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Daily iPad App: 2Do


I'm not exactly the paradigm of organization -- it took me years to get a regular calendar set up and working, my email inbox is usually a mess of various reminders and things that need replying to, and my present to-do system is usually just whatever piece of paper I can grab in real life and scribble some tasks on.

But I do want to be more organized, and so when I finally bought my iPad last week, I poked around the App Store for solutions and tried to find one that 1) was easy to use and pleasing to the eye and that 2) I would actually stick with. Things is generally recognized as the champion of the bunch, and it's very nice, but at $19.99, it's an investment as iPad apps go, especially if you're not sure how long you'll stick with it. At $6.99, 2Do is a more reasonable place to start, and after playing around with it and a few other to-do apps, it's currently my system of choice.

Before I get into specific features, I will say that the most exciting thing about 2Do is that it does what all great iPad apps should: really use the immersiveness of the device to model real-world objects and situations. As you can see above, the app is color-coded by project, and uses a nice "legal pad in a leather binder" theme to keep everything laid out. One of the biggest benefits of 2Do is that rather than just an arbitrary list of tasks, everything can be assigned a start date and a due date, so you're not just laying out things you need to do -- you're actually organizing them into a calendar that you can then filter views from, looking at only the tasks for today, tasks in the next week, and so on.

Creating a task is as easy or as hard as you want to make it -- you can either just press the + button and type a name in, or you can go through and add the aforementioned dates, notes, alarms, or even voice notes, map locations, and pictures or URL to the specific task. You can also create checklists or full projects to work on, which are lists of subtasks to work through that have their own date and data associated with them. Checking a task off is satisfying, as it should be -- a little pencil pops up to cross it off your list, and all of the tasks you've finished can be seen in the "Done" tab (unlike other apps, which will just remove them off the list completely).

The app is very easy and quick to use -- the only hitch I ever came across was when the keyboard sometimes popped up in portrait mode, and would cover up the "Close" button on the bottom of the task editing screen. Putting it at the top of the task seems like it would be a better option, and a little easier to find, in my opinion. But other than that little issue, everything runs smoothly, and there are some really cool implementations (like selecting multiple days on the calendar to see all tasks associated with those days, or an actual clock-faced time selector) to play with.

2Do will sync up with MobileMe (and presumably iCloud with iOS 5), the Toodledo service, or with your PC or Mac via a sync application, and all of the extras that you'd expect in a full-featured to-do app (like email alarms and repeated reminders) are all there as well. There's an update coming soon, too, with even more features and tweaks to the layout. It's definitely a quality app with a solid interface, and an excellent choice for anyone looking to get organized.

As for me, let's hope I stick with it -- I'm not sure I've quite mapped my mind to 2Do's system quite yet, but I'm working on it. The app itself is a great tool, but it's up to me to make good use of it.

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