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Tracking Action Items with Web Based Tools

written by: Joe Taylor Jr. • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 7/6/2011

Thanks to web-enabled wireless devices, online action item tracking is finally a viable replacement for paper planners and desktop computers. Check out four free options for keeping track of to-do lists and action items online.

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    Action Item Tracking Tools

    Over the past few years, web based project management software has grown faster, more flexible, and more user friendly. With the advent of web-enabled wireless phones, online action item tracking can even replace paper or desktop-based project management tools for certain kinds of organizations.

    Four of the easiest online action item tracking tools also happen to be four of the best:

    ToodleDo offers a flexible system of both "folders" and "contexts" in which to place your action items. An automatic hotlist organizes your most pressing action items across all of your focus areas, perfect for browsing on iPhones or BlackBerry devices. If you prefer a mix of web-based project management software and traditional paper planning, you can even print out your action items in a foldable pocket format. Pay a few dollars per year for the "pro" version, and you can unlock action item tracking across groups and even share to-do lists with colleagues.

    37signals offer a trio of tools that perform action item tracking a few different ways. Basecamp, reviewed here, offers a traditional approach to web based project management software with projects and action items organized into coherent dashboards. Backpack provides less formal action item tracking in the context of shared information. Highrise is a contact management system that also handles action item tracking in relation to the people and the commitments in your life. All three services feature free trials and support from the designers' community of raving fans.

    Sandy takes an alternative approach to action item tracking for users that enjoy managing their lives through their e-mail inbox. "Sandy" acts as a personal assistant of sorts, offering a quirky feature that generates action items and calendar reminders from e-mail sent to a private address. For example, copying Sandy on a reply to a client can create appointments or update task lists. Users can reach this free service via e-mail, text message, or web browser.

    Remember the Milk manages to retain the quirkiest name among our group of favorite web based project management tools. However, it offers some of the most advanced features of any online action item trackers. Designers at Remember the Milk were among the first to embrace custom style sheets for mobile web browsers. Therefore, users of web-enabled phones can access custom versions of the service, all optimized for their devices. The full-size website puts action items into context by urgency or location, even providing map views for mobile errands. Paying a few dollars for a "pro" membership unlocks custom software for iPhone and BlackBerry users, along with advanced support.