I have been writing about productivity for a long time. I’ve written articles like how to focus on writing when your cat is peeing on the kitchen table, and the pomodoro app for Mac. One of the hardest things to do, is to keep focusing on the most important things, and get it done when you need to do it.

I’ve been using many different methods to help me stay productve, and what works is the Pomodoro technique. I’m working in 25 minute batches, and I’m always focusing one one task in each batch. The pomodoro techniqe makes me do things faster, and I get a lot more done during the day. But, what’s been missing is the “perfect” task manager.

Todoist – what it is

What I’ve been looking for is a task manager, a project management system and an advanced to-do list. I know, I’ve been using some really great systems, and the two top until recently, was Omnifocus and Things.

I was satisfied with both, until I discovered one feature that I was really missing. That feature alone was why I had to switch to Todoist.

First, let me tell you about the features of Todoist and what it is.

According to their website, over 2-million people are doing amazing things with Todoist, the world’s most powerful to-do list. It works with close to every device available, and it works on different platforms. It has beautiful design, and I can access my tasks everywhere.

Here’s some of the great features:

  • Sub tasks (break big tasks into smaller steps)
  • Sub projects (break big projects into smaller)
  • Notifications
  • Notes
  • Multiple priorities
  • Visualize productivity

I really like how I can see my productivity. This makes it easy to evaluate how I’ve been doing.

todoist visualize productivity

Todoist – the real reason why I made the switch

I have been satisfied with using Things and Omnifocus, and since I was working as a solopreneur, I didn’t feel the need for anything different. But, things have changed and I am collaborating with more people than ever. So, what I discovered was that I actually needed a system to share my tasks and projects with other people. I wanted to delegate tasks and I wanted to share notes on different projects and tasks. I needed more control, and that’s the real reason why I made the switch to Todoist.

todoist sharing tasks

There are many awesome task managers, and systems to help you manage your to-do lists, but I’ve only found one truly awesome system that helps me share everything with my team members, and that’s Todoist.

Todoist – the powerful combination

Are you using a task manager? I know that I wouldn’t be as effective if I didn’t use one. I’m using the pomodoro technique, and I’m combining it with Evernote for all my notes and Todoist for all my tasks and to-do lists.

The one thing

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Comments

  1. Hi Jens,

    I’m using Evernote for most things, including my personal to-do list as it’s not particularly important. We use Mantis at work, but that is for logging software requests (bugs, changes, enhancements). It’s not the most powerful tool but it works for us.

    • Hi Ben,

      I use Evernote for most things as well, and I share different notebooks with different people. But, I keep my to-do lists separate.

      Is Mantis good? I’ve actually never heard of it.

      • Mantis is ok. It’s quite simple compared to other bug tracking systems, but the simplicity means that it’s fairly easy for users to create tickets. This is the main reason why I introduced it at work, having used it at my previous job. I don’t think you’d use it for general to-do lists and that may be why you haven’t heard of it. You can find out more at mantisbt.org.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Thanks for sharing this.

    Can you share why you chose this over things like Asana or Trello?

    Thanks.

    • Hi Jonathan,

      I haven’t tried Trello, so I don’t know if it’s any better than what I’m currently using. The reason I tried Todoist in the first place, was because I am listening to the podcast Mikes on Mics, and Mike Vardy recommended it. He had made the switched from Omnifocus to Todoist, because of the sharing and collaboration feature. I needed that too, so I decided to test it.

      I have used Asana in the past, and it worked great for me, but not for some of my team members. I don’t know why, but I received feedback from some that they didn’t understand how to use it and it was getting to the point where we couldn’t collaborate as good as I need to, because of the software. That’s the reason why I stopped using Asana. I didn’t have anything to complain about, but since it didn’t work as good for my team members, and I didn’t have the time to keep helping them to learn the software, I stopped using it.

      -Jens

  3. Hey Jens,

    Well you know I’m a one woman show here so my “to do” list is on paper. I prefer it that way actually because is I couldn’t access my computer for some reason I have it all written down for what I need to do. I guess I’ve just been doing it this way for so long that it works for me.

    Now if I have set certain deadlines I write it on my wall calendar that’s staring me in the face. I will put notices about 10 days until such and such, things like that. Programs work great and if you have a team of people who need to be aware of this then I can see a program like this really being very useful.

    Glad you like it and I appreciate you sharing this with us.

    ~Adrienne

  4. vella di says:

    Thanks for sharing this article about To-do list. Ultimately, most people want a task management solution that they can use anytime, anywhere. I’m a To-do list user. I like what they’ve put together and I like where they’re headed. Asana is great for larger teams and I’ll continue to use it for that purpose, but To-do list is now my personal task management.
    Thanks for this….

  5. My one complaint with Todoist is that it does not include the ability to Defer tasks which is a key part of GTD. I want to be able to set the start date of a task, not simply set the due date. Todoist really needs this ability.

    • I agree.

      At the moment I’m testing IQTELL. Have you tried it?

      • I haven’t. I hadn’t even heard of it. Taking a look now. This looks very promising. An App that just maybe implements GTD properly and can handle email (defer, waiting on etc.) and evernote integration.

        This looks much more suitable for my needs. My only concern might me an inability to delegate tasks to non-paying users?

        For years I’ve been waiting for the perfect digital GTD solution – one that handles email, evernote, works across desktop and mobile. We keep getting closer but I always end up finding something about an app that doesn’t work as well as it should.

        What’s your verdict of IQtell so far? Any good?

        • So far, IQtell is awesome. It’s a massive system, and it has taken me some time to learn “everything”, but now, after just a few days, I feel in control.

