Using Todoist for Task Management

There are a lot of options available for online task management. Here at ProfHacker, we have reviewed several, including Remember the Milk, Things, and GQueues. All have their pros and cons, and are worth taking a look at.

Todoist is another option. If it doesn’t sound completely new, it is because it is not. Todoist was originally started in January 2007, but in the summer of 2012 it underwent a relaunch after being rebuilt in HTML5. The result is a very well-built task system that doesn’t suffer from the lag of some others. I have been trying out the website and several associated mobile apps for about three months now.

Todoist has all your usual online task management options, such as the ability to apply some kind of categorization label (tags, in this case) to tasks. But there are some additional features that I think make the system worth the time of ProfHacker readers to check into trying it out. Some of them I found notable were as follows:

  • Projects: Todoist’s main category for grouping tasks is by project, an idea that lends itself very well to using Getting Things Done for task oversight. (Click the link for a great re-review of GTD by our Lincoln Mullen.)
  • Subtasks and subprojects: It is easy to assign these by simple keyboard strokes or on-screen directives.
  • Plug-in availability: Todoist plugs in to Chrome, Firefox, Gmail, Outlook, and Thunderbird.
  • Offline access: Todoist has a very strong desktop tool that will keep working even when your internet access drops out.
  • Daily agenda (premium option): You can configure Todoist to send you a daily email of what is on your agenda.
  • iCalendar access (premium option): Todoist can be added as a calendar to anything that accepts iCal, such as Google Calendar, so your tasks show up on your calendar view. Frankly, for me, this was the feature that tipped me over to using Todoist exclusively, since the other options available to me (a PC user) did not offer this capability. I find it much more effective to see my tasks on a calendar page than separately.
  • Add emails as tasks (premium option): In the name of Inbox Zero, it can be very easy to file away an email that is awaiting a reply, never to see it again. By connecting it with Todoist as a task, that becomes less likely.

You will notice that I mentioned a few of the key features require premium access. It is fairly affordable at $29 per year. While some may balk at paying for an online system for task management, I have found that the level of customer service and attention to detail by those who have responded to my questions very well justifies the cost. It is clear that Todoist has a team of dedicated people who have a strong sense of customer service.

The biggest missing piece of Todoist? No native iPad app. I have used both the Android and the iOS apps, and they work beautifully, but on the iPad you are limited to using the app intended for the iPhone. Development takes time, but I honestly have been a little surprised that the iPad app isn’t yet available. But word from the forums suggests that one may be released in the first quarter of this year, and I’m eagerly awaiting it. Until then, iPad users can use the iPhone app or the site through a browser window.

Todoist is a very strong offering in the online task management wars, and I think it will work well for our readers in academia.

How about you? Have you tried out any new task management systems lately? What features do you think are important to support academic work? Let us know in the comments.

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