Pen and paper to-do listThe traditional to-do list created using a simple pen and paper may have been reasonably sufficient for basic tasks back in the day. But times have changed. Obligations and responsibilities have become far more complicated and we need more robust task management systems to keep tabs on all the moving parts.

Between your personal and your professional life, there is always something to do. Rather than waste your time trying to figure out what you want to do next, you should offload that responsibility to the powers of technology. Leverage the Pomodoro Technique to maximize your productivity and utilize a variety of tools for team project management, but look at these task management systems to stay on track and never skip a beat.

MyLifeOrganized

The simplicity of an organized life, visualized

The simplicity of an organized life, visualized

Reminding us that “life is simple when organized,” the suitably-named MyLifeOrganized is compatible with Windows, Mac OS, iOS and Android. If you want to keep things simple, to-do lists with drag-and-drop functionality are easy enough. If you want to step it up, tasks can be further broken down into subtasks, which can then be broken down into further subtasks, all the way through an infinite hierarchy. If you put in the due dates and dependencies, the system can even generate a smart list of items for you to do today too. Pricing varies on your needs, starting from the free mobile app and going up to $59.95 for the professional Windows version.

OmniFocus

Focus only on what is most important right now

Focus only on what is most important right now

This one is for all the iFans in the audience. OmniFocus is geared toward Apple users, providing solutions for Mac, iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch. Rather than jumble your entire life together into one massive list of tasks, items are contextualized with perspectives and contexts. This way, you can focus on what you need to do right now and ignore the rest (for now). Your top priorities are listed in your notifications too. The Mac ($39.99 standard, $79.99 pro) and iOS ($39.99 standard, $59.98 pro) versions are sold separately.

Priority Matrix

A professional solution for task management

A professional solution for task management

Want the same kind of powerful solution as OmniFocus on Windows, Chrome or Android too? Priority Matrix could be a great answer; it works with iOS and Mac too. Geared more toward managers and other professionals, Priority Matrix works on the principle of diving your work across two axes for a total of four quadrants. Is the task crucial or not crucial? Should you do it now or do it later? The program works offline with deep integration into what you may already be using. Pricing starts at $12 per user per month, billed annually.

Todo.txt

With great simplicity comes great power

With great simplicity comes great power

Maybe you’re interested in task management systems that are powerful yet more Spartan in their approach? Todo.txt strips away all the distractions while retaining all of the most important features. You can still set priorities and establish contexts, but the basic file is accessible just about everywhere since you sync it with Dropbox instead of using a proprietary format. This means it will work with any text editor on any platform. There are mobile apps for iOS and Android. If you want to get even more geeky, there’s even shell script access with a command line interface. Todo.txt is free.

Toodledo

One of the best task management systems today

One of the best task management systems today

Offering the standard apps for iOS and Android, as well as a desktop variant, Toodledo will automatically synchronize across devices to ensure you have the most up to date information on what needs to get done. Sort your tasks into folders, organize them with tags, and get more granular with subtasks too. Make custom lists, write long notes, share lists with family, and track life goals, all while leveraging the popular GTD method. It’ll even help you use your free time more effectively. The basic system is free with silver, gold and platinum subscriptions going for $14.99, $29.99 and $89.99, respectively. These unlock additional features like cloud storage, task attachments, and progress graphs.

Image credit: Ivan Walsh / Flickr

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