Figuring Out Saving to Specific Wunderlist Lists

Productivity is one of my pro­fes­sion­al pas­sions. I always strive to min­i­mize repet­i­tive actions and menial effort in the work­place, both for myself and my clients. Toward that end, I’m in search of a method to more effec­tive­ly use Wunderlist, my favorite cross-platform to-do and list app. “In search of” isn’t the right phrase; I’m build­ing such a sys­tem or work­flow. I just haven’t fig­ured it out yet.

System Purpose

Easily send URLs and bits of text from any device to user-selectable exist­ing lists with­in my Wunderlist account.

Functional Objective

As you can see from the below screen­shot of my desk­top Wunderlist app, I orga­nize a great deal of my pro­fes­sion­al and per­son­al tasks and lists in Wunderlist lists and groups of lists. I would actu­al­ly like to use more lists--such as for client projects--but Wunderlist is so lim­it­ed in its inte­gra­tions with, well, any oth­er appli­ca­tion that I can’t yet do that. That’s part of my goal for build­ing my own inte­gra­tion sys­tem.

My Wunderlist

I con­sume a great deal of con­tent on my desk­top, iPads, and Android phone. I always have Twitter open on every device; Facebook, too. In Mr. Reader, my iPad RSS read­er, I have dozens of arti­cle feeds I read dai­ly. Most of those feeds are about design, self pub­lish­ing, free­lanc­ing, entre­pre­neur­ship, intel­lec­tu­al prop­er­ty law, and oth­er top­ics I need to know for my pro­fes­sion.

Some of those items require action. For instance, I sub­scribe to Lynda.com’s New Releases feed. Right from Mr. Reader I want to send the title and URL of a Lynda​.com video I’d like to watch to my CPE (Continuing Professional Education) list in Wunderlist. I can send such items to Pocket, Diigo, Facebook, and a dozen oth­er places from Mr. Reader, but not to Wunderlist. Wunderlist does­n’t have an inte­gra­tion or API the Mr. Reader devel­op­er can use. Mr. Reader sup­ports adding cus­tom send to actions via book­marklets, but Wunderlist does­n’t even have a func­tion­al Javascript book­marklet.

Similarly I sub­scribe to RSS feeds about new music and DVD releas­es. I want to send those to my To Listen and To Watch: Movies lists respec­tive­ly. New books I find on Amazon, GoodReads, Twitter, or wher­ev­er I want to eas­i­ly send to my To Read: Books list.

Then, of course, there are arti­cles, code snip­pets, and oth­er infor­ma­tion I find around the Web, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and oth­er places. Most such con­tent I save in Evernote, but if it’s some­thing action­able or for a project or action item, I want to send it to Wunderlist, to a par­tic­u­lar list, either direct­ly or with an inter­me­di­ary like IFTTT​.com pulling it into Wunderlist from some place else like Evernote or my Pocket account.

I can’t cur­rent­ly do any of the above because Wunderlist is so sec­u­lar.

Wunderlist Features and Limitations

Wunderlist has the abil­i­ty to cre­ate list items via email, but its such a lim­it­ed sys­tem it does­n’t do what I (and many oth­ers) need. Every Wunderlist user sends tasks-via-email to the same address-​-​me@​wunderlist.​com. Wunderlist’s servers know whose account it goes to by the sender address. But each sender address can only send mail to a sin­gle list--typically the Inbox list.

Each user has the abil­i­ty to set up mul­ti­ple sender-to-list pair­ings. One could, for instance, send tasks via email from accounts at work, GMail, Yahoo Mail, and Hotmail/Outlook, with each account deposit­ing those tasks into dif­fer­ent lists with­in the same Wunderlist account. But--and I’ll be frank here--that’s a giant pain the ass. Have you tried shar­ing some­thing via email from a phone or tablet brows­er? It’s easy as long as you use a sin­gle send from account; try­ing to switch, on the fly, which address you share a link from is dif­fi­cult at best.

Because Wunderlist has­n’t cre­at­ed an inte­gra­tion with IFTTT​.com, and IFTTT only allows reg­is­ter­ing one GMail and one Hotmail/Outlook address per user, IFTTT recipes also can’t be used as an inter­me­di­ary to pull items from oth­er apps and accounts to for­ward on to mul­ti­ple Wunderlist lists via mail-to-Wunderlist.

Wunderlist makes a brows­er exten­sion that pro­vides all the send-to-specific-list I and oth­ers need, but only from desk­top browsers. As I said, most of what I want to send to Wunderlist I find on my mobile devices, and the exten­sions does­n’t work on either iOS or Android. A book­marklet with the basic send-to-specific-list fea­ture of the exten­sion, which would address all my needs, also isn’t avail­able.

Even the Wunderlist Pro ser­vice does­n’t address any of these needs.

Next Steps

I’m deter­mined to find a way to give myself device- and OS-agnostic send-to-any-damn-list-I-choose Wunderlist func­tion­al­i­ty. There are many things I’m try­ing. I’ll keep you post­ed.

Pariah Burke

Author, consultant, trainer, guru: Digital Publishing, ePub, InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop, Quark. Empowering, Informing, Connecting Creative Professionals™

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