I wish I had invented Sticky Notes. My computer, filing cabinet and wall of my office has often been decorated with these handy reminders over the years. There is something satisfying and symbolic in finishing a task, then crumpling it up and tossing it into the trash. Imagine my excitement when in 2001, I purchased my first MAC and discovered built-in Sticky Notes.
Fast forward several years and a long list of clients later, each with very diverse businesses, the need for simplification in task management continues to be important in my own work and managing countless client projects. Finding the right task management solution can take a little time and it's a good idea to take your time and do a "test drive" on ones that appeal to your style.
PAID vs. FREE
You get what you pay for, right? Most of the time, that's true. There are many project and task managers that are absolutely free and offer good value. By paying a small annual fee, the added features may be well worth the small investment. Basecamp is often recommended by businesses who have large projects and teams to manage, far more than a simple "to do" list. Starting at $20/mo. and up, it may be more than a small business needs. Google Tasks is FREE and works with G-mail and Google Calendar as well as mobile devices. There are a multitude of other task managers including Remember The Milk, Toodledo, Trello and others.
The right choice in selecting task management software will depend on many things: your operating system, mobile device, your personal style (visual, flowchart, color coded, plain text) special features (like being able to access tasks online and offline, and ease of use. Just search "task managers" or "to do lists", "project management tools" and you'll find comparisons. Don't assume the comparisons are accurate, as applications are always being updated to include new features. It's best to visit the product websites and review demos, features and pricing.
I use ToDoist. (It's like todolist without the L). I like its simplistic design and I can assign each client as a project with unlimited tasks that can be labeled and tagged with deadlines for each. I can also set recurring tasks -- like when my newsletters need to be launched, or a sequence of social media tasks for an event. I chose the paid version $29./yr. which allows me to attach files, synch with my calendar, and set reminders and notes for every task. It also tells me when a task is overdue and rewards me for completing tasks on time. Hey, we all need a little positive reinforcement, right?