I’ve been on a pen and paper craze recently and it’s time to take a step back for a second.

I bought Omnifocus 2 for my iPhone a few months ago and I’ve grown accustomed to its abilities. Omnifocus is a true power user’s tool, allowing for better planning and better organization of projects. I love the project aspect; I’ve set each of my major clients as a project in Omnifocus and every task that needs to be done each month chimes appropriately. It’s a great tool.

As a result, I find myself rarely using Omnifocus. I’ve inputed my major tasks and I let Omnifocus do the rest. However, I’ve never really liked how it handles short term tasks. I don’t have any ideas on how to make it better, but simple apps like Clear and Begin nail short term tasks. So, I’ve used Omnifocus for monthly recurring reminders and simpler apps for day-to-day tasks.[1]

To my surprise, Checkmark 2 may replace all these apps.

Checkmark 2 is an iOS 7 upgrade of the best location-based reminder app on the App Store. It looks gorgeous, fits right in with the iOS 7 design paradigm and even adopts my favourite Avenir Next.[2]

I don’t care much for location-based reminders, so Checkmark’s best ability is lost on me. I don’t like the idea of the app draining my battery as it constantly searches my whereabouts. It’s a fantastic option to have, but I’ll need a Mophie Space Pack before I use it extensively.

What I truly love about the app is the consolidation of my lists and tasks in the same app. Clear is primarily a list-making app, Begin is primarily a short-term task management app and Omnifocus (for me) is primarily a long-term and project management app. Checkmark touches on each of these categories just enough to be perfect for me.

So, I’ve sent all my monthly recurring tasks from Omnifocus, all my lists from Clear and all my short term tasks from Begin to Checkmark. The only hiccup was the lack of project classification, like in Omnifocus, and this was overcome by typing in a small note next to the task in Checkmark. Three types of inputs, which were previously handled by three different apps, are now handled by one app. I like efficiency.

I only have two small negative quibbles worth noting.

First, I wish the custom recurring options were a little more custom. I need to file GST returns for some clients every quarter and there is only a monthly option.[3] I would love for a way to make those reminders chime on a quarterly basis.

Second, I would like a nagging feature like the one found in Due. I’ve never liked Due’s minute-to-minute nagging — minute-to-minute alarms seems overkill to me. I would like for Checkmark to nag me every 15 minutes or every half hour to complete a task. Apparently this option was removed in the iOS 7 update, which hopefully means the developers will bring it back in the future after enough people complain about it.

I’m really excited about Checkmark 2. It makes me feel guilty about spending $20 on Omnifocus, which tells me that its doing something right. Don’t get me wrong: Omnifocus, Clear, Begin and Due are all fantastic apps that fill a niche. But for me, Checkmark touches on each of those niches in just the right way to create a nearly perfect to-do app. I’m excited to get down to one app but, more importantly, I’m excited to see continous app evolution in a saturated field. The only reason to mess with a good thing is to make it better. Checkmark 2 is just that: better.


  1. This is a bit of a lie as well. I’ve kept track of my short term tasks in my Field Notes books via the Bullet Journal method. I love this method, but my Field Notes book doesn’t do a very good job of notifying me. The static list is a great daily summary, but hardly an effective method of urging me to complete something.  ↩

  2. Six of my home screen apps use Avenir Next either natively or as a font option. I love the font and use it wherever I can.  ↩

  3. For my non-Canadian readers, GST is a Goods & Services Tax applied to all purchases by our federal government. It adds 5% to all costs. This isn’t bad at all. It’s our Provincial Sales Tax that I want to vomit over.  ↩