For those of you who think can keep all your activities and To-Do list in your mind, for those who still rely on paper and pencil, for everyone who does not believe that technology can improve your productivity… stop reading this article. For all the rest I hope this helps!
Given as requirement that I’m a Mac user and GTD (Getting Things Done, by David Allen) passionate, I will try to illustrate several options I have personally tested for To-Do lists and task management.
OmniFocus is a complete (and maybe a bit complex) task management tool. Calling it a to-do list would be a bit reductive. It has everything you need for complete organization of your work and private life, both if you use or don’t use the GTD methodology.
Different views, contexts, tags and projects makes OmniFocus a complete way to manage your activities.
Probably the weak point is the user interface, not very clean and very crowded.
On the other hand, a very powerful feature is the sync over-the-air funcionality which makes it easy to sync tasks with more than one Mac and/or with other devices (iPhone app available for 15$).
The cost of OmniFocus is 79$ for single user license.
Things is the real (and maybe unique) competitor of OmniFocus. It has most of the features of OmniFocus, but with an excellent mac-style user interface. Probably this is the most noticeable strength and it is what has brougth Things to fame.
Even if it lacks some of the features of OmniFocus it is probbaly suited for the majority of people working with task management.
The “assigning” feature is pretty intereseting, even if it is only a virtual assignment since there is no real “sharing capability”. You basically work by yourself and remind yourself someone else has a task in charge.
The real missing feature is syncing. You can only sync (between Mac an Iphone) on a wireless LAN and you have to do it manually! Things for Mac is $49 and iPhone app is $7.99
RTM has a totally different approach: it is totally web based, hence it automatically syncs all your computers and mobile devices (support for symbian, iphone, ipod, ipad, android, blackberry..)
Even though the UI is a very clean 2.0 web app, obviously it is not as advanced as its stand-alone apps competitors.
The iPhone App though is very celan and works perfectly well.
Tabs, tags and other interesting search features make RTM a suitable task management system even for the most demanding “organizers”. Using tabs you can easily create multiple projects, create deadlines (which will will have a push notification on iphone), assign tasks to people (really sharing or sending the task).
RTM is free or $29/year for a Pro account. iPhone app is free when buying a Pro account.
As a conclusion I can say that the first two tools are for a more personal task management, with no real need for sharing tasks with a team and for those who are really focused on user interface.
Remember The Milk is a bit of a paradigm shift, moving your tasks to the cloud and using at its best all the cloud computing advantages. No need to sync: all tasks are stored remotely and you will see them up to date when you use your pc, iphone, ipad.
Also sharing tasks is as easy as sending an email to colleagues and friends, who will find the task in their RTM Inbox and can then move it to a specific folder or project.
Oh and finally, RTM can obviously be also used by PC users 🙂