I’m actually not sure how many people know this about me, but I’m an organizational junkie. I am obsessed with how people organize tasks, how they plan, what tools they use. Have been for years, but I think what really skyrocketed my interest was stumbling upon the “planner community” of YouTube a few years back. I was a young professional looking for ways to improve my productivity. I had used a paper planner since grade school to keep track of my assignments, but watching hours (literally) of videos of people showing off their planners and their planning systems got me very interested in trying new ways of organizing and being productive.
One of the systems I got really into was the Bullet Journal. I know plenty of people who utilize a BuJo, and I rather enjoy seeing their Instagram posts of the layouts they use for it. My BuJo was never colorful or decorated, it was pretty utilitarian and minimalist, but it helped me develop habits to plan out my day and record tasks to complete and ideas to tackle later. But the problem I had was wanting to access my tasks digitally wherever I was, and wanting to plan for future tasks further out than just the week I was looking at.
Enter Todoist. It’s a productivity app that is relatively simple to use, and mimics the layout of an old-fashioned checklist, much like a Bullet Journal. But you can collect all your tasks into the different aspects of your life, and set tasks to be completed at a future date, or to be repeated on a regular interval. I don’t mean to be hyperbolic, but this app changed my life. I could continue to use the habits of capturing all the tasks I needed to complete, like when I used a Bullet Journal, but now I had access to my tasks on my phone, at my work station, and on my home laptop.
Initially I just created a project for my personal tasks and one for work. I’ve since expanded my projects to have one for my blog, one for my reading list (usually articles I find online and don’t necessarily have time to read at that time and want to revisit later), my workout schedule, and my shopping list. I’ll add temporary Todoist projects for intense projects at work, for when I move, or when I have big events to plan for. That way, I can separate all my tasks into the areas they need to be, which helps to clear my brain.
I definitely brain dump – writing down all the things I’m thinking and need to do. Todoist can take those brain dump ideas and allow me to see them all and categorize and plan for them in a much better way. I can put them all in the app’s inbox and when I have a few moments I can sort them into the projects they relate to, and give them due dates for when I can address them. If I don’t get to a task by the due date, I can easily move it to another day without having a messy BuJo with crossed out tasks.
One feature of Todoist I really like it how I can put in reoccurring tasks. At work I have certain tasks that need to be done on certain days of the week, and I can set them to show up every Tuesday, so I don’t need to remember to write in the task for the following week every time. The app reminds me to check monthly reports, to pay rent, to reconcile my banking, etc. Part of the appeal is even when I put in a routine task, it’s off my mind as a thing I need to remember, and it will appear again on my to-do list when I need it to. That leaves room for other ideas and thoughts to come to me when I don’t have to remember so many other things.
You can sign up for a free account and try it out without all the bells and whistles. I used the free account for a few years, but have enjoyed the app so much I now have a subscription!
What productivity tools do you use?