What's the best way to organise my personal TODO list? and what tools are available for organising team TODO lists?

Should I still be thinking in terms of TODO or are there better ways to manage my time and projects?

See also this question on Organization which is similar

+3  A: 

A simple text file works best for me.

Johannes Hoff
+1  A: 

For projects/shared todos basecamp works for me.

Allain Lalonde
+2  A: 

The Trickle List

Strategic holy sh*ts only come from well-informed chaos, and you can take a stab at building a productively ephemeral perspective with the tactical information you gain from a structured task list combined with hopeful strategy provided by a slippery, healthy Trickle List.

The point of your productivity system is not to keep absolute track of your tasks. The point is to keep the important information in the front of your brain where it will improve your improvisation and inform your whims. A task tracking system gives you just enough information to calculate your chaos while reminding you to create and act on random moments of high potential.

+3  A: 

I ditched the text file, and am now using

+9  A: 

There are tons of tools and apps (online as well as offline) available. Some, in no particular order:

  2. Tiddlywiki
  3. backpack (group organizer)
  4. Text file(s)
  5. Socialtext and other wikis

Personal todo's can be maintained using text file, or even google shared items / google notes - it just requires choosing one method and sticking to it.

Team TODO's are more complex, as it requires buy-in from a lot more people.

+1 for remember the milk
+6  A: 

I stick by the tried and true spiral bound notebook and ball-point pen.

Unlike text files, I can easily and quickly express diagrams or schematics. Unlike anything digital, I don't need software to view it, I can grab it and go to a meeting, and I can tear out a page and doodle on it at home.

+2  A: 

I use a pen and papaer, and convert to text when i need to share.

I'm working on a web application at the oment that should help programmer productivity and todo lists/task lists are at the core of it ;)

+12  A: 

If you want something with more depth than a text file or a simple task list in whatever program, I would recommend you take a look at ToDoList.

ToDoList supports tasks and subtasks in a tree structure. It allows you to assign all kinds of metadata to a task (there is an assigned to field).

There is also, Remember The Milk. Which, according to their website is "An intuitive interface makes managing tasks fun. Set due dates easily with next Friday or in 2 weeks. Extensive keyboard shortcuts make task management quicker than ever".

Google have their Google Tasks software but unfortunately it does not allow you to share tasks.

Teux Deux and TodoDodo are the most stylish of the contenders. Both have a very simple interface but even with a minimal look, neither lack features.

37 signals, the Chicago based software company have a simple to do list manager callen Ta-da lists. According to their site it : is the web's easiest to-do list tool.

Toodledoo is one of the more standard todo list managers but has an excellent iPhone App to help you manage your tasks when mobile.

Jesse Dearing
I've been using it for about one month and I find it good. I recommend it. I tried with Excel sheets in the past but for some reason or other they come out of date very soon.
Daniel Daranas
+1  A: 

I use Outlook's Tasks list at work. I always have Outlook open for email anyway, and it allows me to organize tasks by category or due date (among others, these are the only two I use).

For project teams, I wouldn't use anything as simple as a TODO list. There are plenty of project tracking software applications out there that fill this need (and I think maybe Joel can recommend one).

Bill the Lizard
+6  A: 

You should try checking out if you have not already. There are tons of articles time structure.


Though most answers seem to have been replicated here, I just wanted to link to a thread on peronal organization I started earlier.

+3  A: 

I have recently been looking at my GTD methodology.. I currently use RememberTheMilk, have just started using Evernote as well as the usual like gmail..

Be interesting to see how this evolves, will you keep us posted on your progression? I am on twitter if you're interested?

Rob Cooper
+1  A: 

I (heart) Remember The Milk.

I use it for personal stuff and work stuff, with a separate list for each client. It's marvellous!

Ian Nelson
+1  A: 

I just use a spreadsheet, with the following columns:

  • Priority (1 for most urgent, going higher as I need to)
  • Task (a short description of the task)
  • Project (if appropriate, the over-arching project my task belongs to)
  • Current Status (where am I with the task?)
  • When Due?

By default I sort the spreadsheet by "Priority", then "When Due", but I am also able to sort by "Project" if I want to see my current outstanding tasks for a specific Project.

Garthmeister J.
+1  A: 

I'm a fan of OneNote, it does just about everything you could think of for planning and notation

Jeff Winkworth
+9  A: 

I like whiteboards, not especially practical and definetly not portable, but man, the physical act of getting up, walking over to the board and erasing the hell out of that task just feels good.

