Advanced task managers on iOS | The Download Blog - CNET Download.com

Advanced task managers on iOS

This week's iOS apps are all task managers that offer something more than just a simplified list. Use any of these to speed through projects and keep yourself focused throughout your busy day.

iPhone (Credit: CNET)

There must be hundreds, if not thousands, of to-do-list management apps in the iTunes App Store, but which one should you choose?

I found a couple of new task management apps recently that add something extra to the category. But using them made me realize that an old favorite of mine still stood up to the test of time and remains a great choice for lists and tasks.

It's no secret that many people like to use lists to get through daily projects, but when you have a task manager on your iPhone, you get handy additions like alerts, notifications, and editable tasks when your goals change. Whether you're just making a grocery list or planning a big business project, a good task management app can focus your efforts and keep you on point for success.

This week's iOS apps are all to-do-list managers that go the extra mile to simplify your projects. The first is an old favorite of mine that separates tasks into color-coded tabs and lets you store notes and ideas. The second turns your task list into a role-playing game with experience, leveling, and loot to reward your hard work. The third relies on simplicity and excellent design to make task management easy.

Awesome Note

Color-coded categories make it easy to get the lists you want immediately.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Awesome Note ($3.99) lets you manage messages, memos, and ideas in several unique ways. An intuitive interface lets you use themes to help categorize information the way you want and get to the information you need quickly.

Awesome Note includes a few demo categories (shown as folders) that you can use to see how your notes and info will be laid out. You can create new folders by hitting the add folder button in the lower right, selecting your preferred color, and adding a title. Opening a folder displays your notes for that category laid out as thumbnails so you can quickly find the specific note you want. You can also configure the program to display to-dos as a running list or as a separated list with completed items on top.

Once you have your category folders set up, simply open a folder, add a note, and start typing using the regular portrait view or in landscape mode by turning your iPhone sideways. You can also customize your notes by choosing from a wide variety of themes and fonts. When you're finished, you can easily drop your note into other category folders or e-mail the information to whoever you want. The interface is extremely intuitive making it no trouble to get started organizing your notes and to-do lists right away.

The folder-based note management and customizable themes make Awesome Note a worthwhile option if you're looking for an easy-to-use to-do-list manager and note-taking app.

EpicWin

Assign how "epic" a task is by touching and dragging the circle in the upper right. Assign which attribute will be affected at the bottom.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

EpicWin ($2.99) has all the features of a regular to-do-list app, but adds a little fun to your daily tasks by turning projects into RPG-like quests. Perfect for the procrastinating gamer, you start by choosing an avatar that will help you "do battle" with your tasks. You can tackle your to-do lists as a long-bearded dwarf, a scary skeleton, a giant warrior, and many other classic RPG archetypes.

Once you've picked your avatar, you can start adding tasks to EpicWin and assigning point values that help you gain experience. You have the ability to choose which attribute (Strength, Stamina, Intellect, Social, or Spirit) will be upgraded by completing a task. For example, you might assign 200 stamina points for doing the dishes. When you've finished the dishes, you touch and hold the quest item and the points are added to your character sheet while uplifting adventure battle music plays.

Completing quests adds to your experience and shows your progress on a map, and you'll get loot by reaching various milestones based on completing task quests. Obviously, the loot doesn't really mean anything in the larger scheme of things, but getting rewards for getting through your daily to-dos does give you a feeling of accomplishment.

Despite EpicWin's light-hearted approach to checking off your to-do list, the app has all the tools required for a serious task management app. Buttons across the bottom of the interface allow for easy navigation of your current tasks, completed tasks, your character profile, and loot you've acquired. Like other good task managers, the app supports repeating tasks, displays reminders for overdue events, and allows events to be assigned to specific days. You can also set up tasks with no end date, so even if there's no deadline for completion, you can have aspirational goals listed for when you get to them.

EpicWin is a fun take on how to manage your daily to-do lists. With RPG-like music, cool-looking avatars to choose from, and a leveling up system to keep you focused, this app might be just the motivation you need to get things done.

HQ: ToDo

A relatively simple to-do list app with exceptional design, HQ: ToDo is the no-nonsense choice.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

HQ: ToDo ($1.99) is a very well-designed task manager that attempts to make using the app as easy as possible so you can get to completing your projects. The interface features bright colors and high-contrast fonts, with big buttons that make it easy to navigate your projects quickly.

The main screen lists out your projects, and you can get to lists like simple to-dos or grocery shopping by using the tabs at the top. Tap a project on the main screen to bring up the associated tasks. On the task screen, you'll be able to name a to-do item, set the due date, set up a notification to remind you, assign priority for the task, and add notes. You also have the ability to color-code your projects, so you can instantly recognize them from the main screen.

HQ: ToDo is not the most feature-rich task manager in the iTunes App Store, but I think that's by design--the developers wanted to make task management easy and it shows with the carefully laid out interface. If you're looking for a no-nonsense task manager with excellent design, check out this app.

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