How I Use Todoist

Welp, didn’t exactly get the ball rolling as I had originally expected in terms of this whole blog thing. While I have a large list (in todoist of course) I haven’t written a single post in quite a while. THAT CHANGES TODAY!!! In this post, I am going to quickly summarize my use for the productivity app Todoist. I am a firm believer in the fact that productivity and the tools and techniques surrounding it are not “One Size Fits All”. Personally I have ping ponged between nearly every productivity app under the sun and have finally landed on the set of apps that I use today to stay productive. These are Evernote, Todoist, Google Drive Suite and Trello. I plan to cover these other apps in the future, but today; Todoist.


The first in the structure of features of Todoist. Projects are super simple, You create them, name them, give them a color code, and add tasks to them. Oh yeah, and you can nest projects. Nesting projects in productivity apps is essential (Cough cough Evernote). Nesting is great for taking a larger concept like Shopping and breaking them down into specific items like Target, Amazon, Grocery, etc. The following is a sample project structure based on what I use.

  • Shopping
    • Grocery
    • Amazon
    • Target
    • Vinyl
    • Games
    • etc.
  • Work
    • Each work project
  • Media
    • TV to Watch
    • Movies To Watch
    • Bands to Check Out
    • etc
  • Blog Ideas
  • Dev
    • All dev projects here
  • Reading List

I have more than this but you get the idea. Any general purpose items I place in the inbox. Things like 1 off errands and reminders.


I create labels in Todoist mainly for a few reasons. 1) I can cross reference tasks when searching. 2) I use them as metadata for tasks. I also sub categorize the labels by color.

For example, the purple color represents the amount of time that a task will take to complete. That way I can quickly search for issues that are 5m and I can handle from my phone. Other tags include locations that I can complete issues, etc.


Filters I have to admit that I don’t use much (though they are pretty powerful) The one filter I have set up is to retrieve all items in my inbox that have no date set. Since I mainly use my inbox for tasks that don’t necessitate a category, I typically like to set a date on all tasks in my inbox. I use this filter to quickly see all of my un-dated tasks so that I can quickly add a date to them.


Under each project, you add tasks. Todoist is really cool because you can type your task in their syntax that allows you to set things like project, due date, tags, etc. without any extra clicking around. For dates, you simply type in when it should be due and todoist handles the rest. Dates can also be recurring.

next tues Get Groceries
wed at 3p Schedule Meeting
every wed Call Mom

Projects can be set with the # character

#Groceries Milk

Tags can be set with the @ character

@5m Clean Out Car

The real power of this syntax is the ability to chain all of these things together.

#ReadingList @30m tomorrow at 4p


Todoist also has this idea of Karma. It tracks when you add, complete, reschedule tasks etc to give you points daily. The more points you receive the higher level you will become. You can even earn things like Todoist pro subscription by earning higher levels. All in all it’s a gimmicky feature but I have definitely found that it keeps me completing more tasks. My only complaint with Karma is that there are too many points required between Master and Grand Master. Gotta get that work in to make the next level!

Productivity That Fits

As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, Productivity apps are not one size fits all. You need to find something that works for you. Yes this means that you will likely need to install 4 or more different apps and give them a run for a few weeks to see which one works best for your style. I have landed on todoist and I can’t see myself switching to anything else any time soon. One thing to mention is that I currently pay for a Todoist Premium plan which I think costs like $30 per year. EDIT: Added link to Todoist Pricing Plans.