I’ll say it straight up – Todoist, and specifically Todoist PRO (not all that expensive at a yearly rate) is my current task list of choice. It’s not perfect, for reasons I’ll get into, but of the forces on this particular battlefield, it has the best overall blend of tools and ease of use for a single person (me!).
So what’s the experience? Well, Todoist goes the minimal route. While it’ll integrate with Google Calendar, it doesn’t play quite as smooth with gmail as Google Tasks, nor does it prompt you to assemble teams with pictures like Asana. Rather, it strikes a balance by being quick to load, fast to interact with, and brings a couple of big time savers to the table:
- Dynamic due date typing – I didn’t know how much I’d use this until I started, uh, using it. It’s natural to say that you want something done tomorrow, or in a week. In most task managers I’ve played with, you can’t simply type that in the title of the task and have the manager parse it out, but Todoist does. Typing pay the rent tomorrow will get you a task, due tomorrow, to pay the rent. It’s fast and easy.
- Project Templates – You need the pro version for this, but like I noted in some of the other reviews, many of the things I do are repetitive. Every book needs a cover, needs to be formatted, needs a spell check and so on. Rather than typing out those tasks every time (and, more dangerously, forgetting one and then publishing a book without a key piece…), I can load up a previous project and I’m good to go.
Todoist offers a bunch of fiddly extras too, but you’re welcome to ignore those as you go along. Do I care about all the colors, or use the ‘comment’ feature? Nah, but I guess it’s nice that they’re available.
Unlike Google Tasks, Todoist lets you easily group projects that are related to one another, making it easier to see, at a glance, how many tasks I have to do to keep the house from falling apart (so, so many) compared to how many overdue tasks I have to update this and other websites (also so, so many). You can do this with Asana too, but it’s a bigger deal than click-and-drag.
And that seems to be the guiding principle for Todoist – it knows that it’s on a screen, and not everything’s going to be check-the-box simple, but it tries. Most things are a click away, from weekly/daily task views to any of your projects you want to examine more closely. Tasks themselves have zero required fields to fill out – no teams here, really.
So Todoist is winning the war by sheer efficiency. But that’s for me, and it may not fit you.
If you’re working within an enterprise, Outlook gives you benefits that may be impossible to ignore. If you’re working with teams, Asana brings a lot of benefits Todoist just doesn’t have, provided everyone’s willing to play their game.
And if you want a simple day-to-day list that you mark up and down, Google Tasks is as no-frills as it gets.
Or, you know, you could pull out that pen and paper.