Simply the Best Todo List: Wunderlist

Most todo apps are too complex.

Some cost too much.

Many aren’t there when you need them.

I have found a todo app that encompasses many of the time management strategies and philosophies of TMN.

It’s called Wunderlist.

And it hits all the right spots.

Did I mention it is free?

My Favorite Todo List

I get asked frequently for recommendations on productivity software. In fact, I have over 2 dozen Todo apps installed on my iPhone. I have tested apps big and small. Cheap and expensive.

Until recently, I had not found one that fit me just right.

Then I found Wunderlist. No other todo app has impressed me quite the way that Wunderlist has.

I have been using it for a few months now, and I am a total convert.

Wunderlist is produced by Berlin based 6Wunderkinder, which was founded in late 2010. Wunderlist has rocketed to popularity in the past 6 months. It crossed over a million downloads back in March, and is now available on almost every platform.

What separates Wunderlist from the pack is its design, simplicity, and effectiveness.

“A todo list must be there when you need it.

Simple enough that you can use it without trying, yet powerful enough that it always has your back.”

Often, todo apps are too complicated.

They suffer from poor UI design, or feature bloat, or are just hard to use.

- Should it take 47 steps to enter a todo?

- Do you really need to categorize your todos by categories, contexts, locations, contacts, dates, and flavors?

- Should a todo app have so many options that it looks like it belongs in the Microsoft Office Suite?

I don’t think so.

Hitting All the Right Spots

Why is Wunderlist so effective?

It just works.

It is there for you. Yet, stays out of your way.

It instantly captures what you need to do. And it keeps important things front and center.

Here is a quick pic from the iPhone app of Wunderlist:

When using Wunderlist, I find it a truly enjoyable experience. I can quickly document what I need to do, and I can instantly see what I need to accomplish today.

“Wunderlist strikes the perfect balance between design, simplicity, and productivity power.”

Here is how Wunderlist his all the right spots:

  • Great User Interface – Many todo apps fail out of the gate simply with the user experience. The majority of list apps are too complex. Too many steps to get things in. Too many screens and taps needed to get things done.
  • Simple Capture of Todos – It should be quick and simple to capture todos. When something crosses your mind, you want to be able to capture it quickly without effort. I have seen some apps that literally take 17 steps to get a todo entered.
  • No Bloat – Wunderlist represents a great balance between functionality and features. You can sort todos into multiple lists. You can set due dates if you want to. And you can “Star” tasks that are must do. I use this category for my “Today List.”
  • Multiple Platforms – I use Wunderlist across my iMac, Mac Air, iPhone and iPad. You can access via the web if you choose. It is also available for Windows and Android.
  • Awesome Syncing – No matter I am… my todos are there. Wunderlist seems to magically sync across all my devices. I never have to worry about wether I have manually synced or mess with wifi sync like some products. Wunderlist has the best syncing I have seen across devices. It is fluid and quick, and you just forget about it.
  • Shareable Lists – Need to share a list with a spouse or even a co-worker? Wunderlist does that, too. This is very useful for shared todo lists or grocery lists.
  • Price – Wunderlist is free. It is hard to beat that price. I am not sure the ideal price for a todo app, but I can tell you that it should not be $49.95. (Like another todo app that was just released…)

It’s Not Rocket Science

6Wunderkinder’s website states, “Using your software, shouldn’t feel like rocket science.”

I couldn’t agree more.

I believe in choosing tools that you’ll use, and tools that you enjoy.

Wunderlist fits this to a tee.

If you are looking for a todo list that is lean, mean, and simply works… then you need to try Wunderlist.

Look for more on Wunderlist from me in the near future.

Do you use Wunderlist? What is your favorite todo app and why?

No time for time management? Check out my online course designed to jump start your productivity! Take it online on your time and pace. As well, get direct access to me for advice and questions. Get details or enroll now by clicking here!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • LM7

    Out of curiosity: what to do app that was just released is $49.95 – is this some new app (I presume it’s not Things) that’s worth knowing about? (I have tried Wunderlist, and I found that it doesn’t really do the job for me.)

