Apple Reminders – GTD App Worth Using
As a big fan of the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology I make a lot of lists. Lists are a simple way to get things out of your head and off your mind so you can focus on what needs to be done now.
In the past I’ve always used the Tasks feature in Outlook and synced it with whatever smart phone I was using at the time. Now that I’m 99% Apple (I still run windows on the Mac using Parallels for certain Windows only apps I need for work) I’ve switched to using the Reminders application available on iOS and OSX.
Reminders is a simple to-do application that wirelessly syncs across all of my devices using iCloud. Those of you with an iPhone have probably used the app in one form or another & are saying to yourself “yeah, so what?”…
So… Have you used Location based reminders yet? This single feature got me to dump Outlook tasks and immediately switch to the Reminders App.
Most people have a few different types of reminders (tasks) they’re keeping track of. Some with due dates and some without. Once the due date/time hits you get an alert and you either do it, snooze it or ignore it. How would you like to get an alert any time you arrive or depart a particular location even if the reminder has a date/time alert or not?
This is the one feature that made the switch worth it. Here an example. The trash at my house is picked up every Thursday morning. I like to have a alert on Wednesday evening to remind me to set the bins out. In the past I would set a weekly reminder for 7pm every Wednesday night. That’s great if I’m home but if I’m not I’d probably just dismiss the alert & forget about it by the time I got home. Or I’d get home, park in the garage, go inside, & then remember. Having to back the car out to get the bins out…
With location based reminders I get an alert as soon as I pull into my driveway every Wednesday! It’s not based on a time, it’s based on a day & location (the date is optional). This works well for a lot of things. If I need to talk to someone as soon as I get to the office I’ll get a reminder when I pull into the parking lot, no matter what day of the week or time it is.
While this is a great feature there are a few quirks that keep the application from being perfect. Options for recurring tasks are somewhat limited and it’s not integrated with Outlook (Mac or Windows version). There’s no snooze option on iOS but there is on OSX…
That being said, it’s a lightweight application that syncs almost instantly between my Mac & iPad. Entering multiple items is a easy as pressing Enter to separate each reminder. You can create unlimited contexts (categories) to group your reminders. Finally, you can share your reminders and lists with other iOS users. This is great for team tasks or sharing within a household.
All in all this is great app for those of us that like to make GTD lists and need a place to keep them organized and accessible among several devices.
If you’re interested in learning how to use Siri to create reminders check out the video below from TeachMeiOS.com
iOS 7 has made Reminders just about unusable for me. The way the lists are displayed is very DISNEY (for lack of a better term) and once you are in a list, its difficult to add new items quickly if the list is long – you’d have to scroll all the way to the bottom.
As a sales professional, this new version is a step backwards. On the hunt for a replacement, now.
I tend to agree with your assessment of Reminders in iOS7. I was just getting used to them too & now they’re totally different. I’m trying to get used to it because of the integration into the system but if necessary I may be looking for a 3rd party alternative too.
If you find something good let me know, I’d love to hear about it!
I have been using Things (iOS version) since the beta version, but Things is falling apart slowly lately if you do not want to play along with their (own) Cloud implementation (no iCloud!) and with the (more or less) forced “paid” upgrades.
I was hoping for a light-weight GTD using Reminders, but I agree that starting with iOS7 it does look cumbersome indeed, at least on the iPhone.
I’ll keep searching.