          I do think you can delegate tasks to non-paying users. There’s a free version of the system too. I haven’t tried to delegate tasks yet, but I have watched some videos explaining it (there are lots of videos). I’m still using the free trial.

        • You can delegate tasks to anyone. If they only use the app for tasks & projects, then the app is free forever. Paid versions kick in after 60 days *only if* you wish to continue sync of email & calendar.

        • As a tip for someone starting with IQTell, start with Email & Tasks, and engage add’l functionality as you need it. ;-)

        • I’ve begun playing with IQTell but I must say it does seem really complicated. I consider myself to be pretty savvy but I’m struggling to get to grips with it, and worse I’m struggling to trust it since I’m worried of losing tasks in the system. Coming from Todoist I can’t help but feel that there is a perfect balance of features vs usability which fits somewhere between both apps. While I love the idea of easily turning my emails into actions, projects and ticklers I can’t help but feel that many users will find the complexity of this approach too intimidating.

          One of the things I want is a productivity tool that can be used with my office team, and not everyone has the patience or inclination to embrace GTD. It strikes me that IQTell should introduce two different modes – basic and advanced. The basic mode would be available for beginners to productivity apps who are simply requiring a basic todolist similar to ‘Reminders’. It would hide many of the more complex features.

          That way if other users aren’t into using GTD as strictly as me, and simply want a todo list with support for delegating tasks and sorting them into projects, they can jump in and start using IQTelll without being overwhelmed. Later if they want to they can enable the more complicated GTD features if they wish. This would make it much easier for a team to instantly jump in and start using IQTell, and each user can decide on how much of the GTD workflow they wish to embrace. The main things though is that which ever you use delegated tasks work with both.

          This way the system scales in complexity to match the requirements of the user, and it reduces the barrier to entry.

        • I agree with you. Two different modes would be great. I have been sharing my projects in Todoist, and that worked great. So far, I haven’t started using this function in IQTell, but I do see your point.

          The reason I feel that I understand the system, and make it work for me, is that I have watched close to all the videos. And, I have been spending a lot of time testing it and trying to understand all the various functions.

          To me, sharing and collaboration is an important part of GTD, and most of the people I work with on the projects are not into GTD, so a basic mode would be great.

          I am now syncing 5 email accounts into IQTell, and it works great, and it integrates fine with Evernote and links from tasks.

        • Olly, you raise some good points. IQTell has a bit more of learning curve b/c it offers much more than task management. Quite truthfully, if one is looking just for a task app, there are many good ones available, TodDoist being one of them.

          IQTell offers a single portal to manage email, Evernote, calendar, tasks & projects. Daily productivity often requires to funnel, process & manage information from so many sources / apps; that’s what IQTell is for.

          We bring everything in one place and integrate it so you can work smoothly without hopping b/n apps or worrying about where info if.

          Here’s a common example, in IQTell you can perform one search to look for info in any synced email account, evernote, tasks, projects, etc.

          What about tags? One tag list for email, evernote, tasks, projects and more?

          Regardless of your productivity method – we all have to manage email, calendar, notes, tasks and projects.

          Re: “too GTD” IQtell works well for GTD, but use what you want. For example, you can hide any list by right-click. You can use IQtell simply for Email, Calendar, Evernote, Tasks & Projects.

          Fields can be added and removed with a check box. E.g., don’t care about Context, just uncheck it and you will never see it again.

          Sorry for the long response, but you raised some good points and I wanted to provide some feedback as to our design and goal which is quite different than just a task app. (Nothing wrong with just task apps ;-); we are just solving a different pain).

        • Thanks for your response. I think the main issue for me is that while I am a big fan of GTD, who is prepared to go through the learning curve, other users may not be. When I invite a colleague to participate in a project I want them to be able to immediately get started with the tasks and not have to learn the app before they can do anything.

          it might be good to offer a ‘Basic Mode’ preset that hides/disables many of the advanced features for new users by default. This way they can immediately get started. Later when they are more comfortable with the system, they can then add back the more advanced features as they want them. At least this way round a new user won’t be overwhelmed, if they are suddenly invited to participated in a project.

        • I hear you. With our upcoming release, when you share with a colleague, they’ll simply have the action in the action list. But I see your point with the other lists. Good feedback, we’ll digest.

        • I read this article a few days ago and promptly lost it, and have just spent close to an hour scouring my browser history to find it again! I wanted to share it because he makes some interesting points about the simple vs complex GTD solutions: http://shawnblanc.net/2014/05/a-review-of-omnifocus-2-for-mac-2/

          A perfect solution in my view would be for IQTell to have two modes, one basic and one advanced, so users can pick and choose what works for them, but also everyone can work together on a project regardless of how involved they get in the management process. Furthermore they can switch backwards and forwards between them at anytime depending on what system they prefer.

        • Thanks for trying IQTell, feel free to email us with any feedback or comments, always looking to improve the app based on user input.

        • That’s awesome. I have a question about email. I’m trying to do some “advanced” searches to find some old email. Is this possible? At the moment, I just do searches within each mailbox. I’d like to search in all the different accounts and in all the different mailboxes at the same time.

        • Using the global search (top right) on web app, you can search all your Email account, Evernote, Tasks, Projects, etc.

        • Thanks!

          I have tried to search, but I didn’t find the emails I was searching for. Does that have to do with syncing? I have a lot of emails in different subfolders. Is there a way to filter the searches or do advances searches, for instance search for the person who sent the email?

    • You may want to take a look at GTDNext it is a little more focused on GTD specific features, so has start date and many other GTD features you might be looking for.