Productivity

Todoist Review: Awesome App for Managing Tasks Efficiently!

Todoist's ability to categorise tasks according to Project, priority and date - and accept shorthand input while doing so - is a major selling point.

As recently as a few months ago, I kept track of my tasks by saving them as message drafts in my chats of the Telegram messaging app.

Yes, seriously.

This was a dumb practice, I know. Because there was the risk that I would accidentally send my to-do list to whoever’s chat window I happened to be using to record my tasks.

Or if I actually wanted to message that person, I had to copy my to-do list, delete it, send my messages to that person, and then paste my to-do list back into that chat (or someone else’s).

Among other complications, such as that person’s chat being pushed down until I don’t see it (and therefore forget all about my tasks). Or even losing my to-do list completely for whatever reason.

Finally, I decided I needed to get a proper task management app, and settled on Todoist. As of September 2018, I’ve used it for about 4 months now. Here’s my review of it so far.

Affiliate disclosure: some of the links in this post are affiliate links, where I’ll get 2 free months of Todoist Premium for every user I refer who upgrades to Premium. If you’d rather use a non-affiliate link to check out Todoist, feel free to use this one!

Contents Menu

What is Todoist?

Todoist is a task management app that helps you keep track of your tasks (i.e. your to-do list) in a clean and organised manner.

The Todoist mobile app is available for both iOS and Android devices. I’m an Android user, so I’ve only used the Android version of Todoist’s mobile app.

At the moment I’m also using the free version instead of the paid options (more on these below). So by the end of the review, you should have a good idea of whether you should try Todoist in the first place – before you spend any money on it.

How Todoist Works

Although this is primarily a review for using Todoist on your phone, I’m going to start by going through the options on Todoist’s desktop interface (which are also available in the mobile app). This should give you a good bird’s eye view of what Todoist has to offer (click the image to enlarge it):

Desktop interface of the Todoist task management app

On the left of the interface, you have various tabs for how you want to view the tasks in your to-do list. These tabs are:

Inbox

The Inbox contains tasks that haven’t been categorised into any Project. More on Projects shortly!

Today and the Next 7 days

In the Today and Next 7 days tabs, you’ll be able to view the tasks you’ve set for yourself for…today and the next 7 days. This is a no-brainer.

I switch between the Today and Next 7 days tabs depending on how much perspective I need on my upcoming tasks.

Projects

You can also categorise your tasks according to various Projects.

Projects don’t have to be “projects” in the literal sense of the word, e.g. projects for clients – think of them more as various categories for tasks.

To add a new Project, click on “+ Add Project”. Apart from naming your Projects, you can also:

  • Colour-code them
  • Create sub-Projects under main Projects (i.e. have Projects within Projects)

How Projects can be grouped within other Projects in Todoist

Labels (paid feature)

With Labels, you can tag your tasks. I don’t use Labels myself, but this Todoist blog post provides some great tips on leveraging on Labels.

For example, you could tag tasks with the same Label if they involve the same:

  • Follow-up action (e.g. replying via email). This way, you can pull out all tasks with the same Label for completing in one sitting, even if these tasks are under different Projects.
  • Status (e.g. “waiting for reply from client”). With this, you’ll be able to keep track of which pipeline stage(s) your various Projects are currently at.

Filters

Filters allow you to view tasks according to their various priorities.

If you aren’t using Todoist to collaborate with anyone (like me), the Priority 1 to 4 options will likely be the most relevant to you. Priority 1 tasks have the highest priority, while Priority 4 tasks have the least.

Filters in Todoist (e.g. Priority 1, Assigned to me, View all)

So that’s the left side of the interface. And on the right are where your tasks will show up.

Tasks

Adding a new task to your to-do list is as simple as hitting “+ Add Task” and typing a short description of that task. But to just do that would be to miss out on some seriously awesome features for categorising your tasks.

For example, while creating a new task, you can also:

  • Set a date for when you want to do the task
  • Assign the task to a single Project (you can’t assign one task to multiple Projects at the moment)
  • Set a priority for the task

And you can do all this in shorthand! (Officially, it’s called the Quick Add feature.)

For example, if I want to remind myself to send a client a chaser email for payment where:

  • I want to do this tomorrow (i.e. the task should only show up in my to-do list for tomorrow, and not my to-do list for today)
  • This task should have Priority 1 (because payment is already overdue, grrr)
  • This task should go into my Project named ClientX

I can just add a new task that says:

“Send client chaser email tmr p1 #clientx”

And Todoist will add a new task called “Send client chaser email” and categorise my task according to what I’ve outlined above.

HOW AWESOME IS THAT?

Sure, I could have typed “tomorrow” in full instead, but it’s so much more convenient to use shorthand when Todoist understands what you mean.

The same applies to the days of the week too, so for example I could just type “mon” instead of spelling “monday” in full.

(Todoist doesn’t understand Singlish though, so “tml” as shorthand for “tomolo” won’t fly. I’ve tried.)

Also, the order in which you type the shorthand isn’t important. So I could have typed “p1 send client chaser email #clientx tmr” and Todoist would have categorised my task in the same manner.

And if you don’t want Todoist to categorise your task in a certain way even though it contains words/phrases which trigger such categorisation, just tap on that word/phrase and Todoist won’t take any action on it.

Once you’ve completed a task, select it and hit the check mark to cross it off your to-do list. Whoo!

Pro tip: Todoist’s tasks features also comes in handy when you want to remind yourself to follow up with existing clients for more work!

Rescheduling of tasks

Were you too ambitious in adding tasks to your daily to-do list, such that you couldn’t finish them all by the end of the day?

No worries – you can reschedule your tasks!

