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Any.do, the best way to plan your day and stay on top of your daily tasks

When you have hundreds of things to do in a day you get an assistant if you can afford to pay them. They plan your day and organize all your tasks for you. They check what’s done and tell you what you haven’t done. Assistants nowadays come with quite a price tag, if you cannot afford to pay them you decide to wallow in your self-pity. The day is short, you are probably praying a day had thirty-six hours instead of twenty-four. Unfortunately for you that’s just a dream, but then again, some dreams come true. This is not one of them. At the end of the day, you have completed only a bit of the things in your to-do list because you couldn’t plan your time well. And you cannot afford an assistant. So you’re screwed, and so will your days be. But technology grows with us.

If you happen to own a smartphone, specifically running Android or iOS, there is a solution for you in the name of Any.do.

Ideally, this review is typically based on my long-term experience using it on Android, most of the items i will mention if not all however, are available on iOS and function similarly.

 HERE’S HOW IT WORKS

Every day when you wake up in the morning, this app will notify you that you are required to plan your day. Typically, if you really want to get organized, you can plan your day at that specific time, it’s an incentive to wake up. Personally, when i wake up, i have set Any.do to remind me everyday at 7 a.m to plan my day. Typically, when my alarm goes, my phone is the first thing i check and i know most of you do the same. I take at most 15 minutes after waking up every morning to plan my day.

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Planning you day involves typing all your tasks for that day into Any.do. For every task you enter, you will be taken to the time and calendar settings where you should enter the time you intend to start working on the task. Any.do provides several options here on the time to be reminded. You can select to be reminded just on time, or 5 minutes before, or 1 hour before and so on. You also get to select if you need to be reminded only once but i found out that allowing this application to remind you more than once actually depletes all the laziness in you at whatever time, it kind of keeps reminding you that you have tasks to do even when your concentration span lowers.

Screenshot_2014-07-10-14-29-15Say you’ve completed adding all your tasks and the timely reminders, what you see is a whole bunch of tasks waiting for you. You can drag and drop tasks to arrange them within the application. I found the drag and drop feature useful most especially in rearranging the tasks. What i am going to mention is one of those things i don’t like about Any.do. Considering that this app is based upon to-do lists which run on a particular timeline, the tasks should be able to rearrange themselves depending on what task comes first and what task comes last. Any.do doesn’t do this. I know i fall among those people who believe things have to be arranged in order, from start to finish. It sucks when i have to take a task that’s been put last and bring it on top of the rest. It’s only last because i typed it last, not because it’s the last thing i shall do. However, the drag and drop feature works really well,long press on a task and the drag feature is activated, you can drop it anywhere you want.

As the day strolls by, you get very sleek reminders of tasks you should start doing, you can choose to dismiss the reminder (in which case you’ll be reminded again) or to snooze it for 15 minutes, 1 hour, 3 hours or just snooze it to tomorrow all together. The other option is to tap “Done” when it’s done. Personally, if i was going to complete something in an hour, i get the reminder the first time and i snooze it for one hour, after the hour i’ll probably be done so when the reminder pops up again, i tap on “Done”. See, easy.

FUNCTIONALITY

One outstanding feature i liked about Any.do is that i can sync my to-do list across all my devices. When you first install Any.do on your smartphone and tablet, you’ll need to create an account using your email, or log in with Google Plus/Facebook.

Screenshot_2014-07-10-14-28-36Once you setup your tasks, you can access your task list on your other devices. The only downside to accessing the task list on your computer is that unless you are using Google Chrome, you can’t access them. Any.do provides a Google Chrome extension. If you are using Chrome, you will also get notified with pop-ups on the screen about your tasks. The desktop pop-ups appear at the bottom of the screen on the right, they take a very small portion of the screen but you still get to notice them when they come up. The inability of Any.do to work while using other browsers is downright surprising if not disappointing for fans using Mozilla and other web browsers. While this doesn’t look to ever change it’s still very disappointing. We are stuck with Google Chrome here.

