2Do: Easy & Elegant Task Management

As time passes and iOS software matures, the iPad has increasingly crept into each aspect of our digital lives, taking over light word processing duties, casual gaming, and media. But if there’s one thing I’ve always felt the iPad excels at, it’s task management.

There’s a lot of software in the App Store which promises to be the perfect companion for getting things done, yet no matter each individual app’s approach and strengths, I find myself returning to Things. So why continue trying other options?

Well, while Things is excellent, I feel that I could really make use of an app which has some more options and features – it’s with this in mind that I decided to check out 2Do: Tasks Done in Style.

Reinventing the Wheel

2Do's landscape view is informative & visually pleasing

2Do's landscape view is informative & visually pleasing.

Residing as it does within a genre which is packed with compelling apps, 2Do seems to set itself apart from the competition by moving away from the minimalist aesthetic which is employed by some of its rivals, in favour of a UI which recreates a classic Filofax look. Personally I usually find this kind of styling not to my taste, but rather than coming up with an overly fussy interface, Guided Ways Technologies have nailed it – 2Do really is a beautifully designed piece of software, which also packs a host of easily reached options.

2Do‘s features can be checked out in full here but a few which struck me as noteworthy were its choice of five themes, audio notes, picture attachments, and clever use of GPS to offer ‘nearby’ tasks. However, it’s when these and all the others are combined, that one gets a sense of the possibility and flexibility open to the user. When you add the fact 2Do is one of the cheaper task management apps currently available, that’s great value indeed!

Syncing

2Do has no dedicated desktop client, but lots of sync options

2Do has no dedicated desktop client, but lots of sync options.

Unlike many other productivity applications on the market at present, Guided Ways Technologies have opted not to develop a desktop version of 2Do. This is not an oversight or a matter of time, the developers clearly state in their FAQ that they do not plan to create a desktop client as there are already good options available to users.

This unwillingness to develop a product which they feel would be superfluous reflects well on the team behind 2Do. The app instead comes with a host of syncing options, offering the ability to hook up with iCal, Toodledo, and Outlook. In addition, MobileMe support can be enabled for $2.99 via an in-app purchase and this will continue to work once the switch over to iCloud is complete.

Day to Day

Using 2Do on a daily basis

Using 2Do on a daily basis.

2Do’s layout is carefully considered and hosts more options within easy reach than any other similar app I’ve yet come across. Inevitably, despite the app’s intuitive design, this customisability does come with the cost of reducing simplicity somewhat, but the learning curve is very slight indeed and 2Do seems to work happily on two levels: basic organising for light users, yet with a lot for power users to get stuck into. I think that 2Do has the balance just right and this will help give the app longevity.

Using 2Do daily, I was quickly impressed by the app’s approach to helping me manage my life. Whereas in the past, I found Things and Taskpaper very useful for managing my work schedule, for whatever reason I’ve shied away from using them for typical home chores like remembering to buy milk or paying the month’s online bills – with 2Do however, I now felt encouraged to join these areas of my life and, with the help of features like its voice notes and picture attachments, it soon became an integral part of my daily routine.

Ethos

Guided Ways Technologies have a very good web-presence and their FAQ is a good first port of call should you have any questions or issues with 2Do. In addition, that same FAQ offers some insight into the philosophy behind 2Do’s hands-off approach to being useful. Rather than attempting to fit user’s lives into a particular productive ‘box’, 2Do instead simply hands all the tools needed for the user to find their own way of working, as is highlighted by this brief quote:

What particular GTD method does 2Do promote?

None (or all, depends on how you see it).

Although we appreciate that there are various ways of Getting Things Done, we don’t necessarily agree an interface should be tied down to a single way of doing things. For the average user, existing GTD apps have an overly complicated interface (not referring to the graphical aspect of the interface, but the actual work-flow one has to go through) and force you into Doing Things Their Way (DTTW !).

Conclusion

It’s only possible to use so many productivity applications before they become a time-sink and I initially questioned whether there was room in my life for yet another. However, 2Do delivers such a great user experience that I found it irresistible on first use and it has since replaced Things as my go-to task management app of choice.

Potential users may be slightly put off by 2Do‘s lack of dedicated desktop client, but I feel confident that the app more than makes up for this by taking a genuinely new approach, and granting a greater level of control over managing your day – which is the point of this software after all.

For another take on 2Do, and some background information, do check out Julia Altermann’s 2010 review!


Summary

2Do is a beautiful and well designed task management app which contains a vast array of options and unique features. It also offers great value for your money!

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  • wvit

    I own this app and want to like it. It has quite a number of features. It’s cloud sync. It’s quite cheap (buy one and run it on both iPhone & iPad). The interface is looking good, too. It has a lot (too many) of option for you to tweak to suite your need.

    Having said that, I doesn’t use it anymore (and when I do use it, the period is at most a week long). In one sense, separate the app from a single methodology is nice. You can use it and make it the way you want to use. However, it also means that it will be a lot complicate to use. If this app can be tweak to the point that it quite align with any methodology, that will be great. Alas, I find that it can tweak to the method I use but I also have to tweak myself to work the way it understand.

    So, after a period of one week, I make up my mind to paid another 20USD for Things for iPad (I already own the iPhone version).

    I doesn’t say that in term of app Things is better, it’s just suite my need and my style better. In fact, I still doesn’t know why it took them so long just to have the cloud sync, something that its competitors have for more than 2 years. However, when I use it as a single unit (I does’t sync it with my iPhone, just use it on my iPad), everything work great.

    In short, I like the concept and interface of the app, but find it unable to tweak to my need.

  • Chris ONeal

    Agree that 2do is awesome. It syncs nicely with toodledo as well. Only thing that is keeping me from using it full time is some sort of quick entry on the Mac. I don’t need a full app, just a way to get emails and clips into 2do easily. If I could do that, I’d drop omnifocus in a heartbeat.

  • Khalid

    I really like 2Do. By the way, there are some subtle hints on Twitter that there might be a desktop app in the future. Like this one. I’m sure I saw more replies on Twitter (‘you never know’ or words like that), but I couldn’t find them within a few minutes. But I could be wrong.

  • Khalid

    An addition: You should fix the link in the tip box at the bottom of this post.

    • Joel Bankhead

      Fixed – good spot!

  • Nite

    I had bought this app long back and used it for months. At that time, I was new to the iOS world. Some time later, I bought Apiggo ToDo. It replaced 2Do, but I did miss 2Do’s magically attractive UI. So, I went back to 2Do.
    Workflows changed and I wanted the ability to add and automatically sync todos from my Mac to my iPad/iPhone and vice-versa, and with push notifications. Only Apiggo has that full package (iOS apps, Mac app, online syncing). So, enjoying the ToDo package. But I must say, the moment 2Do launches a Mac app, I’ll be back to using 2Do. That UI is just too irresistible!

  • marykaichini

    Surely it looks great and realibel, but at the same time it look the same as many other tools like for example Comindware task management tool which i am using rihgt now and I think that I will use these two tools at the same time if not to get lost among them.

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