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Productivity (task-scheduling) apps for academics (a summary)

Whiteboard and corkboardI think I’ve made it pretty clear that, while I am really adventurous when it comes to computer-aided anything, I am always willing to learn and use it (see my post on how I use Evernote in teaching and research). But my task-scheduling? It’s totally old-fashioned. I WRITE LISTS. By hand. And then I cross them off, delete them, or write a red check mark besides them. I know, it’s slightly embarrassing.

So I decided to throw the question to my Academic Twitter followers, and here are their responses:


I haven’t tried Wunderlist, but it seemed nice in that multiple lists can be shared with others, as per Megan Hatch’s note.


This one took me by surprise, as both Will Winecoff and Christopher Zorn recommended it for lists. I usually just use it to file notes, field notes, and for my teaching. But apparently I could extend it to To-Do lists.

Google Keep

Everything I do is synchronized with Google (Gmail, Google Calendar), so it would seem to make sense that I try Google Keep. Never done it, might try it.


I think it was Janni Aragon (University of Victoria) who said that she used Todoist first. But then I got a few responses in support from other academics:


Jennifer Victor (George Mason University) suggested Timeful, which I also haven’t tried. But I will, although it seems it will be removed from the App Store, as it’s paired now with Google.

Remember The Milk

Emilia Tjernström (University of Wisconsin Madison) suggested Remember The Milk, which is one of the most popular To-Do list apps I have ever seen, even before there was an explosion of apps, this was one of the most popular (in fact, it was first a website!)

Kanban Flow

While I took project management courses in undergrad and during my Masters, and I do have *some* idea of what the Kanban flow technique is, this is totally new. Emily Senefeld suggested it and I might have to try it.


This was suggested by Ana Isabel Canhoto and I am looking forward to trying it too. I like that it seems simple and that it’s for iOS (which I use on my mobile devices).

Other apps… (OmniFocus, Any.Do and Due)

Ryan Briggs (Virginia Tech) suggested OmniFocus, and I have used OmniGraffle before to design website mock-ups and wire-frames. So trying another Omni Group app doesn’t seem too much of a stretch. And in response, Chris Parsons (University of Toronto) suggested and Reminders (the app, although I think it’s been renamed to Due).

And sometimes as Lenore Newman (University of the Fraser Valley) suggested, good time management works.

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