An Awesomely Simple and Free To-Do List App (Review of TeuxDeux)
There are a lot of tools out there, both online and offline, that aim to keep you organized and/or productive. Some of them are poorly designed and ineffective, while others are fancy and jam-packed with features.
Is it possible for an incredibly simple tool to be more powerful and effective than a complex one with lots of features? I think I found such a tool, and it has done wonders for my productivity.
A Review of TeuxDeux
TeuxDeux (pronounced “to do”) is a free web-based to-do application designed by Swissmiss (a design blog, not the hot chocolate maker). It’s so simple that I can easily tell you what it is and how it works by saying “it’s an online to-do list.” There are no bells and whistles, no “premium” versions, and nothing to distract you away from the tasks on your list.
How It Works
Here’s what the interface looks like when you’re logged in:
[Click to enlarge]
When you’ve identified a task for a particular day, input it in the box for that day, hit enter, and it’ll be added to your list. To mark an item complete, hover over the text and click it. To delete an item entirely, hover over it and click the “x.” It’s really that simple.
Here’s what one day might look like on my list:
Why I Really Like TeuxDeux
Ever since I started using TeuxDeux, I’ve found myself more compelled to complete tasks in a given day. Most of my to-do items are not urgent, which often makes it difficult to stay on top of them and complete them in a timely manner. I always have TeuxDeux open on a tab in my browser, so I’m never stuck thinking “what else do I need to do today?” Here are the specific things I like about it:
1) The current day tasks that aren’t marked as complete after the current day ends are automatically moved to the next day’s to-do list. Somehow I feel like this keeps my life more organized.
2) There’s an iPhone app. It costs money (not much), but I really love having this. You need to be connected to the internet to use it (3G or Wi-Fi), because it syncs up with the regular internet application that you use on your computer. Sometimes I’ll be out at the store and an idea will hit me or I’ll think of something I need to do. I can immediately pull up the app and add it to my list. Or, while I’m on the train home from work, I can pull up the day’s list to start thinking about what I need to do when I get home.
3) There’s a spot to put things that don’t have a “due date.” I think this is an awesome feature, because sometimes you think of things that you want to do “someday” and they really don’t belong on your regular to-do lists (see below).
(No, that isn’t actually on my list.)
My Tips for Using TeuxDeux
These tips can really apply to whatever to-do list you maintain (not just TeuxDeux):
1) Maintain the simplicity – TeuxDeux already gives you a simple interface. Don’t clutter it by brain dumping 50 tasks onto one day’s list – there’s no way you’ll get it all done. Cluttered lists are counterproductive (in my opinion) as they may actually cause you to do less than you otherwise would.
2) Keep it readily available – Like I mentioned above, I use the iPhone app and also always keep it open on a tab in my internet browser. I think this helps you stay on task and not forget about what needs to be done.
3) Actually complete the items on your list – This didn’t really need to be said, but why not say it anyway. It’s easy to come up with tasks, but your to-do list is worthless if don’t actually get things done.
I used to write a lot more about productivity and goal-setting (two subjects I’m fascinated by from a behavioral standpoint), but it’s been awhile since I’ve written something related to these subjects. If you’re interested in what I’ve written before on these topics, here are some older posts that were written before this blog received much traffic:
A simple app deserves a simple conclusion. I like TeuxDeux, and you probably will too. Check it out.
What are your favorite productivity/organization tools?
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