Put Things Off: The Laid-Back To Do List

There’s no shortage of task and to-do list managers for the Mac and iPhone, but today I’ll be looking at one which takes a slightly different approach. Put Things Off is a new iPhone application from Spiffing Apps with a beautiful interface and simple goal.

Rather than offering a huge array of scheduling and grouping features, each to-do has three simple options: Today, Put Off, or Done. This review will take a look at the design, basic functionality, and also show a few competing iPhone apps which may be of interest.

Design

The first thing that you’ll notice about Put Things Off (PTO) is the antique, wooden design. This major departure from a standard iPhone interface really appeals, and makes the application feel fun to use.

The basic interface design

The basic interface design

At the same time, it doesn’t detract from usability. PTO functions exactly as you’d expect it to and remains intuitive. Icons follow the same theme throughout the interface, so once you’ve got to grips with how PTO works you can very quickly navigate visually around the app.

Functionality

As mentioned previously, the basic premise of the app is very simple. You enter a task which immediately appears in your Inbox. If you’d like to, you are also able to specify a due date to automatically move the task into the “Today” section on a given day.

Adding / Scheduling a to-do

Adding / Scheduling a to-do

Tasks appear as a small, rectangular note with two icons. If you’re viewing the Inbox, you can either move a task to Today, or Put it Off. If viewing the Today section, tasks can be Put Off or marked as “Done”. PTO uses contextual design very well to minimize interface clutter.

Viewing all to-dos

Viewing all to-dos

When moving a to-do item around, visual animations help to show exactly where you’ve moved it to. Very handy if you accidentally tap the wrong button. Editing a to-do once added can be done through double-tapping it – something that isn’t immediately obvious.

And that’s it! Nothing spectacular, nothing complicated. Just a simple, well executed to-do list system. It allows you to do one thing with great ease.

Similar Apps

It’s worth noting a couple of other applications which can help achieve a similar result (these links all go to the App Store):

With the exception of Things (which I’m a big fan of), I don’t feel any of the above apps really come close to offering the enjoyment of using Put Things Off. That said, they’re worth taking a look at to see if they suit what you’re looking for.

Conclusion

Put Things Off is priced at $2.99 – very reasonable for such a well designed application. If you’re looking for a tool for managing a very simple to-do list (or are trying to cut down your daily schedule into one or two “key tasks”), I would definitely recommend taking a look at Put Things Off. If you need calendar integration, groups, syncing or any other advanced features, this app isn’t for you.

The developer notes that future updates are likely to include a search/filtering feature to automatically recognise contexts (“@work”) and tags (either “/mytag” or “#mytag”). This would be great, providing a simple way to break down tasks into different areas of your life. I would certainly find it useful to separate work and personal to-do items.

If you’re interested in reading more, take a look at the introductory video, or check out Put Things Off on at App Store.


  • http://www.simpleleap.com/cram/mac.htm Cram Mac Flash Cards

    The interface looks really slick and easy to use. Might be something I may check out.

  • Sigh

    what a load of crap. This is heavvvily inspired by Things just with a different spin on words. And top top it off they stole Things’ logo and used it as their icons at the bottom of the app.

    • http://www.simpleleap.com/cram/mac.htm Cram Mac Flash Cards

      I did notice that about their icons… it kind of combines Things for Mac’s 3D dimensions, with a little flatness of Things for iPhone icon. Kind of a risky move.

    • http://spiffingapps.com Nick Cernis

      Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure what you mean about ‘heavvvily inspired by Things’, though; if you actually use the app or watch the video on the site, you’ll see that it functions completely differently; I designed it to be a refreshing change from other todo lists.

      The app icon was designed for me by http://apporacle.com. I appreciate that it uses a tray device like Things, but that’s where the similarity ends — it’s drawn from a completely different perspective; the moulding shape and textures are dramatically different; it uses a folded note corner to mirror the UI in the app itself, and it’s probably one of the only todo apps that doesn’t use a tick as an icon!

      It’s tough to create an original todo list app when there are so many out there, but I’m confident that what I’ve built bears no resemblance — in both design and function — to what’s around already.

      @AppStorm: Thanks ever so much for a wonderful review!

      • http://www.infopassion.ch/ Pat’Jay68

        Hi there. Will it be possible in the future to mail and / or syncronize one or more tasks ? How long can a task be ?

    • http://davidappleyard.net David Appleyard

      Thanks for the comments. If you downloaded and used Put Things Off for a couple of minutes, you’d find that it really does function completely differently for Things – it bears no resemblance.

      The icon is conceptually similar, but drawing inspiration from another style isn’t a crime!

  • http://spiffingapps.com Nick Cernis

    @Pat’Jay88: Tasks can be a few words or a long sentence — they’re not limited to the size of the square task area (try to be succinct, though — it’s much easier to work that way!).

    If a task doesn’t fit in the display area, Put Things Off just shortens the task name by adding an ellipsis (…) at the end. From there, double tapping the task brings up the edit screen, which allows you to see the full task name if you need to.

    No firm plans to add syncing at the moment — it adds a great deal of complexity, and I’d only add it if I could find a simple and elegant way of doing it. Thinking about adding email export to get notes out of Put Things Off, but no immediate plans for this. Also considering the possibility of being able to send an email to a secret address and have it appear in your Inbox, but again, this is something that would appear later if at all. I’m concentrating on smoothing things out and adding the sorts of small, simple features that make big improvements.

    Coming in the next update: choose which tray you see on startup.

  • Pingback: Putting Things Off 2: Embrace Procrastination | iPhone.AppStorm

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