Love letter to Todoist

My relationship to different apps could be described as an average Erasmus student’s social life: I am eager to get to know new apps, with some of them I might spend a few fun evenings, with a few even a whole semester but only a few of the acquaintances develop to long term friendships. But every once in a while you find the love of your life who will follow you for years. This happened to me with the Todoist app.

Over the years I’ve been enthusiastically reading lots of different productivity guide books that tell you how to manage your workload effectively both at work and at home. To me one of the key learnings is that if you want to have a peaceful mind, you need to empty your head of all things that “you should remember”. I’ve been trying out different alternatives for to do-lists over the years but once I found Todoist, I stopped searching and have been using it now for about 6 years already.

The greatness of Todoist comes above all from a simple but very functional user interface.

  • You can easily reorder tasks within the day or move them from one day to the other (because typically you won’t finish your daily to do list and you constantly need to reprioritize your to dos)
  • You can easily create several projects and give them different colors
  • You can easily create recurring tasks (e.g. adding a task called “Do the weekly cleaning”  with the time “every thu” will automatically create a weekly task for cleaning up your home

In order to achieve a peace of mind it’s crucial to write down EVERY LITTLE THING that pops into your mind. I use the following logic for managing tasks.

So for example if you are reading a friend’s message in Facebook or an email at work, you have three options:

  1. Take care of it now and answer immediately, which is typically a smart option if it’s a short message.
  2. If you need to take care of something at a certain point of time, create a mobile reminder, e.g. Skype Emma at 18.00
  3. If it’s something that requires more time to do, create a task in Todoist and choose a date, when you plan to do it. The date doesn’t have to be too specific at this point because it’s easy to postpone the date or move it earlier later. The key in creating actions is that they need to be actionable. So “weekend trip” is not an action, but a project, under which you can then create tasks, such as “Pack your clothes”, “Plan where to eat/what to cook”, “Go to the super market” and “Call John and agree which cars to use”

I have created projects to all bigger things and in addition I have two generic projects:

  • “General to dos” where I collect everything random like “book an appointment at the hairdresser’s”
  • “Follow-up” where I collect things where I am waiting for an answer from somebody else

You can also share projects with other users so e.g. Tommi and I have a one project for the blog, where we can collect ideas for blog post or assign tasks to read a post that the other one has prepared. The only minus here is that you get a note “Sonja assigned you task X” which sounds a bit bossy 😉

I use the free version of Todoist both at work and in my private life (two separate accounts). I mainly use the app in the browser version in a separate tab and the mobile app, but there are also good desktop apps and add-ons for different email programs.

At least for me, using Todoist has significantly lowered my stress levels because I feel like I always have a good overview of what needs to be done and I can easily postpone things that are not so relevant or urgent. Stress comes mostly from losing the sense of control, not from having a lot to do. Todoist can help you gain back control.



2 thoughts on “Love letter to Todoist

  1. Kristen says:

    I absolutely love your blog.. Pleasant colors & theme.
    Did you create this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as
    I’m looking to create my own site and want to learn where you got this from or just what the
    theme is named. Thanks!

    1. Sonja says:

      Hi! Thanks for the comment 🙂 We created this theme ourselves with the Argent WordPress theme and bought a picture from an online picture bank. So pretty easy to implement, I am sure you can create something similar yourself 🙂

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