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:

Conclusion

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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10 Responses to “An Awesomely Simple and Free To-Do List App (Review of TeuxDeux)”

  1. Eric,
    Looks like you really enjoy this tool! I’ve played around with several productivity tools in the past few years, but I’ll definitely give this one a shot. Currently, I’m doing a mix of a written list (small moleskine), loose leaf paper, and emails to myself. Not exactly the most organized. Thanks!

    Brett

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment Brett. Yeah, my previous system included me writing on post-it notes (which would eventually get lost) or sending e-mails to myself. It works, but like you said, it’s not the most organized. Hope you enjoy TeuxDuex!

    [Reply]

  2. Looks like something to have a look in to. Currently, I find myself remembering to do things I meant to do weeks ago. There are no other reasons for me not to have done them, just that I simply forgot or put the aside. TeuxDeux might just keep me in line ;)

    Thanks Eric :)
    Jay recently posted… How To Make 2-740 A Day

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Jay, it definitely sounds like you need some kind of system for remembering things. :) Might as well try this out and see if you like it. Thanks for commenting, I appreciate it.

    [Reply]

  3. Great find Eric!

    Before, I was using Doomi which is a very simple Adobe Air to-do app but the problem is that it’s just a daily thing – not really effective overall when factoring the rest of the week.

    I’m checking it out now :)
    Murlu recently posted… Accepting the 9-to-5- How To Get More In Life While Working A Full-Time Job

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Murray – I have a feeling you’ll like it!

    [Reply]

  4. GTD/Productivity Apps have to be one of the most popular applications to design and build these days. Whether it’s on the web, desktop, mobile phones, they seem to be everywhere with everyone having a different philosophy on how to get things done.

    I’ve tried out a bunch of different software combinations, and the ones that capture my interest the most are: Nirvana (www.nirvanahq.com) and Nozbe.com

    Nirvana allows you to create different focuses, which won’t allow you to access projects, contexts outside of that focus without doing a few clicks. Really helps you stay focused on the projects on hand.

    Nozbe is fairly versatile with a lot of different applications tie-ins and native iPhone/iPad apps. I’ve used it primarily to organize my Evernote notes into blog posts because you can important different Evernote tags and access your notes on the website.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Agreed, it does seem like GTD/productivity apps are popping up everywhere, and each seems to have its own “unique” spin on the process. I’ve never tried Nirvana or Nozbe, but I’ll have to take a look and give ‘em a try.

    I guess the bottom line is – find what works best for you, and ignore what everyone else says. There’s always a temptation to find something different or better, but if isn’t broken, why fix it? :)

    [Reply]

  5. Looks like an awesome tool! I’ll have to check it out. Currently, I use GMails “Task” tab and Google Calendar. Do you know if TeuxDeux has email reminders? I think that would make this tool 100% perfect

    Thanks again for the suggestion!
    Patrick @ Make Money Buzz recently posted… Ninja Backlinking Tactics 01- Getting Site Ranked in Google Fast With PR6 DoFollow Backlink

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Patrick! I used to use the Gmail “task” tab but eventually decided that it was too limited for what I was looking to do. I don’t believe TeuxDeux has e-mail reminders, unfortunately. That’s one of the reasons I always have it open – in between tasks, I take a look and see what’s next on my priority list. I should also note that I use Outlook to manage my calendar (mainly because that’s what my work uses), so if I have any urgent or really time sensitive tasks, those usually go up on the calendar.

    [Reply]

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