Beautiful, Minimal, Functional. The Best Task Managers & To-Do List Apps

Task Managers

Our calendars, our inboxes, our to-do lists apps. When I tell people I “live” in these apps, I’m not at all exaggerating, and I’m sure you wouldn’t be either. We live in these apps because they help us manage our lives, keep us on track, collaborate with others and get things done. They are the essence of our productivity and the central hub of our communications, both at work and in our personal lives. And while we take time and care to cultivate our physical spaces— investing in a new boho rug, say, or task lamp— we rarely consider our virtual spaces in the same way.

I believe it’s every person’s inalienable right to spend their time using apps that are both functional and beautiful. And here’s a secret: More often than not, a well-designed app has also been thoughtfully considered when it comes to user experience, features and functionality. In other words, beautiful inside and out.

Here are a few of my favorite task managers or to-do list apps: All have been painstakingly designed to be beautiful, and get out of the way so you can be your most productive self.


Todoist: Task Managers


Full disclosure: Todoist is my task manager of choice. It’s the one I’ve been using for a while, though I’ve spent time logging to-dos in all of the ones listed here. I love it’s simplicity— there are just enough features to make it useful, and not too many to make it bloated. And I love the intelligent input (see above): I can write “Lunch with Sandy next Tuesday @Personal” and Todoist will drop it into my “Personal” list, with a reminder on the right day. It’s compatible with just about every platform, so you can sync your to-do lists to everything and view them from anywhere.


Handle App: Task Managers


Handle isn’t just a to-do app, it’s an eco-system designed to help you move tasks out of your Inbox and into the “done” pile. Use Siri to capture to-dos, or turn emails into tasks instantly. Then set powerful reminders for the day, time or even the place where you want to make that task happen. Then Handle solves the all-important “what should I do next?” question, by showing you to-dos and calendar items together. 


TeuxDeux: Task Managers

Teux Deux

Brooklyn-based blogger Swiss-Miss has always been a go-to when it comes to what’s cool in the design world. She applied her own smarts to this beautifully simple yet design-focused app with the clever name. Teux Deux task manager in a calendar format, allowing you to assign tasks to dates this week or “Someday”. Each week, you can pull items off your Someday list and vow to get them done before the weekend— genius. Task Managers vows to keep your lists and tasks with you, no matter what device you’re on, and with support for Web, Android, Mac, iPhone and Chrome, they’ve got your back. Share to-dos with family members or colleagues from right inside your list, as well as adding sub-tasks, comments or reminders. Favorite feature: The Any.Do “Moment” gives you space to plan your schedule, making a game of prioritizing your tasks for the day ahead.

minimalist: task managers


Simplicity is the name of the game with this app, which boasts that “It’s a list. It’s a reminder. It’s a timer”… and that’s it. A monochromatic interface allows you to enter to-dos, remind yourself of upcoming tasks, and use a timer to unitask and get things done.

Which is your favorite to-do app? Do you have a task manager you swear by? Let’s make a list in the comments. 

9 comments on “Beautiful, Minimal, Functional. The Best Task Managers & To-Do List Apps”

    1. agreed, Adolfo. Todoist allows you to cache your list while online to use offline, but if you forget to do it (i.e. your plane takes off) you’re stuck without it, which stinks. good point.

  1. I LOVE Trello! It’s on my iPhone, iPad, and laptop. It’s super simple but has great features if you want to use them. You set up your own lists, as many (or as few) as you wish. Each task gets it’s own “card”, which you put on any list. They’re all visible on any device in a neat, simple columnar view. You can drag cards between lists whenever you want. You can share lists with other people. Edit lists. Print lists. Archive lists. All in a super-clean, easy to read format. My lists go like this: Today; This Week; Soon; Some Day; For _______ To Deal With; and finally, one labeled “Done Week Of ______”. Every Sunday I archive last week’s “done” list (in case I ever want to see it again, to check on when something was completed…) and create a new “Done” list for the coming week. If my Today list is not getting done quickly enough I can shift tasks around as needed. BRILLIANT! And, of course, you can make special lists for particular projects. Lists can come and go as you wish. I love the dragging effect, and the gratification of seeing all those things get moved to the Done list. Enhanced calm? Check! Highly recommend…

    1. I was JUST talking to someone about Trello today! I used to use it when I worked with a lot of developers. Great app!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *