It’s been said many times before on AppStorm, and I’ll say it again — the App Store is littered with to-do apps. Ranging in price and functionality, an abundance of options are at your disposal if you’re in the market for an app that will help manage your task list. Basic users may be satisfied with the Reminders app that comes pre-installed on the iPhone, or may prefer simplified to-do apps like Clear. Mid-range users that need a little more functionality may choose an app like Things, while advanced users may go with OmniFocus.
With so many to-do apps to choose from, how does one standout? In the case of 2 Days, developer Ngoc Luu decided to take a unique approach by changing the way users thinks about task management.
Today & Tomorrow
Like most to-do apps, 2 Days employs common features and functions like lists and reminders. Unlike most to-do apps, however, lists are not the focal point of task management. In Reminders (and most other to-do apps), users create different lists (e.g. to-do, reminders, grocery list) and add tasks to said lists. If desired you can add a due date or reminder so that you will be notified when a task needs to be completed.
2 Days, on the other hand, puts the focus on days rather than lists. By default the app is separated into three pages: Today, Tomorrow and Logbook. A fourth page, Later, can be turned on in the settings, which I highly recommend doing. When you want to enter a new task, you’ll need to think about when the task needs to be completed. If you need to pick up dry cleaning later the same day, you’ll use Today. On the other hand, if you have a meeting the following day you’ll use Tomorrow. Overall, a pretty simple concept.
One of the most convenient functions in this two day setup is automatic rollover, meaning tasks added in Tomorrow will automatically be moved to Today at midnight. As an added bonus, the app’s badge will also automatically update at midnight to account for the new tasks that must be completed in Today.
Creating & Managing Tasks
Adding a new task is pretty straightforward in 2 days. When you’re on the desired page, simply tap the task input field below the header (labeled “Add a new task”). After entering your task’s description, hit the Done button. Once created, you can tap on a task to set a reminder, add the task to a specific list (if applicable), add a note or move the task to another page.
Swiping right on a task allows you to quickly move a task, whereas swiping left allows you to quickly delete a task. Long pressing a task opens a new menu that provides the option to copy, email, message or tweet the task.
A feature that I really enjoy in apps like Reminders and ListBook is the ability to add multiple tasks very quickly, which 2 Days offers in the form of Fast mode. To activate Fast mode, you must double-tap the task input field, which will display a blue glow if done correctly. Once activated, add a task as normal and tap the Next button when you’re ready to enter the next task. Tap anywhere on the page’s main body once you’re finished and wish to exit task input mode.
If you add the Later page you can take advantage of a much needed functionality that’s missing otherwise — logging tasks that are not due until a later date. Personally, I often think of tasks that need to be accomplished more than a few days in advance. So, instead of waiting to add the task to Today or Tomorrow when it’s relevant, I’ll add it to Later so that I have the task noted for the future. The biggest downside to Later is that you can’t add a due date to future tasks, which would, in theory, automatically add said tasks to the Tomorrow page the day before the task’s due date.
The Logbook page houses all of your completed tasks, and is also where you can access the settings page. You can delete completed tasks permanently by tapping the Edit button and deleting each task individually. However, I advise that you keep tasks that you may use frequently because they can be recycled back to Today, Tomorrow or Later. It would be nice if 2 Days offered a repeating tasks functionality, but at least the recycle feature prevents the need for adding the same task over and over again.
While 2 Days may not put the focus on lists, it certainly makes use of them. After turning on the lists option in the settings, they can be accessed by tapping the header’s title on any page. When you open the lists page for the first time, two options will be available automatically: All Tasks and Inbox (the default list when you create a task). Tapping the Edit button in the upper-right corner allows you to create new lists and rearrange existing lists.
As stated before, you can add tasks to a specific list after they’ve been created on a page. An easier approach to accomplish the same goal is to navigate to your desired list and then add the task. It’s worth mentioning that the Today, Tomorrow and Later hierarchy still trumps lists, meaning that when you navigate to a list you’ll only see tasks relevant to the page. Some may not like this approach, but I think Luu was smart to make the app’s hierarchy consistent.
The Bottom Line
While 2 Days has a lot of bright spots, it’s not without its shortcomings. The inability to add dates to tasks created in the Later page, which would then move the task to Tomorrow automatically, would really go a long way to ease the burden of keeping track of tasks (the function is on the developer’s list of features to add, according to the 2 Days Twitter account). Fast mode is a great feature, but it feels odd that it needs to be activated to be used; it would be better served as the default task input mode.
These issues aside, 2 Days is still a very good to-do app that offers a dead simple, yet unique approach to task management. Better yet, the app also adds a bit of advanced functionality not found in basic to-do apps like Clear, and is presented in a semi-skeuomorphic interface that’s very pleasing to the eye. If 2 Days’ task management concept has you intrigued, I recommend spending the dollar to find out if it’s the right to-do app for you.