+2  A: 

Right now I'm using a pen and vertically ruled index cards for my todo lists, but I'm planning to try out OmniFocus as soon as my new computer gets here. I'm a big fan of the Getting Things Done style of context based todo list. Knowing that you need to pick up some milk on the way home and replace the batteries in your smoke detectors doesn't really help you decide what to do when you're at work in the middle of the day. Far better to sort your todo items into separate lists so you don't have to stare at a bunch of items that just aren't applicable right now. My contexts are @Work, @Home, @Errands, and @Computer (which essentially means @Work or @Home). This makes it a lot easier to see what I can actually do in any given situation.

Chris Upchurch
Also comes in iPhone flavor with syncing ability. Even better if you're using MobileMe. The only drawback is the cost of the whole setup.

The simplest and best tool I've found is on the web:

Check it out.

Antti Sykäri
+1  A: 

Write your own piece of code to create a console ToDoList.

+1  A: 

I strongly recommend the book "How to get things done" by David Allen. In today business world and work place a simple to-do list often isn't enough anymore. see Wiki

+1  A: 

People have already mentioned about RTM (Remember the Milk) and GTD (Getting Things Done). I attempt to follow GTD with RTM. Read this for how to use RTM as advanced GTD tool.

Also, depending on your taste, you might want to interact with RTM in one of the many possible ways listed here

And please do keep us posted on your progress here and any new suggestions/ideas you come across. You can find me on twitter (id: jagmal)


I discovered YaGTD recently.

It has several advantages:

  • it's text-based, hence your TODO list ay be versionned efficiently, with a nice history, If you use decentralized version control, you may pull/push your list from/to any box.
  • the program that can read the list is written in Python, so I can hack it if I want,
  • this program is console-based, so you can run it on a headless machine.
  • the output is pretty nice, I must say :

Even if it's text-only, you can search in your tasks, assign priorities, @tags, !statuses, etc to any of your task,... very powerful.

and Free, as in speech and beer.


I used notepad for a long time. Eventually I wrote my own web-based tool to manage multiple to-do lists.... unfortunately now some of my to-do's are features to add and bugs to fix in the web-based tool. :-(

+3  A: 

I use notepad for short lived items, but find there's benefit in keeping large items in MS Project. That way you get time estimates etc. for free.

You may also like


I'm trying out different todo-programs myself at the moment. Interesting is devtodo that can be integrated with the prompt of your shell.

+1  A: 

You might take a look at EverNote.

The new version 3.0 sucks - version 2.2 (if you can find it) is great for general note collection but not so hot for task management.
+1  A: 

This topic maybe have a solution for your question -

TODO Software, that I preferred -

+8  A: 

Many people I know use emac's built-in org-mode( ) for their to-do list.

Nathaniel Flath

I suggest trying Google Notebook.


I use org-mode in emacs. If you're already a fan of emacs, org-mode is amazing!

You can use it to estimate tasks, track and report on your time, and much more!


If you can get them, the one-two punch of Outlook 2007 and OneNote 2007 is killer for me.


If you've already got a bug tracker (which of course, you do, don't you?) then the best way may simply be to add tasks to that; several products can treat issues as "tasks" rather than specific bugs or enhancements, and you get all your to-do, including miscellaneous tasks and specific bugs to fix in the same place, with built-in support for tracking progress and priorities.

If you don't have a bug tracker, then I might suggest something like the to-do list functionality in Google Mail (in Labs, I think), or perhaps a packet of post-it notes.


My favorite is Remember the Milk. It integrates with everything and has enough features to be useful without having too many unneeded features bogging it down.

Marc W
+1  A: 

Moleskine notebooks. Retro - yes, but I can carry it everywhere, it never runs out of power, the upgrade path is excellent.

Martin Peck
A: - it's got awesome tagging ability and keeps the UI as simple as possible. Disclaimer, I wrote it!

Richard Watson
+9  A: 

I'm a programmer; I wrote my own. :)

Greg Hewgill
Problem with that is, with $10-$100, I can buy one (with support and new versions coming out), but to write one, it will cost me much, much more...
Ali Shafai
Maybe so, but you might learn something while doing it.
Paul Morie
I do this also. I write TODO apps (I'm working on one for iPhone at the moment) and while you could buy one you also learn from this (as others have pointed out). Also consider the fact that you get exactly what you want if you build one. Yes, it cost more (effort vs $) but I've always found the time worth it. Additionally, writing your own gives you more motivation to actually use it...
Frank V
hehe, isn't this a classic case of the not invented here syndrome :P but i guess programmers will be programmers.
+4  A: 

Not really a 'todo' application but I use FogBugz to track things I need to get done. I find it useful for programing things (actual bugs) and for other things that can easily be marked 'done'.

