Google Productivity Pad: The ToDo List Quest: The Criteria

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The ToDo List Quest: The Criteria

When you set out to do something it is best to have a plan to get it done. Since I have set out on the todo list quest and started looking at various different programs I decided I need a list of criteria to judge them against, and "ideal" if you will.

Now it is always good to have your ideal in mind when you set out to find something, but you cannot expect your ideal to exist unless you make it yourself. Since I am not a software programer I cannot make my ideal todo list program, but I want to find something that is as close to a match as possible.
Here are the important factors I have come up with so far:

iPhone app:
This probably goes with out being said, but whatever program I use must have an iPhone app, that is how I handle most of my todo list management.

Works offline:
I mentioned this as one of the killers before, I can't have a list that won't work without internet because I spend a good chunk of time without internet and still have to be able to add things to my list and check them off.

Email Integration:
One of the best features of IQTELL was the ability to manage email from the same system that managed your tasks. That type of close integration is rare in todo list apps, but I would like to find it if I could. The next best alternative is to find an app that I can add to via email. Then I can at least forward from which ever client I am using straight into the todo list.

Recurring tasks:
There is a lot that happens in life that is routine, so it is helpful to be able to make tasks that recur at given intervals.

GTD Ready:
I try to follow David Allen's "Getting Things Done" methodology even though I am not great at it. It really helps to have a system that is already ready for that. Perhaps I was spoiled while using IQTELL but it was great to have a system that already had concepts like the "tickler" and the "someday/maybe" list built int.

Nice UI
This is being picky, but it is important. When you have an app that you are going to be using a lot everyday it is very helpful to like how it looks and be able to navigate it easily. If the UI is bad you are less likely to actually use the system.

Multi tagging
This goes along with being GTD ready, in order to do the system you need to be able to tag a todo with multiple criteria such as context, time needed, energy required, etc. Along with being able to use multiple tags on a task I also would like to be able to search on multiple tags with both AND and OR functionality so I can bring up exactly the set of tasks I need at that moment.

I work on several different machines and I like to have my tasks available on all of them, so I need syncing between devices. Obviously along with that I need a system that has apps on all devices as well.

And here is the kicker, I would like something that works really well with all the features that I want, but I don't really want to pay for it. Well, that is not quite true, what I don't want to do is pay for a service I find that annoying and beyond my budget (remember I don't even have internet at my home or on my phone). I would be willing to pay a one time upfront price, but paying month by month to write down my tasks is a little more than I want to do.

So there you have it, the (current) criteria for my quest. I don't ask for much, just perfection. In all reality I know I will not find the perfect app, but I like to know what it looks like so I can aim for it. These are the items I am listing across the top of my spreadsheet. They are the functions that I think will help me to remember to live better.

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