Picking the perfect task manager

Of all the tasks that need to be organized from day to day — shopping, work, personal events and appointments — finding a task management app is surprisingly (and maybe a bit ironically) difficult. There are plenty of options out there for keeping track of your to-do list digitally, offering levels of complexity from simple checklists to multi-layer Getting Things Done systems of reminders, sub-tasks and team delegation. Not everyone needs a real workhorse to keep track of their day, but we’ve rounded up some of the most popular options in a guide that will help you decide how to take over your tasks:

Wunderlist for Mac, iPhone, Android, Windows

Wunderlist
Works with: iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, Web
Cost: Free, with Pro subscriptions at $4.99 per month and large business plans available.

We use Wunderlist here at the BizBuzz office, because the free version offers a good many of the premium options you’re going to find in the app descriptions below, like task and list sharing, task delegation, comments and notes, chat and more, all wrapped in a themeable interface that makes working with tasks look good. The most recent update allows for the grouping of lists into folders, which whittled our mountain of lists down to a few manageable groups, a welcome addition. The Pro version takes the app’s few limitations off, allowing for more than 25 subtasks per task and more assignments to team members, but it’s difficult to bump up against those limits, so the free version may suffice for a smaller team.

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Any.do
Works with: iPhone, Android, Web
Cost: Free, with premium subscription options for $26.99 per year or $2.99 per month.

With a minimalistic white and blue design, Any.do is one of the prettiest managers on the list. Tasks are organized within lists that are stacked on top of one another; tapping the list name expands it to show items. Simple. The web interface functions similarly, and since it’s an in-browser app, it functions across any platform that can browse the internet. Free features include cross-platform syncing, subtasks, comments, notes and reminders, with the premium service taking limits off of collaboration and sharing features, upping the file sizes for documents saved with tasks from 1.5 megabytes to 100 megabytes and unlocks location-based reminders, so you can get notifications as soon as you get to work or back home.

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Todoist
Works with: iPhone, Android, Web, Mac, PC
Cost: Free, with a premium subscription available for $29 per year.

Todoist is another minimally themed  app, though it doesn’t strive to be pretty so much as simple and clear, an appreciated distinction. One of the Todoist’s strengths is its compatibility, jiving with just about anything you can throw at it, even going so far as to integrate with Outlook and Gmail for you fans of working from your inbox. Standard to-do app features like subtasks, file uploads and reminders are all here, but Todoist also includes the option to rank tasks by priority to keep your attention on your most important work, color-coding for easier task identification and, with a premium subscription, integration with your calendar app so due dates appear on your agenda for the month.

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HabitRPG
Works with: iPhone, Android, Web
Cost: Free

So maybe the other apps have serious business written all over them, but this is one of the coolest task managers around because it turns your life into a role playing video game, complete with experience points, gold and unlockables. As you complete tasks on your list, your in-game avatar levels up, with an emphasis on bigger rewards for completing daily tasks that help you form positive habits. You wouldn’t want to use HabitRPG to delegate subtasks on the Jones account (it’s such an important account, after all), but if you’ve ever found yourself finishing a job and wondering why you’re not getting experience points and enough gold to pick up a new sword in the next town, this app’s for you.

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