iDoneThis: A Great Service With a Weak App

I’ve been really big on finding unconventional ways to motivate myself recently. I’ve tried a myriad of things, but as clichéd and silly as it sounds from one of those “modern writer” types, I find the best solutions are often digital. That’s why I was really excited when I started using iDoneThis, a service I reviewed on Web.AppStorm recently.

IDoneThis is a fantastic little service that helps you keep track of what you do on a daily basis by sending you a reminder asking what you accomplished with your day. Not too long ago, I discovered that iDoneThis also has an iPhone app, and I decided I’d give it a go and compare it to the site’s email service. Read on for some of my thoughts.

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What is iDoneThis?

iDoneThis is a powerful, but easy to use, web service. It’s free to sign up for as an individual, but requires a subscription if you’d like to use it while working with your team on a project. The idea is simple: every day at a user-defined time, you’ll receive an email notification asking what you’ve done for the day. You respond in list format and the service tracks it for you.

iDoneThis is a service that lets you track what you get done every day.

iDoneThis is a service that lets you track what you get done every day.

Quite simply, I think this is a must-use service. I gave it a glowing review on Web.AppStorm, and I’ll give it a glowing review here. If you haven’t signed up, you certainly should. It’s improved my personal productivity tenfold, because unless it’s a weekend or holiday, I don’t ever want to have a day where I’ve done nothing. As the sole proprietor of a small business, that’s really important to me.

The iPhone App

Traditionally, iDoneThis sends you an email notification asking what you’ve done for the day. If you’re the sort of person who’s always on your phone, though, you might want to replace that service with the app.

The sign in process is as simple as you might expect, and if you want to use just the app without syncing, an account isn't required.

The sign in process is as simple as you might expect, and if you want to use just the app without syncing, an account isn’t required.

The app is a very simple version of what you can find if you drift your web browser over to the iDoneThis website. It’s got a simple login/signup screen, an easy calendar, and a couple small settings.

The Settings screen allow you to set your notification reminders appropriately. I advise you to leave Future Reminders on. Every time I turned it off, the app crashed and wouldn’t stop crashing upon open until I reinstalled it. It’s a huge bug and a massive pain.

The Settings screen is spartan and sadly very buggy.

The Settings screen is spartan and sadly very buggy.

But the Daily Reminders notification, as you can see, can be set to whatever time you like. Again, this is a replacement for the regular web app’s email notifications.

The Bare Minimum

That being said, I’m not sure I can recommend the app as a replacement for the email service. You’ve probably noticed right away that the app isn’t optimized for the iPhone 5’s taller screen, which isn’t the end of the world, but it does speak for the app’s limited current development.

This list is the only other way to track what you've done every day.

This list is the only other way to track what you’ve done every day.

The app also doesn’t allow you a lot of flexibility. While it’s very easy to add a new task that you’ve finished, you’re not going to be able to view complicated charts and visuals that show off how far you’re coming and how much work you’re doing like you can on the web app.

This is just a quick and dirty tool to add what you’ve done throughout the day.

But It Works

That being said, the tool works fine, for the most part. Apart from the aforementioned bug, I was able to add completed tasks with just the tap of a quick button. One thing that I really love about the app is how it opens to the task input screen. So all you have to do is open the app, punch in what you did, and hit the Done button. That’s it.

The app opens and this is the first screen you'll see. I love that.

The app opens and this is the first screen you’ll see. I love that.

In that sense, the app respects the user’s time. I’ve written plenty of reviews here where I applaud apps for taking up as little of my time as possible, and that counts more than ever in a productivity app. If I’m as busy as I should be, I don’t have time to navigate through a field of menus. Thankfully, the app respects my time.

But it is a huge bummer that it doesn’t offer the same variety of services that the web app does. I wish there was a way for me to view a Word Cloud of completed tasks like there is on the website. I would especially like a way to view the Impact tab, which gives you a visual way to view how many tasks you complete on the average day on the website.

I’m not going to lie, though: there is some huge potential for this app. If there was a way for it to integrate with Reminders, Wunderlist, Things or even Any.do, you could have a powerful way to check items off a todo list and automatically have them appear in the app. That would also give the the iDoneThis app an important and valuable edge over the web service.

The Bottom Line

I can’t recommend iDoneThis enough as a web service. In fact, I think you need to go sign up right now. But I’m not sure that the iPhone app is worth using. I’m worried that development has stopped. I’m worried that it won’t be updated for iOS 7. It hasn’t been updated since before the iPhone 5, and that speaks volumes about how little the developer cares about the app.

That being said, it’s also a handy way to keep your inbox clutter-free and use just a lightweight iPhone app to track what the service calls your “Dones.” It’s worth trying, and it gets extra points for being part of such an awesome service, but it’s a shame development has stalled and it’s especially a shame the website is still so much more useful than the iDoneThis app.

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Summary

The web service is great and earns the app extra points, iDoneThis' iPhone app leaves a lot to be desired by comparison.

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