    • roolins

      The Hit List is good, quite pricey though and would love a Android app. Wunderlist just lacking a bit for me. Would love tags, nesting and setting a time reminder (especially on Android) would make it my go to app without a doubt. @LM7

      • TMNinja

        @roolins @LM7 True. If you are looking for tags, nesting, contexts, etc…. then Wunderlist may not be for you.

        I prefer simple and effective. I think that many people todo setups become unwieldy to the point that they are counterproductive.

        Then again, everyone should choose tools that work for them. That is always the best choice. And everyone is different. :)

    • barrymcbride

      @LM7 My assumption is that he’s talking about The Hit List. I’ve tried Wunderlist, Omnifocus, Things, Taskpaper, and Wunderlist. None have been a perfect fit. I’m using THL right now. The way folks manage their tasks is such an individual thing that I’m not sure that there’s any answer short of designing your own program that will nail it.

      • barrymcbride

        @LM7 Sorry, THL should be the last of those mentioned. I’ve also tried Nozbe and Nirvana, as well as using Evernote to keep tasks. Things has probably been the strongest of those for me, but the slow pace of development and sync there has been frustrating, so I’m using The Hit List right now.

      • TMNinja

        @barrymcbride @LM7 Barry, agreed. The lack of sync was what finally drove me away from Things a while back.

    • TMNinja

      @LM7 Yes… The Hit List.

  • AndrewGM

    Agree that Wunderlist is terrific. Been using it off and on since it was launched, and the ease-of-entry (a key requirement for capturing ideas, and WL is second only to paper, IMO) is excellent. The sole issue I’ve had with WL, other than some mild bugginess as the app matured from its first version, is that it’s not fully GTD-compliant, although tweaks are quite possible (e.g., it can be set up something like Outlook can be set up, which is explained by a downloadable guide from davidco.com; can’t remember if it’s free or not). I’d guess over time that the developers will add features that can help GTDers. As background, to-do apps I’ve used: Outlook, Omnifocus for Mac/iPad/iPhone, Things, Google Tasks, Nirvana, GQueues, and more. WL has them all beat for usability, quick entry, pleasant interface, except maybe for Google Tasks, which I understand is currently being worked on (so that’s something to watch for). GTasks is also a great alternative to WL for anyone based in Google apps. The other programs I mentioned all fall down in either complexity/too many steps/functions or in quick capture. So I’d say WL is probably best for simple or moderately complex needs, with GTasks next, and then Omnifocus (which is beautiful to look at and works great on the iPad — very nice review function). I know Things has its fans, and it’s nice, but again it doesn’t have usability of WL.

    • AndrewGM

      …and if you like Google Tasks, GeeTasks for iPhone is excellent. (I didn’t get into the whole Toodledo.com syncing with ToDo or similar for iPhone and also to Outlook — tried all that and eventually always ran into syncing problems; don’t like Toodledo interface either, but that’s just my opinion).

    • TMNinja

      @AndrewGM Andrew, good stuff. Sounds like you have used many of the todo apps out there, too.

      This may be a bit controversial, but I like @wunderlist specifically because it does not cater to the GTD system.

      Wunderlist , in my opinion, follows many of the principles that we discuss here on TMN.

      Simplicity. Ease of use. Less complexity.

      Before, I get a bunch of angry responses. I know that GTD is about “mind like water” and “getting things out of your head.” I am very familiar with David’s books. :)

      However, I find that GTD can be too complex of a system for many to carry out. I hear of too many people “falling off the bandwagon.”

      If you are looking for contexts, locations, tags, etc. Wunderlist may not be the app for you. I think Wunderlist’s “simplicity by design” is one of its strongest features. Just my opinion.

      Uh oh… what did I start… TMN vs. GTD? ;)

      • AndrewGM

        @TMNinja@wunderlist Well, your post has prompted me to try WL again. And I think it can be customized quite a bit for GTD. I’ll see how it goes.

  • DaveYona

    Great article, thank you! I have tried a bunch of different to do apps and found @Wunderlist to be the winner. Simple, clean design and amazing cross platform support do the trick for me. I know some people find it feature poor; for me personally iCal + @Wunderlist + physical and virtual folders (as per GTD) create the ultimate productivity system.

