My Favourite To-Do List App

How Todoist helps me stay on top of everything I have to get done

As freelancers, we often have a to-do list a mile long. Job for client A with one deadline? Check. Job for client B with a different deadline? Check. Invoicing and keeping on top of client payments? Posting on social media? Attending that webinar on Tuesday? Check, check, check.

And don’t forget that, since many of us work from home, we’re constantly being reminded by our surroundings of all the things we have to get done that aren’t business-related. Need to iron that shirt before your client meeting next week? Cat food supplies getting low? Got to buy a gift for your mother-in-law’s birthday next month? The mental load can be overwhelming.

So what if I told you you don’t have to keep all that in your mind all the time? What if there were an easy way to keep on top of everything without the mental burden? Read on.

[Disclaimer: This post contains referral links, meaning I will earn a small reward from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you]


My Top 3 Features


1. My to-do list syncs across all my devices

With versions of Todoist for all your devices, you can take your to-do list with you everywhere. No more scraps of paper floating around or a heavy notebook weighing down your bag. Whether you use a PC or a Mac, an iPhone or an Android phone, you can rest assured Todoist has catered for you. Plus, the plug-ins for Gmail and Outlook and extensions for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox mean you can add tasks to your to-do list right from your email or web browser.

2. It’s easy to set due dates

To-do list due dates

Todoist understands natural language, meaning you can type a due date as you would say it. But there’s also a more traditional calendar view, if you prefer to pick a date that way.

Type ‘at 2pm on Thursday’ and the task will be added to your to-do list with that deadline. You can even set recurring due dates, just by typing something like ‘every Monday’ or ‘every two weeks’.

3. I can colour-code tasks by priority level

To-do list priority level

With four different colour levels to choose from, you can decide how important a task is and work through your to-do list in order of priority.

I use level 1 for non-negotiables, like client deadlines and payment dates. Level 2 is for things that should be done on or by the specified date, but could be postponed if absolutely necessary. I use Level 3 for tasks that it would be nice to do by particular day, but that are flexible (laundry, anyone?). And Level 4 is for tasks that either are really not very important or don’t have a due date (like items on my shopping list).


Other Free Features


View tasks for Today or the Next 7 Days

‘Next 7 Days’ is my default view. It lets me see everything I have coming up, and the tasks within each day are ordered by priority.

Divide projects into tasks and sub-tasks

You can set up different projects for the various types of thing you have to think about (client jobs, marketing, admin, housework, shopping, etc.). Then you add tasks and sub-tasks within them, keeping everything neat and organized.

Share your to-do list with collaborators

If you’re working closely with another freelancer on a job, you can share the project with them and assign the tasks between you. That way you’ll always know who’s doing what and when.

Use keyboard shortcuts

Todoist has lots of little shortcuts that help speed you up. Want to quickly add a new task to your to-do list? Just press Q on your keyboard.

Visualize your productivity over time

Want to make sure you stay productive? Set daily and weekly goals for the number of tasks you’ll complete, and watch your streak continue as you achieve them.

Integrate Todoist with other apps

If, like me, you’re a fan of automation, you’ll love Todoist’s integrations. Link it up to Google Calendar, Toggl, DropBox, Slack, and more to have everything at your fingertips. And if you use a tool Todoist doesn’t yet integrate with, chances are you can set it up through Zapier or IFTTT.


The Paid Plan


With all those features available for free, you may be wondering why you’d ever need to upgrade to Todoist Premium. Many people use the free plan happily forever, but the Premium plan does have some useful features too.

Get reminders for your tasks

Want a reminder when you have a task due? Choose whether you want to receive it by phone or email. And need to remember to buy more printer paper? Set a reminder with a location and Todoist will prompt you when you’re near your favourite office supplies store. Clever, right?

Create project templates

If you frequently have projects that involve the same tasks, save yourself time by creating your own template.

Customize labels

Create your own labels that you can assign to tasks. I use these to show me how long a task might take, with labels such as ‘less than 5 minutes’, ‘less than 30 minutes’, and ‘more than 30 minutes’. If I’ve got a few minutes before a client call, I can get easily something quick crossed off my to-do-list.

Choose from a range of themes

Personalize Todoist by choosing your own colour scheme. This can be different on each device or synced across all of them.

Attach files and add comments to tasks

Working with others on a project and need to discuss a task before it can be completed? Add comments to tasks, tag people, and upload attachments for discussion.

Create customized views for your to-do list

View your to-do list by project, due date, priority level, label, assignee – or even a combination! You name it and it’s probably possible to create that filter.

The Premium plan costs just £3/$3 per month, and you can switch back to the free plan at any time.


How to Get Started


Want to give it a go? Click the button below to get 2 months of Todoist Premium for free and try out all the features. If you decide you don’t need the Premium features after those two months, switch to the free plan and you won’t be charged a penny.

Got a question about Todoist? I’d be happy to help if I can. Send me an email or post in the comments.

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