Help me find task management software for my snowflake needs
December 15, 2020 6:55 PM   Subscribe

I need a "to do" list or task management software in order to organize my many tasks. Back in the day I used Outlook's "To Do" function and it worked very well for me. I've been trying to use Google's similar service in Gmail but it's a disaster. I need something that works better. That something is not Trello. Wish list inside!

I have a Mac, and if it's something that can live on my desktop that's great. Bonus points if it syncs to my Android phone.

My wishes are as follows:
- will give me the satisfaction of checking a ticky box and having the task magically disappear from my to-do list. I absolutely HAVE to have my completed task vanish from default view. I loathe Trello's drag-task-to-different-column functionality with the fire of a thousand suns. In my head tasks are either completed or not, there is no "in process."
- will sort by date due, possibly also by time within date due
- will allow me to see all tasks for all clients sorted by date due (this is a huge failing of Google's app)
- if I have a recurring task, once I mark it done, it then sorts back into the list based on what day it is due (fuck Google and not showing a recurring task until the day it's due)
- sits on my desktop or in a toolbar so I can refer to it regularly. This was why I adopted Google's to do list, but in the immortal words of Green Arrow, "Google, you have failed this city."
I know there is some smart and well-organized MeFite out there who has a solution for me!
posted by rednikki to Work & Money (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I think Todoist does all of these, although you will probably be looking at a custom filter for the third and fourth. There’s a macOS app and an Android one and it’s fine in a browser. Two dimensions of sorting (disjoint but nested projects, free form tags). Pretty good natural language recurrence. Middling postponement. Designed around text, not pictures.
posted by clew at 7:09 PM on December 15, 2020 [3 favorites]

Microsoft Todo checks off most the features in your list I think. I use it every day and think it's great. Some commentary:

* The default for lists is to show completed tasks, but you can toggle it off
* Lists can be sorted by due date but only with day granularity. Secondary sort is by creation time.
* Views are consistent between devices, assuming that's what you meant by client
** If you instead meant "people I am doing work for", and that you have multiple lists of things, there's a "My Day" tab to see tasks from multiple lists you are going to work on that day. This fits well with GTD style workflows I think.
* The next instance of a recurring task is shown in the task list as you describe
* There is a MacOS app, Android app and web app

Give it a try, it's free!

Also, I'd humbly ask you to consider that all the software you use everyday was written by people who have feelings. I'd hazard to guess that no Google software engineer ever implemented any behaviour with the specific intention to infuriate you. Most of the time we're all just trying our best to make something cool, you know?
posted by tracert at 8:00 PM on December 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Amazing Marvin should give you at least your first 4 requirements. It is basically the To Do list app to end all other To Do list apps because it brings in most? features of various to do lists apps into itself in a modularized fashion. The way you'd implement the due dates views is via a "smart list" -- defining by logic what types of to do lists you'd like to see. It has tagging / projects which'll give you ways to sort tasks by clients.

As for your last requirement, Amazing Marvin sit in your web browser as a tab, or on a mobile app (but I think it is implemented better in web browser).

Okay, here's the downside, it's expensive. But, it has a 30 day free trial so you can see if it'll work for you. AND, the developers are very user focused. I had a question about if a specific feature could do ABC, and they wrote back to me in a day, saying they just implemented that new bit of functionality to allow for ABC. WOW.
posted by ellerhodes at 8:00 PM on December 15, 2020

i recommend remember the milk (don't let the ugly cow put you off!). ticky box that disappears functionality, and will sort by due date. i don't use recurring tasks, but apparently yes it does that. and not sure exactly what you're picturing wrt "all projects", but the inbox should handle this. it's browser & app, so i have the android app but use the browser on my mac. a lot more functionality i'm personally not leveraging, it's been reliable and very easy to use, and i'm on the free version.
posted by tamarack at 10:12 PM on December 15, 2020

Like you I also love Outlook Tasks, so good news: You can use Outlook on a Mac, and it has the same Tasks functionality (as far as I know) as the Windows version.

It will cost you $6.99 a month for the whole Office suite, but personally I happily pay that, and "free" isn't in your list of requirements, so I say stick with what you like.
posted by underclocked at 6:44 AM on December 16, 2020

I’m near-certain that what checks all your boxes (and will let you check all the boxes) is TickTick. Even the free version can I think do everything you’re describing.

I spent a lot of time a few years back procrastinating on focusing on tasks by focusing on task management instead - assessing ToDoist, Remember the Milk, Microsoft To-Do’s predecessor Wunderlist, and a bunch of smaller-scale tools. TickTick had all the functionality I could think of (plus they’re constantly adding more — it now works well as a habit tracker and has a Pomodoro timer built in should you want it) and a clean interface. Handling repeating tasks correctly (the way you describe) was a big thing for me and TickTick did so very intuitively, exactly as I wanted/expected it to.

It’s very Mac- and iOS-friendly but is fully cross-platform (it also operates as a Chrome plugin, which is how I use it on my work Windows box should I need to). It’s actively developed though the company is small — the iOS app has Home Screen widgets available already.

My only frustration with task management now is me — giving a task I really don’t want to do a deadline, having it staring at me at the top of the list, doesn’t make it easier to get it done. And setting up too many reminders makes it easier to bat them down as a mindless response....
posted by sesquipedalia at 6:49 AM on December 16, 2020

I do all the things you mention with Dynalist, but it is not an out-of-the-box solution. I had to set it up that way, using a combination of recurring tasks and tags. You'll need the Pro version, but there is a 14-day free trial.

Agree about Trello, which is why I tried Dynalist and won't ever ever look back.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:50 AM on December 16, 2020

I highly recommend Teamwork. I have been using it for years and they iterate and improve very thoughtfully and consistently. Although they're showing a card-style view of tasks there on their website, I use (and prefer) the simple list view that is also available. I think you will like the "Everything" screen where you can sort and filter to your heart's content. You can try it for free for a single project. There is an android app which has been handy.
posted by missmobtown at 4:24 PM on December 16, 2020

Thanks to everyone for your responses. Lots of great recommendations here and I plan to investigate all of them!

Regarding my rage about Google's task list: this was not a complaint about the coder but a complaint about the company. If you search online, you'll find that users have been begging for these features for literally years. I am sure whoever was on the project did their best, but unfortunately it looks like Google the company decided to abandon it (as they do with so many things).
posted by rednikki at 2:11 PM on December 17, 2020

I am pretty sure Freedcamp does all the things you want, and they have a very robust free tier.
posted by kristi at 8:15 PM on December 17, 2020

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