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.

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.

Custom start page

That’s the query I’m using: overdue, 3 days, @next, p:Inbox. This will show the following sections by default:

  • overdue
  • next 3 days
  • tasks marked with @next label
  • the inbox (depends on your language, e.g. it’s p:Eingang in German)

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 month creates tasks based on the task’s original date. This is useful for tasks with exact due dates, e.g. paying your rent.
  • every! month creates 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:

Difference between 'every' and 'every!'

Postponing recurring tasks

In a perfect world we would always complete our scheduled tasks on time. But sometimes you just 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 checked off a task which you did not really 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 starting keyword, e.g. 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.
Postponing recurring tasks

Structure subtasks

Subtasks are really 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 very 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 * **Monthly**, * **Weekly** and * **Daily** sections:

Structured subtasks

This makes it easier to distinguish parent projects from subprojects.

Archive subtasks

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:

Completed subtasks

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.

Just 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. Just 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.

Project comments

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).

Conclusion

Todoist is a simple yet powerful task manager. I hope my post helps you getting 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!

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