Task Management Exploration

Looking for the ideal task management app.

Table of Contents

    What I want

    • Mac app
    • iOS app
    • Native, preferably
    • Offline with sync
    • Quick entry with natural language processing
    • Good “today" view
    • “This week" or “upcoming" view
    • Projects and folders for projects
    • Nice-to-have:
      • Custom filters
      • Logbook for completed tasks
      • Archiving of lists

    Exploring

    • Wunderlist — Currently using this. Love the natural language input, but I don't love the design of the Mac and iOS apps, and reminder timing can be bizarre and inconsistent.
    • Nirvana — Lots of features and seems to be a heavyweight in this category (despite me never hearing about it before). iOS app is web-based but it's very hard to tell – it's pretty good. No Mac app, but the web app is pretty good.
    • Firetask — Not a fan of its outdated Mac app design...
    • The Hit List — New iOS app seems nice, but the Mac app is a bit outdated.
    • TickTick — Very nice, clean design. Desktop app is a web wrapper but has a good quick entry screen. No natural language processing (can't say “asdf today" and have it scheduled for today), and no ability to categorize things in the quick entry screen, which is annoying.
    • Things — It's been three years and no signs of Things 3. So it's a sign of the sad state of task management apps that I'm trying this thing again.

    Tried

    • OmniFocus — Way too cumbersome. 9.5/10 on features, 4/10 on UX. Doing basic things like adding a new task to a project with a due date is just... annoying. Syncing is a pain in the neck. On the other hand, it has native apps for Apple platforms and has scheduled due dates and actual due dates and nice features like that. But this feels like the Oracle Database of the task management world – it's full featured, a lot of people still like it, you need handbooks to know how to use it well, there's a pretty nuts learning curve, and most people would be advised to try something easier.
    • Todoist
    • Toodledo
    • Everlist — The mobile app is nearly perfect, but it doesn't have a desktop component. The add screen is extremely easy and lets you select due dates in an intuitive way – today, tomorrow, next week, custom. The way that it manages views is excellent: you can view each folder individually, inside of which tasks are sorted by due date, and you can also view all tasks due today. That's fantastic. Swiping to complete or reschedule a task is extremely easy as well. The only downside of this app, and it's a big one, is lack of cross-platform support for web/desktop and sync. I'd like to see where this goes in the future, because the design of this app is absolutely stellar. One of the founders has a background in ergonomics, and it shows.
    • Taskware — Design initially seemed to be a lot better, but this is another team-based kanban-style app. Lack of native mobile app makes this a tough choice to go with, though. Good features for teams, but not a super great design IMO.
    • Asana — It's probably really good for teams, but I found it cumbersome to use for personal tasks.
    • Todoist — Didn't like the design of the iOS app and found the web/desktop app too simplistic.
    • Flow — Beautiful, really well-thought-out app but design was too team-focused. Lack of a decent today view on iOS was the dealbreaker. No quick entry on Mac. Cumbersome to set due dates on desktop. Beautiful UI, not so great UX.
    • MeisterTask — It's okay. A bit cumbersome and too team-forward on the iOS app, and no natural language.

    Explored

    • Task Pilot — Kind of like a different Asana. Too heavy for personal use, it seems.
    • Tasktic – Not a fan of the design.
    • TaskTorch — Interesting kanban-style-approach but too heavy for personal use.
    • Everlist — Absolutely beautiful and great design, but no desktop app.
    • Prio — Cool looking app but no desktop app.
    • Pomotodo — Nice simple app for individual pomodoro to-dos, but not a robust task manager (and not trying to be).
    • TaskFabric — Insanely complicated UI.
    • FacileThings — Way outdated UI.
    • Quire — Didn't like the UI. Kind of hard to use like Asana.
    • Doit.im — Lots of copy mistakes and design weirdness made this a somewhat uncomfortable app to use. (If you wrote this app, sorry!)