I’ve been searching for the perfect task management tool for some time now. Although there are a ton of them available, some of which I’ve even plunked down a decent amount of cash for, none ever quite seemed to fit the bill. But I finally stumbled on a “to do” app that works perfectly for me: Any.DO.

It took me a while to discover this app, however, because I had a significant number of requirements. First and foremost, I was looking for a “to do” tool that was web-based but also had  corresponding iPhone app. Many tools provide both of these formats; that wasn’t the hard part. What was difficult was finding one that fit into my particular workflow.

For me, that meant a task management app that would integrate with my email account. This is because, like many people, I receive a lot of emails, many of which require follow up at a later point in time.  For that reason, my default system had been to leave the emails requiring follow up in my “in” box, which is obviously not a good system, since the emails pile up quickly and it’s easy for emails to get lost in the shuffle.

At first, I tried creating related tasks in a separate “to do” app, but that didn’t work well for me since it was cumbersome and didn’t link the tasks to the corresponding email, which oftentimes contained information necessary to complete the task. I also tried different browser add-ons that integrated with my email and established a “Getting Things Done” set up whereby emails would be sorted into different categories in terms of when I generally wanted to address the issues contained in the email. But oftentimes these apps didn’t allow me to create deadlines, which was problematic.

So, after testing many apps it became evident to me that I needed an app that would integrate with my gmail account and allow me to create tasks based on emails I’d received. Ideally the tasks would be linked to the email from which they originated and the tasks I created would then sync across different platforms and be available on my computers and my iPhone. And, obviously, I wanted to be able to add standalone tasks that weren’t necessarily connected to an email.

After much searching  I was thrilled when I finally discovered the perfect task management tool for my needs: Any.DO. This is a free, user-friendly, and versatile “to do” app that is flexible enough to fit into most workflows.

Any.DO is a browser extension for Chrome and is also available as an Android or iPhone app. The Chrome extension integrates with Gmail and at the end of each email, prompts you to add a task and includes suggested text from the email as the content of you “to do.” You can either choose to follow up at a specific time “today,” “tomorrow,” or at a subsequent specified date and time. Once you create a task based upon an email,  Any.DO links the task to the email, so you can quickly return to the email from which the task originated.

You can also add standalone tasks via the web interface or via the smartphone app by typing in information or, if your smartphone allows it, dictating the task. One useful features is that when you  add a task that includes the name of someone listed as a contact on your smartphone, the app connects to your contacts and automatically includes a link any contact information relating to that person. You can then easily call, text or email the contact with just the press of a button. You can also add location based reminders when using your smartphone.

And, once you’ve created a task, you can add an unlimited number of notes about the task or use the notes function to create sub-tasks. And tasks can be filed into folders that you create. So in my case, I created one folder for work-related tasks and another for personal tasks.

Finally, the app includes the ability to share tasks with others, a useful feature if you are collaborating on a project with a colleague or assistant.

All in all, this is a great app and I highly recommend it if you use Gmail and Chrome is your browser of choice.

(image: http://http://www.flickr.com/photos/lordschrammi/4561439304/)