    • TMNinja

      @DaveYona@wunderlist I agree. I have tried *many* of the iPhone apps out there.

      I love the clean design and simplicity of use. For example, I can quickly add something to me “Starred” list without having to even place it in a list.

      Speaking of iCal… I have a post coming soon about an amazing Calendar productivity app for Mac. (hint hint)

  • LM7

    Out of curiosity: what to do app that was just released is $49.95 – is this some new app (I presume it’s not Things) that’s worth knowing about? (I have tried Wunderlist, and I found that it doesn’t really do the job for me.)

  • roolins

    The Hit List is good, quite pricey though and would love a Android app. Wunderlist just lacking a bit for me. Would love tags, nesting and setting a time reminder (especially on Android) would make it my go to app without a doubt. @LM7

  • AndrewGM

    Agree that Wunderlist is terrific. Been using it off and on since it was launched, and the ease-of-entry (a key requirement for capturing ideas, and WL is second only to paper, IMO) is excellent. The sole issue I’ve had with WL, other than some mild bugginess as the app matured from its first version, is that it’s not fully GTD-compliant, although tweaks are quite possible (e.g., it can be set up something like Outlook can be set up, which is explained by a downloadable guide from davidco.com; can’t remember if it’s free or not). I’d guess over time that the developers will add features that can help GTDers. As background, to-do apps I’ve used: Outlook, Omnifocus for Mac/iPad/iPhone, Things, Google Tasks, Nirvana, GQueues, and more. WL has them all beat for usability, quick entry, pleasant interface, except maybe for Google Tasks, which I understand is currently being worked on (so that’s something to watch for). GTasks is also a great alternative to WL for anyone based in Google apps. The other programs I mentioned all fall down in either complexity/too many steps/functions or in quick capture. So I’d say WL is probably best for simple or moderately complex needs, with GTasks next, and then Omnifocus (which is beautiful to look at and works great on the iPad — very nice review function). I know Things has its fans, and it’s nice, but again it doesn’t have usability of WL.

  • barrymcbride

    @LM7 My assumption is that he’s talking about The Hit List. I’ve tried Wunderlist, Omnifocus, Things, Taskpaper, and Wunderlist. None have been a perfect fit. I’m using THL right now. The way folks manage their tasks is such an individual thing that I’m not sure that there’s any answer short of designing your own program that will nail it.

  • AndrewGM

    …and if you like Google Tasks, GeeTasks for iPhone is excellent. (I didn’t get into the whole Toodledo.com syncing with ToDo or similar for iPhone and also to Outlook — tried all that and eventually always ran into syncing problems; don’t like Toodledo interface either, but that’s just my opinion).

  • barrymcbride

    @LM7 Sorry, THL should be the last of those mentioned. I’ve also tried Nozbe and Nirvana, as well as using Evernote to keep tasks. Things has probably been the strongest of those for me, but the slow pace of development and sync there has been frustrating, so I’m using The Hit List right now.

  • DaveYona

    Great article, thank you! I have tried a bunch of different to do apps and found @Wunderlist to be the winner. Simple, clean design and amazing cross platform support do the trick for me. I know some people find it feature poor; for me personally iCal + @Wunderlist + physical and virtual folders (as per GTD) create the ultimate productivity system.

  • varnitbanthia

    Hey,

    nice post.

    However, I found that your article though speaks about the Best-To-Do apps, it does not really mention that more important than creating a fancy To-Do-List is maintain and following it day after day.

    Perhaps you would like to recommend this: http://domoreinless.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-make-to-do-list.html

    • TMNinja

      @varnitbanthia Thanks for sharing! Good stuff.

      Here is one of my previous todo posts:

      “10 Things Wrong With Your Todo List”

      http://tmninja.us/fzsvmZ

      • varnitbanthia

        @TMNinja You hit the nail on the head with those points!

  • al.pittampalli

    I’ve heard so many great things about Wunderlist. Maybe it’s finally time I give it a try. Thanks for the rec, Craig.

    • TMNinja

      @al.pittampalli Al, give it a try. I like it because it is simple and just gets the job done.

