Pocket Informant (Calendar & Tasks) in Review – A done task a day keeps the world at bay…

I have never been a big fan of keeping a ToDo list. It always felt that it takes more time to write things down to do later, than actually doing them, thus wasting valuable minutes and attention span. But that was until I became a project manager. Once the burden of several complicated projects fell on me simulain, I noticed more and more that unless I jot things down, I tend to forget them occasionally. But we’re in the iCentury, right? So when simple jotting is not enough, enter the various Task keeping apps and more specifically – Pocket Informant (Calendar & Tasks).

Pocket Informant is definitely among the most feature-rich of the myriad of ToDo apps on the App Store. On top of the basic tracking of tasks it offers full support for several methodologies for keeping track of them, including the highly-acclaimed GTD® by David Allen, as well as offering a superb way of tracking your calendar and a variety of syncing options, both local and cloud-based.

But since tasks is what you’re probably most interested let’s start with them. First of all, adding one is ridiculously simple – just tap a button and fill out any required fields with only the title being mandatory. You can set start and/or a due date (and time if you feel so inclined), assign it to a project and/or context and even add any custom tags you might wish. You can also create nested tasks if you’re planning to use Pocket Informant for full-on project management. Additionally you might wish to assign it an action (according to the GTD methology), priority and adjust the percent complete. Finally you can make the task recurrent, add a seemingly unlimited number of alarms (defined to trigger either at a specific date/time or relative to the due date) and even assign a custom icon to it.

A similarly important part is the calendar, which provides an easy way to check up on what’s happening in your life, integrating the tasks and local events kept in Pocket Informant and the built-in iPhone calendar. You can view the events on a handy monthly display, as well as weekly and daily. And even on the monthly view you can easily get a hang of the amount of work piled up, with events showing up on the timeline and the amount of due tasks badged on there too.

But keeping all the tasks exclusively on the iPhone is often a frustrating task and here is where the syncing options come in. Pocket Informant offers cloud syncing with Toodledo.com and Google Calendar, but it currently doesn’t support Google Tasks (Google does not provide API support for gTasks) . But best of all – Pocket Informant supports Outlook task syncing via their own WebIS Desktop Sync, though at an additional cost of $5 and via local Wi-Fi only. I admit I did not try it out, rather used the free Toodledo Task Sync software to set up syncing over the cloud with my company laptop’s Outlook.

The interface of Pocket is very polished, combining simplicity and versatility. As I noted above, the calendar view is simply splendid and I think Apple could learn a trick or two for their own stock Calendar app. Also provided is the handy Today tab, allowing users to check up on the tasks due or overdue today, as well as a run-down of today’s calendar events. And if you’re looking for a more thorough view – you can use one of the variety of task views with customizable grouping, filtering and even a search option. Of course, adding a new task can be done almost from any screen with a single tap.

I must admit I haven’t tested out that many ToDo applications. But among the ones I’ve seen Pocket Informant immediately stands out thanks to its polished interface, superb calendar features, support for the GTD® methodology and syncing options. Of course it’s not perfect, with no Exchange support or cloud Outlook synchronization possible (at least without 3d party products). Nevertheless it’s an extremely solid product and is a definite recommendation for anyone looking a tool to help them bring order into their lives.

With this I declare Pocket Informant (Calendar & Tasks) officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Pocket Informant (Calendar & Tasks)Developer: Web Information Solutions, Inc.
Reviewed Ver:1.60Min OS Req:3.1.3
Price:$12.99App Size:9.14MB
  • Comprehensive task system with support for lots of attributes
  • Supports GTD methodology
  • Easy-to-use calendar with support for built-in events
  • Cloud-syncing with Toodledo.com and Google Calendar
  • Direct Outlook syncing only via $5 desktop app with no cloud support
  • A bit on the costly side

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