I recall 30-35 years ago when I was a teen and my dad worked in the concrete construction business. He was a foreman and would travel from job to job to check in on his guys and the progress of their work. I worked a couple of summers and got to ride around with him.
The crews loved him. Beyond his care for them as people, he was super organized in his work. He knew details, remembered conversations, and made things happen. These were also the days before smartphones and task management apps.
So what did he use? I distinctly remember.
He had them all over the dashboard of his truck. Phone numbers. Details of a job. Conversations. Product to order. That was the magic and I observed it firsthand.
And it worked.
Fast forward and we have a myriad of apps available to us today to help us manage our days more effectively. And I love ’em and I use ’em. And one thing that I enjoy is trying out new task management systems that I may hear on a podcast or read in an article.
And the results are in…(drumroll please).
And my take is that there are a lot of great tools out there. And each basically does the same thing, but each has their niche that they promote. But the truth of the matter is that they all do one thing: help you manage all the little details of your life – projects and personal. You just have to find what works for you.
But I have recently stumbled across another app that has become my new fav…and its name is Todoist.
Todoist has customization that fits my work style and it may fit yours as well. Ministry is about people, but ministry is also about the details that, if not careful, can overrun our ability to effectively help our people. Like it or not, I must stay organized in what I do so that I have the margin to do what really needs to get done.
I like Todoist because it is intuitive to use and it has a simple interface.
You can set up projects on the left and assign tasks and on the right are the tasks due for Today with the project they belong to on the far right.
Uncluttered. I like that a lot.
Another helpful feature is how Todoist shows past due items. I do not like past-due tasks getting lost with today’s tasks. Todoist does a great job of showing items clearly.
Notice on the right that my tasks are clearly shown as what was due 6 days ago, 3 days ago, and 2 days ago. Visually, this forces me to do something with those items that are past due.
Todoist also makes it very easy for me to prioritize my work. For each task, I can flag it with a color, each representing a priority level. For me, I use Priority 1 for those things that have to get done, Priority 2 for those tasks that should get done, and Priority 3 for those tasks that should get done and will take a couple minutes or less to complete. This is helpful for when I have 5-10 minutes and want to knock a few things off my list.
In addition, within a priority, I can also manually move tasks around so that of all my tasks, I can order them in terms of which ones I want to tackle first. I simply click and drag.
This is probably my favorite feature of Todoist. There are tasks that I want to have as recurring tasks, meaning I want them to show up on certain dates every week or month. Though a small thing, I do not want to have to remember to remove a task after I have completed it the number of times that I desire.
And so Todoist allows me to customize my recurring task to fit my needs.
So in my example, I want to read an article every Thursday. And I do not want to do it indefinitely. I want to end this task on October 6. And Todoist allows me to do just that. That is one feature I have not found in other task management systems.
I use this feature a lot and it is very helpful in keeping my task list uncluttered. Items drop off when I want them to.
Notice also that I was able to flag this task with a Priority 2 category as labeled with a flag and “p2.”
This ability within Todoist has quickly become my favorite feature because adding tasks is quick and demands little extra thinking.
Todoist has carefully thought through how people want to be notified. I can have an email sent, a text message sent to my phone, or I can even have a text remind me of something when I am in the car and pass a certain location. For example, I receive a text message when I pass Walmart, reminding me to pick up something that I needed to get.
And finally, Todoist has great support. I have recently found A Comprehensive Guide to Using Todoist, which has proven to be…pretty comprehensive. And throughout the document, there are mini videos that show you where to click and where to go on the Todoist platform.
And Todoist works across all your platforms, so I have found my phone app to be just as easy to use as the app on my laptop.
I will add that there is a free version and a premium version. The premium version is $28.99 per year and has enough perks to draw me in. It has been well worth the $.08 per day that I am paying. I would suggest trying out the free version first and seeing if that meets your needs.
And so there you have it: simple interface, clear views, easy manipulation, customized tasks, reminders, and support.
All in all, I have noticed I am not spending as much time massaging my task management system to get it to do what I want. Todoist is making managing tasks easier and more effective. And bottom line, I am keeping on top of what I need to get done.
Now I just have to actually do all the tasks I added. Maybe there is a new app for that too…