Regarding to-do lists, I used to be a strictly pen-and paper kinda girl. But when you have lots of projects going on, the pen-and paper system can get messy. Pieces of paper can get lost, and it can be easy to forget things if you aren’t constantly checking your list. That’s why I decided to dive into the wide world of to-do list apps.
I downloaded and tested out a few free productivity apps (and by a few, I mean like 10), and the only one I didn’t delete was Todoist: To Do List | Task Manager. There’s a free version, which is what I use, and a paid version for a hefty $28.99. The free version is great though – so far I haven’t encountered any limitations to what I need the app to do.
Basically, it’s a master to-do list with multiple categories (or “projects,” in Todoist’s terminology). Within the projects, you create tasks, and you can add as much or as little detail as you want. Naturally, you can assign a due date, and even set up recurring tasks. The app makes it really easy to do this. If you write “every other Thursday” it automatically sets the calendar date for each instance of the task. But it doesn’t clutter up the interface with recurring tasks – it lists it once but puts the next date when that task is due.
You can assign a priority level from 1 to 3, which puts a yellow, orange, or red flag on the task. You can also easily add sub-tasks to a parent task – perfect for organizing complex projects. You can add collaborators to projects and delegate tasks. I haven’t explored that functionality, but that could be extremely useful for film projects!
With the paid version of the app, you also get the options to assign labels to tasks and set reminders. But so far, I haven’t seen that as a necessity.
As a freelancer, I find this app really useful for keeping track of different projects for clients, and as an artist, it helps me organize and prioritize my ideas for creative projects. It’s also great for managing day-to-day life stuff. Right now I have a Christmas category for my Christmas shopping list. I also have a category for books I’d like to read. There’s a lot of room to adapt this app for different uses.
In the interface, you have a few different ways to look at your tasks. You can view all the tasks within a certain project, or you can view the tasks assigned for today, or you can view all the tasks assigned for the next 7 days. One negative is that when you are looking at tasks within a certain project, it doesn’t automatically put them in chronological order – just the order in which you added the tasks. But in any of the interfaces it’s super-easy to drag and drop tasks around and make edits.
So I saved the best for last: it’s gamified. For every task you cross off (by doing a simple right swipe), you get points – a concept that the app calls “karma.” As you get more points, you level up, from novice up to “enlightened.” You can chart your project for the past week (the paid version allows you to track progress for longer), and you can also set a goal for how many tasks you want to accomplish daily. I was crushing it on Thursday!
So bottom line, I highly recommend this app for taming your to-do list. I have been more productive since starting to use it, and also less stressed that I might be forgetting to do something. When a task comes my way, I put it right in the app, and it frees up brain space from trying to remember it!
In addition to managing projects, I think this could also be really useful for goal-setting and long-range planning. If you are a visual person who likes to see things written down, I think this will be a great tool for you.