App of the Week: Wunderlist


When it comes to new technology -- be it a spankin' new program, social-media platform, or whatever -- I'm a strange mix of Luddite and early adopter. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, or because I'm slightly stubborn, but when I find a system that works, I stick to it.

As my bio next to my slightly handsome headshot in every post states, I'm a freelance writer. That means I serve many masters, and only have myself to count on to keep it all straight. I used to swear by small legal pads of yellow paper to keep my life in order: Every morning I'd patiently jot out every little thing I had to do that day while blaring some Tom Waits. Later in the day would come the most rewarding part of this ritual: Crossing something off my list.

But the better I get at the freelance hustle (which is my favorite dance move, by the way), the more jam-packed these yellow sheets of paper would get. There started to emerge another category I'd need: Projects not due that day, but in a few weeks. Ironically, I started to have one task that'd float from day to day that I never had time to get around to: Find a GTD app.

GTD, for those who don't know, is short for "getting things done." They're miraculous organizational tools that help keep your life in order and you on track.

The problem is there are literally a trillion-dillion of these kinds of programs. Some of them you have to pay to even try, others give you a very limited trial (like you can only track so many tasks before it goes kaput), and others are free and extremely crappy.

Ladies and germs, allow me to introduce you to the holy grail of GTD and TCB (taking care of business): Wunderlist. Everyone I've told about this app has asked me to send them the link, and after this has happened once the last three weeks, I am passing this knowledge along to you.

There are a couple reasons why this is such a fantastic program. For one, you create an account with it, which allows you to sync your list from your home base and then also add to it or remove tasks from your smartphone once you accomplish them. Also, it's free, and incredibly user friendly.

I have it set up with different lists for all the different publications I write for or manage, and also have a separate list for random errands I need to run.

That's it. It's incredibly simple. You can set reminders for when tasks are due, and the program will send you an email to let you know you have to make sure to do them that day.

The only drawback that I see is occasionally it gives you a pop-up ad asking you to notify your friends about Wunderlist. Now that I've done that. . . hopefully those ads will stop. I need them to, because, well, I got stuff to do. 

David Wolinsky is a freelance writer and a lifelong Chicagoan. In addition to currently serving as an interviewer-writer for Adult Swim, he's also a columnist for EGM. He was the Chicago city editor for The Onion A.V. Club where he provided in-depth daily coverage of this city's bustling arts/entertainment scene for half a decade. When not playing video games for work he's thinking of dashing out to Chicago Diner, Pizano's, or Yummy Yummy. His first career aspirations were to be a game-show host.

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