I’ve always been a list maker which, over the years, has developed into a fascination with productivity apps. Right now I have the Mac’s Reminders app which I use for personal reminders and shopping lists and Wunderlist [iOS, Android, Win, Mac and Web] for managing my writing, research, presentation and society projects. This app found the sweet spot between simplicity and functionality making it something I use regularly. And it’s free. And it’s installed on every computer and mobile device I own so it’s always with me.

There are a number of things that make Wunderlist especially useful. My favorite is the ability to forward an email to Wunderlist. I just forward it to me@wunderlist.com and Wunderlist takes care of the rest. I also find it useful for keeping up with research and writing ideas. It’s always handy when I get an idea for an article or think of a new place to look for information on an ancestor.

Wunderlist Desktop on Mac
The Wunderlist desktop on a Mac.

Here you see Wunderlist on a Mac desktop. The left sidebar contains my lists and, once I click/tap to select a list, the tasks associated with it appears in the main area. At the bottom of the task area are several function icons. The selected task is displayed on the right. In this case, it is an email message I forwarded to Wunderlist to become a task. The content of the message appears in the notes area.

The key to everything is my Wunderlist online account. When I add or update an item in whichever app I’m using at the time, it is synched with the online account. Not only does this make that information available to all my other systems/devices, I can also share a list with other Wunderlist users. Family members can’t escape me when it comes time to organize family events.

Wunderlist sub-tasks
Sub-tasks in Wunderlist

I’ve found the lists and sub-lists features very useful for writing and research ideas. Here you are looking at my list of topics ideas for the Gazette. The list contains broad categories (shown in the center panel) and each category has its own sub-list of more specific topics. Not only does it help me brainstorm ideas, it provides a quick look at what’s already been written. The options in the right sidebar let me set deadlines and reminders for each task, add more detailed notes about it and even attach files. The checkbox identifies the task as completed and the star shows it as a priority task. Lists and tasks can be printed, shared with other Wunderlist users or published publicly.

Wunderlist collaboration features.
Wunderlist collaboration features.

Combine the list-sharing functionality with free apps for Mac, Windows, iOS and Android devices and I have an impressive collaboration tool. The example above shows how a society could use it to better manage board meetings. Although this example sends board members to Evernote for read-ahead material, Wunderlist does support attaching files to list items. And, as you can see here, it’s easy to post comments in the list item.

Wunderlist offers free, premium and business accounts. The premium account is $4.99/month or $49.99/year and offers unlimited sub-tasks, task assignments and file attachments.

Wunderlist is an amazing app and it’s become a very important tool in my digital research toolbox. Want to learn more? Stop by the Wunderlist channel at YouTube to see it in action.

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