Best Free To-Do List Apps for Task Management in 2020

If checking off your to-do lists is your guilty pleasure, then we suppose you get excited by your monthly stationery hauls a little too much! From investing in annual planners to keeping a couple of online notepads for your grocery lists and tasks at work, respectively, your life thrives on to-do lists! 

Surviving in the hullabaloo of work will be hard if you did not jot down pending tasks on your notepad. While remembering to do your tasks might be the main reason why you prefer to-do lists, we believe there is another reason why you keep a notepad on you even during dinner time! The satisfaction of cross-tallying your pending tasks and finally checking them off your list is practically unmatchable to any feeling. 

But here is where we are going with our obsession with to-do lists. With sticky notes plastered all over the desk and soft board at work, keeping a track of everyday tasks can be a bit arduous. One, you cannot differentiate from one task or the other; two, you are tired of reminding your social or work circle about their pending tasks and three, tracking everyone’s productivity level is next to impossible!

But, all hail the advent and genius of technology! The masters of the web have developed external systems that help you keep an eye on your productivity as well as manage tasks from literally anywhere? Even if you do not have your laptop on you while travelling, you can always download any of the best to-do list apps on your iPhone or android smartphones to manage your tasks on-the-go!

Why do you need a To-Do List App?

While this is a no-brainer, using a to-do list app on your phone allows you to at first, get rid of your notepads and sticky notes from taking over your workplace! If you are avid list keeper, then chances are you might forget checking the sticky note that you placed on the soft board a few days ago. 

Typical Scenario:

You had an interview at 5 pm! But since you forgot to check the sticky note buried behind the others and had basically no reminder whatsoever, you can kiss the hopes of getting a new job goodbye! 

So, will an online to-do list app be of any help? 

Mentioned below are 3 reasons why anyone who is frantic in their personal space and workplace should get a to-do list app right away!

Organization – Prioritize your To-do Lists!

Organizing your pending tasks is a tedious process – we agree! Half of your time is spent in remembering the tasks or items necessary for placing on the list in the first place. The best to-do list and productivity apps are designed in a way to help you declutter your mind so that you can execute your plan with a straightforward approach.

A to-do list will provide you with the liberty to make different lists as per your priority. For instance, if you are assigning work to your team, you can make a list of ‘Assigned Tasks’ and another one as ‘Completed Tasks’ along with a timer for keeping dabs on them. Something you don’t need a complicated project management software for. Once an assigned task is finished, you can shift the task to the ‘Completed Tasks’ tab to acquire a sense of achievement over your daily agenda. 

Plus, organizing your tabs on a to-do list app will allow you to prioritize your urgent tasks. You can add a timer as well as schedule a reminder so that you are greeted by a wake-up call every now and then!

Long-term Memory Aid!

If you think you are becoming a tad bit forgetful, then you are not aboard on this ship alone! But, there is absolutely no magic pill that can prevent your ship from sinking. A to-do list app can serve as an external long-term memory aid and help you remember your most vital tasks. 

As per scientific research, our short term memory has the capability to keep together 7 separate bits of information for at least half a minute! If you bombard your brain with 7 important tasks, you might forget them all in the next 30 seconds.

To prevent yourself from heading towards impending doom, update your to-do list app the moment you have new pending tasks! By checking your to-do list app frequently, you will train your brain to remember at least 5 of the tasks, allowing them to enter your long-term memory for longer retention! 

But, to proceed any further and keep up with your deadlines, you have to at least remember to check your to-do list app religiously!

Better Time Management

The moment you remind yourself to commit to a task, you get distracted or focus your attention on matters that are trivial and can wait. An online to-do list app will help you to stay focused as the remaining tasks will be right in front of you with a scheduled timer as well. In this way, you can commit to your tasks with priority and head to leisure after you are done with the most important ones!

A to-do list app will also allow you to keep a check on the way you are spending your time daily. For instance, if your list for the day is already saturated with tasks that are more than your usual number, allotting yourself new will become too hard to handle. With asserting your daily limit, you will not only be able to manage your time better but can do your tasks with better quality and being stress-free!

With online to-do lists, you can curb your procrastination and get assistance from qualitative task management services and tend to your pending work in no time.

How to Choose the best To-do List App?

Choosing an app is highly subjective and depends on what you require for managing your tasks. While every to-do list app can make and categorize lists, what else do you want the best task manager to have? Perhaps, an integrated calendar or a feature to synchronize your team inbox?