    • http://startier.wordpress.com/ adycoles

      @al.pittampalli I switched to Wunderlist (from Things) a couple of weeks ago and the simplicity of use means it wins hands-down for me. Plus the syncing is so much better than Things’.

      • TMNinja

        @adycoles@al.pittampalli Great point. One of the reasons I left Things was because of the syncing limitations.

  • varnitbanthia

    Hey,

    nice post.

    However, I found that your article though speaks about the Best-To-Do apps, it does not really mention that more important than creating a fancy To-Do-List is maintain and following it day after day.

    Perhaps you would like to recommend this: http://domoreinless.blogspot.com/2011/04/how-to-make-to-do-list.html

  • al.pittampalli

    I’ve heard so many great things about Wunderlist. Maybe it’s finally time I give it a try. Thanks for the rec, Craig.

  • TMNinja

    @al.pittampalli Al, give it a try. I like it because it is simple and just gets the job done.

  • TMNinja

    @varnitbanthia Thanks for sharing! Good stuff.

    Here is one of my previous todo posts:

    “10 Things Wrong With Your Todo List”

    http://tmninja.us/fzsvmZ

  • TMNinja

    @LM7 Yes… The Hit List.

  • TMNinja

    @roolins @LM7 True. If you are looking for tags, nesting, contexts, etc…. then Wunderlist may not be for you.

    I prefer simple and effective. I think that many people todo setups become unwieldy to the point that they are counterproductive.

    Then again, everyone should choose tools that work for them. That is always the best choice. And everyone is different. :)

  • varnitbanthia

    @TMNinja You hit the nail on the head with those points!

  • nattylizon

    Teuxdeux.com is another great app, great interface and design

    • TMNinja

      @nattylizon Natty, I love the TeuxDeux website. It is a lovely layout and powerful view of your week’s todos.

      I was less impressed with the iPhone app. Didn’t work for me for that reason. There is still not an iPad app either.

      I do give them an A for design. Good stuff. :)

  • ginarau

    I just started using Wunderlist this week and am already loving it. I really appreciate the easy UI, it’s just so easy and simple. I use it on my desktop and it auto syncs with my android phone. I’ve already told my entire team about this great resource!

  • nattylizon

    Teuxdeux.com is another great app, great interface and design

  • jstonemn

    I completely agree with you about your assessment! I’ve been using Wunderlist for the last several months and it’s been so easy to use. And I noticed that last week they started emailing me a to-do list for each day. For somebody like me, who sometimes “forgets” to look at hers, this is just another great feature. The only thing I wish is that you could schedule recurring tasks. But I’ve also found that for weekly work tasks, rather than checking it off the list, I just change the date to the next week (or whatever day). Glad to know others are liking it!

    • TMNinja

      @jstonemn Glad to hear that you like it, too. I feel it is a great balance of UI and features. ;)

  • ginarau

    I just started using Wunderlist this week and am already loving it. I really appreciate the easy UI, it’s just so easy and simple. I use it on my desktop and it auto syncs with my android phone. I’ve already told my entire team about this great resource!

  • jstonemn

    I completely agree with you about your assessment! I’ve been using Wunderlist for the last several months and it’s been so easy to use. And I noticed that last week they started emailing me a to-do list for each day. For somebody like me, who sometimes “forgets” to look at hers, this is just another great feature. The only thing I wish is that you could schedule recurring tasks. But I’ve also found that for weekly work tasks, rather than checking it off the list, I just change the date to the next week (or whatever day). Glad to know others are liking it!

  • TMNinja

    @nattylizon Natty, I love the TeuxDeux website. It is a lovely layout and powerful view of your week’s todos.

    I was less impressed with the iPhone app. Didn’t work for me for that reason. There is still not an iPad app either.

    I do give them an A for design. Good stuff. :)

  • TMNinja

    @DaveYona@wunderlist I agree. I have tried *many* of the iPhone apps out there.

    I love the clean design and simplicity of use. For example, I can quickly add something to me “Starred” list without having to even place it in a list.

    Speaking of iCal… I have a post coming soon about an amazing Calendar productivity app for Mac. (hint hint)

  • TMNinja

    @AndrewGM Andrew, good stuff. Sounds like you have used many of the todo apps out there, too.

