’t offer.
- Really focuses on showing you all your tasks for the day and lets you quickly check off, delegate, or move them.
- Does have good recurring task abilities.
What I don’t love:
- No ability to tag.
- I’m not aware of way to clone tasks/projects.
TeuxDeux – So this tool might not be quite as popular as the other two, but it really should be. It’s unique and simple, but powerful. I think it would come the closest to looking like a paper planner while still being digital. This tool is so simple and easy to use. It allows you to see all your tasks for the next five days. You can easily drag tasks around. In this way it’s pretty similar to have a weekly column layout physical planner in front of you. At the bottom you can make other lists, such as things you want to do someday or a grocery list or whatever. You can name the lists there, so they can be whatever you want. There is one month free trial, but you do have to pay a small monthly fee after that. There are phone apps that sync up.
Things – This one is for Mac and ios only, but it is pretty powerful. It’s an actual program, not something you log into on a web browser. It’s been around for quite a while. There is a free trial but after that you have to pay a one time fee of $49.99 for the program. That sounds like a lot, but you only have to pay once for life. It has tasks and projects and all that good stuff. The biggest downside for me is that the design isn’t quiet as modern as some of the other apps and it seemed maybe a little too powerful.
Cozi.com – Cozi is free (with a premium version option). The only thing I use it for is grocery lists, but I have yet to find an app that does grocery lists as well as it does. It’s super easy to switch between stores, add new items, check them off, and I love that you can put headings in your lists as well. Also, it syncs across devices for multiple users. That way both my husband and I can add things to the list.
I should also add that I use Evernote a lot, but I don’t really consider it a productivity app (although you could use it that way).
What digital planning tools do you use? (Oh, and did anyone notice how many overdue tasks I have on my Todoist??)