2Do: The Best Task Manager Yet?

2Do has been a mainstay among iOS task managers for quite sometime. Previously, editing tasks in 2Do was limited to using Toodledo’s web interface—for many users this is a less than ideal experience. Consequently, many 2Do users have been anticipating a desktop app for sometime. That day’s finally come, and 2Do for Mac is finally here.

How did this popular iOS app transition over to OS X? Pretty well I would say, as you can probably tell from the title. In this review I’ll compare 2Do with two popular competitors, Appigo’s Todo and The Hit List, and we’ll see how it holds up.

A Cross Between The Hit List and Todo

To me, 2Do feels like a combination of two task managers: Appigo’s Todo and The Hit List (THL hereafter). They’re both very good in their own right, but also each have some weak points. I have used both THL and Todo in the past, but have stopped using both for various reasons. 2Do takes the best of these apps and amalgamates them into, in my opinion, a truly great task manager.

Great Features Shared With Appigo’s Todo

2Do includes an impressive feature set, as does Apigo’s Todo app. Many of the best features of Todo are also in 2Do (wow, that’s confusing if you are having this read to you). For example, 2Do uses list colors to differentiate tasks by list regardless of which filter you might be using. This visual cue might seem like a little thing, but is actually very helpful.

This view shows all tasks due on a certain day sorted by priority. Notice how you can still differentiate which list a task belongs to by the color on the left hand side of the task.

2Do also features the same handy little calendar for scheduling and viewing tasks. Rescheduling multiple tasks is as simple as selecting them and then dragging and dropping to the appropriate date. Viewing tasks due on a certain date or date range is also possible by selecting the date(s) you want to view on the calendar. If you find yourself rescheduling multiple tasks or needing to know which tasks are due on certain days in the future, this feature is sure to save you some time.

For me, a todo list or task manager must have reminders. With 2Do you can set reminders that will come through notification center in both iOS and OS X. Reminders are easy to set with a keyboard shortcut.

2Do, like Todo, allows for multiple syncing options. You can choose to sync with Dropbox, Toodledo, or iCloud. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages—all explained in detail in 2Do’s extensive user manual. One of the syncing options for 2Do is through iCloud. This means that users can add tasks through Siri on an iDevice and the task will show up on 2Do for Mac.

Great Features Shared With The Hit List

The Hit List is a dream come true for users who prefer the keyboard to the mouse. Keyboard shortcuts in THL are intuitive and there is a shortcut for everything. 2Do also provides a plethora of shortcuts. While the keyboard shortcuts in 2Do are not as intuitive or well-implemented as THL—for example, after entering the shortcut to make a task repeat, you still have to reach for the mouse to complete the action—they are certainly a welcome addition and help the app’s usability.

Few things are as frustrating / disrupting as looking at a huge list of tasks to be done on a certain day with no option to sort them or group them together. With 2Do a list can be sorted by due date, priority, list etc. Unlike THL, 2Do can sort with or without headers.

There you are working through your task list for the day and notice a task that requires work on a file. So you navigate through finder or pull up the file with Alfred. An even better workflow would be to have the file attached to the the task itself. This is one great feature 2Do shares with THL (although 2Do will only allow for a link to the file not an actual attachment).

After using THL for quite some time, one feature I came to value is the hierarchical list organization. 2Do also offers this type of organization. Each list is collapsable, with projects nested within lists. Perhaps the biggest problem with Todo is that projects are sometimes hard to find within lists. With 2Do, all projects are accessible from the sidebar.

Here you can see projects nested within lists.

What 2Do Does Better Than Both Todo and THL

Successful app companies are diligent in working out bugs and ensuring their apps are easy to use and understand. Even with all that working going on in the background, bugs are going to pop up and some people are going to have usability issues. That is why before purchasing an app that fulfills an important function, it is important to look into how well the app it supported and how much a company communicates with customers. As far as I can tell, Guided Ways has a good record on both counts.