    This may be a bit controversial, but I like @wunderlist specifically because it does not cater to the GTD system.

    Wunderlist , in my opinion, follows many of the principles that we discuss here on TMN.

    Simplicity. Ease of use. Less complexity.

    Before, I get a bunch of angry responses. I know that GTD is about “mind like water” and “getting things out of your head.” I am very familiar with David’s books. :)

    However, I find that GTD can be too complex of a system for many to carry out. I hear of too many people “falling off the bandwagon.”

    If you are looking for contexts, locations, tags, etc. Wunderlist may not be the app for you. I think Wunderlist’s “simplicity by design” is one of its strongest features. Just my opinion.

    Uh oh… what did I start… TMN vs. GTD? ;)

  • TMNinja

    @barrymcbride @LM7 Barry, agreed. The lack of sync was what finally drove me away from Things a while back.

  • AndrewGM

    @TMNinja@wunderlist Well, your post has prompted me to try WL again. And I think it can be customized quite a bit for GTD. I’ll see how it goes.

  • http://www.timokiander.com/ timokiander

    Craig,

    Thanks for sharing this info.

    I had never heard or Wunderlist but I have to give it a try!

    I have tried many online to-do lists in the past, but I’m currently sticking with pen and paper :) Let’s see if things change now :)

    I was also pleased to find out, that they offer a downloadable Windows client. I have found that client software is always my preferred way of accessing a service, when I’m working on my own computer.

    Timo

    • TMNinja

      @timokiander I hear you, Timo. I have used pen and paper many a time. And even find myself sometimes reverting to it between tools. There is just something empowering about writing your list down… and crossing things off it. :)

      However, I do like my technology to help me track of large lists of tasks. :)

  • http://www.timokiander.com/ timokiander

    Craig,

    Thanks for sharing this info.

    I had never heard or Wunderlist but I have to give it a try!

    I have tried many online to-do lists in the past, but I’m currently sticking with pen and paper :) Let’s see if things change now :)

    I was also pleased to find out, that they offer a downloadable Windows client. I have found that client software is always my preferred way of accessing a service, when I’m working on my own computer.

    Timo

  • TantienHime

    Would do, but no BB application. Sorry!

    • TMNinja

      @TantienHime Ah… BB. I did not think of that.

      Maybe we can convince you to get an iPhone. :)

  • TantienHime

    Would do, but no BB application. Sorry!

  • TMNinja

    @TantienHime Ah… BB. I did not think of that.

    Maybe we can convince you to get an iPhone. :)

  • TMNinja

    @timokiander I hear you, Timo. I have used pen and paper many a time. And even find myself sometimes reverting to it between tools. There is just something empowering about writing your list down… and crossing things off it. :)

    However, I do like my technology to help me track of large lists of tasks. :)

  • TMNinja

    @jstonemn Glad to hear that you like it, too. I feel it is a great balance of UI and features. ;)

  • Wren Keber

    A perfect balance between RTM and plain paper.

  • Wren Keber

    Well this

  • Wren Keber

    A perfect balance between RTM and plain paper.

  • http://about.me/adycoles adycoles

    @al.pittampalli I switched to Wunderlist (from Things) a couple of weeks ago and the simplicity of use means it wins hands-down for me. Plus the syncing is so much better than Things’.

  • TMNinja

    @adycoles@al.pittampalli Great point. One of the reasons I left Things was because of the syncing limitations.

  • Bob Clarke

    Hey Craig,

    Great review of this productivity tool. I’ve never heard of it, but I will be the first to agree with you that, up until now all the “To Do’ apps I’ve used seem like it takes a rocket scientist to use them. I’m anxious to give this one a try!

  • rbrc200

    Hey Craig,

    Great review of this productivity tool. I’ve never heard of it, but I will be the first to agree with you that, up until now all the “To Do’ apps I’ve used seem like it takes a rocket scientist to use them. I’m anxious to give this one a try!

  • Pingback: How I Use Wunderlist to be Productive | timemanagementmum.com()

  • OishBandara

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  • AlfredSmith

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  • AlfredSmith

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