Nick Presta
I don't see how something like this could get voted down. *shrugs*
Nick Presta
+21  A: 

I got married. My wife doesn't let me forget anything I am supposed TODO.

where can I get one of those? my wife doesn't have that effect on me...
Ali Shafai
And if you were wondering how your wife remembers everything that needs to be done - see my answer below :) :)
Eye of the Storm
+3  A: 

Remember The Milk

+5  A: 

Remember the Milk It has a nice iPhone client

+1  A: 

If you have a Mac, I recommend either Taskpaper or The Hit List. Taskpaper is minimal, while The Hit List is a bit more complicated, but its extensive use of shortcuts make things much easier.


I use Flashnote (just Alt-S to display, type, Alt-S away). But this doesn't really help you on your iPhone

+1  A: 

Piece of paper. Sometimes an e-mail to myself.

The company I work for uses JIRA.

Paul Morie
+1  A: 

I just use a notepad that's on my google desktop...not terribly exciting but I can access the site from my iPhone


I use It is extremely simple and lightweight, and it has a powerful syntax in which you enter metadata in the single text field in provides. This is very powerful when you get used to it.

For example "Pay internet @high @personal tom @ 11:30" means task is "Pay internet" it is tagged as personal and as high priority and has to be done tomorrow at 11:30. So task entry is just two fields, instead of the complex Task/Priority/Schedule/Type forms you have to fill in other task managers.

+2  A: 
+1  A: 

A full-scape pad with tear-away sheets. I write things that i want to achieve in serial... Usually by the evening I've ticked off 2-3 of 10. Not a wonderful performance I know. :)

Cyril Gupta
+2  A: 

I use evernote, as it allows easy sync between web, iphone and windows pc.

Does evernote have a feature to do any prompting or notification?
Jeff O
@GuinnessFan, not that i'm aware of, but perhaps you can suggest that for their next build.
+1  A: 

Lot's of 4 inch post-its in my monitor and often write some notes on my left hand :)

+6  A: 

As a mother of four small ones, who also works full time and manages to stay sane most of the time, I tested and refined my taks-management methodologies for a while. It's working, but always needs constant improvement. It's more than the tool, it's how you use it.

For my personal tasks and life-management I use Remember The Milk. I also use Remember The Milk for Gmail Firefox Addon. I use GTD methodology to arrange my lists, tasks, tags etc. (See instructions here).

For work related tasks I use Outlook Tasks. I use it for high-level reminders of the topics I am handling at the moment at work.

For me, home issues are more complex and need much better control. If your case it is reversed, and work tasks need more detailed handling, I would use RTM for managing both home and work tasks.

Eye of the Storm
The instructions link is a 404. :(

At the risk of sounding low-tech, I use a whiteboard with different color markers for different task priorities.

Greg D

I created one for myself (in Scala): WhenDone

It was recently added to Softpedia:

I think todo application is very interesting topic. I have tons of ideas how to improve my app, but it's usable as is. I also have done a linux version, but I'll probably rewrite the whole thing in Clojure someday.


A modded version of Taskfreak


My personal favorite has been ToodleDo. While it's not free for a good plan, the integration with different platforms and capability to easily get information in and out from a bunch of different places (Firefox plugin, iPhone app, Google Calendar integration, etc) makes it the first GTD app that I've actually stuck with over a long period of time.


MonkeyGTD, with a few personal tweaks. I like having bins outside of my main TODO for "things that are being reviewed" and "things for which I'm waiting for someone else", i.e. things that need my attention, but for which I can't DO something right now.

It's also nice to be able to sort by project or by context (eg: make all phone calls at once)


I use org-mode. Honestly, it's one of the best todo & note taking tools I have seen

Maher Gamal

I use pen and a small notebook. I personally think that if you can't handle you todo list without an application you have too many tasks running at once. Unless you tend to get full weeks worth of tasks on Monday and then work them through during the week.

Plus it's very satisfying to cross over tasks in the notebook.


I saw one entry for BaseCamp, but am surprised no one mentioned 37signals' Ta-da Lists. Although fairly simple, it's free and can be shared.