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Why I'm Abandoning Any.Do tasks

I’ve been a user of Any.do tasks for a while now after I discovered it at the start of the year. Although I had other todo list applications Any.do seemed to fufil a really useful function. It gave me a reminder about all the things I needed to do that day and looked good while it did it. I jumped in headfirst with as much enthusiasm as Moe first did.

I started to adapt my work patterns and recommended the app to friends and family (some of whom joined me in taking up Any.do) but over time I’ve moved from passionate evangelist to dishearted user who is looking for a new to do list app and there are a few obvious reasons.

Planning your day in the morning sucks

Although it is a great idea to look over your day first thing in the morning actually do any serious planning really sucks. I don’t like making big decisions in the morning when I’ve just woken up, I prefer going into instant action mode and getting some achievements under my belt early on. But when you have to plan you have to weigh up your priorities and try to guess when you’ll be free later. The net effect was I postponed everything because I’d already planned my morning the night before and I knew I would have time for it then but couldn’t really work when I would.

Unfortunately you can just move your Any.do moment to the evening and set tasks for the next day, the moments are always set for the morning.

The Reminders Don’t Work

One of the great features is you can snooze reminders, so if you are out and about you can just quickly snooze until a better time later. The problem is you’re given four options and the default settings are when I am almost always working or when I’m with someone. As such I ALWAYS have to postpone task. The fact that I always have to do this has developed a habit of ignoring the text and just hitting snooze, at the same time I don’t check my todo list any more because I expect a reminder, so it’s gone from being my second brain to pushing me back to using my memory (which isn’t naturally great) as I never look at my application.

There’s A Difference Between A Task And An Event

6149123076_10a80b02c1One great point I came across recently is that a todo list task and calendar event are different and you should be careful not to combine the two. A todo list tasks are actions that aren’t time dependent. there is no set time you HAVE to do them at, there may be a deadline but whenever you want to do them is okay.

A calendar event is time or situation sensitive as you have to do it at this time. An example is a meeting or doctors appointment. It’s not write this or that article. You have to be somewhere at some time with someone.

There are some times when you might have a bit of crossover (especially as you might need to be somewhere but not necessarily have a set time but more a deadline etc) but generally it’s easy to see how they are separate. The problem is Any.do’s reminders blur this line. They make you feel like you have to do this Task now at this time and if you don’t then you have failed!

With multiple reminders coming in at once sometimes it’s impossible to do everything when you get a reminder. It does feel great when you get to dismiss an action but it mostly seems to cause more stress rather than alleviate it and that’s my main issue.

[Check out Asian efficiency’s article on managing calendars and todo lists for more on this area]

Looking For A Replacement

Basically, although it’s a super app to use it’s actually resulted in making me feel more guilt and stressed about what I should be doing now, made me plan at the wrong time and doesn’t really give me a great overview of what I need to do. There are certainly good uses for the app and perhaps I’m overreacting but now it actually feels like it’s upset my workflow rather than aided. As such I’m back on the hunt for a new todo list.

What todo application do you use and why?

About Chris Wilson

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8 Replies

    1. Chris Wilson

      Any reason for Hightrack? Just sharing a link doesn’t really convince me a lot.

      1. tiPODgraphic

        The developers of this application are a poweruser of Things and other applications to track projects (GTD). This application/service reflects all the good things of the others, but with an approach that makes it more productive. You can use the service / application without paying (with limitations) to get an idea of its posibilities. Watch the video to get an idea of how it is and how it works.

        1. Chris Wilson

          Looks like a service worth checking out. The interface looks nice, simple and clean (which is something I still love about any.do tasks) The day overviews also look very good. Thanks for the recommendation

  1. Hi Chris,
    I have tried Any.do, Wunderlist – you name it. Over the last few months I have been using https://teuxdeux.com and absolutely love it – cause its got a week view as well as a category view.

    This app is open on my browser all day.

    For team tasks I use my own product brightpod.com 🙂

    Cheers,
    Sahil

    1. Chris Wilson

      Time and category based are very useful. As is a web version which can be accessed where ever. It’s been added to the “to check out” list.

  2. Did you find any? I am now looking for an alternate.

    1. Chris Wilson

      Well, I’m now using Todoist (and thinking about moving to 2do). I’ve changed the way I work a great deal since I used Any.do and these apps are both great.

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