One critical aspect of staying productive for me is managing my tasks. Like you I would suspect, I have a number of different projects on my plate at one time. It can be very difficult to keep moving them all forward without a system to keep track of where you are and where you want to go. For me, a good task management app is critical to help me to keep all the plates spinning – and especially to keep them from crashing to the floor.
The Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology developed by David Allen has really helped me to keep myself organized over the years. One of the key aspects of this approach is to develop a trusted system to organize and track all there is to do. One of the first and best apps available to implement the GTD system was Omnifocus. I’ve used Omnifocus for years to create projects, tasks, start dates, end dates and to develop systems for weekly and monthly reviews. I never quite felt, though, that I had my arms totally around the capabilities of Omnifocus. I was always aware of the fact that I was only scratching the surface of it’s capabilities. I eventually ran into two limitations that led me to explore other alternatives, however. First, it is only available on Mac and IOS. Second, there is no Web interface to access your data. As I have grown more fond of my Surface and increasingly work at a number of different computers, these limitations have really hamstrung me. So, as much as I’ve enjoyed using Omnifocus, I needed a new tool.
There are a number of different tools, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, available for productivity nerds. I really like the collaborative capabilities of Asana, but for whatever reason the metaphor and user interface didn’t click with me. I like the look of Remember the Milk, but it’s just too limited for what I need in a system. I really thought I’d found a winner with Wunderlist, and even paid for the premium service, but the workflow of adding and working with tasks just didn’t work for me. Finally I found Todoist, and I couldn’t be happier.
Todoist is a cross-platform app that includes a Web interface and several different native applications. The data syncs seamlessly across all my devices for a totally seamless experience. New users can sign up for a free account that is probably all that 90% of users will need. I chose to upgrade to the Premium service for $29 a year to add some key functionality for me. Honestly, even if I didn’t need this functionality, I probably would’ve upgraded anyway, just to support the development of this great service.
I’ve set up Todoist with a number of different projects along with their attendant tasks. I’m able to focus on just those tasks I’ve assigned to be due today, or I can look at 7 days at a time. I love that on the app icon on my iPhone it includes a badge with the number of items due today. It’s great to see at a glance how much more I have on my plate on a given day. It includes a number of other features that I don’t use yet, but may explore as I become more comfortable with my system. For example, you can add labels to tasks. One thing I’ve been considering using this for is when I’ve delegated a task to someone else. If I add their name as a tag on a particular task, then I can just view a particular tag to see what that particular person owes me. You can also add different priorities to tasks as well.
I’m sure I’ll continue to refine my workflow and the way I use Todoist to manage my projects and tasks, but it’s working great for me right now. I highly recommend this rock-solid service. What tools do you use to help you manage all that you have on your to do list?