For many years I have been a great fan of Todoist. I have tried most of the other offerings. I have sought enlightenment with Asana, remembered the milk and Toodledoed, but none of them hit the spot until I discovered Todoist. Behind the wonderful Zen Minimalist interface lurked a powerful task management system which enabled users to tweak the system to make it work the way they wanted it to, not specifically how the developers wanted them to use it. Then last year things started to go a little awry.
First, Todoist launched PowerApps which was supposed to make linking to the API easier and make the package even more flexible. However, for me it was a disaster as it managed to produce mass duplicates of tasks that ate up a lot of time to rectify. Then came the GUI change. Despite the fact that some of the colours made it hard to read, the biggest issue for me and, apparently many others, was that the update managed to screw up the tags, projects and the priorities. Although that was ironed out after some weeks I started feeling a little disillusioned and started looking at other task management systems. The only decent alternative was Wunderlist which made lists and subtasks really simple and I was quickly becoming a convert.
Then I discovered an overlooked feature of Todoist – templates!
Where Todoist Templates Score
Todoist has made the task, no pun intended, of creating tasks very simple. You can quickly create them on the fly on your smartphone and then revisit them to add tags, actions, schedules, etc. at a later date on your desktop PC. However, there are times when a task is more complicated or you want to create a sophisticated list of tasks that repeat themselves over time, or form part of a multi-team project with specific actions being the responsibility of a specific team member.
Templates can be created via any software that allows you to create a CSV file such as Excel or Google Sheets. To the right you can see how Jill Duffy has created a getting to Inbox Zero template. Using the columns to replicate the segments of Todoist Jill has created a spreadsheet that Todoist recognises so that each of the fields falls into place.
Another example is now I no longer have a day job I intend to travel more, filling my time with long and short trips. I created one template for the trips I intend to make to watch cricket matches so that template is simply a list rather than a string of tasks that remind me to take everything I need. I also intend to go to the Greek Islands so a bigger list is required and this is achieved by simply adding more lines for things like passport, driving licence etc. that I don’t need on my cricket jaunts. If I decide to make a winter trip to the Scottish islands I will need to alter the template to include waterproof jackets, sweaters, walking boots etc., all of which can be added in seconds.
Below is a short video tutorial that demonstrates how templates can be imported – and, more importantly, exported for sharing – into Todoist.
There is talk of Todoist users creating and sharing templates through a web based library and that will demonstrate just how flexible Todoist is . Also, if you are not a spreadsheet fan, Planet Of The Penguins has a template creator.