Software to get things done

I’ve been looking for some good ‘Get Things Done’ (GTD) software for a while now. I’ve looked at loads of different options but nothing has done exactly what I want it to do whilst running on my Windows computer, my Mac and my Android phone and being relatively inexpensive.

Here’s a rundown on the software I found and the good and bad bits.



First off, there are some excellent programs out there for OSX. Things is a great example of this. It works well and looks great, but only on a Mac and an iPhone. This isn’t a problem for some people but since I develop stuff for Windows Smartphones I also need a Windows computer for work and Things won’t work on that, there also isn’t an Android app yet, maybe sometime in the future!

At $49.95 Things is also quite expensive, although if it would work on Windows and on my phone, I’m sure I’d pay it. So if you only work on a Mac and use an iPhone, Things is probably the best it’s going to get!

Remember The Milk

Remember The Milk

Now I move on to web based applications. Remember The Milk is pretty awesome as well. The main online program is free, it’s browser based and does everything you need a GTD application to do. I don’t think it’s quite as pretty as a desktop app like Things, but that’s just my opinion! Because it’s browser based, it will work on Windows, OSX, Ubuntu, or whatever.

Their pro plan costs $25 a year which is very cheap and this allows you to get the Android or iPhone app. They also have an api which has allowed other developers to create applications to work with Remember The Milk, one of these applications that I tried out was Astrid. This means you can actually use the service on your phone without having to pay to upgrade to pro, although if you like Remember The Milk and you use it a lot, it’s worth going pro just to show your appreciation.

The only downside I could find for Remember The Milk was the lack of a standalone desktop application I could use. I didn’t want to have my to do list open in my browser all of the time. There are a few sort of hacks you can use to see your list somewhere other than your browser but nothing that felt natural to me.

Google Tasks

Google Tasks

Google have their own GTD software which is also web based. It integrates with GMail, Google Calendar and iGoogle which is pretty good and there is also a mobile version which isn’t a mobile app, just a web page optimised for your phone.

Again, the lack of a desktop app and the fact that there wasn’t an actual mobile app put me off using this.

I started to think that maybe I was asking for too much from the GTD software and started to use Remember The Milk when I came across which basically does everything I need it to. There is an Adobe Air app which means it can run on my Windows PC and my Mac just like I wanted, there is also an iPhone and an Android app. All of the applications are synced to the web so all of my computers are up to date and everything works nicely and looks great!

I think the software is quite new so there are a few bug here and there but nothing major. The main one was when I installed it on my Mac it crashed the first few times I tried to run it which I think was something to do with their SSL certificate but it’s working now and hopefully they’ll get a better certificate soon so nobody else gets that problem.

Not only does do everything I want it to, it’s also totally free and a according to their website it always will be.

Other GDT software to check out

This is a list of GTD software I haven’t had a chance to test myself. – Web based software with SMS reminders and email creation of tasks. They offer a free plan and a pro one for $3.99 per month.

Nozbe – Another web based one with an iPhone app.

TaskMerlin – Windows based GTD software


I should point out here that I have nothing to do with any of the companies that make the applications I’ve written about. I’m just giving my opinions on the software.

  • Stu Greenham

    Nice post!

    I have been using all three, things is great for mac and iphone but has no web app, I am using RTM now as it has push notifications and plugins for all major browsers!
    .-= Stu Greenham´s last blog ..Need a Google Wave invite? =-.

  • Dr John

    Recently I found a great little google desktop tool for tdo lists, from google themselves – no having to vist a web site or open a new app, it’s there all the time to see. I tried using an online system and it was quite good, but it was the chore of having to actively choose to view it that was its weak point. google’s desktop tool just sits there and I see it all the time. Which reminds me… ;)
    .-= Dr John´s last blog ..Peritoneal Dialysis – a Demo =-.