Quick review of Todoist, the GTD based task management app

Quick review of Todoist the task management tool
Quick review of Todoist the task management tool

One way or another I have been using a task management tool or mechanism for many years now. When there were no dedicated apps I used to use an Excel sheet to organize my work. Then I started using calendar applications. Multiple times I have tried to use Evernote to manage my tasks. I have even used Google Keep to organize my schedule.

I remember one of the first task management web-based services was Remember The Milk. Initially it was a simple app but as its members grew, so did its complexity. I don’t exactly remember why I stopped using it. Then for some time I used Google Tasks. I also used Google Calendar to manage my schedules. For some time I used Any.do but then I felt it is overhyped.

About a couple of years ago I started using Todoist and for a year I have been a premium member. For your typical task scheduling needs the free account is sufficient. It allows you to create and manage tasks. So go ahead, create an account to play around with before reading further.

Todoist is based on the “Get Things Done” concept developed by David Allen and he also has a book on the same topic. Although I found the book a bit boring and couldn’t continue with it, my wife has read it and says that I should complete it.

The basic concept of using such task management list is that you get things out of your mind and put them somewhere in an organized manner. There might be zillions of things you’re doing every day and if you keep all those things in your mind, instead of focusing on the actual tasks, you begin to focus on the process of task management and remembering your tasks, tiring out your brain needlessly. When you have added a task to your tasks list, you can forget about it.

Here is a recent video of what all Todoist can do on your Apple device:

Todoist is one of the best task management and scheduling apps I have used so far and believe me, I have used many. It has a simplistic design. But it is powerful. It allows you to arrange your tasks according to priority. For example, there is an Inbox folder which shows you all the tasks that you have scheduled. There is a Today folder to see what you need to do today.

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You can also set tasks for future dates. While scheduling tasks you can use natural language such as:

Prune the backyard tree on May 25

This will schedule the task “Prune the backyard tree” for May 25 this year.

You can also use

Prune the backyard tree tomorrow

And this will schedule the task “Prune the backyard tree” for tomorrow.

You can either set days on which you want to complete the tasks manually, or you can use the interface to select the dates.

For example, if you want to repeat a particular task on every weekday you can simply write

Prune the backyard tree every weekday

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What if you want to prune the backyard tree every Monday, Wednesday and Friday? You can also do that

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The highlighted text in the above-image means that Todoist has accepted the scheduled time.

This is one of the easiest ways of entering task schedules using Todoist.

Once the tasks are created, if they are not time-specific, you can rearrange them. You can simply drag them to different sections. Suppose there was a task that you were unable to complete yesterday, you can simply drag it to Today or you can also drag it to Tomorrow.

Todoist isn’t just for individuals. You can also collaborate with your team. You can share your tasks with your team members.

You can also create Projects. With Projects it becomes easier to organize your tasks. Under Projects, you can create tasks and sub-tasks.

Why I use Todoist and not another task management application?

To be frank, every person has his or her own reason to use a particular application or for that matter, to use anything. I like the interface. It has practically everything I need in a typical task-management application. I can easily arrange tasks according to my preference. By simply pressing “S” the tasks are re-arranged by time and date. These tasks can be easily dragged to various sections. They are very easy to create using natural language without having to go through some calendar pop-up, although the calendar pop-up is also available. It is synced in real time so no matter what device you’re using, you are up to date with your task scheduling. The no-frills interface keeps you focused.

There is a Gmail add-on (I don’t know if it is available in all the browsers, but it is available on Google Chrome) that allows you to directly add links to your individual email messages to your Todoist tasks so that in case you need to do some follow-up, you can remember to do it.

One of my personal peeves is that it hides completed tasks. This is something that I like in a task management app like Any.do and even Wunderlist (another great app that has been, unfortunately, wrapped up): you can see what tasks you have completed. The developers of Todoist believe that showing completed tasks creates unnecessary clutter because we should be focusing on the tasks that need to be completed rather than tasks that are already complete. Although I agree with their logic, sometimes we need to see what all is done.

Multiple times I have posted the suggestion on their website. I have also suggested that they can keep the current system of hiding the completed tasks, but in the Settings Dashboard, they can allow people to select whether they want to hide the completed tasks or they want to show them.

Another small problem is that right now Todoist doesn’t sync with Google Calendar in real time. Although they say that the problem is from Google and not from Todoist there are other task management tools that can synchronise easily with Google Calendar. Right now if you want to sync your tasks with Google Calendar, you have to go through a third-party tool like Zapier, which is not free.

But these are small problems and I’m sure they’re going to be sorted out soon.

Todoist is a great task management tool or app. It really helps you schedule and organize your tasks in as efficient a manner as possible. It works in almost every environment: so far I have used Todoist on Android and iOS, and the web-based interface on my Windows 10-based PC.

And what a coincidence! Just after posting this Todoist review I came across the following blog post: Why creating a to-do list is derailing your success.

It’s a totally unrelated topic but somewhat related. This is something I have come across multiple times, although it has got nothing to do with technology. What works better, a to-do list or a calendar? A big problem with a to-do list is that it doesn’t tell you how much time a particular task is going to take; this is something that a calendar app can tell you. But then again, this is concerned with preference and not with a particular technology.

About Amrit Hallan

Amrit Hallan is the founder of TechBakBak.com. He writes about technology not because “he loves to write about technology”, he actually believes that it makes the world a better place. On Twitter you can follow him at @amrithallan

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