When asked this question, the event makers and promoters I’ve talked with usually have a response that sounds something like this:
“If I can check everything off my to-do list, then the day has been a success.”
I can relate. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of putting down a check mark, crossing off an item, or throwing a document into the “done” pile. To me it’s like finally finishing off the last bit of unfolded laundry that’s been sitting in the dryer a little too long (yes, laundry is on my to-do list!). It feels sooo good.
Event makers are some of the busiest people out there, living in a world of to-do lists: marketing tasks, unanswered emails, venue options, talent choices, grocery items, books to read, and the list (no pun intended), goes on and on. Unless you’ve been blessed with a truly gifted mind, your brain just isn’t wired to remember everything you’re supposed to do. Pen on paper has long been the way to capture daily tasks—and many people still use this method—but smartphones are now the practical solution to increase personal productivity.
Lucky for event makers, software developers have built out the concept of simple to-do lists with apps that help you set deadlines, manage recurring tasks, set location-based reminders, and organize events. The iOS App Store and the Google Play Store are littered with hundreds of mobile to-do list apps, so here are the top few that are worth recommending for event makers:
If you’re looking for a robust, free way to manage your tasks, Wunderlist is a great place to start. This powerful app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone, and there’s also a client for both Mac and Windows. With most of its key features never more than a tap or two away, it does a great job of capturing your thoughts at any moment. Quickly add tasks, manage and set recurring items, and you can even add them through email and Google Now. There are paid options like unlimited task delegation and file uploads, but you can surely get a lot out of the app without paying.
Like Wunderlist, Todoist is a carefully designed and intuitive app for managing your tasks. Set up custom labels, add filters, and create location-based reminders. Some basic features like search, reminder notifications, and adding tasks via email does come at a price—$29 a year, but it’s still an app worth considering.
Any.do’s standout feature is a push notification each morning that reminds you to plan your day. It’s what the company calls “The Moment”. Some may find the push a little intrusive, but many others like having that notification. Any.do also has some nifty language processing. If you enter “Call Bob” as a task, and then tap it later, your phone app will open and call the number you have for Bob. If these are features sound appealing, give Any.do a try.
The bright colors and specific gestures used to manage tasks are what make Clear unique. Using it might take some getting used to, but it definitely adds an element of fun to creating and crossing off lists. For example, to create a new item, you do so by pinching two existing to-dos and pulling them apart. Clear also recently added Apple Watch integration. If you’re looking for a simple, colorful, fun, way to create lists, then Clear is the app for you.
OmniFocus is a powerhouse app. It offers a lot of functionality and charges a premium for it. Some education is required to use all of its features, so look elsewhere if you want a simpler option. But it’s an incredible timesaver once you get the hang of it.
If Google is the hub of your work life, Gtasks is definitely an interesting option. Its seamless integration with Gmail and Google Calendar gives you a simple way to create lists, add tasks, and edit them as you wish. It is limited to Android and the web, however.
If you’re a follower of David Allen’s popular productivity system, Getting Things Done, you’ll feel right at home with Todo. Syncing between devices (which includes the new Apple Watch) will set you back with a $20/year subscription.
One of the oldest to-do apps on the market, Remember The Milk integrates nicely with Evernote, Microsoft Outlook, and Gmail, Remember The Milk. It may seem outdated, but it’s a useful tool that any event maker can use to boost productivity.
If you find yourself reaching for sticky notes to jot down reminders, you’ll appreciate Google Keep. Your virtual sticky notes can be shared with other Google users for collaboration on events, and it’s a simple way to manage tasks.
Everyday is a minimalist approach to tasks. They actually look like they were written in pencil. Organize your tasks into lists, reminders, and add due-dates. A series of swiping gestures brings up options to complete, delete, or move to another list. Like Clear, it’s perfect for event makers that don’t need a lot of extra features.
What's your to-do list app of choice? What other tools are useful to help you manage the daily grind? Leave a comment below and let us know.