Hi everyone! I’m finally on Christmas break for the year, so I’ve got some more free time, and I wanted to get back to the blog and do some writing. A lot has changed in the way I use my tech in the past year. I’ve discovered several new apps that have really changed the way I use my devices to get things done. That being said, I wanted to share a few of them over the next couple of weeks.
One app I’ve just started using is 2Do. I’d been using the stock iOS reminders app for almost 4 years now, and it’s never worked away I wanted. 2Do, on the other hand, meshes with the way I use reminders perfectly, and I really enjoy using it. This post isn’t meant to be an app review, it’s more just a commentary on the way I use 2Do to get things done.
The way I used the reminders app was weird. I had all notifications except the app badge turned off, and all reminders set for the morning (the default time of 9am). That way, everything was technically “overdue,” and the app badge just showed my total number of tasks for the day (side note: I know some people hate app badges but I love them and think they’re incredibly helpful and useful). That worked OK, because most of my tasks aren’t time specific. But that meant I couldn’t make a reminder that went off at a certain time (or location) if I wanted to, since notifications were off. This system had once worked for me, but more and more now it felt like I was fighting it (and don’t get me started on fighting the Reminders app itself).
I know there’s lots of great to do list apps out there, but I refuse to use one that doesn’t at least sync with iOS reminders: I simply can’t give up setting reminders with Siri. I had initially overlooked 2Do because I didn’t think it supported iOS reminders – it doesn’t ask to access your reminders the way it would photos or contacts. However, 2Do supports syncing with iCloud reminders as a CalDAV server. This seems odd to me, but it does work, so no complaints I guess (and I’m sure there’s a good reason for this that I don’t understand).
One of the most important features 2Do has is separate due dates and alarm times. This means I can have most of my reminders due on a certain day, without that 9am alarm, and yet still have notifications on for other alerts. I ended up turning off notifications for 2Do and letting the stock reminders app handle them, just in case I add a reminder with Siri that goes off before 2Do gets a chance to sync. More on the way I implemented Siri later.
Before that I want to talk about the app itself. It runs so much better than the stock reminders app, which is always crashing for me. And it has so many more features, like due dates and tags and projects with subtasks. Some of these advanced items are a little wonky when they sync over to the reminders app, which I still use on the Mac (because 2Do for Mac is $50), but it’s not a big deal. I realized that I’d really outgrown the Reminders app; I really need the extra power of 2Do.
Speaking of power, the last thing I want to talk about in 2Do is smart lists. 2Do has unbelievable search and filter tools, with lots of keywords and AND/OR/! logic operator support. My first smart list is my “Today and Location” smart list, which uses the search: !hide type: nodue OR overdue OR duetoday. This list shows everything due today (or that I missed prior), and the “nodue” keyword includes location-based reminders (which don’t have a due date). This list also excludes anything with the “hide” tag.
My other smart list is my “Inbox” for tasks I’ve set with Siri. Trying to implement Siri was a conundrum. I wanted alerts if I told Siri to “remind me in two hours” or “remind me when I get home,” but I didn’t want that default 9am reminder for something I set for next week. So first I went to the reminders app and created a new default list named “Siri.” Any new reminders created with Siri go on this list, but 2Do’s default list is still my standard “Reminders” list. All this mess brings me to my smart list: !hide Siri type: alarms AND !duetoday OR nodue AND nolocation. This shows all reminders: #1 On my Siri list, #2 That still have an alarm, and #3 That aren’t set “in two hours” or “when I get home.” I then just keep an eye on this list and remove the alarms on any task that show up here (and then they disappear from the Inbox because they no longer match #2).
Is this a little convoluted and maybe even absurd? Sure. Does it fit the way my brain gets things done and help me accomplish more? Oh yes. ••
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