I’ve been a Nozbe fan from day one. In fact, that’s what got me interested in GTD. I wanted a web-based to-do list with great iPhone support. I found Nozbe, realized that it was GTD based, watched some of their videos, and then eventually got the GTD book and dove in.
After I realized I was a fan of GTD (and not necessarily Nozbe), I started looking for alternatives to make sure I wasn’t missing something better. I tried quite a few, but the only one that came close was Toodledo. I liked it enough that I decided to dive in and run them both for a few days, which made me very unproductive. I came close to switching over to it, but eventually decided to stay with Nozbe. Here’s a few reasons why:
Nozbe has Projects, and it lists them down the side. In Toodledo, you have Folders instead. No problem there. The issue is that it is hard to view all of them at once when you have more than 6 or 8 of them going (and I have about 30). Many Toodledo users create basic folders instead (such as “Home”, “Work”, etc) and then create a Task for each project. With Toodledo, you can create sub-tasks (which is great!), thus making that system work.
However, that leads to a few issues. First, it’s essentially a hack. Why use a hacked-together solution for a problem that Nozbe solves perfectly? The other problem is that it makes it hard to see exactly what project each task is for. Using folders as projects, I could see the folder name (“My Site #1″) and the starred tasks (Next Actions) for it. Now I see folders titled things like “My Sites” with a bunch of starred tasks, but I don’t know which site each task is for unless I click on it. Not a huge deal, but it makes it a royal pain to scroll through a list and see what I need to be working on.
Toodledo has some incredible filters — far better than Nozbe’s. However, they’re missing the key one — filtering projects. With Toodledo, your folders have names and no other data. With Nozbe, they can have tags and descriptions. The project tags are gold. When I get to work, I can pull up my Next Actions page, filter by “Work” and only see actions from projects that I’ve tagged for work. Same when I get home. With Toodledo, there is no good way to do that.
The workaround is the same as above — use folders for broad categories, then use tasks and sub-tasks for your projects. That way I can just view the “Work” folder at work and it gets the job done, but it still leads to the problems I mentioned before.
Both sites allow you to collaborate on items, but Nozbe’s implementation is a little better. They do it on a per-project basis, and free accounts are allowed five projects. That means you can collaborate with users on small things without them having to pay for an account.
With Toodledo, it’s a bit more complex. You can share folders, but that gets strange if I only want to share a certain project with someone, since it’s just a task in a folder — I have to share the entire folder. Not only that, but they need to pay for an account to be able to edit items in the shared folder.
That’s not to say it’s all bad. Toodledo has some great things going for it:
- It looks better. Nozbe has a big redesign coming soon, but Toodledo looks a little better today.
- It has an iPhone app. Nozbe has an excellent iPhone-formatted site, but no native app. Again, it’s coming soon (within a few weeks, hopefully), but Toodledo has it today.
- It has a much more active community. Nozbe just redid their forums and hopefully that’ll help, but Toodledo has thousands of posts in theirs and it’s a great resource.
- It’s less expensive. $15/year instead of $7/month.
Most of the rest of the features are about the same in both places — after all, they’re both based on GTD. The bottom line is that Nozbe helps me get things done better than Toodledo does. What else really matters in this discussion?
I’ve shown Nozbe to a couple people (both of them were non-GTD folks), and their comment is was “that just makes sense”. The flow is very logical. They both signed up, and both later upgraded to paid accounts.
I’m anxious for the Nozbe iPhone app to come out, but it’s not as big of a deal as I once thought. As I said before, I really wanted a system that I could manage from my iPhone. The beauty of GTD is now that everything is out of my head and in a system, I no longer worry about it all the time and I rarely access it from my phone. If I have a new thought when I’m away from a PC, I just fire it through Jott and move on.
So there you have it. I like Nozbe a little better than Toodledo and I’ll continue to use it, but you really can’t go wrong with either service.
Which do you prefer?