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6 Amazing To-Do Lists To Help You Maximize Productivity

Sticky notes are so last century. While some people swear by paper to-do lists, I’ve always found that they either clutter up my workspace way too much or end up getting lost completely for them to be valuable to me. But the good news is, there are better options out there. With the proliferation of productivity apps, extensions, and software that exist today, there’s a plethora of platforms to keep track of your daily priorities.

But with so many out there, the question becomes: Which one is right for you? Fortunately, this time, you can save yourself the research. We’ve created a round-up of some of the best to-do lists out there, each with their own unique features with specific types of work styles in mind. Read on below, and get ready to kick your productivity into high gear.

1. Evernote

Price: Free, with premium upgrades

Best for: People seeking simplicity

A few years ago, after my computer broke down and I lost all of the notes I had saved to my desktop, I finally decided to embrace the cloud and download Evernote. Since then, I haven’t looked back. One thing I love about Evernote is that it can be as simple or as complex as you choose to make it — 95 percent of the time I just draft quick to-do lists using text only, but you can also include links, checklists, tables, photos, audio recordings, website grabs, and more. You can even handwrite notes if that floats your boat, and they’re still searchable to boot. The free version allows you to upload up to 60 MB of new material a month, and sync your notes across two devices, while their Evernote Plus offering ($34.99/year) allows you to upload 1 GB a month, store across all of your devices, and access customer support, among other features. If you’re feeling extra fancy, Evernote Premium ($69.99/year) lets you upload10 GB a month, annotate PDFs, and present notes with one click.

2. Momentum

Price: Free

Best For: People that need to stop and smell the flowers

If you often find yourself overwhelmed by everything on your plate, Momentum is the to-do list for you. Add the free extension to your Chrome browser, and every time you open a new tab you’ll be greeted with a calming, picturesque landscape (the specific image changes each day), a personal greeting, and an inspirational quote (mine today was “Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being.”). A small to-do list in the lower right-hand corner allows you to list the individual tasks on your plate and check them off as you complete them, while a field in the center prompts you to enter what your biggest priority for the day is — helpful for those who often miss the forest for the trees. It may sound cheesy, but Momentum feels a little bit like a friend there to greet you every time you open a new tab, which both a) helps reduce any anxiety you might have around your workload and b) makes you pause before goofing off online — it’s hard to be tempted to go to Facebook when the tab you open is always reminding you of where your energy should be spent.

3. Wunderlist

Price: Free, with premium upgrades

Best For: People who are action-oriented

Wunderlist has many of the same features as Evernote — the ability to see your notes on multiple devices, clip web pages, share lists with other collaborators, etc. — but it’s also a bit more action-oriented. If you find yourself often needing reminders, Wunderlist makes it easy by allowing you to assign due dates for items, alerting you with push notifications, and letting you turn emails into action items by forwarding them to the app. If you often find your colleagues and manager pinging you with reminders, this is an easy way to hold yourself accountable. The Pro version allows for more file space, assignments, subtasks, and background images, while the Business version is designed with teams in mind.

4. CARROT

Price: $2.99

Best For: People who struggle with motivation

CARROT brands itself as a talking to-do list with attitude, and with the phrase “You don’t want to make me upset,” featured prominently on their homepage, it’s clear that they’re not messing around. CARROT provides an almost game-like interface, with rewards for those that follow through on their tasks (and punishments for those who don’t). For each assignment you complete, you’ll be awarded points, ultimately allowing you to level up, and praise — but if you procrastinate, it’ll hit you with charming phrases like “My hatred for you already burns with the passion of 10,000 suns.” Be aware, though, that CARROT is more lacking in capabilities than other apps — essentially, you can only list tasks and mark them as complete. However, if you’ve got a set of simple tasks and just need a virtual assistant to light a fire under your rear, this is a good option.

5. Any.do

Price: Free, with premium upgrades

Best For: People who want bells & whistles

Any.do combines many of the best features of Evernote, Carrot, Wunderlist, and iCalendar in an all-in-one package that’s sophisticated, yet simple. The free version  lets you create events, tasks, notes, and reminders in a calendar-style format, while the Premium version (between $2.09 and $2.99 per month, depending on how many devices you plan to use it on) offers customizable themes, unlimited file sizes, recurring tasks, collaboration, and some other smart features — the coolest of which is probably their location-based reminders that are triggered once you’re in the vicinity of a certain area (think: walking into the grocery store and being reminded that you need to pick up milk). It also offers a smart virtual assistant (with a little less sass than CARROT) that can do some pretty impressive things. The demo, for example, shows the virtual assistant helping a user select which flowers to buy for their mother in a chat-based interface.

6. Todoist 

Price: Free, with premium upgrades

Best For: People who need help prioritizing

Not all tasks are created equal — while you may have 20 things on your to-do list, there are always going to be some that you need to pay closer attention to than others, either because a due date is approaching, there are varying levels of importance, etc. Todoist knows that, and makes it easy for those who struggle with prioritization to get their ducks in a row. In addition to allowing for the creation of lists, reminders, tasks, and more, Todoist offers four levels of color-coded prioritization tags to help you figure out what to focus on first. While the free version will provide you all of the above in a limited quantity, the Premium version ($28.99/year) offers an increased number of projects, automatic backups, productivity tracking and charts, and more.

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