If you’re anything like me, your phone is probably packed with Todo apps. I’ve tried tens of them. Throughout the years, I did pick a few beloved favourites.

Each one of them is great for something. Built-in Reminders is great for creating tasks by talking to Siri. Things is the one I use for everyday tasks, like groceries and cities I want to visit. I use FocusList to create my Plan of the Day. I could go on.

But today I want to talk about a few tools you wouldn’t normally use to write your Todo list, and they are surprisingly powerful.

Numbers (or any Spreadsheet)


Spreadsheets can be used for anything, and back in the day, they were indeed used for everything. It’s no surprise that Spreadsheet is a great tool to manage your todos.

My favorite feature is the ability to add new columns. As you can see on the image, I like to estimate my tasks, and then write how long it really took right next to my estimate.

Spreadsheet is great for:

  • Adding arbitrary fields
  • Color coding
  • Delegation
  • Managing multiple lists with one glance
  • Sharing your list with other people (iCloud or Google Docs)

Unfortunately, Spreadsheet falls short when you want to filter or sort the data in some way. The features are there, but they are far from user friendly for daily use. (Unless you’re an Excel guru.)

Bear (or any Markdown editor)

Bear is my favorite app to take notes. It’s a basic Markdown editor.

Recently, I’ve been using it for an alternative purpose: To write my daily todos! All my tasks are structured using Markdown syntax: Headlines, bullet lists, separators - I've even been using images to insert something related to my work.

A great bonus feature is that you can export your Markdown file and keep track of your days through out the weeks.


Great for:

  • Making nested Todos
  • Adding extra notes and keeping an eye on it
  • Recording how the day went and how much you accomplished.

Diagramming on a whiteboard


Get your whiteboard markers ready. Drawing is sometimes the best way to organize your day.

Follow these simple steps to create an effective plan of the day:

  1. Write every task inside a box
  2. High priority items go on top, low priority items near bottom
  3. More difficult tasks get bigger boxes and bigger text (easy tasks have tiny text and small boxes)
  4. Draw arrow beetween boxes: They will indicate where you start, and what you’re gonna do next. You don’t have to draw arrow for all of boxes, you can decide order later.

Do you need a whiteboard? Well, no, you can plan on a piece of paper. But whiteboard lets you make changes as you work through your day. If you’re looking for a digital diagramming tool, we’ve heard good things about MindNode, or more advanced OmniGraffle.

Try them this week!

With spreadsheets, accountants will feel at right at home, plain text is for writers and artists will probably go for the visual diagramming.

But whatever your job is, all of these tools will boost your productivity, because the main point is to have the plan of the day written down.