Master Todoist

Explains how to use one of the best task tracking tools out there, Todoist, with the GTD philosophy. It doesn't have anything new but it does a good job proposing how to use Todoist to achieve your goals.

My rating: 4/5 · Reading time: 5 min(s) · Date read: October 28, 2017 · Amazon

You can’t store all your ideas, tasks, and appointments in your mind. Life is just too complicated.

Develop the habit of capturing everything that comes to your mind in one place and the habit of periodically reviewing them. Only by doing so, you’ll be able let go and fully concentrate on the task at hand.

It has been said that once upon a time, the word priority was used in the singular form, which meant you could only have one priority at a time. Unfortunately, in our modern frenetic world, everyone seems to have dozens of priorities — S. J. Scott

There are six different types of tasks that you can store in Todoist: habit building, appointments, ideas, actions, projects, and processes.

Habit Building

Use Todoist’s recurrent tasks and reminders feature to get you to do something at a specific time or location.

To keep consistency, create small, realistic habit building tasks, that you can complete daily even if you feel a lack of interest.

Aim to do much more than the task requires to be completed. If you don’t have a lot of time or energy, force yourself to do the bare minimum to keep momentum.

Appointments

Tasks that requires you to be at a certain place and time.

Make sure your appointment tasks are added with time in Todoist, so you can have something very similar to your daily calendar at the top of the Todoist’s Today view.

Ideas

Tasks that are usually not actionable and very big in scope. Anything that pops into your head that you want to remember and evaluate at some time in the future.

Whenever an idea pops into your head, regardless of when and where, add it to Todoist’s Inbox and then let go.

Actions

Tasks that are well defined and reduced in scope that don’t require too much advanced planning.

Should be completed in a few hours or less.

Projects

Tasks that require more than one concrete action to complete. Use Todoist’s projects to group tasks together. A project can include dates and milestones.

Don’t try to specify every action required to complete the project. Focus on a handful of actionable tasks that are the next steps. That’s more than enough to start working.

Keep adding actions, after you’ve started working on the project and after you have more information, by asking yourself “what is the next step?”.

Projects can be done in a day or they can take weeks.

Processes

Projects that you know beforehand the actions needed to be completed.

After completing a couple of the same type of projects, you can convert it into a checklist or template that can be reused in the future.

For example: planning and packing for a weekend trip, publishing a blog post, writing and publishing book notes.

Doing the Work

Daily Ritual

Every morning pick the three Most Important Tasks that will have the biggest impact on your career: two related to a project with an immediate deadline and one related to a long-term goal.

Use red flag, orange flag, and yellow flag priorities to the first, second, and third Most Important Task.

A task can be a priority only if it’s time sensitive or crucial to your long-term success. The only way to complete your priorities is not by marking them as priorities but by not doing things that are actually not priorities.

If you’ve completed all your MITs and scheduled appointments, then it’s perfectly okay to not achieve Todoist Zero. — S. J. Scott

Always ask yourself “what is the next step?” when looking at your projects.

Explicitly block out time in your calendar for high priority tasks and for tasks that require a lot of concentration. Plan for these tasks to take a lot of time to avoid feeling anxious because you’re not making progress as fast as you’d like.

Batching

Don’t jump from project to project and from type of task to type of task. Context switching is very expensive.

Use labels to batch related tasks. Then you can filter your tasks by label and do all of them in batch.

For example: tasks you can finish in under 5 minutes, or tasks you need to do over the phone, or tasks you’re waiting on that needs pinging someone.

Eisenhower Matrix

Use filters to implement Eisenhower’s priority matrix based on urgency and importance.

• Q1: Urgent and important — (overdue | today) & (p1 | p2 | p3).
• Q2: Important but not urgent — (no date) & (p1 | p2 | p3).
• Q3: Urgent but not important — (overdue, toda).
• Q4: Not important and not urgent — (no date).

Weekly Ritual

Every week review your goals and projects and decide the what you want to focus on this week. Don’t fill your week to every minute, leave space for unexpected commitments.

• What are my personal obligations?
• What are my priority projects?
• How much time do I have?
• What are the next actions on my Todoist projects?
• Is there anything on the Someday/Maybe project that I’d like to focus on this week?

Create a parent project for every aspect of your life: career, finance, health, leisure, relationships, service, spirituality.

Limit the number of projects you want to pursue in the short term to only five.

Create an extra “someday/maybe” project for all those ideas that you’d like to pursue soon but not right now. This is where you think big.