I am not a fan of Getting Things Done.
I mean Getting Things Done, as in GTD, David Allen’s organizational and productivity method, though I also balk at just plain old getting things done. To wit, rather than join the Cult of Inbox Zero, I simply asked my campus IT to increase the size of my inbox by a gig.
Still, there are times when I need to-do lists. Sometimes big long multi-step lists focused on a single goal (say, taking care of the Kafkaesque-style barrage of forms, receipts, and signatures needed to get reimbursement for travel expenses). And sometimes merely a one-item list reminding me to pick up something at the grocery store (say, pickles. (Don’t Ask.))
For a while I’ve relied on Google Tasks, which I had high hopes for ever since Google opened its API. But frankly, Google Tasks stinks. Or at least the Android and iOS apps that use the Google Tasks API stink. They were clunky, had difficulty syncing, and there was no satisfactory desktop client.
Wunderlist is a free task management tool that is simply gorgeous to look at and also a breeze to use. Wunderlist has full-featured Android and iOS apps, as well as stable desktop clients for Macs and PCs. The web interface works well too. And they all sync with each other. Wunderlist just works, which is something I’ve had trouble finding in a free task manager.
A few highlights of Wunderlist:
- You can create stand-alone items or add items to “lists” (i.e. projects), which suits the two ways that I use to-do lists. I now have a list for Teaching, one for Research, and, having just finished up that time of year, one called Recommendations.
- You can add items to your to-do lists by sending an email to your private Wunderkind address.
- Wunderlist has built-in notifications that work with the Android and iOS notification centers, and you can also ask Wunderlist to send you email reminders.
My only complaint about Wunderlist is that it doesn’t have an ical or xml feed that can sync up with my calendar application. Between the small footprint of the Wunderlist desktop client and the home screen widget on my Android phone, though, I’ve learned to live quite well without this feature.
Have you used Wunderlist? Are there other task management tools you prefer? And regardless of the actual tool, how do you use them for your teaching and research?