My Tools: Wunderlist

Managing my tasks my way with a bit of help from technology

Benjamin Franklin once said:

In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.

There’s another things that’s quite certain and that’s lists and in particular to-do lists.

The lists always exist, it’s our choice how we manage them. There are many-many choices for methods of managing to-do lists and a correspondingly long list of applications that support the methods. My personal choice of application for the management of to-do lists is Wunderlist.

I’ve used Wunderlist for a while now and initially chose it because I liked the user interface on my iPhone. Some people are very particular about their to-do lists and adhere to them strictly throughout each day, I’m not very particular. There are two reason for a to-do list as far as I am concerned:

  • To remind me of things I’m likely to forget.
  • To get things out of my head so that I can think about other things.

This means that my to-do list regime is not highly structured.

I have a number of lists and items are placed on those lists as I remember them. The lists are structured around various areas of my life:

  • Work
  • Family and Home
  • Blogging

The items within each list are then prioritised in a very simple structure with the important ones being starred and the time critical ones having a due date defined. The ones with a due date assigned normally also have a reminder defined depending upon how long I need to get the item completed.

Wunderlist allows me to live within this structure and prioritisation regime very easily and that’s why I like it.

As well as the list views Wunderlist gives a number of useful views:

  • Starred – which shows all the starred items separated by the list titles.
  • Today – which shows all the items with a due-date of today (or earlier)

My primary usage of Wunderlist is still on my iPhone because that tends to be the device that I’m using when I’m thinking about my activities. I also use the Chrome application. I sometimes use the Chrome extension to quickly add a web page to a to-do, but that doesn’t happy very often.

I only use Wunderlist as my personal to-do list manager, so there are a number of features that I don’t use. I’ve never used shared to-do and hence never used chat or had anyone put a task in my inbox. I don’t normally add files to tasks, rarely use sub-tasks within an item, nor changed the background so never had a need to upgrade to Pro. I haven’t used folders either because that’s a layer of complexity in the structure that I don’t need.

The biggest challenge, I find, with to-do lists is not managing the list it’s doing what’s on them. This isn’t an application issue, this is a Graham issue and I don’t see any application ever being able to do that for me.

(Off now to click the task in my blogging list titled My Tools: Wunderlist)

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