Online task lists

I end up carrying around several notebooks with me at any given time, mainly because I grab whatever is near when I plan, and end up with task lists spread between several notebooks. I’ve been thinking that it’s time to consolidate somehow, and have been wondering if there isn’t some free tool out there to help me.

Today I did some checking (I finally looked at one of my task lists) online and ended up trying out two task list services. The first was Keeyoo. It’s okay, but not very feature-rich. For example, I didn’t see any obvious way to reorder my task categories, so they would always be in the same order I thought of them. Not necessarily a big problem, but I could see it making it harder for me to use the system down the road.

It also didn’t anticipate how I think. For example, if I created a task for which there was no appropriate category I’d have to leave the task uncategorized while I go create a category for it. I’d then have to go back and assign that category to that task. A lot of trouble, really, at least in the setting-up phase.

Pretty soon I found myself wanting to go try something else before I put too much more work into getting my task list on Keeyoo, just in case there was something better. There was. Its’ called Toodledo. This one is also free, but includes some premium features that you have to pay for. But right away I could see this one was much better thought through. Their task entry window has a “enter multiple tasks” setting where you can create multiple tasks in one go, so long as they are uncategorized or in a single category. Just enter a new task on each line in the window. Very slick.

Even better, I quickly found that when creating a task, if the category (they call them folders) you need doesn’t exist you can create one right then and there before you complete creating the task. Perfect. And whereas Keeyoo lumped all tasks into a single list, or required you to click a tab off to the side, Toodledoo can group tasks in the main list, and order them any way you want. You can also change the order of your folders to either a custom order or simply alphabetical.

Another biggie is the ability to create “contexts”. A context is just that–the context in which you will do that task. Is it something you can only do in front of your computer, or is it something outside in the yard? Do you need to be near a phone, or is it an errand that needs to be done while you’re away from home? You decide, and you can group your lists by context to help you remember more easily to do things when you’re in that context.

Hands down, Toodledoo is the better system. It does a lot, and yet I can already see myself using the paid features, like the ability to create chains of tasks in a common goal or project. The remaining question is whether or not I’ll use it any more or more effectively than I do my paper system. I find myself frequently at a computer, so the ability to have my list anywhere I am is great. But it may not be so great if I forget to add items that come up while I’m somewhere else, say in the car, out in the garden, or at church–or my personal font of inspiration, the shower.

Yes, it appears to sync to mobile devices quite easily. No, I don’t have one, and don’t really want one yet.

So anyway, wish me luck. I’m going to try Toodledoo for awhile and see how well it works for me. If I remember I’ll report back in a month or so.

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