Clean and Minimal Interface

The best to-do list apps provide you with a way to categorize your lists and color-tag them with labels as required. Since clutter can be too distracting, most to-do list apps focus on choosing a primary color such as red in terms of Todoist or a secondary color such as mauve for ClickUp as their prime focus. Plus, with a clean interface, you can curate your workflow and organize your tasks better.

Categorizing Tasks is Easier

The best to-do list apps provide you with the ability to enlist your tasks and categorize them accordingly with project details and tags. You can also create sub-categories or check-lists that you can tick off manually or have the app cross-check it off the to-do list upon completion.

Reminders and Notifications

Even the best free to-do list apps online have an option for adding a ‘Due Date’ or ‘Deadline’ to your tasks with self-imposed reminders as well. If you set a task as ‘high priority’, you can choose the way you want to be reminded of an impending deadline. Do you want the app to schedule a reminder on the eleventh hour or send you an e-mail to your priority inbox or how about both?

Allow Synchronization Across Different Platforms

Trello, one of the best online task managers allow you to sign up using your Google account, giving you easy access across the two platforms. Other to-do list apps such as Todoist provide you with the chance to access various work-flow apps such as Zapier for synchronizing and managing your team’s productivity on one platform.

Plus, if you are using the app on the Web, you can install it on your phones and sign in to access it on-the-go. For any avid digital user, it is important that their data remains synchronized among all devices.

Best To-do List Apps of 2020

Apart from droning on the benefits of using a task management software, we have reviewed 7 of the best to-do list apps – according to popular usage and positive reviews – below! 

  1. Todoist
  2. TickTick
  3. Any.do
  4. Google Tasks
  5. Microsoft To-Do

1. Todoist

Ideal Choice for Task Management

todoist - best to-do list app

Free Version: Available with limited features
Premium Version: $3/user/month when billed annually. $5/user/month for Team version when billed annually.
Devices: iOS, Android, Web, Desktop

PROS:
  • Free version available
  • Themes for personalization
  • Integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox and Calendar
  • Allows you to add due dates and tags with sub-categorization of tasks
  • Separates the team inbox from yours for better monitoring of workflow
  • Integration with Amazon Echo, Alexa and Siri
  • Reporting & visualizing of productivity overtime
  • Calendar-syncing, reminders, push notifications, labels and filters
  • 50% waiver of the monthly price for students

CONS:
  • While adding sub-tasks is a well-integrated feature with Todoist, it can become a problem if you are looking for indenting lists in your inbox (But, we believe they are working on it!)
  • More flexible with iOS users

Key Features

With over 20 million avid users on the platform, Todoist is the most popular to-do list app on the internet, currently. While its popularity is due to its simple and user-friendly interface, there is no denying to the fact that Todoist’s features make it quite powerful amongst others. With the ability to fool around with plenty of lists, labels and tags, delegating tasks and keeping a track of your entire workforce is remarkably easier than before.

Todoist requires you to either sign up with an existing email address on Google, Facebook account or a brand new one just for the platform. The best part about Todoist is perhaps the fact that it fits every major platform as its app is freely accessible on web, Android and iOS for easy download. 

It also includes plug-ins such as Gmail and Outlook so that you can monitor your inbox and shift tasks manually without leaving the window. You can also add an extension of Todoist on your Chrome or Firefox web browser as well as integrate your Google Drive and Calendar with the app.


2. TickTick

Ideal Choice for Better Organization and Productivity!

tick-tick-todo-list-app

Free Version: Available
Premium Version: Billed collectively as $27.99 for the entire year (Almost $2.4 per month). Refund available after 14 days of purchase.
Devices: iOS, Android, Web, Desktop

PROS:
  • Custom Smart Lists with High Priority Sorting
  • Four tier task management system (folder, lists, tasks and sub-tasks)
  • Calendar viewing with third-party syncing
  • Built-in Pomo Timer for monitoring work hours of workforce
  • Integrated across 10+ platforms such as web, desktop, Android and iOS
  • 10+ themes compatible with user-friendly and minimal viewing interface
  • Ability to allot tasks directly from your inbox
  • Allows you to keep a track on your productivity
  • Add calendar and task widgets on your home screen

CONS:
  • Can add only 9 lists with the free plan
  • Number of tasks limits down to 99 per list, each of which can take up only 19 sub-tasks
  • Calendar-syncing is an option only with its premium subscription

Key Features

If you ask for our honest opinion, we would prefer downloading TickTick for our task management due to two simple reasons. One, TickTick offers a near-equal (perhaps better) work interface than Todoist, and two, its premium version is for 8 dollars less comparatively. But if we had to be objective, we might still go for Todoist since TickTick does not consist of the Natural Language Processing feature that is the sole contender of the former’s popularity.

