Sunday, March 6, 2011

to-do lists: iCal versus iProcrastinate

My beloved MacBook Pro received a special treatment today: upgrade to Snow Leopard.
For a long time, I resisted the temptation to spend money on piece of software that wasn't necessary, but when my Mac started to slow down and Apple released the App Store, the time has come. I just got it. And I fell in love with the App Store immediately. To get some useful
app through the App store is much easier than searching for it on the Internet. Especially when you're not sure what you are looking for.

How is this related to student productivity?
There are hundreds applications we can all use to make our life easier. Every semester, I have to find the most efficient way to get things done. This one, I carry my Mac everywhere and I completely rely on iCal and MS Word (yes, I love MS Office even though I'm Mac person).

Why I hate iCal

It seems that iCal is everything student needs, you can schedule your appointments, classes and make simple to-do list. After three weeks of using iCal, I must say that when you need to note something more complicated than "buy bread", iCal is just not powerful enough.
The problem for me is that iCal emphasizes when the task is due, not what is needed to be done. As a student, I'm pretty aware of my class schedule and I know that tomorrow at three p.m. I should be sitting in the classroom with my homework done. The question is what was the homework. I want this to be the primary information that I get when I look at my to-do list.

Why iProcrastinate seems to be better

Today I have found iProcrastinate which seems to be a powerful app to satisfy my needs.
There are few things that I really like about the app so far.

What goes first - when goes last
iProcrastinate emphasizes what needs to be done and it sorts your tasks by the date they are due which seems to be reasonable.

Dark background & Category color customization
I like the dark background because it spares my eyes from pain while looking at my todo during the night. Also, it provides the user with an opportunity to give the category special color, not only red or blue or yellow. If you have color coded folders or notebooks as it was one suggested on HackCollege, you might find this feature very useful.

Overdue list
Marking assignments overdue is funny and useful at the same time; it can be used as a storage for things that you haven't done through the semester but you're going to need them at the
exam time, such as readings. In iCal, you are being reminded of them every time you look at your todo list. iCal screams: look what you've forgot to do and look how much work is ahead. Awful.

Breaking assignments into tasks & Connecting files to them
Breaking assignments into smaller steps is simply awesome. That's what we are supposed to do and it's the only best way to achieve college success. I haven't connected a file with a task yet, I think I'll give it a try in next few weeks.

Sync with iPhone
Do I need to explain that? Your todo list in the device that connects you with the world. All the time.

What I'm not so happy about:

iProcrastinate for iPhone costs 1$
I prefer free applications, that's why I'm not so happy about paying 1$ for iPhone version. However, if I compare the price to todo app by Appigo that brings iCal todo list to your iphone for 5$, I must say that iProcrastinate rocks. You might say it's not that much but it's actually one big Latte at Starbucks.

It's just to-do list
The fact that it doesn't have events is that I have to shift between iCal and iProcrastinate to see where I'm going. A simple list of events would be nice.

If you are Mac user that haven't found the right to-do app yet, try this out. I'll do it as well. :-)



  1. Thanks! This post was useful. I just downloaded Iprocrastinate and it seems very easy to use.

  2. You're welcome, thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it! :-)

  3. You guys should try out Google Calendar. It imports .ico files like iCal and is available on every device since it's web-based. Granted, having an Android phone really completes the package. Google Calendar is, IMO, the simplest calendar system to use.

  4. wunderlist = mac,pc,ios,android great basic free GTD app

  5. Varum Revamped, as Michael proposes, Wunderlist is available also for Windows and it's a great app. I plan to write small review on it next week. :-) I've been using it for last three months and it's great.

    thetrickster, I agree that Google Calendar is great, but what do you do in case you are offline and you need to mark something down?