App Ed: A List of Things You Actually Want to Do
Thinglist can help you get over to-do list angst
The App Store may have plenty of options — Do!, Wunderlist, MinimaList, ToDoist, Any.do — all designed to help force yourself to do things that you do not want to do. Unfortunately, that’s what a to-do list is: a vehicle for us to remind ourselves of all the annoying things in our lives that remain outstanding — sending that email, paying that bill, making that phone call, emptying that trash can. True misery! No matter the gimmick or reward system set up by these apps — take Carrot To-Do, which rewards the user with “virtual points” and compliments (while “yelling” at them if they’re incompetent)—I’m never going to want to make a to-do list.
What if, instead, I could keep a list of things I actually wanted to do? Stuff I was excited about doing; things I wanted to buy; people I wanted to Google; movies I wanted to watch?
This weekend, a friend introduced me to Thinglist. At first, it wasn’t clear how it differed from others of its kind: It’s an app that lets you add things to a list. No—she corrected me—this app lets you make a list of things you want to do. It’s not a to-do list as much as an achievable “bucket list” of sorts — a bucket list that you could ostensibly achieve by summertime (and have fun doing so).
It’s a list of the things you encounter that you want to get back to — a song playing at a bar that you want to add to your workout playlist, a brand-new restaurant someone tells you is delicious, a book mentioned briefly on your favorite podcast. It even has a category for “people,” making my Thinglist a hilarious mix of celebrities I’ve never heard of and people I’m introduced to at mixers that I desperately want to Google when I get home. You add the thing (or, in my case, the person) and Thinglist lets you take a few notes to accompany it — perhaps this person had red hair, perhaps they were rude to you, perhaps you would like to find out if they are married. This journey is yours to take.
You can use other apps to make these sorts of lists, sure, but those all focus on getting the items “done.” While finally getting around to watching FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson is something you can happily “finish,” perhaps your intention to “invent better airplane pillows” is something you’ll need some time to work on. That’s fine! Your to-do list app shouldn’t shame you.
The internet already taught us that lists are fun and cool, but unlike the drunken, incomprehensible notes you leave yourself on your iPhone’s Notes app, Thinglist can serve as a middle ground. Between a BuzzFeed purely-for-your-entertainment nonsense list and the dreaded things-I-actually-have-to-do list, here’s one that won’t fill you with dread every time you open the app.
Lindsey Weber is an editor at MEL.