As a designer, you need to stay organized. Period. Things are moving so fast, and we have to find ways to declutter our lives and ultimately our work habits.
Through all my design career, I tried a lot of methods in getting organized, and I can say that today (2017) I am the most comfortable with how I manage to get things done. I love lists. I do, and I use them daily. Making lists is one of my habits that declutter my work and life. Lists! God damn it! I tried a lot of software from Any Do, Googles calendar lists, Producteeve, Wunderlist and finally Todoist. I settled on the latter, and I’m not planning to change that.
In short, Todoist is a task management software. I’ve been using this app for about three years now, and I had the chance to see how they evolved and how their brand changed in time. And I’m telling you they got way better. The main thing why I settled on this app is because, doh’, I can create lists. The interface is straightforward, project panel on the left, the task list on the right.
Todoist is packed with a ton of functionality, but not everything is useful for me (at least at the moment). The following features I use the most.
First, let’s get visual
For me, “simple” means I want to have everything at hand. I want to see exactly how my week looks, this is very important to me, and that’s why my default view is the Next 7 days tab. I open the app, bam! I see my week specifically, time, date, task, priority. Color is a visual aid, and naturally, it has a significant impact on setting a hierarchy, so I inevitably use it on marking my Projects and of course Labels.
Usually, I dump here all my ideas, thoughts, links, reminders and so on. For me, the Inbox is like a big bucket, and I fill it up quite regularly. When I consider it’s time to clean up, I add the tasks to specific projects to keep things well organized.
Today & Next 7 days
Most frequently, I use Next 7 days because I want to have the eagle view of my whole week, so in case something comes up unexpectedly I can move items in my week list accordingly.
Here I create my buckets of goodies or Projects, if you like the term better. You click +Add Project, enter a name, click the grey circle to give it a color, and that’s it. You can also indent and group projects.
Labels are yummy. They add a visual value to your tasks, and you can quickly see and make decisions based on a Label. For example, I have set a series of Labels that relate to time, starting from 5 minutes to 4 hours, the reason being it’s much easier for me to see how much a task may take to complete.
Tasks are the core. Tasks are mighty. These are called smart tasks. What I love about Todoist, is that you can type in an ordinary language, set a date, set a reminder, set a priority, a label, assign the task all at once. Isn’t that awesome? Here’s an example: I could type “Thor #Movies tom at 21:00 @reminder p1 +Stefan A.”. A shortcut that I use quite often is the Quick Add task (CTRL+ALT+A on Windows and Shift+Command+A on Mac).
These are very important. I use reminders for specific dates and time, and just for some extra heads up, Todoist is sending me an SMS just to make sure I got the reminder. Also, location reminders are quite cool. For example, if I plan to go to the mall to buy something, but I’m not sure exactly when I’ll go, I set a location reminder and when I arrive, I’ll get a notification.
Features I DON’T use (yet)
- Quick find. I don’t need to. I know exactly where things are.
- Notifications. I rarely hit the bell icon. I know exactly…
- Filters. I used them quite a bit, but now I don’t.
- Karma. I love checking things off, but I don’t check the stats-
- Dictate feature on Apple Watch
I’ve been waiting for this feature like a sucker. And now I can use it with my Google Calendar and share my work tasks with my team. Zapier also works very well in connecting Todoist with other apps.
The extension is integrated with Gmail; this means you can use Todoist on any Gmail account. I have to manage 5 email accounts, and the app is connected seamlessly. Working with email, sometimes things get out of control, you forget to reply, you miss valuable information, I mean there is a need for a place to keep things close without clutter. All I have to do is add any important emails to my list and schedule it for the right time to reply or review something. Also, I collect stuff from all over the place. If I find an interesting word to add to my Words project or a cool, inspiring quote I select the text, right click and send it to my list. I mean, literately in 2 clicks, no questions asked.
Devices I use the app on
Todoist is available on a wide range of platforms, but I use only a few. I use it on Windows, Mac, iOS, Apple Watch (occasionally, just when I wear it). Oh well, everywhere.
I do recommend Todoist for anyone who likes clean lists and to stay organized. The paid version offers some essential features, like Labels, Reminders, Share projects with more than 5 people, Location-based notifications, but for $28.99/year, it’s not a deal breaker.
Happy productivity y‘all!