Over-communication with nothing getting done, or working in silos where no one knows who’s doing what. Or…

Doist
Doist
Sep 28, 2017 · 6 min read

The truth is our work benefits from a balance between talk and action. Our best ideas need to be refined by our peers and our creative discussions need to become actionable to make progress.

Too often we fall too far to one side of the equation. It’s painful. Over-communication drains our energy and it feels like we’re getting nowhere. On the flip side, when everyone is heads down working in silos the pieces don’t fit together. Progress becomes frustratingly slow.

As a remote team of over 50 people spread across more than 20 countries, we’ve had our fair share of struggles when it comes to intertwining our communication with a clear plan of action. Here are a few things we do to strike that elusive balance between organized communication and effective task management, using Twist and Todoist together.

Get into the habit of turning conversations into tasks

It’s a powerful moment when your team gets inspired and launches into a creative discussion that generates a string of bright ideas. Then nothing happens.

Don’t let those ideas go to waste. In Twist, you can turn whole threads — or even specific comments — into Todoist tasks that will link directly back to the relevant discussion when you’re ready to update the team.

Add a Twist thread or comment as a Todoist task without leaving the app.

But simply creating a task isn’t enough. If you don’t organize your tasks, they’ll end up buried in endless to-do lists. Make sure to set the task’s date and project, assign it to the responsible person, and prioritize it so it won’t be forgotten.

Add key details to your tasks as soon as you create them.

If you struggle to get teammates to actually create tasks out of discussions, build the habit of ending conversations with a link to a Todoist task or project.

Connect the dots between discussions and projects.

No matter what tools you’re using, try to build simple habits like these that your employees will actually adopt.

Connect your team conversations to specific projects

Uniting multiple teams to attack a problem can really get the creative juices flowing and generate ideas that would have been impossible in silos. A good way to ensure those ideas become tasks is to link your team conversations to your task management projects.

Specifically, create a Twist channel where your teams can discuss the challenge, and then invite the members into a shared Todoist project where they can add, prioritize, schedule, and assign the tasks to be done. At Doist, we use the same name for both the channel and the project so everyone knows exactly where to go for information.

Sales and account management teams can stay synced about new clients.

Make it simple for people to navigate back and forth between the channel and project by including links to the relevant discussions in your Todoist project and vice versa. Everyone will have the information they need to move their work forward, neatly organized alongside their tasks.

For fast-paced work, keep your progress top of mind by automatically streaming Todoist project updates into any Twist thread you choose. The team will be able to check in on the latest added tasks, completed tasks, task comments, and more without leaving Twist.

An uncomplicated way for development updates to get passed to support.

Task update streams are especially useful when handling social media, knocking off software development updates, and managing support tickets — all projects that require cross-team cooperation.

Improve collaboration with better post-mortems

After a project is complete, teams often go through post-mortems to gauge how things went. A solid first step is to start a Twist thread where everyone can add their input.

Go even further and link directly to the Todoist project where you can review all the completed tasks, discussions and processes, filtered by action and collaborator. Which parts went smoothly? Which ones created problems that slowed things down? It will be easier to see what worked and didn’t when everyone can review the full project history.

Build a culture of learning from wins and losses.

Take the time to talk about your past work so you can better prioritize your tasks in the future.

Work more deeply and communicate more thoughtfully

Now that the tasks are assigned and the teams united, it’s time to actually get things done. Ideally, your team can do deep, uninterrupted work by snoozing all notifications to avoid distractions.

Eliminate distractions and work on one task at a time.

Working in long, focused stretches is essential for creative projects like programming, writing and design.

When it’s time to reconnect, share the fruits of your work, and get feedback, there’s no need to rush. Encourage your team to present longer, more thoughtful posts using threads instead of line-by-line chats.

Share deep, thoughtful ideas.

If possible, turn off any online status or message read indicators — Twist is designed without them. Trust your teammates to respond in a timely manner, but on their own schedule.

If your team works remotely with a flexible schedule, like we do at Doist, using asynchronous communication like this will keep everyone involved no matter when — or in what timezone — they choose to work.

And to make sure your team can keep up to date wherever they are, they can download Todoist and Twist on their computer, mobile device or even their watch.


Fostering a balanced culture for your team is a thousand tiny decisions; choosing the tools you use is one of the most important. We learned this the hard way when we tried Slack and ended up less productive.

However, we’ve found that when you choose tools that align with your team values — like balance, deep work, and productivity — the culture tends to shift naturally in that direction too. Twist and Todoist reflect our values as a company, and we hope these tools inspire a new balance for you and your teammates.

Not using Twist and Todoist yet? Help your team collaborate in a calmer, more organized way by trying them out for free.


Neil Vidyarthi is a product marketer at Doist and enjoys balancing his newborn son on his lap.

Ambition & Balance

Thoughts, ideas, and advice for accomplishing big things without burning out. From the remote team behind todoist.com & twist.com.

Doist

Written by

Doist

A remote company thinking about more fulfilling ways to work & live. todoist.com & twist.com

Ambition & Balance

Thoughts, ideas, and advice for accomplishing big things without burning out. From the remote team behind todoist.com & twist.com.

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