Posts Tagged “todoist”

10 Tips for Todoist

Todoist has been my choice of task management app for almost a year now. In that time I’ve learned a thing or two about it. Here are ten tips to help you get the most from it.

It worth noting that most of these tips can only be used with a premium subscription to Todoist. At just $29 (US) per year for a subscription to Todoist Premium, that’s less than the cost of a cup of coffee a month. Bargain if you ask me.

1. Archive Projects For Better Focus

While you might like to be organized by amassing a collection of tasks in a number of different projects, you probably won’t be able to work on all these projects at the same time. Not a problem. Simply create your project with its tasks and then archive it to work on it later. Archiving the project keeps it out of active tasks but also keeps it out of your focus.

The archive command can be found in the menu that appears when you hover over a project with your mouse and click the ellipsis on the right hand side of the highlighted section. At the bottom of the menu that appears you’ll find the archive command.

2. Create Linkable Tasks

Sometimes we would like to reference something online in a task. It might be support material for the task or a product relating to the task. How nice would it be to include that URL in your task? Well you can! Todoist uses the following syntax to include URLs in a task:

http://matthewlang.co.uk (Must hire this guy!)

This will create a nice clickable link in your task and will also hide that nasty long URL.

Bonus tip: As well has hyperlinks you can also include bold or italic text in your task!

3. Capture Tasks With Email

Todoist is available on lots of different devices and platforms. If you have a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone then there’s a Todoist client made for it. What if you’re using a public computer to check your email and you’d rather not sign in to Todoist on it?

Tasks can easily be added to your projects and inbox by emailing the task to Todoist. For each inbox and project, there is a seperate email address that allows you to email tasks in. Simply send an email to the correct address that can be found in the tools section of the inbox or project, and use the subject as the name of your task. Hit send an it will be added to your list of tasks on Todoist.

To find out the email address for your inbox and projects, click on the tasks actions icon at the top right hand side of the list. On this menu you’ll find the Email tasks to this project command where it will show you the email address you should send your tasks too.

4. Location Based Reminders

Reminders are great for when we do things at a set time or date, but what if you’re running late? Instead of setting a reminder for a time or date, why not set a reminder for the general area that a task or project relates to?

Got a meeting with a client downtown at your favourite coffee place?. Set a reminder when you arrive at this location to get the coffees in before your client arrives. A nice way to start the meeting on a positive note!

Location based reminders can be found when you edit a task and hit the reminders icon. Simply flip the reminder from a date and time to a location and you’ll be able to the reminder for a location.

5. Backups for Accidents

Deleted a project by accident that contained a list of tasks you entered the day before? Don’t worry. Todoist’s premium plan backups up your entire to do list every day. Just download the latest backup of your list from Todoist and re-import that project to save yourself the time of creating it all over again.

Backups can be found in the settings section of Todoist under the Backups tab. A list of recent backups is always kept here.

6. Group similar labels by colour

Labels in Todoist are a great way to group tasks, but Todoist only offer so many colours to choose from. What if you run out of colours? Easy, group similar labels by a single colour so that not only do they give you more choice of colours, each label has a contextual colour that is easy to recognise.

7. Recurring Tasks Save Time

At the end of every month I invoice a single client for the work I did for the month. I’ve been doing this for over a year. Recently though I got fed up re-creating the same task in Todoist. Using Todoist’s ability to create recurring tasks, you can have the same task repeat at times that you need. No more re-creating the same task over and over again!

8. Start Projects Quickly with Templates

Starting a new project can involve setting the same tasks up as previous projects. Why bother creating the same tasks though? Templates are plain text files that contain tasks that you can import into a project as a template.

Templates can be created from existing projects or by creating them yourself in a plain text file.

9. Learn the Keyboard Shortcuts

Using the keyboard is a great time saver when you know the right keys to press. It’s the reason why us developers are the most productive people on the planet. Right, that’s not 100% true, but pressing keys can still be quicker than figeting with a mouse.

10. Reviews Projects and Labels with the Visualiser

When you view your Karma score there’s a link to viewing all the completed tasks you have done. When you click this you can analyse how many tasks you have completed over a period of time for a project or label. This is great to use for reviewing your progress on a project.

There we have it. Ten tips for Todoist. Now go forth and be productive!

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How I Use Filters in Todoist

Last week we looked at labels in Todoist and how they provide context to your tasks. This week we’re going to look at how I use Todoist’s filter feature.

Before we talk about filters, let’s just recap how we can already group tasks in Todoist. The first is by assigning tasks to a project. This is ideal for tasks we know that belong in a specific place. The second is by using labels which are more of a form of tagging in Todoist. You can label tasks across different projects thereby bringing similar tasks together.

Filters in Todoist are similar to labels but they can bring together more tasks depending on your filter. A filter in Todoist is a search term that matches tasks and can then be saved for future use. The benefit here is that filters allow you to bring similar tasks together rather than focusing on tasks from a single project or label. Combining dates, labels and some boolean logic allows us to filter for specific tasks and labels to give us a list of tasks that are suitable to our location and environment.

Here’s a few ideas for filters that I am using at the moment:

Low Hanging Fruit

Filter: "(@Low & @5mins) !@Errands"

I use this all tasks labelled with these and complete when I’m stuck for something to do.

Errands & Emails

Filter: "@Errands | (@Email & @Low)"

I sometimes opt for public transport when I need to head into town to run some errands. It’s good, as it gives me a chance to walk to the bus stop and get some air, but also there’s 10 minutes on the bus where I can carry out some email tasks before getting into town to do some errands. This filter is great for those tasks when you’re out and about.

