Several months ago, in an effort to become more organized and better track my tasks I abandoned my trusty pen and paper to-do list in favor of an app for my Android phone. I scanned the Play store and downloaded the top three free apps and gave each about a week of usage to figure out which worked best for me. All of the apps were quite good and shared a lot of the same features: Google Tasks integration, reminders, and a satisfying “cross-out” gesture to remove completed tasks. However, Any.DO was hands down the leader of the group and has since become an essential part of how I plan and organize my tasks.
What makes Any.DO great
- Minimal but tastefully designed interface and simple interactions: Adding a task is incredibly easy, with Any.DO automatically dividing tasks by time in four task folders: Today, Tomorrow, Upcoming and Someday. Moving tasks between folders is a simple drag and drop action that automatically changes the task due date. Refining tasks with additional requirements such as priority, categories and reminders is also a breeze. The autocomplete in the add task input was surprisingly good at guessing my input and using my contact lists to automatically add names.
- Integration with your desktop: The Google Chrome extension essentially replicates the apps functionality in a browser popup, allowing you to add, remove, and sort your tasks without using your phone. This made working across various computers easy with a login feature that automatically syncs tasks. The extension has great integration with Gmail, offering to add a task based on the subject line and sender.
- Daily Planning with “Moment”: Moment is a daily reminder that helps you quickly review and plan tasks you have set for the day. In a slick screen overlay, each task is given the option of today, later, done, and delete. The today option allows you to set what time to be reminded to do that task today, and later gives you several options for when to delay the task. You can see moment in action in this video from Any.DO. The interaction with moment is smooth, however the valuable part for me was that it reminds me to use the app. To do list apps are great, but also take a certain amount of discipline to continue to use. Moment really accomplishes this without being overbearing and intrusive.
Areas of improvement
- Syncing between the Chrome and app: Syncing does work, but I often found myself adding tasks in Chrome every morning and when Moment prompted me later on my phone to plan my day, the Chrome tasks were not yet there. I would often have to dismiss moment, open the app, and only then would it sync with the new tasks. While only a minor inconvenience, improved background syncing of the app with the extension would be helpful.
- Recurring tasks: It is possible to set a recurring task through daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly reminders but it is not simple to delete them. To completely delete a recurring task you need to first edit it to only occur once, and then delete as usual. I’d also like to see recurring tasks be automatically sorted into folders so I can quickly see my weekly or monthly tasks.
- Persistence: I often was in the middle of something else when moment prompted me, causing me to dismiss it. It would usually prompt me again every time I unlocked my phone until I completed my plan. I think the option to keep moment at bay if dismissed once or twice would be helpful and less intrusive. But it is a fine line of being too persistent and not enough, allowing me to neglect the app and therefor my tasks.
Overall, Any.DO was a great addition to my phone and browser and has really helped me get more organized. The other apps I checked out: Taskos Task list and GTask were both good and worth checking out if you don’t like the feel of Any.DO. You can find Any.DO in the Google Play store, the Apple App store, and as a Chrome extension.