Structured is an app available for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, that will allow you to plan your tasks and commitments visually along a timeline so you can clearly see what you should be doing at any given moment of the day.
Structure, pricing, and availability
Structured is not available for Android, but you can start using it on any of your Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, or Mac), for free, as the application only needs a one-time purchase for unlocking some pro features.
This Pro version costs $9.99, remember, one payment, no recurring costs associated.
This will allows you to:
- Receive notifications when a task starts or ends.
- Import events from Calendars
- Sync Apple reminders to the Structures Inbox
- Generate recurring tasks
To better understand these features, continue reading the review!
How Structure works
Just by taking a look at the (very neat) main interface of the app, you will quickly understand how everything works.
Planning with Structured is as easy as assigning tasks to the blocks of time available from the time you wake up until you go to bed.
- Important Note: you don’t have to fill all the hours in the day!
Inbox (Free) and Synchronization with Reminders (Pro)
In the Structured’s sidebar, you will find an inbox.
In that Inbox, you can add tasks freely.
i.e. tasks to which you will not assign a day or time, at least for the time being.
They are simply there to be planned later.
- Note: if you add a task, you will see a prompt asking for permission to access Apple Reminders. This permission is optional and is only available in the Pro version.
If you allow access to reminders, you will need to go to the app’s preferences, as from the reminders section of Structured, you will find an option to define which lists you want the app to sync with.
The concept of synchronization is very important.
Structured doesn’t simply read your to-dos from a reminders list, it actually syncs with the list.
- If you add reminders in the Apple app, they will appear in Structured, including the date and time info if you have added it (otherwise, the reminders will appear in the inbox).
- If you mark tasks as complete in Reminders, they will be marked as complete in Structured.
- If you mark tasks as complete in Structured, they will also be marked as complete in Reminders.
- If you make any changes in either application, they will be reflected in the other (for instance, a change of title or date).
- The only thing you can’t do is create reminders in specific lists in Structured, although this is not something you will need either.
Having this sync available, you can easily add tasks with Siri, for example.
Synchronization with calendars (Pro)
Somewhat analogous to the sync with Reminders, Structured is also capable (in its Pro version), of syncing with your calendars (again, only with the ones you choose on the settings)
As you can see, there may be then 3 different items on Structured:
- Synced Reminders, which have a small list icon,
- Calendar events, which have a small calendar icon,
- And Structured tasks, which have no icon.
There is no problem modifying reminders from Structured (date, time, complete or not), as these changes will be reflected in the corresponding app.
But if you want to modify calendar events, it’s better to do so from the calendar app you use (Fantastical, BusyCal, Apple Calendars…), the changes will be reflected in Structured.
Having all your calendar events and tasks in one place is very useful to discover tasks and/or commitments that may overlap.
Another paid feature that Structured includes is the ability to set all kinds of notifications around your tasks, so you know when to stop working on one thing and start with another.
Specifically, is it possible to enable:
- Notifications at the start of a task
- Notifications when you should finish them
- Notifications X hours or min. before a task starts.
- Notifications for All-day tasks: these are, those tasks that you want to do on one specific day, but don’t have a scheduled time because they are “too short” (e.g. call the dentist to book an appointment)
- Additionally, you can also enable notifications for imported calendar events and reminders. If the Reminders app and/or your Calendar app are already notifying you, you should not enable these options, or you will get double notifications.
When adding a task in Structured, there is some metadata that you can include in the task.
- Choose a name, color, and icon (the latter is automatically loaded with the task name)
- Choose a start and end date and time. The time can be calculated quickly by adding an estimated time.
- If you click the “More” option in the “when” section, you will see that you can schedule the task as “all day”.
The “All-day” tasks are useful because they are displayed in the top area of Structured’s hourly breakdown.
All-day tasks are very useful for adding those small tasks that take so little time to do that it’s not worth assigning what time of day you’re going to do them.
The most classic example is watering the plants, although birthdays will also appear here if you have synced that calendar.
If you scroll, you’ll see on Structured a section where you can add specific Notifications for that task, Notes, and Subtasks, which can be pretty handy if you want to divide one big task into small chunks.
Recurring tasks (Pro)
Besides Notifications, and Reminder/Calendar Sync, the last Pro feature on Structured is the ability to set recurring tasks, which will come in handy to organize your weeks effectively since there are tasks (routines) that you will always perform on certain days at the same times, like working out or having lunch.
You’ll find this option while creating the task, and as you can see, you can make them repeat daily, weekly (or every X weeks), and even monthly.
On both iOS and macOS, Structured offers Widgets so you can easily see what you should be doing, or what’s ahead of you.
Depending on the size you choose (small, medium or large), you can see more or fewer tasks and events at a glance.
Structured is not as powerful as other task managers like OmniFocus (my favorite)
However, I think it offers a different approach that can be very useful as a supplement, as the visual support to organize tasks, while seeing the events you have scheduled in front of you, is very interesting when it comes to organizing your day.
The fact that you can quickly see the remaining time left on a task, or the free time you have between tasks, makes you more aware of what 1 hour of your day really means.
If you use Structured you will realize how optimistic we are when planning our days, so don’t be surprised if the first few times you use it you leave half the things undone.
That’s indeed one of the disadvantages of the app.
You can’t easily carry over tasks you haven’t completed to the next day, establish which ones are more important (with flags, for instance), or organize them by lists, projects, or contexts.
That’s why I wouldn’t recommend Structured as your main task manager, but I do recommend it as a vitamin for a more powerful task manager, as it will help you a lot in planning things better.