Since I’m really serious about following the main idea for this site – which is making normal people’s lives easier by providing structured and actually useful info – I’m starting with something that’s an important part of every internet person’s existence.
The fact is that if you’re doing any sort of business on the web then you have tens of projects to deal with, tens of tasks, tens of people to contact, and tens of goals to achieve…and probably other tens of things as well.
A productivity tool does come handy. That’s for sure. But which one to use? This is the question we’ll answer today.
This isn’t a fake review. I did actually spend a considerable amount of time testing all these tools. And this was real testing, meaning that I made those tools part of my daily work. In short, I’ve become a user. Heck, here’s a proof of my RTM usage:
So I guess what should follow now is a handful of blocks of text talking about various features and then giving you my verdict on the best to-do list tool out there, right? But that would be: (1) boring, and (2) wouldn’t be a usable resource.
That’s why I’m going to do the following instead…
Below, there’s a simple table that presents all 5 tools, their strong and weak sides, their purpose, their level of simplicity, their ease of use, their feature-richness, their GTD-friendliness, and their (assumed) target group of users.
To-do list management for a single person.
Tags, multiple lists (projects), deadlines, priorities, keyboard shortcuts.
Not as far as I know.
Android, iPhone, iPad (Siri integration), BlackBerry, Gmail plugin, Outlook plugin, Twitter integration, Google Calendar integration, plus a number of third-party apps.
(just a single list of tasks/things; no place to get lost).
EASE OF USE 9/10
(setting your lists and your tasks should only take a couple of minutes).
Easy to implement (it isn’t built in from the get go).
The ease of use, the speed of use, the ultra-functional keyboard shortcuts and the number of additional apps available.
Their iOS apps. The sync is done only once a day (you have to pay for real-time sync).
PREFERRED USER GROUP
I’ve been using this tool (on and off) for more than 2 years. It’s very optimized for heavy desktop users. It’s fast and reliable. However, it doesn’t support any teamwork, and like I said, the iOS apps are weak. So this tool is for heavy desktop users that work alone.
Project management and task management in a group setup or on your own.
Projects, deadlines, collaboration, subtasks, tasks, hearts (whatever that is).
Yes. Up to 15 users in your team for free.
Android, iPhone, iPad, Chrome plugin, Google Calendar integration, and more.
(the tool uses a classic list layout; there are sections for projects and tasks; in short, kind of simple, but you need a while to get a grasp on everything).
EASE OF USE 8/10
(creating tasks and projects is very simple, but you need a while to learn how to make the tasks actually appear on your dashboard and how to speed up the process of creating and editing the tasks).
Easy to implement (it isn’t built in from the get go).
High focus on teamwork. Plus, the design is very nice to look at.
There’s a centralized place for tasks. What this means is that you need to create a task first, and only then assign it to yourself so you can see it on your dashboard. This isn’t the most optimized solution if you’re working on your own. But at the same time, it’s a huge advantage if you’re a project manager.
PREFERRED USER GROUP
Project managers and people who like to be able to expand their operations above some standard task management. For single user, this might be an overkill though.
A ton of them: real-time cloud sync, multiple notebooks, support for various types of content, tags, reminders, sharing, and a lot more.
Yes, in Evernote for Business.
Android, iPhone, iPad. Plus, a range of other side apps and third-party apps.
(Evernote is advanced, and because of this, the interface isn’t simple).
EASE OF USE 4/10
(We’re talking about using Evernote for to-do list management, and Evernote is simply not optimized for this; it requires a lot of setup before you can use it for this purpose).
Possible to implement. The fact that Evernote can be used for GTD is actually the only reason why I’m including it on this list. (There’s a great guide called The Secret Weapon on how to configure your Evernote for GTD-enabled task management.)
The possibility to make it your cloud-based central for all kinds of notes. It goes a lot further than a simple task management.
The amount of work you have to do before you can start managing your tasks and projects with it.
PREFERRED USER GROUP
People who are taking various types of notes heavily and like to have everything in one place. People who like to have complete control over their tasks and projects. Also, people who for some reason, don’t like any of the other task management tools presented here.
And the best to-do list manager is…
The best tools for me personally are Any.do and RTM. But that’s only because of the way I’ve built my personal productivity system – taking my current setup into consideration, the kind of work I do and the kind of tasks I usually take care of.
Let me emphasize this again, those two are the best for me.
Will they be the best for you? I don’t know.
That’s why I’ve created this comparison so you can take a glance at each tool’s basic features and make an educated guess based on this data.
I am curious to hear your opinion about these tools, by the way, so don’t hesitate to contact me.
Looking for some online business advice for normal people
and more resources just like this one? Jump in.
Here’s how the technique works. If you want to write an affiliate review of a product named, say, Online Business Wizard Blueprint (just made that up), and you want to make it as eye-grabbing as possible then all you have to do is go with a headline like:
Online Business Wizard Blueprint Scam
This is sure to get a lot of people interested. Now, the cool part is that you still get to keep the review pretty standard. You go through the pros and cons, describe some features, provide a bonus and display your affiliate link. The only thing you have to say at the end is:
Is Online Business Wizard Blueprint a scam? Surely not.
And you’re “clean,” so to speak. Only you’re not.
The above scenario personifies exactly everything that’s wrong with internet marketing these days… Deceptive headline. The copy has nothing to do with the headline. And probably a shitty product being promoted in the first place.
That being said, it surely works. Whenever a new product gets released, there’s always at least one review like this occupying one of the top spots on Google.
It has a lot to do with human nature. Whenever we’re thinking about buying something, and all of a sudden we see a headline like [Product Name] Scam, we feel this irresistible urge to check it out, purely because we don’t want to get scammed, which is 100% normal.
