How to Become Insanely Efficient with Wunderlist

I confess that I regularly check out new organizing software, in search of the “perfect” fit for my preferences and work style. 

“Must look pretty” is always one of the requirements for me.

If you're a procrastinating productivity geek (like me), you know that there are literally hundreds of task management software options to choose from. Among the contenders for best traditional style of To Do list software, the one that has been my favorite for quite a while is Wunderlist

With over 13 million users, I guess a lot of people agree.

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Click to see screenshots of how you might organize your tasks and projects with popular task manager, Wunderlist

If you’ve read the previous post in this series, you’ll know that I like to organize all my projects and tasks into a limited number of “buckets.”

You can think of these buckets as Roles or Departments or Areas of Responsibility or Areas of Focus. Wunderlist calls them Folders.

To help you visualize the differences between the various task managers in this series, I’m going to keep the examples consistent and relatively simple.

So here's an example of how you might use the Folders and Projects in Wunderlist to organize your business.

How to Create Projects in Wunderlist (with Folders)

In this demo, my seven main buckets are:

  • Blog & Newsletter
  • Clients
  • Marketing
  • Personal
  • Products
  • Systems & Tech
  • University

Naturally, your own list will have different buckets, projects, tasks, and subtasks than these.

So, are you wondering what’s up with the Z-ARCHIVES folder?

Well, in Wunderlist, once you delete tasks or projects, they are gone forever.

The dilemma is that you don’t want completed tasks cluttering up your To Do list, BUT you might want to look at a completed task one day, to remind yourself of the details.

That’s why I’ve added the Z-ARCHIVES folder, as a kind of storage locker for old tasks and projects.

Notice that in this screenshot some folders (like Clients and Marketing) are open, while others are closed

Now, let’s close all the folders except for Marketing, and then add 3 Tasks to the Pinterest Project. Here's how:

  1. Click on Pinterest in the Marketing folder
  2. In the field at the top of the second panel, begin adding your to-do’s
How to add tasks to a project in Wunderlist

Adding new tasks in Wunderlist is fast and efficient. I love that!

Now, for the part that gives Wunderlist so much more power than the simple grocery-list style task managers. 

Look at all the details you can add to this simple task…

Wunderlist - Task Details

For the task "Get Started with Tailwind," we have:

  • Assigned the task to our VA, Samantha. She'll be notified in her Activity Center.
  • Added a due date
  • Added a reminder day and time
  • Added three subtasks
  • Added a note to remind us to what needs to be discussed in our Pinterest strategy
  • Added an image
  • Added a comment to Samantha. (Having relevant comments right next to the tasks is so much more efficient than trying to communicate through email.)

Notice also that in the Pinterest project, we have starred the task "Audit the Business Account." That makes it show up automatically in one of the Smart Lists on the left.

I really REALLY like the Smart Lists in Wunderlist. Have a look in the left panel at Today (with 2 tasks) and Week (with 5 tasks).

Wunderlist Productivity Features You Might Like

  • Mobile-friendly and synchs across the Web, Mac, Windows, iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle Fire (so you can stay on top of your to-do's from almost any device)
  • You can easily share tasks with others (a great help if you are collaborating with a VA, or organizing family responsibilities with your spouse)
  • You can create subtasks
    For example, for the task Publish Blog Post, you might add several dozen subtasks, such as Draft the Post, Create the Header Image, and Schedule Social Media in Buffer.
  • Wunderlist automatically creates Smart Lists
    For example, all the tasks you've previously marked as due today will show up automatically for you under the heading TODAY
  • You can choose to have reminders via email
    For example, you could set a reminder to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment with a new client, or five minutes before that Facebook Live event you want to catch.
  • When another person adds or completes a task in a Shared List, you'll get a notification in the Activity Center (under the Bell icon)
  • In contrast to an app like Asana, which looks completely different on desktop and mobile, Wunderlist looks familiar – and beautiful – on mobile
  • You can send any email to your Wunderlist Inbox with the subject line as a task
    For instance, you might use this option to capture appointments or reading you want to do in the future.
  • For power users, Wunderlist has integrations with other apps you may already be using, like Zapier, Slack, Dropbox, and more
  • Using your computer's built-in microphone, you can add an instant Audio Note to a task. Very cool!

What I Miss From Other Task Management Tools

  • You can't color-code lists and tasks. (For me, color-coding makes task management both more fun and more efficient.)
  • There's no built-in Calendar feature, which would let you plan your week or month. Related to that, there is no way to drag a To Do from one due date to another.
    Wunderlist does have a Calendar Feed that lets you see your To-Do's in Outlook, Google Calendar, or iCal, but not Windows 10. And when I last used the Calendar Feed, I found it kind of flaky.

As of this writing, there are questions about Wunderlist's future.

In June 2015, the Berlin-based Wunderlist team was acquired by Microsoft, apparently to rebuild Wunderlist within the Microsoft ecosystem. Since then, there have been relatively few updates to the existing Wunderlist, and some long-time users are getting antsy.

At the moment, though, the @Wunderlist Twitter account is regularly tweeting hints of "something special" coming soon.

Free or Pro?

For many creatives, the Free version is so full-featured that you'll have everything you need.

If you will be working a lot with assistants or clients or family members, though, have a look at the Pro version for the extra features it offers to teams, like being able to assign unlimited tasks to others, add unlimited files, without any size limits, and create unlimited subtasks. (Just $4.99 a month and you can cancel at any time.)

 Wunderlist Decision Time

  • Is Wunderlist worth trying out?
    If yes, you can download it here
  • If other people will be collaborating with you, are they likely to "buy in" to this tool?
  • Where will you be using the software?
    Desktop only? On your smartphone? Tablet or iPad? All your devices?
    (You'll need to download an app for each device.)
  • Is the free version fine?
  • (Pro adds more collaboration features and has no limits on subtasks)

How to Get the Most Out of Wunderlist

On the Wunderlist blog, have a look at 10 Things You Might Not Know About Wunderlist. You'll discover some great tips and tricks for becoming a Wunderlist power user.

One more thing: If you're a GTD (Getting Things Done) enthusiast, tap on over to this useful article by Jonathan Wylie, Getting Things Done in Wunderlist.

Discover Other Options in This Series

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Sheila MartinComment