For years, I’ve preferred a mix of tools to manage my life, both private and professional. There are simply so many methods out there, and no single method works for everyone. We all think and behave differently, have varied challenges, and it is impossible for any one tool or combination of tools to serve as a one-size-fits-all for everyone out there.
I once knew an amazing manager who told me that you should take time every year to review your system, and make an attempt to change it. The idea being that every such review will find someway to refocus or improve your existing personal management system. With that challenge, I ask key questions about how I organize myself on an annual basis:
- Do I have the right tools in place?
- How efficient is it?
- What is new and different that may give me a refreshing way to be more efficient and effective?
- Does it complement my existing tools, or replace them?
I’ve taken this to heart, and learned that making a change does not need to be a scary process. Each time, I identify a technique that I was using that had become ineffective or inefficient, and made a change. Sometimes it is a small change, other times it is a major one.
About a year-and-a-half ago, I made a major leap. I’ve been a fan of using my mobile devices as primary tools to keep track of my tasks and calendar. It just makes sense for me, and most people I know use their digital devices to manage their calendar, even if they use Outlook or some other desktop/web-based calendar to manage daily activities. I prefer Google Calendar myself, and on occasion I change apps for mobile calendar management, but that’s another article for another day.
I had also been using a web-based task management software, along with the companion mobile app to organize the flood of to-dos that consistently come up. I also use a small notebook to capture notes on the fly (you read that right – good ol’ pen and paper!). But the task software I was using was just not right for me. After an exhaustive search, a lot of trial and error, I finally settled on Todoist.
Here are the 7 things I Love most about Todoist:
As of this writing, Todoist offers access to their task management system through 13 different platforms. I prefer my phone and the web-based version, but there is a Windows desktop version that also works well. I suggest experimenting with the various options to see what works best for you.
2. Projects and Labels
I have a LOT of projects, like many of us. And using labels (or tags) to help add some clarity or contexts is extremely useful. They are easy to add to a task, and you can view a list of tasks that apply to a single tag, such as “Calls.” Labels come with the premium version, but are totally worth it.
3. File attachments
For those with premium access (seriously, it’s less than $3 a month), you can upload files into your tasks. Great for complex projects where you need key documents in one place with specific action items. Adding photos or voice recording to a task from within the mobile app is a great feature.
Maybe the best feature for me. You can have them come to you as texts, e-mails, or screen notifications, and you can even choose to have them activated when you are in a specific place. (Example, I have to pick up blinds the next time I’m at Home Depot; slap in the geo tag, and BAM, the notification will pop up the next time I’m there.)
5. Recurring Dates
The intuitive nature of scheduling tasks is ridiculous. It’s as simple as typing, “every Monday at 12:30pm” or “the first day of every month at 8am”, and the recurrence is recorded. Simple, powerful, and awesome.
6. E-mail To Project
Within Todoist, you can add the ability to send an e-mail to a specific project. You can also send e-mails to the Inbox. I find that when in a hurry, I can simply send an e-mail with a specific task, reminder, or follow-up by e-mail and then assign it to a project during my Inbox review each day. But in Todoist, you can also enable sending e-mails to a specific project, such as “Marketing Plan Development.” That way, they can skip the inbox and go directly to the project you want it to. The caveat is this…you have to make sure you create each Todoist project e-mail address as a separate and clearly identified contact in your e-mail address book. Otherwise, you could really get confused as to which address you are sending it to.
7. Intuitive interface
Not so long ago, Todoist underwent a face lift, and created not only the most intuitive redesign I ever experienced in a mobile task management platform, but carried that same design and layout to all of the other versions of the platform that I use. So what you see on Firefox is what you see on your phone, tablet, the desktop version, etc. And it’s simplicity of the design and layout is modestly artful. Bravo to the team for a job well done.
I’m working on some cheat sheets and other tips I have discovered that make Todoist work well for me, and I’ll be sharing them over the next few days and weeks. Remember, I’m simply sharing why I like this platform for me – it may not be the best one for you. But if you try it and make the switch I did, I’m reasonably certain you will find a place in your arsenal for this exceptional tool. Oh, and if my article influenced you in any way, drop me a note. I would love to know that I had an impact out there.