To-Do: Find the Right To-do App

Having recently gotten married, I’ve gone through a few months of hectic planning and the attempt to organize tasks, assignments (from the wife-to-be) and various to-dos that come along with joining in holy matrimony. I tried out pretty much every to-do app available for iOS/iPhone/iPad, as well as a few web-based systems.

Update 2019-04-03 Finally updating this to remove the broken link to the Mailbox app website, since this app was sunset by Dropbox in February of 2015.

Some of the better systems that I tried included Wunderlist, TeuxDeux and Clear. I was looking for the ability to obviously create tasks with reminders, but also to be able to assign them to others and categorize them. While many of these apps were designed well and did one or two of those functions very well, none of them completely met my needs.

The solution I ended up with involves use of 2 apps: Apple’s Reminders and Mailbox.

So, after spending lots of time researching and using other to-do apps, it turns out that Apple’s default Reminders app does pretty much everything I need. You can create tasks, turn on reminders per time or per location, and share lists with someone. Lists and items also sync over iCloud, so anything I do on my phone automatically appears on my desktop computer and vice-versa.

For more complex to-do items, or tasks that come from email (as they often do,) I am trusting Mailbox. It is an email app that makes keep track of messages and mail much less stressful. They designed it with email as a to-do list in mind, since that was what many people were using email for. It allows you to check off (or archive) email that you don’t need to do anything, hide and be reminded later of mail that you can put off for a while, and helps you get to the satisfying and relaxing empty inbox. It takes a little while to get used to, but once I had used it for a few days I ended up loving it and probably won’t be able to go back.

Both of these apps are free (Reminders comes with iOS devices and Macs, Mailbox is a free app but requires a Gmail account, for now.) Try them out and see if you agree.