GTD Apps, just how much do they really cost?

Whats the real cost of GTD Apps?

It’s the New Year and maybe you’ve woken up today and looked at your GTD/todo list and thought it’s needs a review itself. A deep cleanse, not just a weekly review or a tidy up of your contexts, or a re-think of how to handle agendas, no. You decide you’d like to try a new productivity platform.

Cost of Ownership

Investing in GTD apps can be expensive, whether your outlaying for a yearly subscription or a one off app theres nearly always hidden costs involved. Want an iPhone app also? iPad? Android? You’d like to sync? Nested projects? Of course sir, it’s all yours for only a few $’s more…. 

So I decided to create a little spreadsheet that gives an estimate of cost for 12 months using each of the big GTD/Todo applications available today, there were a few surprises, for instance I didn’t really think that I’d invested so much money in a few apps I no longer use!

Average GTD system ownership cost

My estimate of total ownership is based on the persons needs, a fairly standard GTD’er I imagine, lets call him ‘GTD Dave’.

  • Main desktop App needed. (Or Web app if Desktop is not available)
  • OTA Syncing service needed.
  • One mobile application needed. (iPhone version if it’s available, it’s what GTD Dave has, he told me)
  • Upgrade to Pro version access power features.

This I hope gives a good view of what a standard GTD setup would cost ’GTD Dave” for 12 months at a minimun, yes some Apps do not need a subscription so they can potentially out last 12 months, but even standalone apps seem to grow and before long you get the opportunity to upgrade to Version 2.0, at a small cost. (Im looking at you Omnifocus!)

So click the table below to see the real cost of GTD applications.

The Real cost of GTD Apps

Wunderlist? Really?

I know, I know… as a GTD system it fails, but I included it as it does give an amazing sync service across lost of hardware (Linux included!) but for the princley sum of $0. No news on how much it’s big brother Wunderkit will cost, but hopefully it will give a better GTD experience.

From $0 to +$100

So how much is a GTD system worth to you? Some would baulk at +$100 for a set of tools to keep you organised, others think that less than $2 a week is a steal for any sort of productivity sanity. Personally I fall into the later, finding a GTD setup that works for me has proved priceless!

Wait you missed…..

Let me know if I’ve missed your favorite GTD app, it’s a living Google Document that I aim to update from time to time, so please let me know of any omissions in the comments below.

  • Eytan

    I’d like to recommend the app that I’ve just started using lately – IQTELL –
    It’s free (while still in beta) and I’ve actually found it to be better than a lot of the paid apps.

    • Anonymous

      Hi Eytan, I’ve added IQTELL to the list, it looks a very comprehensive online tool.

      • Great! Just want to add that they recently came out with an iPhone app ( and have an Android app on the way!

      • Great! Just want to add that they recently came out with an iPhone app ( and have an Android app on the way!

        • i don’t see how the pricing model will sustain IQtell in the long run. it would be great for the folks to know the plan rather than a negative surprise next time

          • Hi Kyith,

            We are all about honesty – IQTELL will be free while in beta, and will switch to a freemium-based pricing model later on. All beta users keep their accounts free for life.

            If you’d like a beta invite, just let me know 🙂

          • then all the best to you guys. just ensure you can earn a good deal so that you can carry on for a while and not get cut off due to unsustainable business model. Hope its not too difficult to obtain a beta invite haha

          • Thanks, we’re in this for the long haul 🙂

            Sign up here for the beta –

          • gennady

            I would love a beta invite for IQTELL, thanks

  • David Popely

    Really interesting post – thank you. You obviously assume that everyone is going to use GTD with the latest techno-gadget-thingy (and
    probably volunteer to spend hours troubleshooting the techno-gadget-thingy’s
    bugs and wrinkles on behalf of the makers), that they just *have* to have *all*
    the latest devices, software, etc etc., and that next year they will junk it
    all and do it all again!




    *These* are people who haven’t joined up their thinking and
    realised that it’s entirely possible (and, in my view, preferable) to run your
    system, whether GTD or not, on paper, and not have to go through this on a
    regular (or even on a one-off) basis. And the paper system is quicker to access on everything except contacts (try looking in your diary for free time for a meeting on 16 October 2013….my paper system can do it….)


    Sure,  I recognise that we who use
    paper probably also spend money annually on refills, calendars, etc, but at
    least *our* systems won’t erase, delete, duplicate or otherwise corrupt our data while we sleep! I would estimate that the cost is lower than maintaining this list of technological toys, and the system works. I’m not a techno-luddite – I use laptops, desktops and smartphones, but not for this, because they just don’t cut it against the advantages of paper.

    When I pick up my paper organiser, I know I have everything together, in one place, every time. 

    • Hi Dave, thanks for the comments and I agree with some of your points. I have used a paper system loosely based within a GTD framework.

      I Liked – It never crashed, I was more focused as I was managing the lists more often, it was great at capturing things quickly.

      But, I didn’t like that I was managing my lists too often, crossing things off moving things to top, re-writing the lists after a while. Working in a corporate environment I have to use an online calendar system and ended up having to copy all appointments to my diary, which focused me but also duplicated things! It was something else I needed to carry with me to capture/view things. Having my lists on a phone takes away the need for an extra ‘device’ like a filofax with me.

      My system now is firmly based in the online/app world, but I do create a daily paper version of my must do today tasks.

      Bottom line, I love paper systems (especially in my Filofax!), but I didn’t manage to nail a system that worked really well for myself…. maybe i’ll try again as I do miss the clarity I got from a full paper system.

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  • Gonline13

    Hey Marcus,

    I noticed you haven’t included Kartamobile’s Viraa (BB) or Thinking Rock (iPhone). Do you think these apps weren’t worth mentioning or do you just don’t know them yet? I’ve been using Viraa for a year now and it’s proven to be a mediocre-good app with a too high of a price tag when we look at quality (around 50$). I’m currently thinking to migrate to Thinking Rock (just moved to the iPhone realm), but I’m still looking for an app, besides TR, that is completely GTD-based. Just thought I’d let you know.

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  • Justs

    Realize this is an old post, but if it is a living doc, there is some catching up to do. I won’t extol the greatness of all the new apps out there, but I will recommend you add a few to the list that are quite effective.

    1) – by far the most capable free GTD solution available. Not without room for improvement, but with support for many platforms (Win, Mac, Android, iOS, web) and FREE sync on any of them, this GTD app needs to be on everyone’s radar. I know at some point they will plan to offer a paid version, but it has been free and great for a very long time already. I also know of someone who is working on getting it to work with MS Outlook which would mean support for Google Apps as a side effect.

    2) Conqu – Another great GTD program that has just started coming into its own. Use is completely free without limitations on tasks, projects, tags, contexts, etc. on any and all supported platforms (Tablets: Android, iPad, BB Playbook, Nook, Kindle; Phones: Android, iPhone, OS: Win, Mac, Lin). The ability to sync between those platforms will cost you $53/yr ($4.42/mo.) A bonus is the great UI.

    3) Surprised not to see any of these on your list: Evernote, Catch, OneNote and the new and improved Springpad. 

    I believe each of the solutions above would merit being added to your chart. So far this past year 4/2011 to 4/2012, I have personally tested and used 53 “GTD” solutions. There are probably a dozen others as good as what you have on your list, but I’d say that the and Conqu definitely should be on there.

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