Organize Work & Life w/ Todoist
Plus workflow automation, an intelligent calendar assistant, and business names
Honorable mentions this month include:
Zapier - Zapier is a workflow/application automation platform that allows you to connect and automate various online accounts. For example, you could “Schedule your Trello cards as events on your Google Calendar.” Super useful for handling those repetitive, monotonous tasks! Freemium.
Clockwise - Clockwise is an intelligent calendar assistant that can boost your productivity by rearranging your schedule. It moves meetings around to create the largest possible blocks of contiguous, uninterrupted time in your schedule. It also comes with other handy features like Slack status syncing and meeting conflict rescheduling. Free.
Alter - Alter is an online domain marketplace for premium business names and domains. Their team has put together a large directory of original business names and logos that you could purchase together with the domain in one premium package. Premium.
Each month, I cover three “honorable mentions” or fantastic tools that don’t necessarily require a full article review. Let’s talk about our main app now.
Yeah, there are about a million to-do list apps out there. Hell, you could whip one together yourself in less than an hour if you know how to code.
But one of the nice things about a saturated market is that you really see which players are the exceptional ones.
Several years ago, I was a power user of an app called Wunderlist, but it was bought and killed off by Microsoft because that’s what happens to small, independent, and good apps.
Around that time, I started Googling around for a better alternative, and voilà, Todoist came into the picture. And I’ve never looked back.
For over three years now, I’ve used Todoist for everything: tracking tasks, managing my shopping list, random quick notes, etc. It’s fast. It’s simple. It has just enough productivity features without becoming another gigantic behemoth of an app.
Like all to-do apps, you can track items and mark them as completed. Each to-do item can have a “due date” associated with it, and when a task is due today, it automatically shows up in the “Today” feed. It’s a really nice boost to productivity when it happens automatically—you don’t even have to think about it.
You can have different color-coded projects, which are just ways to separate your to-do lists. In addition to that, each project can be separated into different sections of items. But wait! There’s more.
Each item can be configured with different labels, priorities, and reminders. These labels and priorities can then be used to filter your to-do items. You can even leave comments on a to-do item, allowing you to add additional information, links, or context, in case you come back later and you’ve forgotten why you added it.
Everything about this application is just so pleasing for Type A personalities. I bet someone with OCD designed this app.
What really propels Todoist beyond just an awesome to-do app is its ability to add collaborators to projects and integrate with other tools. The to-do items and “sections” I mentioned above can be arranged in Kanban board style:
You can even nest tasks within each other, creating complex hierarchies of subtasks.
With all the capabilities combined (e.g., comments, collaborators, subtasks, Kanban board, due dates, etc.), you can essentially use Todoist as a project management app. And for simpler projects, it’s not only a cheaper alternative—it’s better.
Slack integration allows you to create to-do items from outside the app itself, and calendar integrations allow you to insert to-do items as events to focus on in your schedule.
For the full list of integrations, see https://todoist.com/integrations.
By far, the best integration for me has been the one with Momentum Dash. Momentum replaces the New Tab in the browser, and with a beautiful image, a quote, and a to-do item automatically queued up from Todoist, I always feel like I’m focused and ready to go.
On every mobile device, laptop, or computer I’ve used it on, Todoist has been fast and buttery smooth. Even on large projects with over a hundred or two hundred items, it hasn’t been slow (to be fair, I have beefy computers).
When you insert a URL as a to-do item, it automatically turns into a clickable link and renders the preview text from the website you linked. It’s the little features like this that make the app so damn good.
With all of this in mind, I can’t think of any reason not to recommend Todoist to anyone who wants to spruce up the way they organize their life.
Pros & Cons
Lots of organization features. Lots. As I mentioned above, this app allows meticulous perfectionists to go wild and let out their inner demon.
A fair number of integrations with other productivity and work apps. Todoist really enables its users to do more than just track simple grocery lists. To be frank, it’s a better project management app than some project management apps I’ve used.
Cross-platform. Syncs nicely across all of your devices. macOS, Linux, Windows, Android, iOS, in your browser… Hell, I actually just discovered they have it available on Wear OS and Apple Watch.
Hella cheap. All the features I mentioned above are available on the premium plan, which comes to a whopping… $36/year. Or $4/month if you don’t do annual billing, but I don’t see why you wouldn’t when it’s basically the cost of a meal for two.
Completing subtasks makes them disappear. It’s my only complaint about Todoist. If you use it as a project management app, it can be a headache to use subtasks because when you mark them as complete, they disappear, making it difficult to see what’s already done/what was there before. If Todoist would just fix this one damn problem… it would be the perfect app.
Overall, Todoist is one of my favorite apps in my arsenal of hundreds of applications I have dabbled with, and it sees regular, consistent use. If you’re interested in picking up an app that can help you quickly and easily organize your life, personal or work, I highly recommend it.
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