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Amy.do

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I’ve been going on and on about meal planning lately (see here and here and here), so today, a departure to explore another favorite topic of mine: my to-do list. More specifically, my to-do list app.

I’m a bit of a list-making app slut, a regular in the Productivity section of the App Store. I install a different one every week, give it a spin, think to myself, “this is the one!”… but invariably I start to feel disillusioned, uninspired, and disappointed, and it’s on to the next. There’s nothing wrong with these discarded apps – they all deliver their features as advertised, but somehow they were not helping me become the ultimate effectiveness champion of my dreams. (I’m such a nerd.)

Because, here’s the thing: it’s not all about the app. Fancy bells and whistles and a sleek interface can’t make up for complacency, forgetfulness or laziness. Furthermore, you need a good system for staying on top of your to-do list – a routine for adding tasks to it, a consistent method for checking it, and a commitment to actually getting the stuff done. And the features and the logic of the app have to click with your personal organizational style, or it’s useless. And so I’ve been really pleased the past few weeks to have found a new app that works for me.

I think it’s the one. It gets me, you know?

I’d like to introduce you to the object of my app affections.

Any.do for iPhone

Any.do for iPhone

Name: Any.do

Cost: Free! (How are all of these things free?! I don’t get it.)

Favorite features:

1. This is a nice looking app. It’s sleek and designy and I love the whole aesthetic of it. It shouldn’t really matter, but it does. I’m more motivated to use something that adds beauty to my day.

2. Like most to-do apps, adding a task is intuitive and quick. Auto-fill options show up for you to speed up your entries but they don’t automatically populate, which would be annoying. It links to your Contacts so if “Call Lauren” is the to-do, you can click right there to call. The voice entry feature is great too – I’ve used it several times. One of the best effectiveness tips is to get in the habit of writing something on your to-do list the moment it comes into your mind. A speedy and streamlined interface is key for this.

3. I like that it guides me to think in terms of “Today”, “Tomorrow”, “Upcoming” or “Someday”. You can also enter a task onto a specific date, of course, but for many of my tasks (e.g., make hair appointment, buy anniversary gift, pay credit card bill) I think more in terms of “am I going to get this done today or tomorrow?” Today tasks that aren’t completed will show up again tomorrow. Upcoming tasks are set automatically for a week from now. You can also organize by folders instead of by timing, for instance one folder for house renovation tasks, one for birthday party plans, etc., but I prefer to organize my thoughts around when I’ll get something done.

4. For any task you can set a pop-up reminder for a particular time. This sounds like a feature that any self-respecting to-do app would have, but alas, the last one I used had no notifications! It was madness, I tell you.

5. The absolute best feature of this app – the feature that, I think, makes it the perfect app for me personally – is its “Any.do Moment”. Once a day, Any.do will prompt you to “take a moment to plan your day.” I have this set for 7am. Anyway, you click on it, and it brings up, one at a time, each task that is in the “Today” category and you are prompted to decide if it stays on today’s list, at which point you can choose to set a reminder pop-up if desired. Or, you can decide, based on a realistic assessment of your day ahead, that you can or should move it to “later”, at which point you’re prompted to decide if it’s something for tomorrow, or in 2 days, or next week. When you’ve gone through all of the items that had been scheduled for “today”, it sounds a congratulatory tone and you see a motivational phrase on the screen, for example, “Like a Boss!” and “Today is the day!” It may sound hokey but I love it!

This feature solves the problem that has always plagued me, ever since I gave up paper lists in favor of the touchscreen variety: I forget to look at my lists! I’m soooo organized right up until when I have to actually do something, and then, oops. That was today? The Any.do Moment has helped me close the loop.

Anyone have an amazing productivity app they want to share with me? I mean, Any.do is perfect for me… right now… but let’s face it, at the end of the day I’m probably not a one to-do list app type of gal. 😉

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