Freedom Fridays: TickTick - An App for Stemming the Tide of Chaos

I first discovered TickTick a couple months ago, while trying to replace my then current task app. The developer had decided to discontinue the service without much in the way of warning, and I had well over 100 tasks that had been meticulously organized. I was distraught and reached out to my network for suggestions. I received quite a few, some I'd heard of, and others that were new. Some came close, but none quite hit the mark. The reason for this was simple: the individual.

On their own, most of these were awesome. They had cool options, some free, some for a fee. Yet I had some specific requirements that had to be met. For one, I am a visual person, but I tend to be more text and list-oriented, so Trello, the most recommended, was out for me, as it was set up in panels/boxes that I found mildly confusing.

Other requirements included:

  • A folder/project system that allowed me to categorize my undertakings.
  • A tagging system that allowed me to cross-organize for similar things, such as running errands, paying bills, or working on photos for multiple projects; this helps me to put similar types of work together for when I'm in that mindset, location, or time frame.
  • The ability to set deadlines with reminders for each task.
  • A priority system, so I don't get carried away with one task and miss something else that's important.
  • Available across platforms, specifically desktop and Android.

After my initial queries, some major research, and a few failed trial runs (most of the things I wanted required a premium subscription). I came across TickTick. TickTick has all the things I required, and then some. This app allows one to do a lot with its free service and offers more for its paid.

The Pros:

Tiered folder/list system
makes life easier
  • The folder system allows for multiple lists within each folder, making it so much easier to organize larger projects. (see photo) My previous app only allowed single projects at a time. A definite upgrade.
  • Not only does this app allow you multiple folders/lists, but you can create sublists within tasks...what?? Yes, you can create a project folder, such as "System Andromeda", create a list called "Set up Patreon", add a task to that list "film intro video" and then proceed to break that task into smaller parts, like "create bullet point for content", "find backdrop for video", etc.
  • Likewise, you can opt for a description of your task, which is perfect for when you want to add contact info, links, or perhaps opening lines for a blog post you want to write.
  • Tagging is endless, allowing me so many options.
    (Tip: if you can, try to keep each task down to a single tag. It is likely there is one specific thing that the task is most related to; if not, you may not be breaking down your tasks into small enough chunks to be really actionable, leaving you open to feeling that you aren't accomplishing enough.)
  • You can hide or show completed tasks (I always hide them. You can show them at any time if you need to go back and see what you've finished.), which brings me to...
  • Statistics section, showing you what you've accomplished over days, weeks, months, and in total. It's satisfying to know you're actually getting somewhere.
  • Tasks can be displayed for Today, Tomorrow, the Next 7 Days, or all at once, and you can choose in Settings which ones will show up in your sidebar. That's incredibly helpful for cutting the fat of apps bloated with options, however appealing those options are.
  • It allows backup, which is great for those moments when the apocalypse happens...of course, that is a whole different list.
  • Allows you to sync with your calendar and add tasks via email. I love this one because it works both ways. Not only can I integrate my calendar into my tasks, allowing me to decide what can and cannot be accomplished on a particular day with a particular schedule, but I can also then turn around and go to my calendar (I use Google Calendar, though it works with Outlook; not certain about iCalendar), and see my tasks over a week or month view. That's one less step I have to take in the process. I love that.
  • You can add tasks from Chrome on your device when you hit "Share", and it will add the link and title of the article. This is perfect if you need it for research, or just want to come back to it and read later because you don't want to waste a bookmark on a temporary link (or you're afraid you'll never see it again if you do). (Again, unsure how this works with Apple products)

The Cons:

  • Really the only con is that I had to get the Premium/paid version to unlock some of the options like the calendar integration, and having (mostly) unlimited folders and tasks. I am notoriously frugal when it comes to being told to do stuff (which is ultimately what a task app does). I mean, shouldn't I be getting paid for being told what to do? So, take it not only as a mark of desperation but really a mark of how good this app is that I was willing to pay for it. And at less than $3/month, it's really not a hardship.

To put it mildly, this app goes big on options, and that's a good thing. So if, like me, a simple piece of paper or notepad doc won't get the job done, I recommend trying out TickTick.

Got some suggestions for great task organization tools? Leave them in the comments below!

Note: I am in no way affiliated with TickTick, and am making no money off this recommendation. I don't own them; they don't own me.

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