Tech 4 Productivity: To-Do Lists

Sticky notes are all over your desk. You’re on the phone with a client and you tell them, “yes, I’ll get that right over to you”. An e-mail pops up and reminds you of something else that needs to get done. You get off the phone, and suddenly start to wonder, “what was I supposed to do again?”…

It happens to the best of us. Life gets crazy and we’re pulled in so many different directions, sometimes it’s hard to stay focused on (let alone remember) the task at hand. This is where technology can really help you manage your tasks easily, effectively, and without forgetting!

Why You NEED To Write Everything Down:

Why waste the brain power trying to remember tons of tiny details? The second you think, oh, I need to do that!, write it down! Don’t try to remember it, even if it’s something you’re planning to do in the next few minutes. Get it down (preferably in your task management tool, see below) and forget about it until it’s time to focus on it. At times, it may seem like a waste. But every time you stop what you’re doing to take care of a “quick task”, you are wasting more time than if you would have quickly jotted the task down and gone back to it later. Take 2 seconds to jot it down and finish what you’re doing (without having to worry about remembering your next task).

Task Management Tools:

Here are a few of the task management tools that I have experience with, or that have been recommended by others in the real estate industry. I am a big proponent of “do what works for you”. I am also a big proponent of FREE. So my advice: Start with a free one, give it a good 30 days; if it doesn’t work, look at a different one (or a paid one). Below, I’ve summarized some of the most popular task management platforms. Click on a title for more information.

Wunderlist
Wunderlist is the task management system I use. Its simple design allows me to focus on my work without all of the extra “fuss”. It has everything I need to manage my day, and nothing more. It also has sub-tasks and notes, as well as the ability to attach files to tasks (file attachments are pro-version only, $4.99/mo).
Cost: Free
Devices: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, web-browser
Syncing/Cloud-Based: Yes
Multiple Lists: Yes
Repeating Tasks: Yes
Due Dates: Yes
Reminders: Yes
Priorities: No
“Today” or Upcoming View: Today and This Week views automatically pull all tasks with upcoming due dates from all lists
Collaboration: On the pro version only ($4.99/mo)

Any.do
Any.do is another popular to-do list manager. It has a simple, clean design. It’s unique “moment” feature helps you quickly and easily plan your day.
Cost: Free

Devices: iOS, Android, Chrome Web-Browser
Syncing/Cloud-Based: Yes
Multiple Lists: Yes, called folders
Repeating Tasks: Yes
Due Dates: Yes
Reminders: Yes, including location-based reminders
Priorities: No
“Today” or Upcoming View: Yes. Also includes a calendar view
Collaboration: Yes

Todoist
Includes extensions for Chrome and Firefox web browsers, as well as Outlook, Thunderbird, and Gmail to make generating tasks from e-mails simple. Todoist is organized by “Projects” with tasks and sub-tasks under each project. The premium version also has labels and filters to help you be even more organized.
Cost: Free
Devices: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, web-browser
Syncing/Cloud-Based: Yes
Multiple Lists: Label and color-coding provides similar functionality
Repeating Tasks: Yes
Due Dates: Yes
Reminders: On the premium version only ($20/year)
Priorities: Yes
“Today” or Upcoming View: Yes, using “label” functionality
Collaboration: Yes

The apps mentioned above a great for simple, straight-forward to-do list functionality. The two below are mentioned for those looking for more full-function task management abilities.

Asana
Asana’s primary function is collaboration. With the motto “teamwork without email”, Asana aims to remove e-mail from the equation when teams are collaborating on projects. Plans, files and conversations relating to a project are all kept in one place, including who is responsible for what. There is a web-version/dashboard that syncs with the Asana app (iOS/Android); it can also connect to popular third-party services such as Dropbox, MailChimp, and WordPress. Asana is free for up to 15 members per “team”. Premium plans available for larger organizations.

Evernote
I have to mention Evernote here. Though not created as a “task management” platform, it is extremely robust and expandable. Evernote is primarily a note-taking application. However, you can include checkboxes (which are searchable) and reminders to notes. Combine that with the limitless potential of “tags”, and Evernote could be the one thing you need – replacing to-do lists, note taking, cloud storage and client communication. Insert pictures, sound recordings, and any type of file into a note for reference. Evernote is free and available on all devices (iOS/Android/Windows/Mac/web-based). There is a premium version ($5/mo), which gives you the functionality to allow others to edit your notes, as well as search within PDFs and Word docs that are saved in Evernote.

 

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