The concept of making lists isn't a new one. Since man learnt to scrawl on stone, it's likely '1. Make fire.' appeared on cave walls all around the pre-historic world.
Today, with ‘being busy’ a national pastime and the seemingly ever-increasing build-up of admin tasks needed each day just to keep your life afloat, the humble list is more important than ever as a way to sift through the clutter and prioritise.
People who don’t make lists perhaps don’t realise the power they harness:
1 They get things out of your head – essentially acting as an archive folder for your brain.
2 They reduce anxiety of vague memories of things that need doing.
3 They guilt you in to doing stuff.
The trouble with endlessly making lists is that you can spend more time making and editing them than you do actually doing the stuff on them, which is where a good list app can come into its own. Here's five that offer different approaches to the art. Choose wisely:
1 For Simplicity: CLEAR (main picture)
A list should be above all, things, simple, something productivity apps often forget. Clear makes simplicity its USP. With each item that needs doing represented on a horizontal bar – red at the top for the most urgent, like order a new passport, fading down to blue for the stuff you’ll probably never actually do but are worth writing down for the record, like clear out the cupboard under the stairs. You can also move items around just by holding down the bar and pushing it up and down as your priorities change. Fluid, addictive, and possibly life-changing. £3.99
2 For Design: TASKIO
Not the most feature-packed app out there but that’s what makes Taskio the perfect choice for someone who just wants a gimmick-free and straightforward single list approach to their own personal tasks. The digital equivalent of a pen and paper. While there’s plenty of these basic apps out there, the feel and usability of Taskio, and its freeness, give it an important edge. Free
3 For a List With a Twist: PERCENTIFY
A brand new app which takes the novel approach of allocating percentages to each item on your list so bigger tasks – write a novel – are worth more than the easy wins – get dressed. Which should be good for anyone guilty of doing the simple stuff first just to make yourself feel productive. You then get a running percentage representing how well you are doing. Depending on your view, this makes for an intuitive game that will help motivate you into action. Or make you want to go for a liedown when you can’t seem to get it below 93%. 79p
4 For Pro-level Lists: TODOIST
Impressive capability and with more functions than a successful catering business, Todoist’s extensive service even goes as far as email support and locaton-based reminders, like notifications to buy milk when you’re in a shop. Of course, one man’s impressive is another man’s too-complicated-for-its-own-good of course, and all these bells and whistles come at a price, with the premium version costing a serious £21.99. For the man who lists everything.
5 For All-round Effectiveness: WUNDERLIST
Compatible with any device or platform, Wunderlist’s big advantage over the competition is how it syncs across all your devices, whether it’s your desktop at work, iphone on the commute home or tablet back home in the kitchen. You can just keep on managing your lists like the OCD-borderline you know you are. It’s great for dividing your life up into different areas and projects and includes collaboration functions to get other people involved so is also good for work. Quite simply a list app that won't let you down. Free