My family has reached the point where to-do lists and appointments scribbled on the back of a junk mail envelope just do not work. In an effort to find the perfect to-do app for a busy mom, I spent some time with several and have reviewed them here. Frankly, there was not one app that addressed all of my needs, but I have five sons, a job, and a husband who commutes 150 miles every day. We live in chaos, and it takes a lot of effort to tame it. Hopefully, these reviews might save you research time, so you can start organizing your life.
This is a great all-inclusive family calendar with to-do lists, grocery lists, shopping lists, and a journal. You can manage your account from online, iPad app, iPhone app, as well as share it with your family. Each family member is color-coded, and you can assign tasks, due dates, and appointments. Cozi will email or text reminders and lists for no additional fee. The graphics are bright and clean, and the navigation is simply accomplished by clicking on the appropriate icon at the bottom of the screen. There is a small banner ad across the bottom that keeps this app free. The Cozi app has a lot of bang for the free price tag.
Easy Calendar iPhone app integrates with Google Calendar, then brings a needed view and functionality to it. The week view in the Easy Calendar app is awesome. When you are on the phone making an appointment, you need to see that week view with appointments. A simple dot on a day in monthly view doesn’t tell you much about that day, nor is it fun to tap six times to schedule your dentist appointment. It is quick and easy to scroll to add an event and reminders the next week or the next year, and voila, it is marked online in your Google calendar as well. For Google Calendar folks, this is an inexpensive, but highly useful upgrade.
The ListBook iPhone app is the closest thing to a pencil and paper list. You click the plus button and add a title and items to your list. When completed, you check it off the list. It is not fancy and lacks due dates and reminders, but its simplicity is appealing. I found this iPhone app to be particularly helpful for taking notes at a parent meeting for an overnight field trip. There are moments where you need to jot down details, and simply need to refer back to these notes perhaps in two hours or maybe in two months. ListBook is a no-pressure list, and that’s a nice way to feel.
The Get Stuff Done iPhone app is so close to being a great app for a busy mom. The Get Stuff Done app has a pick-up category, so you can manage all of your family shuttling. You can categorize your tasks like write emails, doctor’s appointment, birthdays, or add your own categories. It is awesome to pull up all of the doctor’s appointments instead of thumbing through your weekly and monthly calendars. You can receive notifications via text, but not via email. Get Stuff Done does not allow you to share your calendar with your family. If it would integrate with a Google Calendar and the graphics were less Price is Right Alpine Village game, I would be all over this one.
What a cool and useful iPhone and iPad app! This is your stack of virtual post-it notes. You click on the plus to add a quick note with a due date. Once the task is due, you can choose to put it off or mark it done. Inevitably, your kid will tell you that they need a check for orchestra tomorrow as you’re driving to school. While you’re sitting in car line, you can jot down your note in the Put Things Off app instead of scrambling to find a pen that works and scribble it on your hand. For an additional fee, you can email your tasks to your inbox.
The Mom’s Daily Planner iPhone app simply doesn’t deliver for the $2.99 price tag and the additional $1.98 to add email and remove banner ads. The graphics are grainy, and, to be super picky, it auto-corrects Cheerios to “chestnut” in the grocery list. In order to navigate the app, you need to click back to home, then click to the next destination. The task list has some handy features like time ranges for completion, reminders, and customizable categories, but these features don’t compete with the superior functionality and great features of Cozi, the free iPhone app reviewed above.
If you don’t need a task manager that you can access online or integrate with your Google or Outlook tools, Seize the Day iPhone app is it. From the home screen, you click a plus to add your task. The task can be tied to a date or “at some point.” You should take a couple of minutes to create tags to categorize your tasks. You can also set a reminder to be sent via text message. For an additional $3.99, you can remove ads, but I did not find them intrusive. I would highly recommend this app, if you live by your iPhone.
If you are addicted to Dropbox, then Droplist is for you. The iPhone app has a great functionality. You swipe to delete an item from your list. You hold your finger on the item to activate the edit function. Droplist tasks send reminders via text. Also, if you have a task due, it pops up in your Dropbox as a reminder. Droplist integrates with Dropbox, so you can access your tasks from any connected device.
The Quickie to Do iPhone app is a great tool for parents to use on the fly. Lists are created simply with a title, then you add fields and text with additional details. You can share your lists simply by “bumping” the devices together. You can email the lists as well, but with fewer key strokes and time, the bump feature is super cool. It’s quick and easy. You put a grocery list together during the coach’s after game pep talk, then bump it to your husband. Hopefully, he’ll remember to stop at the grocery on the way home.
CheckIt! is a to-do list iPhone app with Google and Outlook integration that is a must-have for moms who work outside the home. You sign up for an account online at todoist.com, and I would highly recommend the $29 annual fee to add the premium features. Todoist is highly customizable, so that you can create custom projects, labels, reminders. CheckIt! for Todoist integrates a fantastic search mechanism. There is a bit of a learning curve to commit the keyboard shortcuts to your long-term memory, but the rewards are worth the effort. This is the perfect iPhone app to manage your family life and your work life.
Skedi for Busy Parents iPhone app combines the functionality of Outlook with the integration of your Google calendar and applies it to your family. Each family member’s schedule is visible on one screen, so you can see who needs to be where and when. One of the most useful features is the ability to assign a responsible adult to all of your children’s activities. You add your babysitter and set a reminder, then your babysitter is notified about the event. The Skedi iPhone app allows whatever village it takes to raise your family to coordinate in the cloud. The super smart developers make your children automatically accept your event invitations. Since we’re currently waiting on our Facebook friendship confirmation by one of our guys, I certainly appreciate this authoritarian mechanism.
For a mom looking for the perfect to-do app, you should look at what you currently use. Then, consider other details like the importance (or not) of online accessibility, integration with Google and Outlook (or other) calendars and tasks, and the ability to share with family and spouses. Hopefully, you’ll identify which iPhone app best allows you to manage all aspects of your life.
The new iPhone operating system (iOS 5) has a new built in app called Reminders that lets you create reminders and to-do lists. Thanks to the new Siri voice activation functionality, you are now also able to create new tasks using your voice. Finally the Reminders app is the first of its kind to give you location based reminders. So for example you can set the app to remind you to pick up milk as soon as you are in the supermarket parking lot. Reminders will ship with the new iPhone 4S device and with iOS 5 updates, and will work with iCloud to sync your reminders across all your iOS devices.