But the person on the other side who’s just trying to lure us in, is not normal at all.
Therefore, here’s a quick cut-out-’n-keep guide on what to do when you encounter a review like this, and also when you can write one yourself.
What to do if you see a [Product Name] Scam review
Just a quick procedure, actually.
Before you even start reading it, scroll down to find any affiliate links.
If the headline says “scam” yet the person still tries to spin it and promote the thing then they’re obviously a douchebag. Don’t even bother reading such a review.
If there are no affiliate links, however, then the review can actually be the real deal, in which case by all means read it.
When to write a [Product Name] Scam review yourself
Quite simply, when it really is a scam and you want to tell the world about it.
In this case, however, using an affiliate link at the end is not the most fortunate thing, to say the least.
This also means that, on the other hand, if you like a given product, please don’t act like a “smart marketer” and create a [Product Name] Scam review for it. You might get some sales here and there, but your brand will suffer along the way.
Fighting spam reviews
Those problematic [Product Name] Scam reviews are nothing more than spam. I encourage you to fight pages like this by reporting them to Google. This can be done here.
If Google gets a number of spam reports for the same page, they are sure to do something about it.
Word for today: mercy. As in “no mercy for spam reviews.”
If you’re like most people then you might think that writing a journal/diary is child’s play. That there’s no possible value of such thing for a grownup. Well, think again.
I always say that keeping a personal journal is the best way of warming up your writing muscle in the morning.
Moreover, the sole concept of writing in the morning is one I’m constantly advertising everywhere I can. I think that I mentioned it in at least 5 of my posts on different blogs.
Anyway, what’s the deal?
I don’t intend to repeat myself here again, so let me give you the short version of the story.
We all like to feel productive throughout our workdays, right? But those initial hours (also known as the morning) can be tough. We’re a bit confused, not up to our full potential and all.
Here’s where a good warm-up comes into play (a warm-up for our brain, that is). And for me, there’s just nothing better than writing a journal.
Mostly because it forces your brain to start working, but at the same time it’s nothing tough, so there’s no struggle to get going. A journal is simply something you can write in whatever state of mind you’re in at the moment.
And here’s where Penzu Pro comes into play.
Whenever I talk about writing a journal in the morning, I mention Penzu as the go-to place.
Personally, I don’t see the point of keeping a physical journal in the 21st century. But keeping it as DOC files doesn’t quite cut it either. Your content can always get viewed by other people, which is something I’m sure you don’t want to happen.
That’s why an online solution of some kind is the only sensible way here. And Penzu fits the description perfectly. It’s easy to use, secure, and available worldwide.
Check this quick video presentation to get a hang of it:
Penzu offers two main accounts: Penzu free and Penzu Pro.
If you don’t want to spend any money then Penzu free will surely be enough to make you happy. There are no apparent downsides to the free plan and everyone who just wants a simple online journal, will find it incredibly useful.
Features in the free plan:
unlimited disk space,
inserting images from your computer and Flickr,
sharing via email and public link,
commenting on shared entries,
basic lock (password protection),
time zone change,
Penzu Pro has everything that the free one does, plus an additional set of features:
mobile access (iPhone and iPad apps),
large size images with download option,
military-grade encryption lock,
customize pad style and backgrounds,
import posts from Live Journal,
import posts from RSS feeds and XML files,
export to PDF, XML, and TXT files,
submit entries via email,
sort entries by tags,
Working with Penzu Pro
The user interface is very easy to use. There’s virtually no learning curve, you can start working the minute you sign up.
The default screen simply presents a blank pad where you can start writing your entry.
There are many customization options to choose from, so every entry can be unique and have its own style.
For instance, you can upload some pictures from your computer or have them embedded from Flickr.
You can also customize the font and the style of your text. This is great when you want to distinguish a fragment of text from the rest (like with a quotation, for example).
I’m sure you know how tags work. In Penzu Pro, you can use them like in any other article management software. This is particularly handy if you write a lot of entries and need a way to browse through them for specific information.
Possibly the coolest thing about Penzu Pro is the possibility to customize pad styles and backgrounds. You can choose one of the available stock backgrounds or upload your own.
One relatively new feature in Penzu Pro is version control. What this means in plain English is that you can fetch previous versions of a given entry. This is not very useful if you’re using Penzu for personal journals, but if you use it for creating any work-related documents then it’s a completely different story.
Finally, there’s sharing. By default, every entry is private, which means that the only person who can view it is you. However, you can let other people through the door if you’ve written something you think they might enjoy.
You can share each entry individually by listing email addresses of people who can view it. Additionally, shared entries include a comment form below the entry.
Price and plan
Without further ado let me quickly say that Penzu Pro is $19 per year.
Simple rules, not much more I can say about the pricing. Oh yes, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Penzu Pro is a great solution for many reasons. It’s easy to use, affordable, and available online wherever you are.
For me, this is the best tool available for keeping your personal journal. No hassle with pen and paper, or making sure that your DOC files don’t get viewed by other people. With Penzu Pro this is none of your concern.
Besides, $19 a year? Come on, it’s only 6 cents a day.
I know that every review that doesn’t list any bad sides is just not a serious review, but this time I really can’t find any downsides. Penzu Pro works perfectly well on any device I’ve tested it on.
However, feel free to let me know if you’ve stumbled upon any difficulties. I will gladly look over them.
In the meantime, I really recommend joining Penzu and checking out for yourself how quality the service is. If you don’t want to spend money right away, you don’t have to. The free account will get you going too, only without the cool additional features.