Todoist Review – Does it get things done?

July 4, 2014

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For people who are addicted to writing down tasks and to-do lists, the advent of task manager apps on smartphones and tablets seems heaven-sent. But with tons of apps to choose from, and more arriving everyday, it gets more difficult to pick one and stick with it (until the next shiny thing comes along). Should you go for bells and whistles or minimalism? Do you pick one that’s multi-platform or just stick to one task manager per gadget? Do you stick with your phone’s native to do list app or go explore others?

For the purpose of narrowing down the field for you, we’re doing a hands-on with one of the most popular task manager apps in the Google Play Store, Todoist. In keeping with the nature of the app, we came up with a checklist of things that we need from a productivity manager and then check if Todoist meets this standard

  • Is the app intuitive enough that even non-techie people can use it?
  • Is it minimalist, easy on the eyes but not boring?
  • Can it remind you of your tasks outside the app?
  • Can it remind you of your tasks other than by date?
  • Does it support more than just two platforms and is it easy to sync it across all of them?
  • Can it sync with the calendar app you’re using?
  • Is there a huge difference between the free and premium app?

Ease of Use

Bells and whistles are nice for other kinds of apps but for a task manager, all you need to master is to how to add a task, what label to put on it (work, personal, leisure, pop culture?) and how and when you need to be reminded of the task. We figured out how to do all of that within the first minute of using it for the first time, so that earns a check on our list. It also has a quick add option so that wherever you are on your phone, you just need to pull down the notification area and you have an add task button.

You can also group your tasks together by adding to the Projects list. For example, you want to create a reading list. Just add a project, maybe “books to read”, and every time you list down a book for future reading, you can just add it to that list. You can color code the small circular button for each project so you can see at a glance where the task belongs to.

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Simple and Minimalist

If you’re the type of person who likes visual cues and colours for your task management, then Todoist might not do it for you. It uses the Google approach to apps, meaning very minimal design and lots of white space. So if you get easily bored with that sort of thing, then you’d have to look for another more dynamic app. But if you like the uncluttered, unfettered kind of interface, Todoist is one of the better looking ones out there.

Syncs Across 13 Platforms

It has one of the highest number of platforms that can be synced for free, including Android phone and tablet, iOS devices, Windows, Web, Chrome, Firefox and Gmail. So there’s no excuse anymore of forgetting any of your tasks since whether you’re in front of your computer or scrolling through your gadgets, you have Todoist to remind you of the things that need to be done.

No Calendar Syncing

Unfortunately, as of now, there is still no way to sync your tasks with any calendar app for free, unless you’re a premium user, which we’ll discuss later. For now, you can temporarily use the Next 7 Days view, which, as the name suggests, shows you your list of tasks for the next 7 days. However, the list does not include those tasks that don’t have due dates of course.

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Location-based Reminders

Can the app prompt you about your tasks in a manner other than the due date? Just this week, the makers of Todoist announced that they are rolling out a location-based reminder feature for premium users. When creating tasks, instead of setting a due date to remind you, you will receive a prompt when you’re leaving or arriving at one of your favorited locations. So you set “Call mom tonight” for when you arrive at your house or “Finish liquidation report” for when you arrive at the office. It will be rolling out in the next few days to users. However, as we said, this is a premium feature which brings us to our last point.


Value For Money at $28.99 a Year?

While the free version of Todoist can already do so much, if you think you need more than that, you can shell out around $3 a month for a year-long premium use of the app. You can get mobile and email reminders for your tasks, as well as the ability to add notes and attach files, including spreadsheets, pictures, PDFs, etc. The label and filtering system is also much improved compared to the free app and you can also search through your tasks. The export to calendar app we were looking for earlier? You can have that too in the premium app. To convince people to switch to premium, they are offering a 30-day free trial if you sign up by July 6. Hey, it’s free, so it’s worth checking out.

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  • The paid or free version of Todoist doesn’t allow you to sort tasks by due date (unless your using the web version). That’s right. A To Do app that doesn’t sort your tasks in the order they are due.

    Adding repeating tasks is a frustrating experience when trying to use the correct language/terminology.

    Whether you get reminders on your device is hit or miss. Sometimes they are automatically generated, other times nothing.

    I haven’t tried location reminders yet, but in my opinion it is not worth getting the paid version.

    If you want a solid to do app with a paid version that syncs across devices, try Remember the Milk.

    • Rbnq

      Rtm is good as long you don’t have to use a pc that is when todoist wins by far..

    • IMConnected

      I’m not sure what you are doing that doesn’t allow you to sort by date. Mine sorts by date. I use it specifically to look at what is coming up for the week. Their are even filters that allow you to do that quickly, like the “Next 7 days” list, or typing xx days in the search field.

      • That’s the only view that shows you the ordered list of tasks. If you view a list or project, there’s no ordering.

        For a paid app, I shouldn’t have to look at a list that includes personal tasks while at work and vice versa.

  • monicadashby

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  • Kate Perry

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  • Matt

    My biggest complaint of this app is that it really really sucks at handling multi-level tasks. It’s virtually impossible to set up subtasks without it completely destroying the layers.