Wunderlist is dead. It was bought by Microsoft, left to rot for two years, and replaced by Microsoft To-Do: a poor impersonation of Wunderlist without several of its key features. For the past few months, the top item on my to-do list has been ‘find something to replace Wunderlist’. And now I have: Todoist.
I’ve dallied with a few alternatives since I found out Wunderlist had been placed on death row. I gave Microsoft To-Do a chance, but buying Wunderlist and then making it worse made me so angry that I could barely look it in the face. Google Keep is too free form and disorganised. And Any.do’s dismal interface and constant nagging to upgrade to premium features tipped me over the edge within a few weeks.
So why has Todoist won me over?
Todoist: power features
Wunderlist had a strong combination of cross-platform support, elegant interface and power features. Todoist also ticks all of those boxes.
Much like Wunderlist, tasks can be organised by category (work, personal, shopping etc) or due date (today, tomorrow, what do you mean you still haven’t done this you lazy wazzock?). Assigning categories and deadlines when entering tasks is brilliantly simple. Typing “Write PC Pro column by Monday #work” will automatically place said task into my work list with the stated due date. If you want to be more granular, you could write “9am Monday”, for example, and have the tasks ordered in precise chronological order.
If you’re a real to-do fetishist, you can further categorise your tasks with labels (say ‘PC Pro’ for the task above, to separate out different work projects) and filters (priority rankings, for example) but both of these are premium features (which I’ll come to later) and seem needlessly finicky to me.
Todoist: Alexa support
One of the great things about Todoist is its cross-platform support, and especially for Amazon Alexa. I’ve been running the Todoist apps for iOS, Android and Windows 10 and they all perform consistently and reliably. Punch a to-do task into one and it will be updated in the others almost immediately.
The Alexa support is the real clincher. It’s one of the default supported to-do apps and doesn’t require you to first open an Alexa skill before dictating a to-do, which would be a faff. Yell “Alexa, add pick up kids at 4pm to my to-do list” and it will be on today’s Todoist tasks within seconds. Likewise, if you ask Alexa “what’s on my to-do list” it will read out today’s pressing tasks from Todoist. The integration is immaculate.
Todoist: premium features
Then we come to the premium features, the options that are only enabled if you’re willing to cough up £28 per year for a subscription. The one biggie is notifications – you won’t get mobile alerts that a task is due in an hour or so unless you pay The Man. And whilst we’re talking about notifications, it’s also possible to sync your to-do list with Google Calendar, Apple and Outlook, so you can keep tabs on your tasks from a central calendar. In addition, a Todist email arrives in your inbox every morning, warning you of what needs to be done today, which is a necessary nag for dolts like me.
Attachments is another big premium feature. I was organising a trip to Guernsey this week and was able to attach all the flight info, hotel details and other travel docs to the Todoist task, so I could easily access them on my mobile, which was super handy.
Other premium features, such as graphs showing how many tasks you’ve completed seem like needless comfort blankets for those who like to prove how busy they are, but are harmless and don’t get in the way.
The thing I really admire about Todoist Premium is that you can trial all this for 30 days without handing over your credit card details and automatically lapsing into a subscription. It shows real balls when a company is prepared to give you the good stuff without preying on forgetful trialists. It says ‘this stuff is so good you’ll pay for it anyway’ – and I think they’re right.
There are some downsides to Todoist. The handling of sub-tasks is finicky and over-complicated. You can’t just quickly add a list of items for a particular shopping trip, for example. Instead, you have to choose which ‘parent’ to add the shopping item to, which is a proper pain in the backside. The feature that offers to automatically reschedule tasks to a suitable date is also little more than random guesswork.
But they’re the only notable drawback for what is an otherwise tremendous means of keeping you on track. I just hope Microsoft doesn’t take a fancy to Todoist anytime soon…