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Illustration for article titled Task Managers vs To Do list applications

When I started looking for an application to boost my productivity, I wondered which one would have been the best for me: a Task Manager or a To do list application ?


I use the term "productivity" because I was really looking for something to help me and my team manage our daily work. We knew for a long time that emails were not the answer anymore. So I spent long hours studying what the market had to offer. I finally understood that there existed different types of work management methods, and each one corresponded to different types of needs.

To organize our work we need to organize the things we have to do, so called "Tasks" ! But I have different types of tasks:

  • things you have to do right now
  • things you have to do later
  • things you have to plan
  • things you have to assign to your teammates
  • things you have to do everyday

I also needed to share those things with my teammates (so they know what I am working on), and collaborate on specific tasks. Understanding what is a task management application versus a to do list application can save a lot of time. It really depends on your specific needs. So I tried many applications to understand what they were doing and how I could use them.


Task Managers - Collaborate and share your work

Task Management applications have been built for structured collaboration. They can handle due dates, reminders, dependencies, discussions, priorities, task descriptions, documentations, task statuses, assignments, etc. They manage different levels of action and offer complete workflow management.


Besides, a task management application gives context to your work because you can organize your tasks in dedicated environments and share them with your team.

To do List - An ordered list of items

To do list applications let you keep lists of things you have a to do in flexible UI environments. Unlike Task Managers, to do list apps only remind you what you have to do, but not how to do it. In some to do list applications you can also add content (documents, descriptions, target dates, …) to your tasks, but it's really complicated to use them as collaborative applications.


Productivity is all about doing great things together. You need to sync your team to get things done. Therefore, I now use a task management app to organize my work with my team and a to do list app to manage my grocery shopping list.

Besides, a task management application lets me keep track of my projects. I can tag my work and follow my workflow intuitively.

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