With our lives getting more hectic by the day, it’s becoming harder to keep track of things we plan to do and projects we intend to complete. So what’s one to do to remember everything?
Wunderlist is a free to-do list manager that allows you to create tasks quickly, organize them as you like, access them wherever you are and even share them with others. Its uniquely designed interface and intelligent features make it a joy to use. There are elements in the app that you may have seen in other apps, but this is where they all come together beautifully.
Once you incorporate Wunderlist into your workflow you won’t be able to work without it. Plus it works on PC, Mac, Linux, web, iOS and Android so you can take your tasks with you everywhere.
The first thing you’ll notice about Wunderlist is how gorgeous it looks (on all devices) – there’s a main panel where you can add tasks and view all tasks in the current list. It also features buttons to print your list and share it with other Wunderlist users via email or by generating a link to a webpage with a read-only list that you can send out. There’s also a sidebar that shows you your lists and allows you to search your tasks.
At the bottom is a taskbar with buttons that allow you to sync Wunderlist with the cloud, sort items by status (general, starred and completed tasks) and sort by due date.
There are also buttons to add a list, pull up the keyboard shortcut tip window, change the background in the main panel and show/hide the sidebar. I like how the interface packs all this into a small window without overwhelming the user. The available switchable backgrounds and details (like buttons and icons) are very well executed and it’s great to see a free app look this good.
To get started with Wunderlist, you’ll need to sign up with just your email address and a password. You can then add a task in the default list (called Inbox) by typing in the recessed task field in the main panel and hitting Enter.
Clicking on the clock icon to the left of your text will allow you to set a due date for the task (which you can also do after creating it). To mark a task as important click the star on its left and it will move to the top of the list.
Managing Your Tasks
Starred tasks can be viewed separately by sorting the task view in the bottom taskbar. You can rearrange the order of tasks by dragging and dropping. To remove a task, simply hover over it and click the X to its right.
Similarly, you can add notes to tasks by clicking the note icon next to the X while hovering over a task. Notes can contain descriptive text and come in handy when you’re sharing tasks with others.
Juggling Multiple Tasks and Lists
You can create multiple lists to make managing your tasks easier. For example, let’s say you’ve got a bunch of chores to carry out, a few clients to speak to over the week and some personal projects to get around to as well. Wunderlist lets you create as many lists as you need while still being able to access and work with them all easily. You can even move tasks between lists by dragging and dropping them to the desired list in the sidebar.
A nice touch is the ability to move between lists with the Up and Down arrow keys, even while typing out a task (helpful if you happened to be in the wrong list when you remembered to add a task). Lists can be easily deleted and renamed as needed in the sidebar too.
Hashtags, Shortcuts and Other Niceties
There are plenty of keyboard shortcuts you can use in Wunderlist – a crucial factor for power users. Using shortcuts (click the ? in the bottom taskbar to view them) you can add/delete lists, go to your default list, step through all the task filters and even search. There are also shortcuts to add dates while entering tasks, in the form of hashtags which you can type anywhere in the task entry. For example, if you need to remember to buy bacon, typing Buy bacon #td will set the date to today, while #tm Buy Bacon will set the date to tomorrow. There are many more hashtags you can use (listed here).
One of my favorite features in the latest version of Wunderlist is smart date recognition – enabling this in the settings causes the app to recognize dates entered in a more natural manner. That’s right, you can type something like Call grandma on October 21 or Return library books in 2 weeks and Wunderlist will understand and mark the appropriate due dates!
Sharing and Collaboration
As with any to-do list manager, you can use Wunderlist for daily personal tasks, grocery lists, project tasks and so on. You can also use it to share your to-do lists with others to collaborate with them on projects. Let’s say you’re building a website with a friend. You could create a new list with tasks like branding, copywriting, design and coding.
Sharing this list with a fellow Wunderlist user will allow him/her to interact with the list as if it were his/her own – and you’ll both see the changes. So if your friend adds a task, marks a task as done or edits a note on the list, your list will reflect all that too. If your friend isn’t using Wunderlist (yet) or if you simply want to share a read-only list of pending tasks with many people, you can click the cloud button to generate a page with the list and copy the link to send out via email or social networks.
Wunderlist is hands-down the best-looking to-do list manager out there and will satisfy the productivity needs of many. It’s not built on popular GTD principles though, so that might put off some users. However, the user experience is very well thought-out and the mix of features feels just right. It also has apps for most platforms so you can use wherever you go, which is a huge plus. If you’re in the market for a free to-do list program, you can’t do better than this. Give it a try and let us know if you got more stuff done with Wunderlist!