When it comes to productivity frameworks, there are always those pesky tasks that can easily fall between the cracks. These are the items that need to be completed on or by a certain day, but not at a specific time.
GTD deals with these tasks with a Tickler file. A set of file folders that is broken down by month and day, and you simply place some sort of reminder on the day it will be needed.
But there are many online services that can be used in the same regard. For those who prefer digital tools over paper ones, check out the services listed below to automate your reminders. Never forget those routine, recurring or one time tasks.
Remindr has to be the most pure web application for creating reminders — and only reminders. A clean interface gives you limited options: name your reminder, set the date and time, then choose how you want to be reminded. Your options are by Twitter, email, Jabber account, or by text message.
The cleanest service of them all, it’s also free to use. That’s a hard to beat set of features.
Another application in that’s aimed directly at this category, Task.fm is also all about reminders and only reminders. It’s also one of the easiest to use — it’s designed to work via email and Twitter.
A nice looking app, Task.fm is a leader in this genre of web applications.
The all-in-one tool from 37signals, Backpack offers a nicely designed feature named — you guessed it — Reminders. Perfect for tickler folder type of items, you can throw in items that have no hard date and Backpack will email or text message you. You can also set reminders to be recurring.
One of the more powerful task management web applications around, Remember the Milk can be as simple or as complex as you like. It’s a task management service, but the tasks themselves are more like one off items than what you would see in a more traditional project management application.
And like Backpack, you can set tasks to be recurring and have multiple options for how you want to receive reminders about your tasks.
Now, as I’ve mentioned, the tasks or reminders in question here, according to GTD, do not belong in your calendar because they have no hard date and time. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t use a calendar application to manage those items.
You can simply create an extra calendar that is to be used for this types of items. With Google Calendar, each entry can be configured to send a reminder as well. Then simply toggle this calendar so it is not viewed in your timeline with your hard landscape items. Only view it when it’s needed.
Cozi falls in line more with Backpack. It’s a more full fledged service that is aimed at families. Help juggle your schedule, as well as the rest of your brood, all from within one tool. But it happens to have a Reminders function as well, which can also be used to send messages (reminders for them) to your children or spouse.
With the fall semester just under way, this is a good option for young families.
Another simple service, KeepUp has a community aspect to it. Not only is the intention to remind you of a task, the application was designed to also help you complete the task. It’s intended to help you reach out to the KeepUp community and to use one another as resources to find out how to complete your more obscure tasks.
It will send reminders via email, text or fax.
Another solid choice, Zoho planner is a tool for a variety of items. It’s very similar to Backpack, with a few less features. But it does allow the user to create reminders and gives options for how to receive them. Another free option.
Lastly, Jott is worth a mention. Not exactly a reminder tool, Jott allows you to create notes or reminders by phone. The service turns those items into text and then adds them to another service (Twitter, Google Calendar etc.). It’s more of an interface than a way to organize your tasks.
But it’s worth mentioning because of it’s unique mode of entry. We’ve all been in that place where we’ve thought of something important while on the move and had no way to properly ensure that we’d remember later. Since children are practically born with a cell phone in hand these days, a service like Jott is a great way to ensure that — whatever system you’re using — you get all your important items collected into your system.
Somewhat Lacking in Options
When compared to other categories of web applications, there is a bit of a short supply for tools in this area. The services I’ve mentioned above are all good, but I’m interested to learn of more.
If you’re using another option that was not listed here, please mention it in the comments.