I just finished my major trial run of Evernote as a task manager. The service is really great, but I learned that there are downsides to having all of your notes and tasks in the same place. Evernote doesn’t make it easy to filter tasks by date, and I found it cumbersome to re-schedule tasks once I’d set the dates. The biggest takeaway, however, was that I don’t tend to choose the same kinds of titles for notes as I do for tasks. That’s because Evernote doesn’t actually create tasks in the same way as other apps (like the iOS Reminders app). Reminders in Evernote are simply notes that have reminders grafted onto them.
I might name a task “get signoff for iPad Insight budget”, whereas a note title would simply be “iPad Insight Budget”. I was finding that a lot of my finished tasks were still useful as notes, but it was a bit of a pain to remember to re-name them once I was finished acting on them.
Evernote was fantastic for allowing me to have sub-tasks and files right within the task, but moving away from the service for task management won’t mean I’ll lose those advantages. Instead, I actually think of Evernote in much the same way as the company is marketing itself: as a workspace. It’s where I go for adding quick job notes, referencing files on-the-go, and it’s a remarkably reliable archive for pulling up invoices when my boss is asking me how much we’ve spent in the past month.
As for tasks, I’ve headed back to dedicated task managers. I’m currently deciding between Wunderlist and 2Do. I’d prefer to use 2Do, but it’s missing a PC client, and its option for manual-only syncing with Toodledo is a bit too limiting. Wunderlist has a lead simply because of its cross-platform support, but I’m also really impressed with the level of polish in the app. I’ve tested every major version of Wunderlist, and Wunderlist 3 is really something else. It’s got great animations, sub-tasks, comments, and even Dropbox integration (although this doesn’t feel fully baked in iOS yet).
One thing that’s common to both 2Do and Wunderlist is that they’re both genuinely fun to interact with. Evernote always lacked that spark in its approach to task management. It was a definitely efficient, but it wasn’t nearly as satisfying to tick off the boxes.