TickTick has a minimal user interface that allows you to add tasks by simply speaking up. While adding tasks, you can now allot yourself detailed deadlines by including the correct date and time so that the app can issue reminders before the time is up.

But, along with reminders, even basic calendar-syncing are luxury features with TickTick. You can also synchronize your email inbox with TickTick’s app and use it across a host of 10+ platforms such as web and desktop or download it on your Android or iOS.

If you are pretty obsessive regarding your tasks, you will adore TickTick as it allows you to organize your tasks into four different levels. Start delegating your work by creating tasks and subtasks at first, and then sort them into different lists and folders for better organization of your taskforce. You can also share your smart lists with other people on board so that everyone is on the same page – pun intended. The best part about TickTick is that it allows you to list your tasks with regards to priority so that you can get done as per necessity.

TickTick’s premium version features third-party calendar-syncing as well as the ability to assign tasks with ‘start’ and ‘end’ dates on the calendar for simple viewing. TickTick allows you to turn the heat up by adding 299 lists on your app at the same time! But its generosity is not only limited to this number of lists! You can add 999 tasks per list; each of which can contain 199 sub-tasks for better functionality and productivity.


3. Any.do

Ideal Choice for Professional Team and Workflow Management

anydo-to-do-list

Free Version: Available
Premium Version: Billed collectively as $59.99 for the entire year ($5.99 per month). 7-day Free Trial available
Devices: iOS, Android, Web, Desktop

PROS:
  • Vivid graphics and minimal interface
  • Features Kanban boards for seamless task management
  • Calendar-syncing as with repeat reminders
  • Location-based reminders and unlimited attachments
  • Any.do Moment helps you to postpone and defer tasks
  • Focus Mode lets you assign a timer to your tasks

CONS:
  • A little pricey
  • Occasional lag in performance

Key Features

First things first, is it only us or do you too, think that Any.do kind of copied Todoist’s logo and kept one tick instead of the original two?

While Any.do is seamlessly compatible over an array of devices, many reviewers don’t find its UI/UX too catching. Intrigued, we downloaded the app to check it out for our butterfingers. Conspiracies aside, Any.do can get slightly slow in performance on browsers and desktop, but don’t go on blaming its assortment of features! We think the new update might get rid of its lagging bug and improve its performance for Web and Desktop.

It is available across a number of platforms including iOS (Mac, iPad, iPhone, Siri, Apple Wearables), Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Desktop and Chrome (Firefox is yet to be launched).

Any.do, much like its rival, Todoist, is integrated with Zapier and Slack so that you can organize your tasks to any extent and bring your workforce together on a merged platform. The best part though, is that Any.do allows you to synchronize your calendar and add the date and time as well as the location required for the completion of the task.

Just like Trello, Any.do also uses kanban boards that allows you to categorize your lists with tasks and subtasks accordingly. For instance, if you plan on enlisting ‘Work’ and ‘Home Errands’ on your app, you can simply add two kanban boards and add a checklist further on. Plus, the moment you are done with a task, you can cross-check it from the list as well.

Todoist’s free version made it possible to work alongside and share the same settings as your app’s with five other collaborators. But, Any.do’s free version does not contain a lot of perks other than basic calendar-syncing, task management and reminder notifications.

Its premium version is authenticated with location-based reminders, unlimited attachments as well as the ability to share and collaborate with an unlimited number of people. You can also create a separate kanban board for recurring tasks and customize them in accordance to the deadline gap. For obsessives like us, Any.do Premium offers you to color-coordinate your background and labels so that you can assign, choose, and defer tasks at a glance.

Any.do Teams is designed specially for workaholics who plan on keeping their personal to-do lists away from their professional ones. The best part about Any.do Teams is that you can allot tasks to all of your teams without bringing them on one interface. For instance, if you are head of Marketing and Sales, you can assign two kanban lists to each, and share with the respective teams.


4. Google Tasks

Ideal Choice for Earning Big Brownie Points with Task Completion!

