Earlier this year, after three years, ten months, two weeks, and three days after having created my Todoist account, I reached the Enlightened status, which is the highest level you can reach in Todoist’s gamification system. According to Todoist, only 0.05% of their users reach this status.

I have been described as productive or structured by my peers. While I don’t think I’m as “productive” or “structured” as some might think, I still believe todoist helps a lot with organizing everyday tasks.

In this post, I’m going to describe how I use Todoist to organize my work and life.

Writing Things Down Frees My Mind

A few years ago, I read this book called Getting Things Done. I don’t remember much, but one thing stuck with me: Imagine you need to mail an important letter tomorrow. This might prevent you from falling asleep easily, because you keep thinking about what would happen if you forgot to mail it.

In these situations, I always add a task to Todoist and set a reminder for when I need to do it. This helps me free my mind and focus on something more important – or nothing at all, when I’d like to fall asleep.

Stick With One Tool

Are you reading Product Hunt? Hacker News? There’s a new tool for keeping tasks almost every day.

While trying them might be very tempting, I am convinced this is actually counter-productive. In fact, this is probably a form of procrastination: Instead of using one imperfect tool, you keep switching between tools only to discover that they’re not perfect either.

Todoist is pretty simple. At least on the surface, it’s really just a piece of software that lets you create a task and set a due date. I don’t think more is needed to organize my life: A list of tasks, due dates, and potentially some form of categorization.

Groom Your Inbox

Todoist comes with several views. The one I use most often is “Today”. In there are the tasks I want to finish today. Another one is the “Inbox”. Those are the tasks without a date.

In terms of tasks that land in the Inbox, because they miss a due date, I have decided for myself that that’s a red flag. There is no task that has no due date. There might be a task that is not important, but even that task probably needs to be done by a certain date.

Therefore, about once per month, I scroll through my Inbox and make sure every task has a due date. Sometimes, I would see a task where I actually forgot to set a date, and I’d fix that. However, what happens more often is that there are things in my Inbox, which are not really tasks, but rather just some notes I jotted down when I was on the go. I move those to the respective project, but more on that in the next section.

Gather Notes In Projects

I don’t just use Todoist for things I need to do. I also use it to collect articles I’d like to read, recipes I’d like to try, things I’d like to do, etc.

For these types of notes, I create a project. For example, I have a project with restaurants I have been to. For each restaurant, I add a short comment with my impression and where it is located.

Procrastination on HackerNews

HackerNews is my favorite place to slack away. If I’m working on a task I don’t like, suddenly every article on HackerNews seems very interesting to read.

Instead of actually reading them, I just add them to a project in Todoist called “Articles to Read”. Whenever I do have some time to read (e.g. traveling on a train), I will look at this list of articles and start reading. In this situation, I often find the headlines much less appealing, and I just remove the task without reading the article.

Add People Tags

There are always things I need to discuss with other people.

For example, while working on accounting for my company, I might have a question for my accountant. Since it is usually not possible to bring these questions up right away, I usually create a task in Todoist and use a tag with the person’s name I want to discuss it with. This allows me to pull up a list of questions for my accountant when I am on the phone with her.

Or, while working on a project at work, I may come up with an idea to improve the way we work. I’m sure we all had. But then when I have this meeting with my boss and the “uhm, so what else?” - question comes up, I now actually have a list of points to discuss. Instead of “uhm, yeah, I had something, but now I can’t remember”

Set Up Recurring Tasks

Remember the grooming I mentioned above? How do I not forget to do that? There’s a task that repeats every month.

Another example of a recurring task I have is on Monday morning to look at my week’s schedule.

I actually have a lot of recurring tasks. Sometimes, I would even create them as a temporary reminder of things I need to do for a short period of time. For example, I would really like to stretch every day. In order to get into the habit of doing that, I have created a task that repeats every day at 1 p.m.

Use Magic Text To Schedule

As I’m working on a Mac these days, I create most of my tasks with the keyboard shortcut CMD (⌘) + CTRL + A. When adding a task, I also immediately set a due date by just typing it in and Todoist automagically recognizes it.

If you type a # into the field, a dropdown shows up with all projects. I use this to quickly categorize a task.

So imagine someone sends me an interesting link via Slack and I don’t want to read it right away:

  • Open the “Quick Add” on my Mac with the shortcut described above
  • Paste the link (Todoist automatically pulls in the title of the page)
  • Type a # and find the respective project by typing the first few letters of “Articles”
  • Enter 🤓

Make Packing Lists Using Templates

I used to return to my home country on a regular basis when I was living abroad. Here’s my problem: I’m always terrified that I’m going to forget something (and it often happened). So what I did with Todoist was create a project with all the things I needed to pack (one task per item).

Now, whenever I am about to travel, I copy the project and start ticking off tasks as I pack my backpack. This makes the original project kind of a template, and the copy is the one I actually work on.

If I do forget something, I just need to make sure to add it to the template project, and next time I won’t forget.

Make Mundane Tasks More Fun

Sometimes I need to work on a mundane task, and I have difficulty focusing. When I become aware of that, I sometimes create a few tasks or subtasks in Todoist. By splitting off one big, not-so-interesting task into several still-not-very-interesting subtasks, I at least get the feeling of accomplishing something whenever I can tick off one of the smaller tasks.

This way, I gamify my work, and it helps me get even the boring stuff done.


By now, you probably guessed that Todoist is pretty central to my life. And there would be more to talk about, but I don’t want to make this article too long.

I hope this list inspires you to use some sort of todo app as well and helps you stay on top of your tasks.

If you have any suggestions or tricks for Todoist or productivity in general, please get in touch with me via email.