“ Address: http://www.6wunderkinder.com/wunderlist/ „
Work is a funny thing. You can be sitting idly for 3 straight hours discretely hiding Scrabble on Facebook from your employer's judgmental eyes when suddenly 7 urgent tasks all come in at once. Now a natural ability for multitasking will allow for about 3 tasks to be juggled at the same time, but 7 is a little excessive. In my particular office we try to share the work out equally although somehow I end up with the brunt of it, and as a result we wanted some kind of (free) system that would allow us to create a list of all current and future tasks that could be logged with full instructions, assigned to individuals, and then ticked off when completed. We tried a number of systems without success before stumbling across Wunderlist which, although not without its flaws, certainly does the job for us.
What is Wunderlist?
You can download the software for Windows, Mac or Linux operating systems or as apps for iPad, iPhone or Android from http://www.6wunderkinder.com/wunderlist/ for the cheap price of £0.00 aka free. Downloading is incredibly simple, though I've only tried it for the Windows operating system, you simply run the executable file, click a few nexts, vigorously read the terms and conditions before confirming you agree, click a few more nexts and you're done. When you first open Wunderlist you will be asked to either login or register and registering is marvellously effortless - just enter your email address and a password and you're done. You will receive a confirmation email, but you don't even need to do anything with this email.
The idea behind Wunderlist is nice and simple - you create empty lists for the type of tasks you are setting yourself which could be anything from a Christmas shopping list to things-to-do-before-you-die to boring work tasks and then you are free to populate each list with as many tasks as you want. For each task you give it a descriptive name, and then you can add a note with any further details or instructions you want which can be viewed by clicking on a note symbol. You can then also assign a due date to each task and then the system will send you email reminders to make sure you hit the deadline and to bombard you if you miss the deadline. You can click on the star for each task which I guess would show the task is in progress, and once you are done with the task you can click on the checkbox for that task which will move it to a Recently done section, which you can move back again to the original list by unticking the box. To actually remove a task or list is as simple as clicking either the cross or clicking on the name and pressing delete and just confirming yes.
You then have the chance to share these lists with your fellow kind for whatever reason, e.g. if you created a birthday wish list or an assassin's hit list you can share that with the relevant people in several ways. Firstly you can simply email it to them which will appear with the header as whatever the list was called followed by each task name including any additional information you may have added such as the due date or any notes. This does however try to use the default email software of your computer such as Microsoft Outlook on Windows so if that is not set up it will not work. Alternatively, you can add the list to the Cloud App which basically just creates a URL which will display the list in exactly the same way as with the email (only available for 30 days) to be shared however you see fit, for example on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook . You can also print the lists if you want a hard copy, which could be for such things like shopping lists etc which again comes out in exactly the same format as for the other two sharing methods.
Wunderlist is incredibly intuitive to use. There is plenty of blurb on the website with screenshots to show you how to use it, but honestly you can just leap straight in and I wouldn't foresee too many problems. Once you log on for the first time you will only have one list, your Inbox, which will contain 7 mini tutorials to reinforce how the system works which is are effectively a list of shortcuts and ways to edit your lists / tasks which you can simply remove when you're done which is a nice, nonintrusive way to do tutorials rather than having irritating popup windows. You can get a list of hotkeys again just by clicking the ? on the bottom menu bar so you won't lose anything by deleting these tutorials, and you can actually get them back again by clicking Reset Tutorials on the settings menu.
The setting up of lists is also incredibly straightforward - just click "Add List" at the bottom and type in the name in the space that appears on the Sidebar. If you make a mistake or want to change the name double click it and you can amend it. Then you can add your tasks in the main window by clicking on the blank slot at the top labelled "Add your task here" - it really couldn't be any easier. Once the name is entered you can fill in any extra details and then you are all set to start working through your tasks or passing them on to other people. Sharing again is incredibly easy (although you have to be the creator - you cannot pass a list on to another person if it was shared with you originally), you hit the sharing button which is a symbol of two heads, add in the email addresses of the people you wish to share the list with and send the invitation. The only annoying thing really is if the person you are sharing with does not have Wunderlist, when they join you do have to invite them again in order to successfully share the list. Also, the person having the list shared with them does not have the option to decline if they already have Wunderlist as it gets automatically added so you have to manually delete it if you didn't want it.
Once shared, the lists become synchronised so if someone does something such as editing a task, or ticking that they are working on that task etc. these changes update across all copies which is very handy to avoid conflicting issues. But, it's not actually possible to know who clicked the star or made the edits to the task, so it's not a perfect solution. One other slight issue is that any collaborators can delete a list, but it will never get deleted from the creator's account, even though the tasks can be deleted by anyone and removed from everyone's list, so from the creator's point of view (assuming the sharing of tasks at work) they will never know if the people they shared the list with still have those tasks which could potentially lead to misunderstandings and a blame game at work. One other niggle I have is that no time can be applied to a task, only a date, so again if a task is urgent e.g. needs to be done before 10am, you have to write this in the instructions and not as part of the date function, so there is no email reminder possible for time, so you have to trust your own memory if you're working on this task.
This program also allows you to search based upon specific criteria such as to only show (from all lists) the tasks that are due today, due tomorrow, due within the next 7 days, due later than 7 days, and any tasks without a date plus you can show all "done" tasks, and all tasks flagged with the star with whatever connotation being starred has for you e.g. in progress, so from a work point of view you should be able to keep on top of any outstanding tasks easily enough. You can also configure your Wunderlist to your personal preferences by fiddling with the settings which allow you to set language, change the hotkey for creating tasks/lists, set your date format, set which side you want the Sidebar to be on and set whether you want the prompt dialogue box to appear for deletions plus you can change the background style from a choice of 12 to make it as pretty or ugly as you like.
So in conclusion, for a free piece of software Wunderlist, despite its simplicity, is incredibly handy. Making and sharing lists and tasks is straightforward, and the ability to synchronise makes it ideal for a cost effective working environment solution, even though there are issues with knowing exactly when a task is due and to whom it is actually assigned to. From a personal point of view, it is ideal for such things as birthday wish lists or shopping lists, or for any personal errands that need to be done by a certain time e.g. paying bills with the advantage of email reminders and with such an easy signing up procedure as a method of organising your tasks you have nothing to lose by giving Wunderlist go. For an example of the lists you can create try http://wunderli.st/1t1S1R0z1x102S1q082Z although it doesn't seem to like apostrophes.
Software to organise tasks.