A few weeks ago I was in need of a cross platform application which would take down notes and tasks for me so that I may utilize them anywhere I go. This stemmed from my recent heavy use of Microsofts OneNote, and I thought to myself, there must be a way to actually use a similar product between my work PC, my Mac and my iOS devices. Unfortunately I did not find exactly what I wanted but I found something which has become an integral part of my pursuit to go fully paperless.
Meet Wunderlist by 6wunderkinder. Made by a bunch of blokes in Germany, this simple, elegant and versatile multi-platform task management application, has made my life one step closer to being paperless. I can not recall how I actually came across it, I believe I may have read about it in one of my RSS feeds, and despite the fact that it does not do everything I was looking for, it does do one thing very well. Previously I used, on my work laptop Microsoft OneNote to build “to do” lists. Since moving to Wunderlist, I’ve come to utilize the program more of a note taker then anything else.
I’ve seen OneNote there in the past, but I’ve never really got into using it. I wasn’t 100% sure what it was to be completely honest, and because I rarely took notes on any of my work laptops, I never had a need. Since moving away from paper and attempting a fully digital life, I needed to investigate in order to eliminate my office note pad. Success behold! Microsoft actually made a worthwhile product. The main problem though was that it wasn’t available for the iPad. There is a iPhone app but that’s not convenient to write on when I was in meetings, so I resorted to taking all my notes on my laptop.
Although OneNote uses a great structure to capture and store notes, it doesn’t do such a great job of outlining tasks. I managed to develop a template that I used internally inside the application, but it seemed under powered and didn’t allow me to manage it the way I wanted. Having to use OneNote due to lack of availability of a multi-platform note taking application, I was intrigued to discover what Wunderlist could do for me at work.
After signing up, you get of course a nice little welcome email outline a few things about the application and from there you can download a desktop app as well as applications for your device. In Wunderlist you can create new lists, add tasks, set a due date and a reminder, make it an important task by hitting a star, add notes to your tasks and share a list with a coworkers, friend or family member. Overall it does what most task management applications do but it does it so well and with such a simple interface, that it makes sense to just continue using it.
So what are the possibilities with this? In my experience it seems endless. I use a list that I created for work to outline what I have to do in a any given day or within the next few weeks. I can quickly pull up the web portal on my work laptop and within seconds input a few different tasks that were assigned to me during a meeting or conference without the need to launch an independent app. The nice thing also is that I can instantaneously view that list on my iPad. So while I am heading home or heading into the office I can review my outstanding tasks.
I have also setup a list which I share with my girlfriend to collect different types of blog post ideas. Anything that comes to mind to share about what I like to write about goes into the list where we can both look and review. Come to think of it, I should probably setup a new list for Christmas. The ability to share a list with multiple people is convenient when you are working on a project or perhaps looking to bounce ideas for special events. It eliminates the need to consistently email, however this also means that the individuals need to be frequent viewers of the application. Aside from reminders and showing a count of outstanding and upcoming due tasks, there is no notification that I have seen to let someone know a new task has been added to a shared list. There is a way to also share a list with a “cloud” service, however at this time I have not dug any deeper into this feature.
As I mentioned earlier, there is an ability to set up due dates. Based on those due dates Wunderlist sends you a list of the tasks that need attention the day they are due. This is helpful for those of us who don’t look more then once at our lists or just to keep us reminded that there are things to do during the day.
Overall this application is powerful, intuitive and very easy to understand and use. It isn’t the be all though. For that, I recommend OmniFocus. I’ll be posting my review on this shortly but for now, go on and take a stab at Wunderlist, I am doubtful you will be disappointed.