If your to-do list is an overwhelming amount of text, break it down so you can understand it at a glance. Task boards, where each to-do item appears as a card, are excellent ways to organize and visualize your to-do lists.
The classic Trello is undoubtedly the best at managing task boards, and there are several other kanban board apps that we’ve featured in the past. This list will look at new or refined takes on classic task board apps, such as calendar boards, checklist makers, and even using a spreadsheet as a task board.
1. Bordio (Web, Android, iOS): Manage Tasks and Events in a Calendar Board
There’s a popular productivity school of thought that believes you should manage tasks in your calendar. Of course, the calendar is meant primarily for events. Bordio marries the two to create a “calendar board” to manage your tasks and events in one place.
The default view is a series of columns, with each column representing one day. You can create task or event cards in each column and move them around as you wish. Note that while the column is a single day, it’s not broken down by hours like a regular calendar would be. So you can simply add tasks in random order and rearrange them as you see fit. Bordio will show you a tally of the time the tasks or events of that day add up to.
As you’d expect, task cards can be assigned deadlines, custom colors, and an estimated time to complete them. Event cards can be given timing, location, and agenda. There’s also a neat “waiting list” board where you can create cards without assigning them to a day. Once you know you’re going to handle that card on a particular day, move it to that column.
Bordio has advanced features like creating multiple boards for different projects, adding a detailed description to a task, adding reminders, and more. It even features mobile apps to check Bordio on the move, but the app is best used in desktop browsers with the board view.
Download: Bordio for Android | iOS (Free)
2. Columns (Web): Create Checklists Boards to Manage Tasks, Watchlists, and Notes
Columns calls itself a checklist app arranged in columns rather than a task board like kanban. The idea is to create multiple task lists for different tasks (under as many boards as you want) and mark the checkbox done when you’re finished. Moving the task cards between different columns isn’t the priority since the checkbox shows you whether it’s a to-do, in-progress (half-filled checkbox), or finished.
When you click a card, it opens up like a chat app between the current and next column. It’s a cool interface where you can start typing your thoughts about the card or add images and files. It changes how you think about a task by letting you almost “chat” with a task to figure out what you need to do with it.
Columns also lets you create an “alias” for any card so that it shows up in two columns or boards since there are times when the same task is relevant for multiple projects. Any changes you make in one board will also be duplicated in the others.
The app is free and ad-free, and the minimalist design looks great when you add images to cards or selective background colors. Apart from a task board, you could use Columns to create watchlists and read-it-later lists, lists of packing and sightseeing for travel, roadmaps for a product, and pretty much anything you can think of.
3. Freedcamp (Web, Android, iOS): Powerful Grouping and Filter in Classic Kanban Board
Freedcamp has made a name for itself as a great free alternative to Basecamp and one of the best online project management tools for small teams. It’s filled with fantastic features and rightly praised, but those extra features mean it’s often overlooked as a simple task board for individuals. And when you start treating it as that, it’s one of the best kanban boards out there.
When you start the app, you might be overwhelmed by the many options for projects, updates, tasks, conversations, reports, weekly overviews, etc. Just ignore everything except the tasks board (the third icon in the top-left corner). In the free version, you can make tasks in multiple lists, add sub-tasks to any task, and view it as a kanban board. You can quick-add a task with a simple name or include details like a description, tags, due date, start date, status, priority, notifications, reminders, and attach files.
It’s a simple kanban board with the original principle of three columns: no progress, in progress, and completed. But the columns retain the lists, allowing you to collapse and expand projects within a kanban board. This is further improved when you use filters or grouping to sort them by title text, project group, created by, assigned to, priority, due date, etc. It’s a remarkable overview of all your tasks in a powerful kanban board.
Download: Freedcamp for Android | iOS (Free)
Download: Freedcamp Desktop for Windows (Free)
4. Seatable (Web): Excel-Like Tasks App With Kanban Boards and Chart Views
Can you really use Excel or a spreadsheet as a to-do list app? Seatable shows that not only is it possible, but it might be the best way for you to visually track tasks and their progress.
Seatable looks like Microsoft Excel, and you can add and delete columns per your project needs. Each cell is a card with different properties based on its column. For example, you can click a card in the to-do list column to create sub-tasks with checkboxes. So in the overview, you’ll only see the progress status like “5/9” indicating four sub-tasks left in that card, which you can double-click to expand. Or in the case of data files, you’ll see icons of the different files attached to a task, which you can double-click to view and download.
While the default table-like view is a fantastic new take on task boards, Seatable still allows you to view all your tasks in the form of a kanban board. You can create the board based on the progress status column or choose any other column to turn it into a list board. The app also includes various other visualizations, like graphs and charts for statistical columns, timeline views for task deliverables and deadlines, and so on.
Check the free Seatable templates to get an idea of the great possibilities with the app, many of which include live demos that you can play around with. The free version of Seatable allows unlimited tables, 10,000 rows, and a maximum of 2GB of attachments. You can remove these restrictions in paid plans.
5. Brisqi (Desktop, Mobile): Offline, Privacy-First Task Board
“I wanted something where I don’t have to worry about internet connectivity and data privacy. At the same time, if I want to sync my data and access it on a different device, I should be able to do so.” These words from the creator of Brisqi best describe why the app is useful and exactly who should use it.
In our tests, we found a fast and eye-pleasing interface that delivers on the basic promises of a task board app. Each task card can have a detailed description, tags, deadlines, labels, and colors. You can have more than the three default kanban board columns and make custom columns too.
Brisqi lets you create multiple boards with sub-boards to easily manage your projects. That said, to find a task quickly, the search is blazing fast and works universally or you can drill it down via filters.
Nothing Brisqi does is path-breaking. Several other apps have the features it does, and some even have more. But what makes Brisqi special is how well it’s executed on the parameters of speed and design, the end-to-end data encryption for syncing it across devices, and the fact that its most important features are free. The only restriction on the free plan is a maximum of five boards, five labels, and one custom group. For an individual user, this mostly will not matter.
Download: Brisqi for Windows, macOS, and Linux (Free)
Download: Brisqi for Android | iOS (Free)
Collaborate Only After Mastering Task Boards
Most of the aforementioned apps are available for teams and encourage you to use them to collaborate with others. While it’s a good feature, we advise you to wait and use the app to master your task boards.
If you’re new to the world of task boards, it’s a productivity system that you must get accustomed to. Make sure it fits your productivity principles and you’ll want to continue using it and expand it to invite others to collaborate. If they get in early and it’s working for your team but not you, you will be stuck with a task app that doesn’t maximize your productivity.
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