Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Taking a Look at TODOmd

There are a number of solid task management and to do list applications on the desktop and on the web. You just need to regularly visit a site like Lifehacker to see that.

But what happens if you want 1) a text-only to-do list, 2) list that’s available no matter where you are, and/or 3) one that’s formatted with Markdown?

You could do it on your own by creating a text file and putting that text file somewhere, like a Dropbox account, that’s easily accessible no matter where you or or what computer or device you’re using. Or you can use TODOmd.

A Simple Approach to Task Management

And when I say simple I mean very simple. More on that in a moment.

TODOmd works with Dropbox — you’ll need a Dropbox account to log in. From there, it saves and loads to do lists to a folder named Apps/TODOmd in your Dropbox account.

TODOmd is essentially a barebones graphical front end to your to-do list. But it’s not just a long bullet list of tasks. Instead you have four time frames (called milestones in TODOmd) into which you can slot tasks. These are:

  • Now
  • Today
  • This Week
  • This Year

The milestones, obviously, correspond to when you need to complete one or more tasks.

You add tasks (called issues in TODOmd) to any of those milestones. On top of that, you can add your own milestones —for example Tomorrow or a specific date (like November 22, 2012).

On top of that, you can move tasks and milestones around, and add tags to your tasks. The tags help you search and filter your tasks (important if you have a lot of them).

Working with Dropbox

TODOmd is very simple and it can be effective. And it’s plain text. Three of my favourite elements of a piece of software or a service.

But what TODOmd does in background is interesting. As I mentioned earlier, it saves your to do list to Dropbox in folder Apps/TODOmd. The name of the file containing your tasks is TODO.md. Nothing spectacular there, but definitely functional and easy to understand.

The file is formatted with Markdown, which makes it easy to read. If you want to, you can also convert the file to HTML. That said, the result when viewed in a web browser isn’t pretty. Definitely not as pretty as in the TODOmd interface.

Best of all, the combination of plain text and Markdown makes it easy to maintain your to-do list in a text editor if you decide to stop using TODOmd. That, for me, really highlights a major advantage of living life in plain text.

While I’ve moved away from dedicated to-do list applications on both the desktop and the web, I have to admit that I like TODOmd. It’s easy to use, works well on tablet (well, at least on my Nexus 7), and it combines plain text and Markdown. Syncing with Dropbox is an added bonus, which gives you access to your task list no matter where you are or what device you’re using.

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