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You can use Google Voice feature to set your tasks. Tap on the microphone icon at the top left of your screen and Google Voice prompts you to speak. Dictating my task list here wasn’t a problem at all, but just like Google Now, Siri and Cortana, talking to your phone requires you to have internet enabled. Is there any way this can ever change?

The settings  provides you with several options; you can choose between white and black themes, you can also select whether you want Any.do to display the status bar on your notifications area or not, you can select to have the shake feature enabled or disabled (Pro tip; don’t disable it).  The shake feature is the only way you get to delete all completed tasks at once. I noticed you can shake whatever way and it prompts you to clear all your tasks. It didn’t work when i had been using the app for long so every time i needed to shake i’d be forced to exit the app first, relaunch it and then shake again. I didn’t find this to be a big deal but the developers at Any.do should know that there’s always room for improvement.

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Going back to the themes talk, i think Any.do is pretty much restrictive here. Providing only a white or black  theme in a world with 256 colors on the color wheel is very much lack of ambition if you ask me.

Definitely need more themes for sure, as for now my take on the themes can be summed up in one word; boring.

I don’t know why anyone would want to share their to-do list. Since i first started using this app, it’s the only feature i haven’t used. Also, you can only share the tasks with your contacts, and even when you enter some names in from your contacts list, the app doesn’t get it. So the sharing feature’s integration to the contacts is still very wanting and needs a lot of improvement.

Screenshot_2014-07-10-15-42-25THAT YAAAYY! FEATURE

If you have read this review to this point i kept the best for last. Often, i fall in that group of people who forget to call back. I see the missed calls and go like, “I’ll call them later”. And “later” never comes.

People may think you are arrogant and start treating you like an outcast believe me.

Any.do has simplified my life.

When i get a call i can’t pick, or i get a missed call and it’s hard to call back at the exact time i found the missed call, any.do will ask me whether i want to call them now, later or never. If i choose later, i get options to be reminded in an hour, 2 hours, or 3 hours.  However, i believe Any.do should enable me to set the exact time i want to call back, it could be after 8 hours, but this doesn’t happen which is again restrictive.

DESIGN

This app makes good use of the flat UI that has been recently embraced by smartphone companies. I have no problem with the way the app is designed whatsoever, in fact for Android users this app really makes use of Google’s new Material design philosophy. However, i can’t say the same about the desktop’s design. On the desktop it’s simple and not so exciting, but it works. Sometimes simplicity is best, or so i heard.

UPSHOT

I have been using Any.do for the last 6 months and believe me when i tell you that it’s the best for what it does. Other apps are of course available on iOS and Android stores, but i have stuck with this one because the functionality is something i couldn’t afford to ignore. The design is top-notch, with shadows and all, but still managing to remain classy. I have completed several tasks and definitely gotten more organised in my day to day running of activities. I do not see the need for an assistant to help me plan my day because this is the technology era that has brought with it several ways of doing things. This app definitely has it’s own downsides, like the inability to work with other browsers, the problem with the shake feature and lack of a variety of themes but overall, these are issues i believe can be improved on soon. It’s a good download that will organize a busy person’s life.

[Download Any.do from Google Play Store]  [Download Any.do from Apple Store]

 

8.8
Not Flawless, but definitely the best to-do app out there

Good Things

  • Classy design that runs smoothly on every device
  • Syncing across all devices works like a charm
  • Status bar, if enabled, not cluttered
  • Reminders with ability to snooze, dismiss or set new time
  • Free with no ads
  • Plan Your Day feature very interactive

Bad Things

  • Shake feature needs improvement
  • Desktop version only works with Chrome browser
  • Availability of two themes only very restrictive
  • Sharing feature not well integrating with contacts

The Breakdown


FUNCTIONALITY
9
DESIGN
8.5
PERFORMANCE
9