After trying more than my fair share of ‘to do’ apps, I can tell you that selecting the best one is difficult and a very personal thing, as no one app is going to be a prefect fit for everybobdy. We all have different working styles, needs and (perhaps most importantly) different distraction triggers. Some are good for planning out your month, others may offer better weekly, daily or even hourly granularity. Others still may just be good for a single shopping trip.
Let me start by giving you some background on my own tastes when it comes to this genre. What I’ve personally always looked for in a “todo” app is something that is simple to use and that while robust, is not overlery cluttered with excess features that make it a chore to get to the point of getting things done. If selecting a todo app is difficult, sticking with one can be even harder. Some of the apps of this type that I’ve used for an extended period of time in the past (and still do for certain specific tasks) are Pocket Informant, EpicWin, Clear and Paperless: Lists + Checklists.
After using 30/30 for the last week, I’ve come to realize that up until now, all of the apps I’ve used to help me get things done on a daily basis, have been missing one key feature…a timer. Don’t get me wrong, I think many of my previous to-do apps are still quite useful for checklists, or shopping lists, but when it comes to sticking to (and completeing) daily tasks on time, a countdown timer is critical. It forces me to focus in a way that a simple checklist does not, it puts some fire under my feet and creates a sense of urgency and accountability. And this is where 30/30 really stands out.
Adding a new task to 30/30 is as simple as just pinching your fingers apart, editing a task to adjust its length, name, or color-coding just takes a double-tap and removing a task is just a swipe away. If your priorities change, you can reorder your tasks just by dragging them around. The apps interface couldn’t be more simple, unlcuttered or intutive. Depending on your needs, you can either create an alternating work time/break time task list, that will just keep cycling, or a separate tasks for each thing you want to complete in the day, along with how long you want to work on each.
My cubicle at work is right off of the breakroom, so there is a constant flow of noisy traffic and hallway conversations fighting for my attention and threatening to squash my productivity. A co-worker who’s concentration is also in the line of fire suggested that I try the Pomodoro Technique. It is a methodology where you choose a task to be accomplished within say, 25 minutes. You work on the task until the timer is up and then take a short break (5 minutes) and then every four tasks you can take a slightly longer break. These time intervals can be adjusted, but the overall goal is to have chunks of uninterupted time where you can just focus on your task at hand and get it done. Knowing that you have a break scheduled means that you can stay focused on the current task and not get distracted. 30/30 facillitates this type of task managment perfectly!
According to 30/30 it appears I only have a couple more minutes to complete this review, so this is probably a good place to end it. While 30/30 may not work for everyone and is certainly not a universal solution for every ‘todo’ situation, I think it has certainly helped me to focus a little more. About the only features it’s missing is syncing of task lists between devices and a white noise generator to drown out those pesky co-workers.
30/30 is quite a nice, little task managment / todo / timer app with a clean, simple to use interface. It has certainly helped my productivity and may help yours as well. The developer, Binary Hammer, has gone with a rather indie-style of monetization. The app is available free of charge, but instead of distracting you with ads, they use Apple’s built-in IAP fuctionality to solicit 99¢, $1.99 or $2.99 donations from anyone who’d like to thank Bob for his hard work. It is neat idea that I hope catches on for both developers and consumers alike. It’ll cost you nothing to try it out, so why not download a copy right now and see if 30/30 can boost your productivity too?!