Spring cleaning: Apps for getting stuff done
Getting stuff done isn’t always easy. Whether you’re procrastinating a bit too much, or forgetting about tasks altogether, it might be time to try out a productivity app on your Android or iOS device.
Spring cleaning can become a relatively involved process. That's because you're usually adding these tasks to your normally scheduled ones, like grocery shopping or picking up your kids. Here are a few apps for your Android or iOS device that can help you remember what to do, when, and even where so you can get that spring cleaning done.
Note: Some features may not be available on both OSes due to individual platform limitations.
Looking for a place to store lots of information (like the things that need cleaning), while staying organized? Evernote (Android/iOS) has you covered. You can create notes, task lists, and embed images -- all of which can be shared. Entries can be sorted into notebooks and given tags, but you can also use the search feature to find them; you can even search text in images. The ability to sync across most major platforms, and work offline, make Evernote a truly powerful app. However, if you're primarily looking for task list management, check out this next app.
Wunderlist (Android/iOS) lets you make checklists with tasks and subtasks and collaborate with friends, family, or coworkers. Tread carefully when inviting coworkers to help with spring cleaning. If you need to remember to do something important, like pay the guy who cleaned out your gutters, Wunderlist will let you set a notification on the task as a reminder. The app's sync feature works across all of your devices, and there's even a Web interface so you can access Wunderlist tasks from anywhere. Splurging for the Pro version will allow unlimited file attachments, assignments to others, and subtasks, and also adds an extra 10 backgrounds to choose from. For more info, check out CNET's Wunderlist review. Is this app still a bit involved for your taste? Then take a look at the next one.
Any.Do (and Cal)
Clean lines and sharp color contrasts make this app a pleasure to work with and look at. When you start typing a task, Any.Do (Android/iOS) has a predictive text feature to help speed things along. For organization, tasks can be put it on the today, tomorrow, or even someday lists -- all of which can be shared. But if you're planning on getting the cleaning done before Summer, you should probably steer clear of the Someday list. You can mark off tasks as you complete them, or bring them back if you make a mistake.
If you really want to take your time management to the next level, install Any.Do's other productivity app: Cal. With this companion app, you can sync your current calendar(s) and then schedule your tasks in conjunction with other events. This next app will give you even more information about today's schedule.
Google Now is actually part of the Google Search (Android/iOS) app. (If you're on Android, you'll need to be on 4.0 or higher.) For starters, this app is quite different from the others because you can simply tell it to create reminders for you. If you specify an address you need to be at by 4 p.m., Google Now will deliver driving directions along with approximate commute time. Additionally, you can track packages, get reminders for birthdays or reservations, check sports scores, view boarding passes, and see flight times.
To add a note, just say "add a note," or "note to self" and then you can speak your note (e.g., "clean out the closet!"), or type it in the box that opens on the screen. On Android, Google Now will integrate with Google Keep, allowing you to save notes there for easy access.
Last, but definitely not least, is Google Keep. This app is currently available for Android and Chrome only. Keep offers the ability to take notes, record voice memos, create checklists, and even insert photos. Organization is minimal, but you can color-code the background of each note with a preselected color palette, and add labels when you need them. As an added bonus, you can set custom notifications for each note based on time or location.
What's your favorite productivity app? Is it important for the app to be available on many platforms, or do you only use it on one? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Editors' note, April 10, 2015: This How To post was originally published on April 16, 2014, and has been updated to include new information.