Done Not Done: To Do for the Fun Stuff

There are lots of ways to keep track of the stuff you want to do, but I’m not talking about the dumb stuff like grocery shopping or organizing your garage. Who wants to do that? That’s why you have to get an app to remind you to do it, and boy howdy, are there a lot of apps for that kind of stuff.

Your options can be more limited if you want to keep track of the fun stuff you want to do, things that are completely unrelated to your groceries. Done Not Done, an app for keeping track of all of the books, music and movies you haven’t gotten around to yet, is trying to cover the fun stuff, though. We’ll take a look and find out if Done Not Done’s to do lists and social recommendations are any better than a plain checklist.

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Get It Done

If you’re new to Done Not Done, and you might not be since they’ve already got a web app, you’ll want to start adding stuff to your Not Done lists. Head over to Find + Add in the menu at the bottom and search for anything you want. You can narrow it down by searching for just something to Watch, Listen to or Read, or you can search for All if you haven’t narrowed it down yet.

The app isn't bad to look at, and it's easy to navigate among the different elements.

The app isn’t bad to look at, and it’s easy to navigate among the different elements.

Once you’ve found what you want to do, tap the Not Done button. You can add a comment, such as where you heard about this album or how soon you want to have read this book. Tap Save to get it into your Not Done list. Tap Not Done in the menu at the bottom to confirm that your new to do has been added.

I've actually already listened to Gossamer, so I'm rating it and marking it Done.

I’ve actually already listened to Gossamer, so I’m rating it and marking it Done.

After you’ve read or watched or listened to whatever it is you had planned, you’ll need to mark it off. Find the item in one of your to do lists and tap Done. You have to give each Done thing a rating or you can’t mark it off, but Done Not Done gives you the option of adding comments or not. This is where you can give your opinions, though, and if you connect with friends, you can leave little recommendations.

Social Recommendations

One of the many burdens of the app reviewer is that you’re often an early adopter. While that sounds cool, it means that you’re using a thing before anyone else uses that thing, especially your friends who would make it fun. So while there are some great social features on Done Not Done, I didn’t get to use any of them, because none of my friends had signed up for the app yet. If they had, we would have gotten recommendations from one another on the Ideas tab.

Because I don't have any friends, I had to add all of these to my Not Done lists on my own.

Because I don’t have any friends, I had to add all of these to my Not Done lists on my own.

In lieu of actual friends, Done Not Done could just have recommended whatever’s trending as popular right now, but they didn’t. I got a blank Ideas screen because I’m forever alone. Without any ideas from the app, I was left to search for new things to do on my own.

Big Trouble in Little Searches

I looked for a couple of movies that were recently released on DVD, so really I should have been able to find them. Unfortunately, the results were mixed. I found some things I search for, others were more difficult to locate and a few never made themselves known.

I had a better time searching for a very specific movie than for an older book with many editions.

I had a better time searching for a very specific movie than for an older book with many editions.

Search results don’t seem to be presented to the user based on how relevant they are. I’m not really sure how they’re organized, but I know I’m not getting the best results first. A search for “The Hobbit” did eventually get me the Tolkien classic, but it was down around the twelfth result, after lots of companion books and two Spanish translations. Searches for a title and author, artist or director sometimes fare better but often eliminated all results. There’s no way to enter a to do by hand, so users are forced to rely on the faulty search.

Why It’s Useful

If you can get the search to do what you want, Done Not Done is actually a pretty nifty little app. It’s sort of a roving wishlist, except I can put things on Done Not Done that I don’t actually want anyone to give me. I live in a small space, and I don’t have the room to collect a lot of books I’m never going to read again and DVDs I’m never going to watch again, but even if I don’t actually want to own all this stuff, I still want a chance to experience it.

With Done Not Done I can add books that I want to check out from the library, music I want to download and movies and shows I want to stream, and then check it all off when I’ve finally gotten around to all of it. I’m always seeing stuff I want to do, but without a way to remember all it, I quickly forget. Because Done Not Done is on my phone, I have my list at hand, and can add to it or pull something off of it whenever I need to.

It Almost Works

There’s a great idea here under Done Not Done, but it’s really hard to find with this terrible search. I want this to be a really useful app, so much better than a blank text file and more fun than a run of the mill to-do app, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, it just doesn’t work.

Done Not Done would really be improved by an overhaul to the search feature, but also if they displayed trending Done and Not Done movies, books and music in the Ideas tab. I’d love to see what’s popular among other users, even if my friends haven’t signed up yet. Adding the ability to input your own ideas from scratch would be a big help, too. Done Not Done is a great idea, and hopefully the present flaws can be buffed out in a later release, allowing it to be a truly fun and useful app.


A great idea, but a flawed execution. The search leaves a lot to be desired, and it's missing features like the ability to add a movie, book or anything else from scratch.