Time flies when you are being all productive and shit – or something like that – anyway, I was revisiting some old blog posts recently and I spotted that it’s been a while since I mentioned the continued joy of using Todoist, in fact the last post was 17 months ago and, my oh my has a lot changed since then.
Some of those changes – being made redundant and starting life as a contractor – has changed how I use Todoist but given how often I try out new apps, I think it’s notable that it’s still my To Do list/Task Manager app of choice.
OK, I’ll concede that it might just be down to ‘app-fatigue’, meaning any of the other options I’ve looked at (and there have been many) haven’t stuck but, given that Todoist does everything I need, doesn’t get in the way, and has been steadily updated without losing focus on what it’s good at (looking at you Evernote!) then it’s no real surprise.
How my usage has changed
I’m reasonably organised and have a few projects and sub-projects which I find helps me if I’m in a ‘do stuff’ kinda mode, I use the projects to give me focus if I have a block of time I want to dedicate to a specific set of tasks.
That said, I’m also a lot more relaxed about how I use projects. If I am planning something specific I will still use projects and sub-projects and they keep me on track, even as a mental delineation of tasks (and the gentle suggestion of priority they can bring) so, whilst I definitely think it helps to have some form of structure, I am finding myself using Todoist more and more for quick tasks that pop into my head during the day and which sit in the Inbox as they are typically handled as soon as I get home.
My reasoning is largely due to my current workplace which has a very restrictive internet access policy, so a lot of the quick jobs I would/could do online I now can’t, but it’s nice to have that little bit of flexibility so I don’t have to worry about which project a task ‘fits’ in when it is only being held in Todoist for a few hours.
How Todoist has changed
Todoist itself has evolved in a few areas.
Task creation is a lot slicker thanks to some smart natural language processing. It requires some knowledge of the syntax (link below) but it’s easy enough to pick up. For example, “Hoover ev Wed evening” is quickly created to give a repeating task at 7pm every Wednesday.
The most recent addition is an intelligent ‘suggested date’ option, which looks at your past completed tasks and figures out, if you are going to postpone a task, when the best date would be. I’ve not used it much as most of the tasks I have get done on the day they are due, and if not Todoist already makes it easy to bump a task to “Tomorrow” (and it’s on the same screen that the ‘Suggested’ date appears as well).
It’s also worth mentioning services like IFTTT and Zapier both of which allow you to automate the creation and completion of tasks. I use IFTTT to replicate entries in my Google calendar (as I check Todoist every day but I don’t always check my calendar) and I keep a running log of all the entries I add to my Weekend Reading posts in Todoist as well, clearing them down at the end of each week.
Another new feature I use is the iOS Share pane for Todoist. It’s rich enough to allow you to create a task from anything that can be shared meaning I can create a task regardless of what, or where, it came from.
Why you should use it
My needs for a task manager/to do list app are pretty simple, recurring tasks, the ability to quickly bump a task to the following day, and lightweight project structure are all I need and are all easily handled in Todoist.
It can do a lot more, but if you find the built-in iOS Reminders app a little too basic, and apps like Things and OmniFocus a little too complex, then Todoist is for you. It doesn’t hurt that the design is good and has plenty of useful gestures without feeling bloated.
I tried Wunderlist for a while, but it was always a little awkward to use for me, same for Remember the Milk, both are strong candidates and ultimately your specific set of features will help you decide.
For me, Todoist remains the perfect fit for my needs. It is well designed, helpful when it should be, simple when it needs to be, and powerful enough to handle any kind of project/task structure you care to throw at it.