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Getting the job(s) done

Struggling to remember what you have to get done when? Ben Black is using Todoist – the to-do list that’s always with you

How do you remember what jobs you have to get done in work or in your personal life? A pen and paper is a very satisfying way to plan your day or week ahead. Experts say that writing things down helps you be more productive as you feel more in control of your time.

But you can lose a piece of paper or forget to carry it with you. It also becomes messy as you start to cross things off. You also have to rewrite it regularly and separate personal jobs from work jobs.


Todoist is an excellent app that I’ve using for several months and solves all of those problems and even a few problems I didn’t know existed.

That smartphone in your pocket is always with you so Todoist makes sure you can always look at the things you have to do.

If you add a task to a list it will synchronise across all your devices so the next time you log in you can see your jobs. This means no more scrambling around for your paper list or wondering where you scribbled out that reminder on a post-it note during a meeting.

Adding jobs

Adding a job is as simple as writing it on paper. On my iPhone I find the app, then open it and then tap the ‘plus’ sign in the lower right hand corner and type out the job. The Android version has a nice feature where you can put a shortcut widget to your homepage, which means you can add a job with just one tap.

Crossing out your jobs

One of the most satisfying things about a to-do list on paper is being able to cross out each task with your pen as it’s complete. That function on Todoist on your smartphone is done by touching the task and swiping to the right. You can also swipe to the left and can change the due date on the task. So if you’re reviewing your list and realise that this is a job that depends on the outcome of a meeting that has been moved to next week change the due date to next week so it’s out of your mind until then.


This is a feature only available on the premium version of Todoist but is worth every penny. It means when you add a job you can label it with a category to keep jobs together. This is how you would replace your paper lists for things like ‘personal’ and ‘work’.


This is another premium feature. You can choose a date and time for a reminder for each task to be sent to you by text or email. I find this feature a bit overwhelming so don’t use it very much.

Repeating tasks

Todoist takes care of repeating jobs easily by simply making them recurring. You can add a job to appear on your list every day or on a specific date like ‘the first day of the month’. For example, I’ve got a job that appears every Wednesday of ‘take out bin and recycling box’.

Editing jobs

You can edit the due date or text in any job at any time. This is where I believe Todoist wins over paper. The context of a job can change so you can simply open it up, change anything and resave. Your list is also neat and tidy as jobs you complete are taken off. You can give each task a priority so for example the ‘red flag’ jobs are what have to be completed today.

You can use flags and due dates to instantly see the jobs you have to complete today.

The cloud and your employer

Todoist uses the cloud to store and synchronise your data. Make sure you set up your account with a strong password. If you’re using it for work use common sense when adding jobs and do not include confidential information or anything that would breach data protection. This can just mean writing down a job to ‘Call Joe’ instead of ‘Call Joe Bloggs on 01234 56789 about plans to close the school.’

Browser extensions

You can add a plugin to your web browser that means you can save a website to look at later. This can be handy if you’re going to a conference – save the website link to a job to ‘book place at this conference’.

Premium version v free version

You can get the free version at www.todoist.com. The premium version costs £21.99 a year. Visit todoist.com/premium

As you can see from my enthusiasm I think this is a bargain. It costs 43p a week to feel more organised with the things I have to do inside and outside of work.

The website has this comparison page where you can see what you get for free and what you get for the premium version todoist.com/compareVersions

Any questions

Ask me anything on Twitter @benblack and also follow @todoist

Ben Black is communications and marketing manager at Bron Afon Community Housing

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