Astrid: A Fun Task Management App
Quick editor's note: Yahoo swooped in and bought Astrid following the original publication of this post. See Astrid's site for more info. Let me start off with a confession: I'm terrible at remembering to do all of the various maintenance tasks of life like doing dishes, backing up my computer, and calling friends I haven't seen in a while. It's not that I hate doing these things. I'm happy to take care of them; it's just that I don't think about doing them.
If the grass isn't growing up to my shins, I don't think about mowing. If I still have a single clean pair of jeans to wear, then I don't think about doing laundry.
Recently, I started throwing all of the tasks I'm responsible for into Astrid, a task-manager system that I use on Android devices and on the Chrome browser. With simple recurring tasks, I'm able to spread out my chores and still get everything accomplished.
Astrid's Not the Magic Solution, But It's a Lot of Fun
So why did Astrid work better for me than any other task system? Well, my decision was influenced by some important choices on the part of Astrid:
- Free to Use
- Easy to Use
- Fun to Use
Free It's surprising how many task management and to-do systems aren't free. How am I going to know if your product is worth using if I can't really try it out? I'm using two paid subscription services right now, and both of them let me use the service extensively before I paid a thing. Now, I happily pay my subscription rates because I found that I used those services daily. If an app's restrictions prevent the customer from getting addicted, how can the app-makers hope to start charging?
Astrid is a freemium service. You can upgrade to get the ability to enter your tasks through voice, and I can certainly see how that would be helpful for the phone app. As of now, I don't need that feature, but I might in the future. It's hard to say.
Easy Using Astrid is a breeze. You enter in a task, and it will throw a due date on the task for one week out. If you don't want that date, simply word the task like this: "Floss - tomorrow". The system will understand that the word "tomorrow" means when you want to finish the task, so it automatically sets the due date to the following day. Pretty cool, right?
I will say that you should stay away from trying to integrate Google Calendar with Astrid. I thought that integrating Calendar would be an awesome feature, but I've found that pretty much every system I've tried struggles with integrating. It's just not worth the hassle.
Fun I've let other to-do systems fall by the wayside simply because they weren't pretty or engaging. They might have fit my needs, but I didn't enjoy using them. I can't stress enough how important the user experience is something like Astrid. The service is pretty basic, but it's fun. The icons are fun and funny. The wording that they use to remind you when a task is due is humorous.
Try It. It's Free!
Look at that little mascot, he's so happy. How can you resist?