If you find yourself viewing your tasks with the same combination of tags or date ranges, over and over, you can create a smart list with 2Do.

Additionally, 2Do offers two options that do not require a syncing subscription and will not limit the app’s functionality. THL is going to cost you $20 a year to sync, and Todo withholds some features if you do not purchase their pro service at $20 a year, although it does offer other sync options for free. If you need to collaborate with a team, you can always purchase Toodledo’s pro subscription and still sync with 2Do.

A quick add feature is a must for a task managament app. Here is a shot of 2Do’s quick add.

Features Not Included in 2Do

Before concluding thoughts, there are a couple of things Todo and THL have that 2Do does not. Powerful apps with a lot of features can often look cluttered, and 2Do is no different here. In this area, Appigo’s version does a better job with several viewing options to cut down on clutter. It also sports a task zoom feature, which allows users to control how much information is shown for each task. THL does a better job integrating with Mail and other OS X apps through context task entry, which automatically adds emails, contacts and files to tasks depending on which app is in front when adding a task through the context quick add menu.

This is The Hit List’s context add feature. Here a task is being created with a link to the email automatically added to the task. This is one feature that would be great to have implemented in 2Do.

Conclusion

In this review, I compared 2Do to two competitors and basically argued that it does a good job of combining some of the best aspects of both of these apps. Now to answer the question posed in the title of this post, is 2Do the best task manager yet? Well, I did not include a couple of other competitors for this title in my review—Things and Omnifocus are the obvious ones, both of which I have tried. Although there are a couple of web apps I might actually rank ahead of 2Do, I would have to say yes. Even as a first version, 2Do is the best task managing option out there for me, and certainly worth a try if you are in the market.

 


Summary

An excellent task manager with tons of feature, a great UI, and an excellent iOS companion app.

9
  • Ed

    Alfred app and Reminders along with Asana work great for my workflow.
    But I’m also unorthodox in my approach of not waiting to use the mouse.

    • http://mac.appstorm.net/author/pwizla/ Pierre Wizla

      I strongly agree with you, Ed.
      That’s why I use a similar approach, using TaskPaper (which doesn’t store your tasks in a proprietary database, only as plain text files) and LaunchBar.

  • Chris O’Neal

    I wanted to like it, but I’m still on the fence about it. I have loved 2do for the ipad, and was waiting anxiously for 2do for the Mac. After using the demo for 2 weeks, the workflow needs some massaging, which I’m sure they will do. They are fantastic developers, and it’s an amazing 1.0 product.

    The areas they need to focus on, in my mind are:

    1. Syncing. While having a ton of different syncing options made sense when they were a standalone iPad/iPhone app, they now have their own ecosystem, and should create their own sync server, ala Omnifocus, The Hit List, doit.im, Things, etc. As it stands syncing is either relatively slow (compared to Things and THL) or full of caveats…

    2. Keyboard shortcuts. Copy The Hit List. Just do it. His keyboard shortcuts are sent from above. They’re perfect. I don’t want to press command-n to create a new task, I want to press enter. F to file, G to go, etc.

    The keyboard shortcuts and the lightning fast sync are the two things that still keep me tied to THL.

    • Chiller

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m very dissapointed with the syncing as it is now.
      Any word on if the dev is planning to adress this issue?

    • Mike W

      I agree about the Hitlist keyboard shortcuts – 2Do lags way behind. I actually like the sync option with iCloud because that integrates Siri into my workflow.

  • Reid Leamaster

    Very reasonable hesitations. I will say that while THL sync is fast, I constantly had problems with duplication, especially for repeating tasks. And amen to the keyboard shortcuts in THL. The implementation really can’t be beat.

  • http://appsmirror.com Karthick

    Hi, I am a Big Fan of Alfred and using it on my Mac. And I found Asana also a cool app. But I didn’t get the work flow on using Asana + Alfred… any reference or tuts… I guess this combo will be interesting

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