Due 2.0

I started using Due when it was released about four years ago, and I’d wager that I’ve used it every day since. Today Due reminds me to take meds, to pick up and drop off the kids, to get the mail and so on. I depend on it, and it has never failed me.

Version 2.0 was recently released for iOS and it’s more beautiful and functional that before. I can’t think of another third-party app that’s been on my home screen for four years. It’s a steal at $4.99 for new users. Existing users can upgrade for free and unlock all of the new features for $2.99.

iPhone apps for ADD: Due

I was recently diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder, [1. A note on the term. In my admittedly anecdotal yet first-hand experience, ADD does not represent a deficit of attention. Rather, it’s a surplus. I attend to everything almost all the time. In fact, I don’t habituate to things you tune out, like a barking dog or fleeting thoughts. Instead, each says, “Look at me!” In that way I don’t lack attention, I lack the ability to focus it on any one thing for a significant amount of time. Of course, I’m not a doctor, so don’t take my word for i–OH A BUTTERFLY.] or ADD. In short, I’m thrilled; years of frustration have been explained and I’ve got a comprehensive plan for the future. The iPhone is a part of that plan.

This week I’ll be identifying the apps that compliment my treatment plan, noting how and why I use them. [2. Please note that any ADD treatment plan is multi-faceted, individualized and must involve a trained, experienced professional. This post is presented for your information only and not meant as medical advice.]

Due ($4.99)

I have a terrible time remembering to do those little tasks that must be completed every day. I can write a note to myself, yes, but that’s an incomplete solution. How will I remember to read the list? Most of the time, I don’t. Or I lose the note. Fortunately, the answer is simple; have the list read itself to me at the appropriate time.

Due is that list. It’s a reminder app for iPhone and iPad that’s perfect for quick additions and relentless with the reminders. Due is not a calendar, GTD solution or a to-do list. It won’t sort items by context or project. What it does is answer the question, “Will you remind be about ____?” with a resounding “Yes.”

Here’s how it works. Upon launch, you’re presented with a list of reminders. Tap the “+” to add a new one. The edit screen appears. Enter the task’s title (call the babysitter) and deadline, then tap “Add.”

That’s it.

Additional customization is available. For example, you can designate four often-used start times for one-tap access. Items can also repeat and be reactivated, or “recycled,” after completion.

Once a reminder has been created, you can edit its repeat settings, change the alert behavior or delay the reminder  by 10-minute, hour-long or day-long intervals, all from the list screen. The most beneficial feature for me is snooze.

By default, Due will ping and pop up a dialog box at the designated time and every 60 seconds thereafter until you act upon the reminder by either marking it done or putting it off. This is how the list “tells me” what to do. Its persistence won’t let me forget about the task, so I’m likely to either complete it or delay it if necessary. Also, delaying the deadline doesn’t affect the snooze function. Those pesky but immensely helpful reminders are also pushed ahead.

iCal, on the other hand, pops up a message and then disappears. If I’m engaged in something when that happens, it might as well not have happened at all. I’ll forget to complete the task. Due, however, is just the nag I need.

Most importantly, Due inspires confidence. By outsourcing my short-term memory to an app that I trust, anxiety is reduced. I know that Due will remind me of what needs to be done, I know it won’t beep once and then let me forget and I know I’ll always have my iPhone with me. As a busy person with ADD, Due is indispensable.


3 reasons to use Due

Due isn’t a to-do app for the iPhone, it’s a reminder app for the iPhone. Due exists for one reason: to politely pester you into performing a task that must not be overlooked. I’ve been using it for several weeks now, and am quite smitten.

Here are three reasons to use Due for iPhone.

  1. It nags. That’s a good thing. Many reminder/to-do apps will present a message when your task is due. Most won’t return after its dismissed, whether the protect is complete or not. Due keeps presenting that message until you go into the app and mark it as done. You’ve also got the option to snooze an event, so that Due will bug you about it at a specific time.
  2. Repeating timers. Is there a timed task that you must preform regularly? Set it as recurring and run that timer over and over with the flip of a switch.
  3. Customizable preset timings. Not that scrolling through the time wheel UI is difficult, but this is even easier. You can create up to four one-tap time settings (8:45 AM for example) that you use often. That’s a very thoughtful feature.

There’s more, of course, and you can read the full feature set here. For a fast, simple and — most importantly — reliable way to be prompted to complete the little things, you can’t do better than Due.

iOS vs. paper

I’ve long contended that I can capture information more successfully with pen and paper than with any iOS app. After reading this great post by Joshua Schnell, I felt justified. Of course paper is better!

I also know that perception isn’t always reality, so that might not be true. It’s time for an experiment.

I’m going to spend the next month with four apps apps (using one per week) plus a notebook and a pencil. I’ll monitor my habits, take data and report back in five weeks. Here are the specifics.

The focus will be on capturing incoming information only. I’m looking for the best mobile inbox. For example, if someone asks me to perform a task at a certain time, I must be able to enter that request into my trusted system as easily as possible, with a 100% guarantee that I’ll see it again during processing. In this experiment, I will not be setting up calendar appointments, creating or adding to project lists, etc. Instead, I’ll simply push incoming stuff to “In.”

Some definitions

Stuff – I’ll go with David Allen’s definition: Anything that isn’t where it’s supposed to be. Like an appointment confirmation on voice mail, or a task in an email message.

Trusted System – The procedures by which I put a figurative stake in the ground that says, “This must be attended to. Here’s how and why.” In order for a system to gain my trust, I must feel absolutely confident that any information forwarded to it will not be lost or forgotten.

Ubiquitous Capture Tool (UCT) – The physical object(s) that allows me to capture stuff in any situation or environment.

The apps

Due – This app touts super-speedy task input.

TaskPaper – Super simple interface.

SimpleNote – It’s got companions on the desktop and iPad, plus over-the-air sync.

OmniFocus – Ph.D.-level task management.

That’s a nice range of apps. Before you balk about pitting Due against OmniFocus, remember: the goal is to jot down ideas. Every item on the list is just as capable as the others. Also, you might wonder why I’ve omitted obvious choices like Teux Deux and Calvetica. They’re both tremendous, but are best at handling time-sensitive tasks. I’m looking to capture any and everything.

Finally, I will use the iPhone only. No iPad.

The notebook

I’ll be using one of my trusty Field Notes Brand notebooks.

The data

As I work through the month, I’ll note:

  • How long it takes to enter a task
  • Convenience
  • Reliability
  • Usefulness
  • Which one I find myself wanting to go to (towards the end of the month)

Hardly scientific, I know, but still telling. For now, I’m off. Look for part 2 in five weeks.