Unless all this productivity is making us all exponentially happier or more fulfilled, it just feels like we’re working our asses off to work our asses off more. Without some bigger purpose or grander goal, like getting work done faster to spend more time not working, it feels like a hamster wheel of working more to work more to spend more so we need to work more.
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.