Google-Tasks

Free Version: Available
Premium Version: No
Devices: iOS, Android, Web, Desktop

PROS:
  • Completely free
  • Integrated across the entire G-Suite – best if you rely on Gmail and Google Calendar for your tasks already
  • Already compatible with Web, Browser, Android and iOS
  • Task management and delegation into sub-tasks
  • Synchronization with Google Calendar and Gmail allows you to add tasks directly
  • Ideal for on-the-go task management

CONS:
  • Not a very mature product
  • Cannot add details, deadlines or tags to subtasks
  • Poor organizational management – no sorting by date, time or priority

Key Features

Google Tasks is ideal for users who prefer working from their G-Suite without any external fringes or installations. Since Google Tasks is integrated with Google Calendar and your Gmail inbox, adding tasks with date and mail synchronization is no longer a tedious chore! But despite being available for use on all major platforms such as iOS, Android, Web and Chrome, it lacks in organizational capabilities.

Google Tasks allows you to add tasks with details that can be edited out whenever you want. While you can add subtasks to each of your tasks, there is no option of adding a due date or high priority deadline to any of them.

The best part about Google Tasks is that once you add a date and time to your task, you will no longer see that respective slot available for further task delegation. For instance, if you are busy from 2 to 4 pm tonight in a meeting as per your Google Calendar, you will no longer see the time slot available whenever you open your to-do list app for adding a task.

Google Tasks also allows you to feel accomplished and satisfied with your work progress. Instead of simply checking off the task from your list, Google Tasks removes its entire existence from your app, earning you a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction with its completion.



5. Microsoft To-Do

Ideal Choice for Windows Users (and Brats who don’t want to spend)

microsoft-todo-app

Free Version: Available
Premium Version: No
Devices: iOS, Android, Web, Desktop, Mac, Windows

PROS:
  • Absolutely Free!
  • Compatible over Windows for desktop users as well as iOS and Android
  • Allows you to sync your calendar with tasks
  • Reminders and Push Notifications are readily available for alerts on-the-go

CONS:
  • Weak organizational management
  • Doesn’t integrate Apple or Google Calendar with its app. Outlook only.

Key Features

Microsoft To-Do is another free app that is here to help Stone-Age Windows users with their daily operations. Do not get us wrong – many people (including us) prefer working from our desktops for better workforce management through the keyboard.

Gathering that Microsoft To-Do is completely free of cost, you will be surprised to find out that this app stands right next to Todoist’s premium version in its provision of features! Remember how calendar-syncing, reminders and push notifications were only available for use with Todoist’s premium features?

Guess what? Microsoft To-Do’s app not only provides you the basic features of adding tasks and subtasks, but is also consistent with calendar-syncing, reminders and file attachments for FREE! Each subtask is displayed in the form of ‘steps’ or a ‘checklist’ that can have its own priority deadline as well as further details and notes.

Its ‘My Day’ feature helps to bring your pending and completed tasks together for the day automatically. But, since it does not consist of an NLP feature, your ‘My Day’ online to-do list will be practically empty and at your mercy for manual enlisting of tasks.

The fact that Microsoft To-Do was slowly coming closer to our most favourite app of the year, it made a huge blunder and left us totally disappointed. The app has no options of adding filters or tags to your tasks, ranking highest from the bottom in organization. Despite the fact that you can make lists, there is no option of sorting them as per your convenience and priority.

Remember how we mentioned that Microsoft To-Do allows you to synchronize your calendar with the app? Well, it only pays heed to Outlook’s Calendar and does not integrate with Apple or Google Calendar at all! Not many startups use Outlook today. There might be one in ten enterprises that are still consistent with Outlook because other options are better, feasible and more flexible to use.


The Final Verdict

While we will strongly agree with Todoist and TickTick for our personal to-do list ensemble, we will not mind trying out Any.do for the first seven days of its trial feature. If you find Any.do to be worth the struggle – and the money – be our guest!

Google Calendars and Microsoft To-Do are pretty okay free to-do list apps for individuals who freelance and plan on organizing their work so that they don’t forget doing them in the first place. Here too, we will recommend Microsoft To-Do but what is the use if it cannot integrate Google or Apple Calendar with its lists of tasks? Even if you go for Google Tasks, you will not get the chance to organize our work flow properly.

So if we have to choose the lesser of the two evils, we might move over to any third party and settle for Todoist as the best to-do list app and task manager online. It’s inexpensive, has flexible UI/UX, and feasible across a variety of platforms.

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