What does it do?
If you're a student facing exams or dissertation deadlines it's about this time of year when you start making lists of all the things you have to do - scheduling exam revision or putting the finishing touches to your dissertation, maybe. Todoist is great at managing your lists, ensuring you don't forget things or miss key deadlines. To do lists are good for giving the illusion of having done some work, though it's not enough to make lists of course - you have to actually complete the tasks on your list sometime. Todoist makes that a little bit easier.
If you're a skilled user of Outlook you may find that its Tasks feature replicate what you can do on Todoist, but Todoist is much easier to manage and organise, and crucially, it syncs across all your devices so you're always connected to those lists and tasks.
How does it work?
We here at Digital Friday Headquarters like things simple, and Todoist isn't a flashy, over-designed tool by any means. Its layout and features are almost minimalist, but its strengths lie in the ease with which you can create and manage your 'to do' lists.
The menu on the left has three main sections - Inbox (for activities or items you've yet to assign to a particular time), Today (for list items due to be done today) and Next 7 days (do we need to explain?). If you're a premium user you can set a reminder to come to you via on-screen notification, email or SMS text message. You can set priorities to each task if you wish by adding a priority 'flag'. The premium version also allows you to upload files or make notes or comments on tasks.
If your to do list contains a lot of things linked to a single task or outcome you can set up projects, stringing tasks together to develop a coherent set of activities to achieve an outcome. The free version allows you to create up to 80 projects, with the premium version allowing more.
You can set goals for tasks and check your progress through them by looking at your Productivity. Todoist also allows you to measure your productivity karma - add new tasks and complete them on time, use new features or reach weekly targets in order to raise your karma. Fail to reach targets and your karma drops. As an encouragement to be disciplined and prompt it seems quite gimmicky, but it might work for those of you who prefer the carrot to the stick.
Todoist syncs with other products and tools - you can connect it to online calendaring apps such as Google Calendar, and it also syncs well with more powerful project management/collaboration tools such as Slack.
When would you use it?
This is a another perfect tool for Students in the lead-up to exams or dissertations. Make sure you hit revision targets, or manage the progress of your dissertation as by creating a Todoist 'Project'. Staff might find it useful to do simple personal project management - Todoist is not primarily aimed at collaboration or group tasks, but it can be used for that purpose in a relatively simple way by adding people into your project using their email address.
Here's a short video overview of the premium version ofTodoist;
Here's a longer and more objective tutorial and review of the tool (and worth watching for presenter Steve Dotto's 'how the heck are you today' greeting alone);
Where can I access it?
Todoist is available as a web product or as an app on your smartphone, tablet or other device. As usual, it's downloadable from the Apple Store or the Google Play Store.
The free version is enough for simple task creation, and also more complex projects involving several tasks linked together. The Premium version is available for £27.99 for a year, and gives you a range of additional features to customize the app - most useful of which is the facility to push reminders out to your phone or other device.
As one review of this product puts it, Todoist won’t actually do any of your tasks for you. But it will make it easier to get started on them.
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