Todoist has always been one of the best personal task managers, but it was only available on the desktop until November of last year. That’s when Doist released native apps for both Android and iOS, which brought Todoist’s robust elements to users for on-the-go task management. With the addition of the app, Todoist users are now synced across nine platforms, which include Android, iOS, Web, Chrome, Firefox, Outlook, Thunderbird, Windows, and Mac.
I generally don’t use the desktop to manage my tasks, although it’s important to me that the tasks are synced and accessible from various platforms. With that said, the desktop Web interface is a tremendous application for those that really need a lot of control for their tasks. The Todoist app for Android brings most of those features to your phone or tablet.
Todoist is aimed at the professional and is more comprehensive than most of the other task managers available on Android. What separates Todoist from other todo apps is the ability to organize tasks into projects with labels. You can even create sub tasks as well. By including projects, it effectively organizes everything in a logical manner. Who wants to look at a list of 30 todos when you can look at a list of 3 or 4 projects. Tapping on projects will give you the list of todos that are only related to that project. Color-coding is quite popular as well, and Todoist has you covered. You can select from 22 different colors to help you further organize things.
If you’re new to Todoist, you will need to setup an account in order to sync data to the cloud. You can simply use your gmail or any other email account. This enables you to utilize the app or the desktop via your favorite Web browser. If you’re using Chrome on your desktop, you can also install the Chrome Extension, which will allow you to manage tasks from your toolbar. You can also use it as a “read it later” type of app in that you can add URLs as tasks. It even integrates with Gmail so that you can add any email as a task.
When using the app for the first time, you will find handy popup tutorials walking you through some of the basics. The interface is very clean and easy to get around. Everytime you open the app, you will see the tasks that are due today. Just swipe to the right, and the side menu appears. This is where you will see the list of your color-coded projects. Tapping on any of the projects brings you to the tasks that are due for the respective project. You will also see “Manage projects” at the bottom, which lets you add, edit or delete projects. The labels tab will show you any labels you have created and what tasks are associated with those labels. It works the same way as Projects in that you tap on the labels to see the listed tasks. You will also find “Manage labels” at the bottom. The last tab is filters, and this is where you can create predefined filters. For example, you could have a filter for all tasks that are due on Friday or all tasks that are labeled as personal and due next Wednesday. Again, you will find a “Manage filters” option at the bottom.
Setting up a task is quite easy. Once you are in a project, just hit the “+” sign at the top right. You can title the task, give it a due date, assign a project, label it, set the priority (1-4), and assign a sub-task. Now this is where things get a little weird. You can enter textual dates in the date field, and there are a number of abbreviated commands to learn such as “tod” for today, “tom at 16:30″ for tomorrow at 16:30, “+5″ for 5 days from now, “ev day” for every day, “ev 7″ for every 7th of the month, and so on. Thankfully you can tap the three dot menu for the full list of commands. You can still enter a date by tapping the clock icon, but the displayed calendar is very small, and unless you have a magnifying glass, you won’t be able to read the dates.
One of my biggest complaints is the use of reminders. The only way to set a reminder (in the app) is to type a command as part of the title of the task. So you would have something like this: Wash the car <remind tom at 13:00>. For an app that stresses productivity, this is highly unproductive. I believe they will resolve this issue with a future update so I wouldn’t use it as a reason to detract you from trying the app. On the flip side, you can easily manage reminder notifications from the desktop by just entering the date and time. If you’re someone who likes to manage your tasks from the desktop then it won’t be an issue, but for those of you that are on the go or would rather use the mobile app, it’s not the best situation. Even using the desktop isn’t so easy as you should be able to just click on a date and pick a time rather than being forced to type it out. As far as notifications go, you can set the default to be push (notification panel), SMS text, or email. You can only do this via the desktop interface, but once it’s set, you shouldn’t need to change it that often.
Just like most Android apps, a widget is included. They only offer one size (4 x 3), but it’s resizable. You can also choose what information you would like to show up in the widget, and that includes any of the default views (tasks due today or the next 7 days), Projects, Labels, or Filters.
As you would imagine, an app like this probably isn’t free or at least there has to be a premium version. The app itself is actually free, but the premium version is my second biggest complaint. It costs $29 per year. The premium version adds notification reminders, use of the labels and filters, task notes, SSL encryption, access to iCalendar, task searching and the ability to add emails as tasks. If you don’t rely on notifications and you think you can go without labels and filters, the free version can do a lot for you. For me personally, $29 is too much because I am not a heavy todo and task user. With that said, I think Todoist is the best task management app I have seen, and is sure to suit those that need more productivity out of their todos.
It seems to me that Doist is going after the serious professional only, and not catering to the casual user. I would rather see the free version offer everything the premium version offers, but make it a trial for 14 days. After the trial period has ended, offer a version priced at $4.99 (one time purchase) with a limit of how many projects, labels, and filters you can have so that casual users can enjoy this type of productivity. If someone needs to manage more projects and tasks, they can pay the annual fee of $29.99. If you’re in that camp, it’s not too much to ask for something as powerful as Todoist. Either way, if you’re someone who could use a little more organization and productivity in your life, then you need to look at Todoist. It won’t cost you a dime to see what it’s all about, and you probably won’t find anything better.
Check out my hands on video below and hit one of the download links to get started. You can also visit their website for more information. As always, let me know what you think.