The Wonder of Wunderlist

This entry appears here in the General Blog because it concerns a productivity app that is cross-platform and is integrated via cloud-syncing between all your devices, including Mac, iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, PC, Windows Phone and Android devices, as well as any web browser. It does one thing - task management - very well, in my opinion, without overloading the app with too many features. Whatever you happen to call the process of keeping track of the things you need to do in your life, whether it's to-do lists, open items tracking, reminders or time management, I find that Wunderlist has hit the sweet spot with me by being both simple enough to use and full-featured enough to be fully useful for my daily work and personal needs.

Wunderlist is a free app available for all the platforms mentioned above and was originally developed in Germany but now is under the House of Microsoft (since June 2015). Reportedly, it is in the hands of over 13 million users as of this date. Personally, I have been keeping open items lists on something other than paper since I first starting using computers. I started out using a spreadsheet for such a list and, for years, this served me reasonably well, which was good because it was the only truly usable row-based text tool available for a long time. When free-form database programs came along, I gave those a try, but they tended to be too cumbersome to be efficient for quickly adding or completing items.

When handheld devices came out, I began to use a Palm Pilot (and its progeny) and found a program called Bonsai that seemed to do the trick, but it used a cumbersome wired method to sync with Palm software on my desktop and, as you know, Palm devices have since gone the way of the dodo bird. With the advent of the iPhone in 2007, developers began to take personal list management more seriously and many apps for the iPhone and iPad entered the fray to try to grab users' attention to do list tracking.

I was anxious to find something that was going to be always available to me, regardless of what platform I happened to be using at the time.  Since I use an iPhone, iPad, PC at work and Mac at home, I needed a program that worked on all these simultaneously and always stayed in sync. I started using Toodledo, as it was a web-based application that each of my devices could access through the web.

After about a year of using Toodledo, I started to experiment (given the explosion of apps of the iOS app store) with some other iOS task management apps that also had syncing capability to desktop devices via the web. I finally settled on OmniFocus - an expensive, but full-featured, task management app that uses the "Getting Things Done" (GTD) methodology developed by David Allen and described in his best-selling books.  If a highly-structured approach to task management is appealing to you, you might find David Allen's GTD website of interest and Omnifocus to be the GTD tool to use in the digital realm.

I used OmniFocus for quite a while, but at some point I realized that its power and complexity was also an impediment to my own efficient use of the list management app on a daily basis.  About 6 months ago, I discovered Wunderlist, right around the time that Microsoft acquired it. The more I use Wunderlist (which is all day, every day), the more I like it. In a subsequent post, I will elaborate on why it works so well for me. I believe that list-keeping is a very personal thing and, as I've mentioned elsewhere on this site, what works for me may not be a good fit for you. However, stay tuned for a follow-up post on Wunderlist that explains why I find it so appealing.