One of most useful tools for a busy day (and life) is a to-do list. And, arguably, the to-do list is one of the ubiquitous apps for PDAs and now smart phones. While I never much used my old Palm Centro’s Tasks app, I’ve used to-do lists almost daily at work. There’s something very satisfying about ending the day and seeing that list (long or short) with everything crossed off! Of course, if nothing or very little is finished, well, that can be a bit disheartening, but alas, not every day ends well.
One of the first apps I got for my WP7 phone was a to-do list, in this case Compiled Experience’s To Do Today, and I’ve used the paid version for about a week now. How’s it working out? Pretty well, actually.
Upon starting To Do Today, you’re immediately presented with two pages – Today and Categories, and that’s it. While I was annoyed with this at first, the fact that you’re not overwhelmed with everything from the get-go is something I appreciate now. From either of these pages I can add a new task or category, but more on that later.
By only showing today’s tasks, I can focus on what I need to get done today rather than fret about a heaping pile of tasks lurking around the corner. As such, it helps me focus! Very nice, and a massive step up from my old Palm’s Tasks which was something I dreaded to look at.
The next heading is categories, and this is pretty much everything else. You can create categories to put things under, and it will keep both an overall and a by category count of things done, incomplete and overdue. You can edit and delete categories on this page by expanding the bottom menu. I like this since it’s a “safety” to prevent you from accidentally messing something up. New categories can be created in this fashion, and again, is kept safe from accidents by the bottom menu. All categories can be named and given a color code to help with identification.
Adding tasks is as simple as pressing on the “+” at the bottom of the screen. Give it a name, due date, some notes, category, priority, and occurrence/frequency and you’re done. Relatively quick, and nothing traumatic.
When on the categories page, you can select a specific category to view. This is where you can look at things due today, this week, this month, and everything under that category. It is worth mentioning that when it says “this week” or “this month” it means just that. For example, on Sunday (February 27) a task I had due on Thursday does not show up under “this week” or “this month.” This can be a little disorientating at first, but the behavior is consistent with trying to keep you focused on things. Checking with “All” will see what the future holds.
When looking at a task you’ll see all the details you entered, allowing you to edit it, delete it and mark it complete. The bottom menu also allows you the option to email and SMS the task, but honestly I have no needed to do either. I find that the extra information is particularly useful since you can be a bit more detailed there than under the category or task names. Again, you’re shown what you need to see and know, but at this level you’ll have everything since you can see that one task only.
When I started using To Do Today, my categories were all very broad. As I got a little more experienced using it (and had a good suggestion from my brother), I began making specific projects into their own categories thanks to the ease of which I could make and delete them. Individual tasks were the steps for that project, and with just a few minutes I had laid out three projects with multiple steps/tasks for the next month. When I’m done with them? I can delete the category. Its wonderfully convenient, and helps me to see my progress on those projects!
To Do Today has been stable and I can’t say its ever felt slow. I bought it after the 1.4 patch, and have been quite satisfied with its current state. Will there be more updates? Can’t say – I don’t know. But even if there’s not, its perfectly fine as-is, which is fantastic. It’s a great app, and something I can definitely recommend to anyone in need of a good to-do list. There’s a free trial, with the app itself being a very inexpensive $2.99. Its been pinned to my start screen, and gets used daily. I’m looking forward to seeing what else Compiled Experience does next.