Advanced Todoist tips & tricks
I've been using Todoist almost daily for the last 4 years. I've learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way, which I'd like to share with you. The official guide describes the basics to get started, but I want to cover some more advanced or lesser-known features in this post.
Update: Todoist also published a Hidden Features post, covering even more tips & tricks.
Customize your start page
By default, Todoist uses the "Next 7 days" view. But it's also possible to define any project, filter or custom query as home page. Go to "Settings" → "General" and select Custom query as your Start page.
That's the query I'm using:
overdue, 3 days, @next, p:Inbox. This will show the following sections by default:
- next 3 days
- tasks marked with
- the inbox (depends on your language, e.g. it's
Recurring tasks based on completion date
Todoist offers many ways to create recurring tasks using the
every keyword. One overlooked feature is adding ! to every. Here's the difference:
every monthcreates tasks based on the task's original date. This is useful for tasks with exact due dates, e.g. paying your rent.
every! monthcreates tasks based on the task's last completion date. This is more appropriate for tasks that must be completed at regular intervals, e.g. working out.
Let's say we create a recurring task on January 10 and complete it on January 15. When
every is used, the next occurrence is February 10, while
every! leads to February 15:
Postponing recurring tasks
In a perfect world we would always complete our scheduled tasks on time. But sometimes you can't or don't want to finish a task today. There are various ways to deal with this:
- Leave the task as overdue and finish it later. This may not be the best solution for passionate procrastinators, though. This also reduces your Karma points if you leave a task overdue for more than 4 days.
- Mark the task as completed. However, this will distort your Karma points (as you check off a task that you did not actually complete).
- By editing the date field or using smart date recognition you are able to re-define the task's schedule. This is not the preferred way to reschedule tasks, but it's possible using the
every day starting tomorrow
- Much more convenient is the built-in postponing mechanism. Open the task's menu and click on the circle arrow to reschedule the task to its next due date. This will not alter your task's original date query.
Subtasks are handy to structure your tasks within a project. Let's improve the hierarchy visually by connecting the following features:
- A task starting with
*(followed by a space) will hide its checkbox. This makes it perfect for subheadings.
- Todoist supports basic Markdown formatting, so surround a text with
**Text**to make it appear bold.
When combined, we are able to create a "Scheduled" project with
* **Weekly** and
* **Daily** sections:
This makes it easier to distinguish parent projects from subprojects.
Completed tasks are archived automatically. However, this does not apply to subtasks by default. Instead, checking off a subtask marks it as completed without removing it from the view:
This may make sense for some people, but I don't like seeing completed tasks on my todo list. You can select the task's menu and click
Archive, but there is an easier way to achieve it: Hold down
Shift on your keyboard while checking off a subtask to automatically archive it.
Expand / Collapse all tasks
Subtasks are not only useful to structure your tasks. They also allow you to hide/collapse all children tasks by clicking the black arrow.
It would be great to collapse/fold or expand all subtasks at once, especially when dealing with many tasks. Unfortunately, Todoist does not offer such a feature, but it's possible with Bookmarklets, small scripts stored as browser bookmarks.
Drag and drop these links onto your bookmark bar and click them while your Todoist web app is open:
Projects comments (premium)
You might have been using task comments already: hover over a task and click the speech bubble that appears next to the task name.
But did you know that you may also attach comments to projects? It's quite useful for generic notes or discussions.
Backup your data
I manage most of my tasks in Todoist, and I'd really hate losing any of them. If you're a Premium user, Todoist already creates automatic backups for all your active tasks. You can also try my Export tool for Todoist — an app I have written several years ago. It's free, open source and doesn't require a premium account. It also allows you to download all your data, including account information and archived tasks (JSON only).
Todoist is a simple yet powerful task manager. I hope my post helps you to get even more out of this app. If you're looking for more tips, visit the (unofficial) Todoist subreddit, where people are sharing a lot of useful knowledge.
If you know more useful tips and tricks, feel free to leave a comment below.
Do you want to try out premium features? Use my referral link and get two free months of Todoist Premium!