I am a list maker. Ever since I learned to write, my organizational system revolved around creating lists—post-it notes, weekly planners, you name it. As the digital era emerged, many of my lists became electronic, but that initially caused me more trouble than help. I was constantly bouncing between online task managers, appointments set on my phone, and post-it note reminders and to-do lists I scribbled down when necessary.
Happily, I found a solution that has centralized my task management needs, and is the perfect solution for any business owner (in my opinion): ToDoIst.
How ToDoIst works
The beauty of ToDoIst is in its simplicity. You simply create a task, choose your due date and save. You can add categories (by project, for example), and the premium version also allows for reminders, file attachments and sub-tasks. Creating a task takes seconds, and you can also create recurring tasks to keep you on track.
Essentially, that’s it. ToDoIst syncs across all the platforms you’re already using, such as your phone, computer, email, etc., so you can access your task list anytime.
How I use ToDoIst
The great thing about ToDoIst is that you can make it work for whatever “system” works best for you. Here’s how I use it.
- I have certain tasks I need to do each week or month, such as schedule social media posts, track my business expenses, send out my newsletter and follow up on open sales opportunities. I set those up as recurring ToDoIst tasks so they always remind me when I need to get those things done.
- Sunday night is my weekly planning time, so I go through my email, rollover tasks from last week, upcoming deadlines, etc. and create ToDoIst tasks for the coming week. I do so in conjunction with my schedule, so I can plan do accomplish more on days when I have fewer meetings and vice versa.
- I pair ToDoIst with Trello, with I use for my long-term planning, as well as to collaborate with others I work with. (Trello is another great productivity tool I recommend!) I manage all my client projects, open opportunities, and general business projects (such as blogging and maintaining my website) using Trello, to keep everything organized from a big-picture perspective. Then each Sunday during my planning session, I look at where I am in each project, and create individual ToDoIst tasks as needed for the week.
- As things come up, I just create ToDoIst tasks. If I get an email that needs attention, but it’s not something I have time to handle right now, I quickly create a ToDoIst task to do it later or tomorrow. If I meet someone at an event and want to remember to follow up with them later, I create a task on the spot. If I get a text or voicemail from a client while I’m at another meeting, I make a quick task to get back to them later, to ensure I don’t forget.
- One of my favorite things about ToDoIst is that it’s incredibly flexible and easy to adjust on the fly. As a business owner, deadlines shift and new projects emerge often, so I often have to move tasks around. Using the ToDoIst app on my phone, it’s so easy to drag a task down to a different day, click on it to adjust the due date, or swipe it to push it back a week or month. When something important comes up (business or personal), I can look at my tasks for the upcoming week at a glance and see what can be pushed back and what is essential, making planning easy no matter where I am.
- I primarily use ToDoIst on my phone, and it’s the first thing I look at every morning when I start my work day. I keep it on my phone’s home screen and it shows me how many tasks I have left for the day. Using all the strategies above, my daily work schedule (outside of scheduled meetings and events) revolves around my ToDoIst list.
I also incorporate personal to-dos into my ToDoIst list. I add tasks such as grocery shopping and laundry – or “buy Mom a birthday gift” – to help me manage my week and remind me of those important things. I even include fitness to-dos, such as which days of the week I want to go to the gym or go for a walk (those days get a “Gym” or “Walk” task to remind me and hold me accountable). It’s fantastic to aggregate all of my important to-dos in one place!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic. If you’re a ToDoIst fanatic like me, how do you use it? If you’re using a different task management or productivity tool, I’d love to hear about that too. Share your thoughts in the comments below.