There are a lot of task managers but for this article I am only going to look at the really good cross platform ones which stand out. I, for example, would wish that the Hit List, OmniFocus and Things was available for Cross Platform but they’re not. For the purposes of this article therefore, three task managers will be discussed and I’ll highlight the benefits of each but the one I generally like overall.
This is not, in anyway, to suggest they can’t be as good as the single platform systems but if they are good, being a cross system suggests you should go with one of these for both freedom and flexibility.
The Systems to be Considered
The following three systems will be looked at and their strengths will be measured around ease of use, comprehensivess, flexibility and overall usability. These three systems are similar and yet unique. Chaos Control is a pure GTD application yet it is one of the fastest and simplest of the bunch. The other two have GTD capabilities but one wouldn’t consider them pure like Omnifocus. Rather they are both more flexible and complicated but easy to use at the same time :
- Chaos Control
There are a number of others but I wanted to start with a discrete set to get across the value of systems that are cross platform.
Cross platform could be considered the capability for IOS and Mac OS systems to work together. For the purposes of this discussion, cross systems or platform is between IOS, Mac OS, Android, Windows and beyond. For the purposes of this paper though we will be looking at systems that work between Android and the Mac ecosystem.
This is becoming more important and as time passes will become ever increasingly important. There is a large incentive, now that we have people outfitted with electronic equipment, for it to work together so that teams can work together. It is highly unlikey that a team will be comprised of just Msc or Android and it is too expensive to re-outfit teams every time they’re brought together.
One of the main reasons you create a team is to come up with solutions in an efficient and effective way. Thus, to accomplish this, teams must be cross platform. Productivity in the team can only be achieve when everyone has the same access to information.
To be productive you need one of the core tools that produces that and it is the task manager either to take on tasks individually or assign someone with the tasks. As they get done, the information need coaslesce to make sense.
Task managers are the best way to produce this kind of productivity. However, on your team you’ll want everyone working with the same task manager.
Cross Platform Task Managers
Of the task managers identified above, the one I will highlight first is Chaos Control our one tool that you can say is true GTD in structure.
Follows the GTD Approach Fairly Well
Chaos Control is a fast and nimble program. I wrote an article on the redesign of the program recently which has made all the difference in the world to both its utility and just having a nice look. It appears basically the same from one environment to the other which is significant as it means that if you know how to use it on Mac OS you also know how use it on say IOS and Android etc. Interface consistency is very important to both the learning process and the use process.
Along with being a GTD program it crosses numerous platforms. The benefits of this are inumerable. Further, even though this is stictly a GTD program its actually very simple to use. In fact, it is also very fast at data input and looking at the variety of views.
If there is a downside to this program it is that it is too simple. If you had read David Allen’s book on “Getting Things Done” working with this program would be a breeze. The problem with the program, if it can be considered a problem, is that there are very few filters to provide differing views. Depending on what you want this could be considered a good or bad thing. There is less to fiddle with yet on the other hand it is hard to get the granular views you might require at times.
The best thing to do with this program is play with it. If it fits what you want to do you will know fairly quickly. You will either like that there are some basic views based on projects and contexts or more prefer a much more granular program like 2do or Tick.
The one other advantage of Chaos Control is how cost effective it is. This is not an expensive program and does not use a subscription model which is generally detested by consumers.
Coming in the middle of providing a large breadth of platforms the program runs on while at the same time providing a far greater range of views and activies is TickTick. This program has a very nice interface and is relatively easy to use. I should point out that this product is based on a subscription model which really should not apply to a product but only a service. Two years of TickTick is the whole cost of 2do and substantially more than Chaos Control.
TickTick on the other hand will provide granular views such as today, tomorrow and on it goes plus macro level tasks which might contain one or more subtasks. You could find your project sits in an area filled with tasks and subtasks and you could view the data from different angles. The program is not difficult to use by any means but some people like the ability to see their tasks from many angles while others like to see just what they need to see thus the level of fiddling is much less. You don’t have to use TickTick in such a fashion but when the power is there to view things from a variety of angles, sometimes you act on that. Whereas in Chaos Control, you can only do a certain amount before you complete a task, TickTick will lend itself to viewing your data in a more comprehensive fashion.
Finally, for the purposes of this article, we have 2do. This program is the richest, in terms of functionality and runs on Android and the Apple ecosystem. The developer of 2do prides himself in having created a program that melds to what you want it to be rather than the other way around where you are expected to be what the program wants.
At one time, he really shunned GTD but you will find that he eventually embraced it enough to put in the inbox. 2do though, is one of the most comprehensive programs available and it has the flexibility and power to back that up. 2do is a very rich program and you can manipulate your data both in a broad fashion and a comprehensive fashion.
At first 2do may seem a little complex to master but once you‘ re on to it you’re glad that it has so much power. This is a program in which you really can get things done. If you’re not happy with your due dates as an example, you can easily batch edit them to change the dates to something more comfortable. Moving items between lists is just as flexible. Your data is very much alive in 2do and nothing has to feel like it’s crafted in stone. This does not mean you’re not likely to pay attention to your due dates, but often due dates, when they are first being conceived are very arbitrary. 2do provides a very fast way of changing that and thus not allowing you to box yourself in.
If you do not need a cross platform product, there are of course a lot of other choices. Even within this category I have not dealt with all the choices available. However, one thing to bear in mind, is that a cross platform product will let you grow easily. You might not need it today but down the road it may suddenly become very useful.
With that in mind, if we turn our attention to just the three products above and you only need to consider Apple and Android, 2do is the product that will provide you with the greatest range of functionality and options.
In the end though, these products are very much about you. Cross platform, I think, is the way to go as it prevents lock in. Of these particular products, I believe the answer as to which one is very much a personal choice. They will all accomplish what you are looking for, some more simply than the others. Yet, as I say that Chaos Control and its limited scope of changing things might actually be your perfect thing as you will waste less time playing with it. However, if you do need to view your projects and tasks from a broader set of angles to determine what is most important, then TickTick or 2do will be the right one for you.
To ensure you’ve chosen the best one for you, it is worth whiled working with each one for a period to see which feels the most right for you. These programs, in terms of sheer cost, the cost of learning the program and the cost of continuing with the program dictate that you should take them for a spin, so to speak, to see which appeals to you the most. The result of the decision could be a lengthy one, so it’s best to ensure that your comfortable with the program. Of these three programs, I don’t think you can make a mistake going with any of them as they will all help you with your organization and getting things done. It’s just worth being more or less sure you’ve chosen the one that works for you the best.