Online task managers to organize your life

If you're looking to find some help organizing your life and you're tired of Outlook, there are some nice online task managers that could help solve your problems. Plus, many of them are free.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
5 min read

Organizing your life is much easier in theory than practice. And although there are several ways to go about it, including using Outlook, online task managers might be your best bet. Whether you want it built into your existing social networks or you prefer something you can surf to during your day, I've picked some nice services. They're not perfect for everyone, but you should find at least one service that satisfies your needs.

Task managers

Gmail Tasks If you don't want to waste time with different sites to track your tasks, try out the Gmail Tasks.

When you click on Tasks in Gmail, a small box is displayed allowing you to quickly jot down notes about what you need to do for the rest of the day. When you complete a task, simply check the box next to the item and it will cross it out. Tasks also lets you add sub-head items, set up due dates, and more. It's a great service for those who want a convenient, yet powerful task manager.

Gmail Tasks
Gmail Tasks is a convenient tool for Gmail users. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Nozbe Nozbe is a powerful task manager that should help you find all the functionality you already enjoy in Outlook.

After you sign up for Nozbe (you'll need to choose between a free plan or several paid options, which cost up to $149 per month depending on the number of users you have), you'll immediately find a full-featured task manager that goes far beyond a simple to-do list. The app lets you create a project, add tasks, and determine their importance. For multi-user projects, you can decide which person in your group should tackle each task.

Nozbe lets you upload notes to supplement tasks. You can also attach files, images, or documents. Like many of the other services in this roundup, Nozbe will let you send tasks through Twitter. You can call in updates via Jott. You can even manage your Nozbe account from your iPhone. That kind of availability might pull some from Outlook.

Nozbe is a great service for those who want power. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Remember the Milk Remember the Milk is an extremely convenient service. It's one of the best task managers in this roundup.

Like many other online task managers, Remember the Milk is extremely simple. It won't let you easily drag-and-drop tasks from your e-mail like Outlook does. And its options for tracking and segmenting tasks isn't as convoluted as Outlook's. But aside from its simplicity, Remember the Milk brings something quite important to the table: accessibility. The app isn't just available online. You can download it for your desktop, you can use its iPhone app, sync it with your BlackBerry, send updates to Twitter, and even integrate it into Gmail. In other words, you can bring it wherever you want to go. Remember the Milk is a great service. Check it out.

Remember the Milk
Remember the Milk is one of the best services in this roundup. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Ta-Da Lists Ta-Da Lists is one of the simplest task managers in this roundup. If you want something that will help you remember what to do quickly, this service is for you.

Ta-Da Lists' registration takes just a few seconds. After you've signed up, you can immediately start inputting tasks. Each task can be as short or as long as you want. When you're ready to submit it to your list, the app anchors the oldest task at the top, followed by the other tasks you input in chronological order. When you complete a task, you need only to click on the box next to it and it will be removed from your list.

Ta-Da Lists lets you share your lists with friends via e-mail. You can also activate a public page to let them see your tasks. It's not nearly as powerful as Outlook's task manager and if you need something powerful, move along. But if you require a service that's simple and efficient, try out Ta-Da Lists.

Ta-Da Lists
Ta-Da Lists is meant to be simple and fast. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Todoist Todoist is designed to be simple, yet readily available when you need it. The app succeeds.

Todoist's task-input feature isn't as nice as many of the apps in this roundup. It's a little convoluted. But once you get used to inputting tasks, you'll find that Todoist provides a simple way to input tasks.

The app's real value comes through its ubiquity. The app can be installed onto your Mac OS X Dashboard, you can use the Firefox plug-in that mimics its features, or integrate it into Gmail. In other words, it's ready for you just about anywhere you go. That adds some considerable value to the service.

Todoist features a simple, but awkward design. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Toodledo Although it's billed as a simple task manager, Toodledo is anything but simple. In fact, it's one of the most powerful tools in this roundup. Plus, it can compete quite nicely against Outlook.

If you sign up for a free Toodledo account, you'll be given access to some of the many features it offers. You can input tasks into your "To-Do List", share those tasks with users by making your page public, and open your task manager up to others through the app's collaboration feature. You can even set lifelong, long-term, or short-term goals.

Toodledo also lets you upload files and documents. You can create notes with other apps and add them to your Toodledo profile. You can even discuss productivity in the site's forums. But if you want help focusing your time to make yourself more productive, you want to secure encrypted connections to prevent data loss, or you want to use the site's enhanced scheduler, you'll need to pay $14.95 per year. It's a steep price, considering you won't need to pay for similar features in Outlook when you're at the office, but I've found that it's well worth the price. And since all that can be accessed from your iPhone, it's even better.

Toodledo lets you set goals for yourself. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

Voo2do Voo2do features one of the worst designs of any service in this roundup. But what it lacks in beauty, it makes up for in functionality.

Voo2do allows you to create multiple projects. Once you do so, you can immediately start entering tasks that need to be completed for each project. You can input the respective task's priority, due date, and more. You can also add notes and how long you expect tasks to be finished.

Voo2do lets you collaborate on projects with others. Simply input a person's name and decide what you want them to do. As you add more users, you'll be able to see how much progress they've made. Voo2do is a fine alternative to Outlook. It's almost as powerful, but it's more convenient. Voo2do is definitely worth checking out.

Voo2do lets you set due dates and priority. Screenshot by Don Reisinger/CNET

My top 3

1. Remember the Milk: If you want Outlook-like quality with nice design, Remember the Milk is where you'll find it.

2. Toodledo: Toodledo offers some serious power in a nice package.

3. Nozbe: It could easily pull you away from Outlook.