Upcoming Posts

Filter: "14days & @writing"

I’ve started scheduling blog posts into specific days so that I’m keeping my writing varied. Rather than using a calendar though I find it easier to put due dates against the tasks in my writing list and then tag them with @writing. Combining this with the 14 days term and I can get a list of blog posts I’ve got scheduled for the next two weeks. If there’s any gaps I can pull an idea in and schedule it with a date.

Filters are one feature that set Todoist apart from other to do list applications. Using filters you can build custom lists that are more than just a single project or label. You can build lists that can be done in certain locations or at specific parts of the day, thereby making yourself a little bit more productive. It’s worth noting that filters using a boolean operator is only included in Todoist’s premium subscription.

That’s it then for Todoist. This is the final post in this series. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it. If you’ve any questions about Todoist then I suggest you check out their help and support sites which are full of help and advice.

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How I Use Labels In Todoist

I’ve already mentioned how I use projects in Todoist. Well this time it’s the turn of the humble label.

The label. This is Todoist’s context tag that can be applied to any task if you need to organise them by more than just their priority. Let’s get something clear before we start. Colour coded labels are a premium feature in Todoist. If you’re using the free plan on Todoist, you can still use the labels suggested below but not the label colours.

Having decided that tagging tasks with labels would give me more flexibility I started tagging everything in my list with labels. It quickly turned into a nightmare with inconsistent labels, labels with typos and even obscure labels that didn’t end up making sense to have. I needed a strategy, so I took the advice of Mike Vardy and started using labels in a more structured manner.

Looking at the range of colours available I started to setup label groups by colour. First off I created six labels for my six personal compass points giving each compass point its own colour. This is the basic categorisation of labels regardless of where they are in Todoist. Almost all tasks get labelled with a compass point.

Next I took the groups that Mike Vardy suggested. Using the colours for these labels I grouped them under time, event, person, location and energy. What I eventually ended up with was a wide range of labels for different contexts as well as having a couple of free colours left over that allowed me to have labels that could be used for general purposes.

Labels are also useful with Todoist’s email feature. As well as emailing tasks to your inbox, you can append labels in the subject or the body of the email and they will be added to your task when Todoist receives it.

So what’s the point of labelling everything then?

Well, aside from the fact that it provides some meta-information on the task, it also allows you to search for related tasks. Do you want some low hanging fruit to pick in the morning? Search for the @5mins and @low labels. Kids birthday coming up and you remember taking a note of their preference for a Minecraft book. Search for @birthdays and your kids owns tag using their initials.

You can search for individual tags, combination of tags, tags in a project, tags due on a specific day. There are lots of possibilites to using this and Todoist keeps a nice count of how many times each label has been used so that you can weed out the ones that are unused or break down a label if it’s being overused.

All this now means that I can quickly filter and sort my master list according to labels that provide context. This leads on to next week’s post about filters. Be sure to check back for this and see how you can utilise labels to group tasks together using filters.

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How I Use Projects in Todoist

Inspired by Mike Vardy’s series on using Todoist, I thought I would share how I use Todoist and the benefits I get from using it. In this post we’re going to look at the projects feature of Todoist.

Todoist’s projects are a fairly standard feature. It’s a place where you can bring together related tasks. However that’s where the similarity to projects ends. Where you might be expecting a start date and an end date for the project, there aren’t fields for this in Todoist. A project is just the name and the colour that you’ve chosen to assign to it.

Keeping this simple means that projects can be used in different ways. I try not to think of them as projects and instead think of them as lists. Lists can expire, be completed or be allowed to run on forever. The idea of a list triggers a more flexible collection of tasks than a project, which is why I always think of projects in Todoist as lists. I have a number of projects that behave more like lists then projects:

  • Reading - All books that I plan on reading in the future. Fiction, programming and career and some others as well.
  • Writing - A list of writing ideas for my website. It starts with scheduled ideas planned for the near future and graudally moves down to ideas that I might one day use. Home - I have a list for everything related to family life. Golf coaching, birthday parties, shool activies, days out. They all go here.
  • Sharpen The Saw - Recently I started capturing things I didn’t know about the tools I was using. Everyday I pick one of these off and find out more about it. It’s a quick way of learning more about the tools I’m using.

Todoist has a feature where you can indent projects under one another. I try to avoid doing this. In the past I did indent a number of projects but quickly I ended up with three level deep projects and it made getting a top down view of my list more difficult to read. I try to use the indentation of projects as a last resort and even then it’s only a temporary measure until I can find a better place for a group of tasks.

I use Nicholas Bate’s idea of a personal compass as a basic grouping for tasks. Six compass points that represent six aspects of my life. It’s a fairly easy way to ensure that you can group things sensibly and that you’re not allowing one part of your life to have an adverse affect on the others. Using this I give each compass point a colour. When a project is created it is assigned the colour of the compass it closely relates too. This makes tracking my progress on different compass points easy to do since I can only ever see six colours of my compass points in the productivity trend window of Todoist.

That’s it for how I use projects in Todoist. Nothing should surprise anyone here as most people must use similar ideas. Projects in Todoists are simple but flexible and can be used to group your tasks accordingly. Next week I’ll discuss labels in Todoists and their use.

Update - You might want to read my thoughts on deciding if a project is in fact a context.

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