Creating Automated Reminders – 9 Helpful Web Services

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

A simple, clean interface for creating your reminders.

A simple, clean interface for creating your reminders.

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.

Task.fm

Create your tasks via email or Twitter.

Create your tasks via email or Twitter.

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.

Backpack

Backpack

The Reminders in Backpack are my favourite feature in the tool.

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.

Remember the Milk

One of the most powerful task management web apps available.

One of the most powerful task management web apps available.

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.

Google Calendar

Create a separate calendar as a Tickler file.

Create a separate calendar as a Tickler file.

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

A tool aimed at families, Cozi offers a reminders feature.

A tool aimed at families, Cozi offers a reminders feature.

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.

KeepUp

Get your reminder, then get help with changing your oil on KeepUp.

Get your reminder, then get help with changing your oil on KeepUp.

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.

Zoho Planner

Another solid tool from the Zoho suite.

Another solid tool from the Zoho suite.

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.

Jott

A great way to get your tasks into your system when on the go.

A great way to get your tasks into your system when on the go.

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.


  • http://www.twitter.com/mattycraig Matthew Craig

    I use Toodledo combined with Google Calendar. I find it much easier to use then Remember the Milk and I am ten times more productive using Toodledo+Gcal then I was when I was just using iCal on my Mac. Now I can access all my tasks from any computer, sync them on my calendar and on my iPhone, and get reminders via email when tasks/events are about to begin/end.

  • http://andrewburgess.posterous.com Andrew

    Great list; I’m currently using Remember the Milk / Google Calendar. You tweeted recently about http://scraplr.com/, which says it will do automated reminders; it looks like an interesting app that I’ll want to try out.

  • http://meganrogers.net Megan

    I miss Sandy the automated PA that went out of business a few months back.
    Used to enjoy getting email’s from her every morning with my to-do list for the day.

    • http://web.appstorm.net Chris Bowler

      Yep, you’re probably not alone. Sandy was a great app.

    • http://feint.me Anthony

      Task.fm is a good replacment for Sandy – works via email and you can opt in to receive a daily briefing with all your upcoming tasks.

  • Chris

    What about PingMe? http://gopingme.com/

  • peace4men

    I personnaly like the Google Calendar it’s can add feature in the labs like adding Google documents …

  • http://www.duellweb.com duellsy

    I’m actually 90% complete on the development of a twitter reminder tool for a client, it should be ready for beta very very soon.

    • http://www.nouveller.com/ Benjamin Reid

      I just subscribe myself to an RSS feed from search.twitter that contains #nts (note to self) in my tweets. Works pretty well.

  • willemijns

    http://www.willemijns.com/reminden.htm list all of these competitors ;)

  • http://www.etinkle.com Chris Hall

    I’ve been using http://www.etinkle.com to send automated EMAIL and SMS reminders to my clients. I’m a car salesman and have found it works great to keep clients showing up on time. My friend owns a salon and finds it works great too.

  • http://www.45-file.com Mark

    I would add http://www.45-file.com to this list. It seems to be dedicated tool for such purposes. What do you think?

  • http://www.ischedule247.com Vic

    We researched a lot of the above and quickly developed an intuitive, easy-to-access, completely free one at http://www.ischedule247.com after listening to one local client and building it to their spec.

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