You know how to-do lists are meant to help you stay organized? Well, when you’ve got lists on your desktop, in three different mobile apps, on your fridge and on your nightstand, things can get out of hand.
Luckily, there are plenty of tools available to help you keep things in line. Some are free, some let you collaborate with others and some are just plain pretty.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular to-do list apps so you can stay on top of things:
Wunderlist is versatile, so you can use it to manage everything from deadlines to shared grocery lists. Collaborate with others on group projects, sync on the cloud—and for those of us who get off on organizing by subtask, there’s that, too. Even though looks aren’t everything, this app is pretty. You can choose from 16 different backgrounds, or go for the simple wood screen.
This is a good tool for groups that require a lot of collaboration drawing from different sources. While it’s a bit on the stuffy side, it works with images and documents stored in Dropbox, Google Drive, Evernote and Box. You can reply to comments that others leave on your notes, but its best feature is the ability to easily unsubscribe from things that don’t interest you.
Yeah, you’ve got stuff to work on with your colleagues, but Asana lets you create “workspaces” for pretty much anyone you want to share lists with. (Suddenly, pulling together that dinner club doesn’t seem so intimidating.) Asana gives you an activity feed, similar to Facebook’s news feed, to show you what people have been up to. It’s in real time, down to the keystroke.
Cost: Free for teams of up to 30 members. Beyond that, $100 to $800 per month.
This one’s great for basic lists. It’s easy to create, edit and (ahem) postpone tasks with the website’s cute, simple interface. The iPhone app works wonderfully, but it allows you just one wireless sync per day. Any more than that and you’ve got to pony up for the pro version, which can also sync tasks across multiple devices. To achieve even more order, you can sort tasks by location and add tags. You can also set it so that you get task reminders via Twitter.
Cost: Free for the basic version. Pro version is $24.99/year.
Like some of the others, Nozbe works with other apps like Google Calendar and Dropbox. But Nozbe’s real strength is giving overwhelmed procrastinators that extra nudge—it prioritizes steps in a project and tells you exactly what to do next. Learning to use it may be a matter of learning the jargon. (The website says “Organize in Projects but work in Contexts!”)
Cost: Plans range from $7/month to $37/month.
This is a popular one. If tasks get you down, Astrid will make them seem cheerful and fun. You can share lists and speak your tasks if typing isn’t your thing. It’s fast, the interface is simple and it syncs with Google Tasks. No wonder 40 percent of Lifehacker readers voted it tops.
What’s your favorite to-do app?
Gigi Douban is an independent journalist who writes often about business and tech.