To do so, just edit your task and choose a new due date for it. You can choose to postpone it to tomorrow, next week, or use the date picker to choose a specific date.

There’s also a Smart Schedule feature (Internet access required), which uses AI to suggest an ideal postpone date, based on factors such as your habits and the task’s urgency.

Or if you want, you can also remove the date entirely.

Here’s how task rescheduling looks like on the Android app:

Rescheduling of tasks in Todoist - e.g. tomorrow, next week, or the Smart Schedule feature's suggested date

There’s no limit on the number of times you can reschedule your tasks, but maybe you don’t want to procrastinate on tasks indefinitely. Just saying.

Recurring tasks

Here’s a tip if you have tasks that you have to repeat on a regular basis – set them as recurring tasks in Todoist.

For example, if I want to be reminded to pay my credit card bill on the 24th day of every month, I’ll type:

“Pay credit card bill every 24th”.

An icon of cycling arrows will appear to show that the task is a recurring one. Like so: Two arrows in a cycle formation

Other options are available too, such as “every tues”, “every 3 days” or “everyday” (even though the latter isn’t grammatically correct).

Using Todoist on Your Phone

If you’re using Todoist on your phone, I would recommend adding it as a widget so you can see what you have on without having to launch the Todoist app.

On Android, you’ll be able to resize the widget according to how much space you want to take up on your phone screen. Mine looks like this:

Todoist widget on the Android app

Design

The Todoist app’s interface is clean and minimalist, which really helps when you’re trying to unclutter all your outstanding tasks.

You’re also able to choose a colour theme for your Todoist app. I’m currently using Noir, but people concerned about screen glare/saving battery can opt for the newly-released Dark theme!

Here’s how it looks like on Android:

The Todoist app on Android, with the dark theme applied

Pricing

Todoist has 3 pricing plans: Free, Premium and Business. I’ll only be comparing the Free and Premium plans in this review.

What’s in Todoist Premium?

Unlike the Free plan, Todoist Premium allows you to add Labels to your tasks (I’ve described how Labels work above).

You can also add Reminders to receive email or push notifications to your phone about your tasks. These reminders can be set to go off at specific dates and times, or at certain locations (e.g. when you’re near a supermarket!)

In my opinion, Reminders are a pretty useful feature that might be worth upgrading to Premium for.

Because otherwise, you have to keep checking Todoist to remind yourself of your upcoming tasks. And what’s the point of say, having a task that reads “publish Instagram post 6pm”, and which Todoist has noted to be completed at 6pm, but you aren’t reminded to do so when the clock ticks to 6pm?

Todoist Premium also comes with other features such as:

I don’t have much firsthand experience on whether Todoist Premium is worth it. While I did get the chance to try out Todoist Premium for free (more on that in the next section), by then I was already used to only using the features in the Free plan.

As a result, I barely touched the Premium features though I had access to them. If you’ve made better use of the Premium features, how was your experience? Let’s talk in the comments!

How much is Todoist Premium (and how can you try it for free)?

Todoist Premium is USD $29/year.

BUT if you aren’t sure if Premium is a good fit for you, you can try Premium for FREE in two ways:

1. (If you haven’t used Todoist before) Using my affiliate link to sign up for Todoist

Totally shameless promotion of my affiliate link here.

If you sign up for Todoist via my affiliate link, you’ll automatically get 2 free months of Todoist Premium.

Here’s my affiliate link!

2. (For existing Todoist users on the free plan) Chalking up 5,000 Karma points on Todoist

You get Karma points for completing Todoist tasks on time. (And you lose points if you have tasks that are 4 or more days overdue.)

Once you’ve chalked up 5,000 Karma points, Todoist will email you 2 codes to redeem 3 free months of Todoist Premium – one for you, and one for a friend.

(If you can’t wait, I still have my second free code to give away – get in touch if you’d like to have it 😁)

Final Thoughts on Todoist

I’ve been using Todoist for about 4 months now, and I’ve found it handy for keeping track of all my tasks.

In particular, its ability to categorise tasks according to Project, priority and date – and accept shorthand input while doing so – is a major selling point.

However, I have to admit that I still don’t have a streamlined SOP for keeping track of all my tasks. If I’m at my computer, I’m still more likely to add my tasks to Google Calendar, or on my existing Google Sheets to-do list.

But when it comes to adding and viewing tasks on my phone, Todoist is my go-to app. Neither of the Google apps I’ve mentioned above are as conducive as Todoist:

  • For example, Google Calendar makes your events and tasks super colourful. But all this colour can get quite annoying after a while, compared to Todoist’s minimalist design.
  • Also, have you tried to view Google Sheet rows on your mobile phone? They’re tiny! Tasks are also laid out in sufficiently large font in Todoist, so you won’t have to zoom in to view them.

As a result, I’m consciously making it a habit to add new tasks to Todoist even when I’m at my computer, instead of Google Calendar or Google Sheets.

If you haven’t tried Todoist, I’d highly recommend that you do so! Trust me, it’s a way more efficient method of keeping track of your tasks than writing them down in a Notes app.

Or even worse, on Telegram.

Sign up for Todoist (and get 2 free months of Premium) here!

Are you a Todoist user? Or are you a fan of a different task management app? Leave a comment!

Review overview

Overall8
8

Summary

If you're looking for a to-do list app that allows you to manage your tasks efficiently and in a clean interface, Todoist is a great option. Its ability to categorise tasks according to Project, priority and date - and accept shorthand input while doing so - is also a major selling point.

Tan Siew Ann
I’m a freelance writer for some of the most amazing software businesses in the world. On this blog, I share tips on how you, too, can run a sustainable and meaningful freelance business. Let’s forge your freedom. 💪

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