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How to Power Up Your To-Do List

Getting organized is serious business, judging by the number of checklist and chore-tracker programs available. If you’re new to mobile task-manager software, Apple and Google have their own free apps that combine the convenience of a notes app with the ability to set notification alerts to make sure things get done on time. Apple’s Reminders app runs on iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches, Apple Watches, Mac computers, and iCloud.com. The Google Tasks app for Android and iOS is also integrated into Gmail and Google Calendar. Here are the basics for both apps.

Add a Task

To get started on your iPhone, open the Reminders app, tap New Reminder in the screen’s bottom-left corner and enter a task. The toolbar below supplies shortcuts for assigning a notification date; you can set a specific time and a repeated schedule. You can choose a particular location to be notified (say, near your supermarket), flag the reminder to emphasize it, or insert an image to add visual information.

To get started with Google Tasks on the phone, download it from the app store if it’s not already installed. Open the Google Tasks app and tap the large + button at the bottom of the screen. Type in what you need to do. You can add more information by tapping the Details icon or setting a timed reminder by selecting the Calendar icon. Tap the Save button. You can also add a reminder to your schedule by commanding Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant to create it for you. (Samsung’s Bixby assistant can similarly wrangle reminders on Galaxy phones.) And when you finish a task, tap the circle next to it to mark it Done.

Create Lists

Want to corral several related reminders in one place? Just group the tasks on a list. In Apple’s Reminders, tap Add List in the screen’s bottom-right corner. Name the list, assign it a color, give it an icon — and then set specific reminders. The prominent Reminders screen will show all your lists in progress, including automatically generated lists for scheduled, flagged, and current tasks.

In the Google Tasks app, tap the Menu icon in the screen’s bottom-left corner and select “+ Create a new list.” Enter a name, tap the Done button in the upper-right corner and add tasks by tapping the + button at the bottom of the screen. To switch between lists, tap the Menu button and select the list you need.

Katie Axon

Katie Axon is a 25-year-old junior programmer who enjoys listening to music, podcasting and theatre. She is kind and giving, but can also be very rude and a bit greedy. She is an Australian Christian. She has a degree in computing. She is obsessed with bottled water.

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