Friday tends to be wrap-up day at the office (as I assume it is for many people), and I typically start my day by making my list for the following week. This past Friday, in a mild frenzy on my way out of town, my last list item read “Onethings post,” which was both a directive to think of what to write as well as to do the actual writing itself. As of 6 months ago, this reminder would have been scribbled on a 5 x 7 yellow pad and tossed in my bag. Now, the message is quickly added to Teux Deux (my online list app), my computer is closed, and my list is neatly waiting for me – ready to be accessed by any of the internet-ready devices that are now a part of my life. When I took a look at my list yesterday on my phone and again saw the words “Onethings post,” the pieces clicked. I rave about this app, I use it on a daily basis, and I even used it to remind myself to find something new to write about – somehow I just missed that there was a Onething literally staring me in the face.

I paused for a minute before committing to a post about Teux Deux, as this is my second post about a productivity-related app (Things was the former), but it didn’t take me long to realize that it’s Tuex Deux’s very contrast to a product like Things that makes it terrific – and so highly usable. My experience with the whole notion of list-making is that it’s an incredibly personal practice (from how you organize information to how you address completed items) – hence the difficulty in developing a system that can cater to a wide range of people, each with unique styles and tendencies. Teux Deux cuts to the core of this dilemma by taking a refreshing approach to list-making / organization: they don’t try to do too much. Actually, the app itself does very little. And I mean that in as complimentary a way as possible. As opposed to products that are so organized and complicated that we can’t help marvel at our own efficiencies after using them (which often leads to an adult version of the high school ‘clean your room before doing any work only to do very little work at all’ syndrome), Teux Deux provides a snapshot of your week, broken into days, viewable five at a time (with a small “Someday” bonus list at the bottom). That’s it. No categories, sub-tasks, or timelines; just good-old list making in app form.

The Teux Deux Onething is an easy one to name, and it’s very much at the core of what this site is all about – it’s that they do one thing, and they do it incredibly well. The difference, however, between Teux Deux and many of the other companies that we profile is that oftentimes a Onething is a small facet of a company’s business; something spectacular that they do in the context of all of their other business-related operations. For Teux Deux, there are no other things. They actually just do (and excel) at one thing. Their strength is that they understand the importance of doing something that is seemingly simple and just nailing it. I say “seemingly” because the myth of simplicity in this case is that the ‘simplicity fairy’ just waved a wand and created an elegant and friendly app for us all to devour. The reality is that the more streamlined the experience, the more important it is to focus on every little UI detail. Here’s a quick hit-list of how I think Teux Deux did it:

  • The structure understands how people think and that we view our “action item” lists in week-long blocks.
  • Teux Deux is flexible enough. I can scroll forward one day at a time (e.g. view the week from Sunday through Thursday) as opposed to only one week at a time.
  • It’s easy to drag, add, and most importantly, cross items off.
  • In a non-cumbersome way, it provides an archive of past lists while also giving you the opportunity to add something to a future week.
  • The simplicity of the app lends itself to easy adoption into daily use. Scott originally discovered Teux Deux, and within a day of my initial introduction I had become a loyal user.

I love how well this app does what it does, and I really love how committed the creators are to what this product is (and isn’t). I’m certain it wasn’t easy to resist the temptation to add “feature ornaments” on this quiet little app, but I for one am sure glad that they did.