There is a natural law known as the compound effect. If you invest a small amount of money consistently, eventually compound interest takes over and growth becomes exponential. The same holds true for any habit, whether good or bad. If you do something long enough, compounding will take effect, momentum will surge, and you’ll begin to experience exponential results.
There are a lot of task management and to-do list apps in the market. I’ve tried quite a few of them, but I keep coming back to Todoist.
On first glance it doesn’t seem like much. Their website is clean; sparse, even. And that aesthetic carries over into the app itself. It gets out of the way. Your projects and tasks are the focal point.
The Chrome extension is my favourite part of Todoist. Most of my day-to-day work takes place in the browser, and the Todoist extension respects that.
Unlike other task management apps, the Todoist extension doesn’t throw me into the full-screen app. Instead it pops open a little window, just enough for me to access and edit my task lists, aka “projects”.
I use four projects on a regular basis:
- Read This: all of the content I need to catch up on.
- Watch This: videos I need to catch up on.
- Books To Read: recommended reading.
- Blog Posts: where I jot down blog post ideas.
Killer feature: Add website as task.
“Add website as task” is, in my opinion, the killer feature of the Todoist extension.
My typical flow is to open interesting links from newsletters in the morning, then add them as tasks to Todoist, then close the tabs. That way I don’t get sucked into the rabbit hole of reading articles while I’ve timeboxed myself to work on other things.
If I’m on mobile, I can do the same thing via the native iOS “Share” functionality. The URL of whatever page I’m on can be added as a task when I share to Todoist.
There’s even a bit of gamification built into the system. Completing tasks builds your “karma score”, and your karma trend is tracked over time. It’s not much, but it’s still a bit of positive reinforcement for getting stuff done.
What could Todoist do better?
Todoist picks up on keywords for setting things like due dates and task recurrence. This can be an issue sometimes when I’m trying to create a task and the app picks up on a keyword that I didn’t intend.
I wouldn’t want to eliminate them entirely because they are useful, especially when I’m on the go and don’t have time to set schedule preferences. My workaround is to use abbreviations.
Edit: Omar from Todoist pointed out in the comments that this can be fixed by simply tapping or clicking on the highlighted word. TIL! I had no idea.
I’ve also run into some issues with tasks not syncing across my devices, though this is usually temporary, and just requires signing out and in again.
Bottom line: You can’t argue with free (or ~$30/year).
If you’re looking for a no-frills personal task tracker and to-do list app, Todoist gets the job done. The free version does enough for me, though I’ll probably upgrade out of guilt. (This is a fantastic tool, I use it every day, and the developers deserve compensation for that.)
Edit: Also from Omar in the comments: Todoist is $28.99 USD per year right now. It’d be a bit more for me with the USD > CAD conversion, but still less than the $40 I originally mentioned above.
Maybe. It depends. Perhaps.
Weasel words? I suppose. But I prefer to think of them as conditional responses.
The reductive thought leadership sets off a nasty cycle that overshadows the good work from publishers that deserves to get shared. All too often, that thoughtful journalism gets overshadowed by generic thought leadership. Not only are those thought leadership posts bad, but they also tend to lead to meaningless, supportive comments from people who suck up to executives and decision-makers. The suck-ups, in turn, mirror the advice content they see from established professionals with their own blandly inspirational memes and hashtags.
When I was younger, I looked to luxurious things as a milestone. The big house. The fancy car. The designer suits. The pricey meals. These were all things that you would have once you “made it”.
How that will impact the social media landscape remains to be seen. Built atop the massively popular Instagram feed, this content hole will compel users to fill it. Adults who want to play with Snapchat’s creation tools, but in front of an audience they’ve already built, will probably enjoy it.
Stories — these self-destructing, bite-sized chunks of content — are a format, the same way status updates are a format. It was just a matter of time for another app to pick up on that.
So what’s the difference between Snapchat and Instagram now?
Here’s my take on it:
I only follow a couple of folks on Snapchat, and I’ve never felt compelled to snap back. If I want 1:1 conversations I can turn to Facebook Messenger or SMS.
The Snapchat UX felt weird, and I didn’t appreciate the lack of discovery tools for finding new content.
Meanwhile Instagram is a never-ending flood of friends’ updates, easy-to-find visual inspiration, amateur event coverage, strangers’ slice-of-life snapshots, etc.
And that sums it up for me. Instagram is open. Snapchat is closed. And I prefer open.
I enjoy posting to Instagram because I’m contributing to something bigger, e.g. an ever-growing collection of Toronto snapshots.