From the moment you wake up, your brain starts churning out bits and pieces of your daily routine—and as the day goes on, that information can unspool into a chaotic mess if not properly organized.
Having one giant, overwhelming mental list of things you need to accomplish ASAP isn’t exactly ideal—and that’s why we rely on apps. While some people have the capacity to remember all their tasks, most people lean heavily on lists to give them a semblance of order and organization (and sanity).
In lieu of manually writing everything down on paper, here are our picks of the best to-do list apps for Android that will help you organize your thoughts and plans into tidy, digital piles.
If you’re looking for a straightforward list app that is both simple to use and easy on the eyes, you can’t go wrong with Google’s own app, Keep. It’s a seamless service that lets you add notes, store photos, record voice memos, and yes, compose lists of things you need to do.
You won’t need an intensive tutorial to get started either—just hit the plus sign and start organizing what’s on your mind.
You can liven up your lists by changing their colors, add labels to easily locate notes, and set a location-based reminder to pull up your lists when you need them. And since Keep is a Google product, you can use it on both your smartphone and through its Web platform and it will automatically sync its content across all the Android devices connected to your Google account. You can also share lists with anyone through their Gmail email address, which makes collaboration pretty painless.
Another barebones list app, ColorNote’s Notepad Notes will give you the retro feel of jotting down tasks on a post-it note while conveniently storing it on your Android device.
You can easily create lists and organize them by color for easier spotting. Once you have a few items added, you can easily move them up or down the list in terms of priority.
In ColorNotes, you can also set reminders for your lists, as well as send them as attachments. You also have the option to protect your lists with a passcode, for your more private tasks.
ColorNote comes with a sticky note memo widget that lets you put notes on your home screen, which is a nice touch if you like widgets to display your data.
Trello is a to-do list app on steroids. You can create boards to organize just about anything, whether it’s your grocery list, your chores that need to be accomplished, or stuff at work you need to get done.
Write everything you need to do or remember in cards and arrange those cards into columns and lists for better management. Trello’s cards are only handy if you keep them organized, but doing so isn’t much of a pain.
You can use Trello cards privately or invite workmates or family members so they can be assigned specific tasks. Once other folks are on board, they can leave comments and updates on their progress, which is useful for group project tracking. You can also add attachments and specify a due date, two killer features for getting things done.
With Todoist, you can plan for things today as well as the next seven days with much ease. You can organize tasks through projects and assign priority levels through filters, which are a handy way to keep things neat and sorted.
Todoist allows you to add sub-tasks and append a schedule to them so that they show up on your list when you want to get to them. You can also share projects and tasks with others, making it a great collaboration app.
Todoist is a great tool for beginners and power users alike because its flexibility allows you to make your personal organizational style as basic and as detailed as you want it to be. The Premium version of the app unlocks extra features, like the ability to add customized labels and set up SMS or email reminders based on your location or a specified date and time, so that’s worth looking into if you want to take productivity to the next level.
Wunderlist has all the functionality you need as well as a very eye-pleasing interface that’ll keep your stressed out mind (relatively) serene. GTasks has a different look and feel, allowing you to sync lists with Google Tasks and view them on Google Calendar.
A great Trello and Todoist alternative is Any.do, which provides an easy way to create tasks and filing them in appropriate categories. Any.do’s Web platform syncs well with the Android app as well, if desktop support is a high priority for you.
Ultimately, finding the best Android to-do list app for you is a matter of personal preference and work style, but these leads should get you off to a running start. Good luck out there!
Illustration by Jason Reed