2Do – How to Get Things Done, Quickly
I’ll admit it. I’m a (digital) organization junkie. I love programs that organize things really well, and look good doing it. There’s a certain beauty about good task management apps, in particular– an elusive balance between practicality and utility. Most software is too complicated. Nice-looking software is often too simplistic. And always, always there’s a program that does everything you want– except that one thing.
I’ve just begun using 2Do from Guided Ways to handle my iPhone to-do list, and I’ve been extremely impressed. Like all great software, 2Do
packs immense functionality into an interface that, for the most part, hides most of its complexity. Tasks which are fairly difficult or nonexistent in other software– such as repeating ToDo items, or multiple alarms set at different times– are made beautifully simple.
Come. I’ll show you how this upstart little app has done something no one else has.
The interface of 2Do.
is clear and easy to read: it’s designed to look like an old leather notebook.
The main view (which also runs in landscape) shows all your current tasks. At the top of the screen, you can choose how they get sorted– by due date, by priority, etc. — or tap the “focus” button to hide all tasks thataren’t part of a specific criteria. I like to have it hide anything that is not high priority for today or tomorrow.
Decide What to Work On
Working with tasks in 2Do
is super-easy. You can tap-and-hold on an item to get a beautiful black pop-up menu that lets you defer it (up to four days away), mark as done, delete, or share via Twitter, email and text message. On the right side of the screen are controls for narrowing your focus– you can set priorities, which are labelled with 1 to 3 bars, or “star” items you want to get done first. You can easily move tasks to another calendar– kind of like a folder, or context in GTD terms– by beginning to drag them until the calendar list appears. Marking, moving and adjusting tasks is made very simple, and since everything is done in one view, it feels much faster than other task-management apps I’ve tried.
Putting the “Flow” in Workflow
has numerous animations, especially for a simple to-do list app. Admittedly, they’re kind of silly, but they show a level of polish that is fast becoming the expected standard of iOS apps. When you check off an item, it is crossed out; if you uncheck it, the line is rubbed back off with an eraser. Pages flip; sync arrows roll, and the interface slides and pushes all over the place. My favorite of these happens when deleting an item: it folds into a paper airplane and flies away.
The core of the 2Do
difference is in its task entry view.I found that entering tasks in this app was pure joy. You can enter tasks rapidly, since each time you “create” a task, you are brought back to “create” another. Everything is saved immediately. But if you want more control over the tasks you’re inputting, simply hit the “edit” button, and you get this:
2Do puts every aspect of task creation right up-front. You can set repeating tasks, set more than one alarm, make tasks due at specific times, turn tasks into “projects” or “checklists”, map them to a location and have 2Do tell you what errands you need to run, and much more. What’s even cooler is that for certain options– such as an item that is due tomorrow– the next item you make will inherit that due date. This means you can rapidly wake up in the morning and enter every task at once, knowing that they will all be set with the same due date. This is a remarkably small feature, but one that constantly impresses me. Careful detail is what makes fantastic apps stand out from merely good ones, and 2Do practically oozes detail.
2Do also backs up and synchronizes to toodledo, an online service, as well as syncing to your computer directly using a small “helper” app that runs on your system. In practice, the backup and sync to toodledo worked flawlessly between two iOS devices, but things that were added on toodledo would not reliably appear on my iPhone. Be warned.
Is It The Best?
I’m not ashamed to admit it: I love 2Do. Having used its competitors, each of which have their own strengths, I found 2Do‘s meticulous organization, smart assistance and attractive interface to be a more than worthy entry into the iPhone task management world. Give it a whirl– it comes highly recommended.
There is also a Lite version which you can try for free!!
No iPad version yet, though I hear it’s coming…
Ease of use/simplicity: 4/5
the only confusing aspects are finding out how to sort your tasks and figuring out a good use for the multiple Calendars. The interface is otherwise extremely simple, lightweight, and readable.
Interface design 5/5
the interface of 2Do, now at version 2, is even more refined. Everything is extremely clear. Absolutely no complaints here.
I do still miss OmniFocus’ project types (parallel, sequential, single-action), but since 2Do is essentially parallel-with-sorting, it covers all the bases. 2Do’s main strength IS its sheer thoughtfulness. It’s filled with small flourishes such as auto-completing due dates or calendar names, allowing you to move items by dragging, or helpfully telling you how many pieces of data will need syncing. Fantastic thought went into this product.
2Do runs from $9 to around $4, with a free version available, and at any price it’s definitely worth it. Other comparable apps cost much more, and ask that you buy additional desktop software ($40 in the case of Things and $80 in the case of OmniFocus).
That said, this app desperately needs an iPad version Even better, buying the iPhone version now gives you an awesome new iPad version (both OmniFocus and Things have one already had this for months, but each charges a minimum of $20 for the iPad version).
What do you think of GTD apps on the iPhone? Are there features you’re still missing? Let me know in the comments!!