How to Find a Great Task Manager

Finding a great task manager can be a daunting affair. Aside from the fact there are so many of them, there's only so much time that you can dedicate to trying them out. You'll never pick the right one first time, so how do you find a good matching task manager?

After three years of using Todoist I know that it works for me. A week ago I dabbled with Wunderlist out of curiosity, but I couldn't adjust to the different interface that Wunderlist offered. It's nothing to do with Wunderlist itself, it's a great task manager but it just didn't work for me. That's the key thing to look for when assessing task managers. Find the right one that works for you. Here's how to do it.

Ask yourself what's the three critical features that you need from your task manager. It might be portability, it might be integration with other services, it might even be important to you to use a hand-written notes. Whatever is important to you then add it to a list.

This is important because if you're blindly testing task managers without knowing what works best for you, then you're going to find it hard to find one that works for you.

I chose Todoist because it has three features that I think are essential to how I work.

  1. Todoist has great email integration. The inbox and each project includes their own email address so that I can quickly capture tasks on the go and while I work.
  2. Todoist has a minimal user-interface. This is important to me because it lets me focus on reviewing tasks, picking the next one and moving on. Todoist's user-interface is simple and offers little in the way of distractions.
  3. Todoist is easy to use. Click, drag, type. The hallmarks of any desktop or web based application, but Todoist makes it easy to move tasks, edit tasks and find tasks.

If Todoist was to close down overnight and I had to pick a new task manager then I would look for a new task manager that matched at least two of these requirements. Three would be a better match, but it's not essential that the task manager you pick meets all three requirements.

By identifying the features that are essential to me, I've been able to find a task manager that doesn't distract and gets the job done. Your requirements might be different though so that's what you need to look for. Find your own essential requirements and you'll find it easier to find a task manager that works for you.