Why ToDoist Is Still My Favorite To Do List App

todoist

I’ve confessed my love for productivity and apps many times.

I wrote a short ebook last year with some advice on how to get more important stuff done. Lately, though, I just haven’t been completely satisfied with my productivity system. Maybe it was the lure of 2Do and the recent buzz it’s gotten, or maybe there was a genuine gap in my process.

Whatever my reason for looking elsewhere, over the last month, I’ve started to examine my productivity software. My workflow has been much the same, but the tools have been in trial mode.

I’ve tried to leave ToDoist, and try a number of productivity and project management applications.

MY SEARCH

2Do

I wanted to like this one. I did like this one. There’s so much to like. It looks great, isn’t limiting in the least, and even works with IFTTT as of a month ago. It has a quick add feature, smart search, and I love the actions it lets you set up. Say you want to call someone tomorrow, you can add an action to the task, tap that action, and it immediately dials them. There’s an action for directions, reminders, and so on.

Adding a task on the 2Do Mac App
Adding a task on the 2Do Mac App

2Do is feature rich, but it still felt like I was filling out forms. There’s no natural language input and the sync, while some will like the options, still seems slow to me. I stayed with this one the longest during my experiment, and may try again in the future, but ultimately it failed my test.

The Hit List

One that doesn’t get a ton of mention, but was pretty capable. It allows the user to create list, set up recurring reminders (although somewhat limited), has native sync, and an iPad/iPhone and mac app.

The Hit List Mac App
The Hit List Mac App

The problem with The Hit List is that the Mac app seems to be something from 2012 while the iOS app window configuration make very little sense. The main window on the iPhone app is the list window, not the today window. This means you can’t open it and immediately see what’s due. The user can’t change it either. On top of that, The Hit List was very slow to reply to tweets and email questions. That’s just something that doesn’t get you far these days as a software company. It’s expensive too. $20 for the iOS app and $50 (after a free trial) for the outdated mac app is too much for an app that doesn’t have many more features than the native Reminders.

Things 

Things by Culture Code was my primary app before ToDoist took its place. Things hasn’t changed much. For some, that’ll be a good thing, but for others it’s not. It still lacks many of the features of an app like 2Do and is still awaiting the 3.0 update they promised years ago. Things just feels old to me. For some, it’ll work great and you won’t want to move from it. For others, the price tag and the minimal features will keep you from loving it. It failed my test.

OTHER APPS THAT I’VE TRIED IN THE PAST

Wunderlist
Doit.im
Asana
GoodTask (with reminders)

WHERE I LANDED

Ultimately, my chase was in vein. At the end of the day, ToDoist really was the best option for me. Its simple to use interface, natural language input, and listing capabilities are second to none. While I do have a few minor issues with it, it meets my needs more than than any of the others.

THE CASE FOR TODOIST

Hierarchy Structuring

I love the organization of ToDoist. The organization of ToDoist is a list makers’ dream. It allows for projects/lists and then sublists under it. The user can restructure at the drop of a hat with a drag and drop of the list name. It really is up to you how you want to structure it. Want to just use the inbox? Fine. Want just a single column of lists? Great. Want to break down your lists into smaller categories? It’s great for that too. ToDoist is very flexible.

structure

IFTTT recipes

If you aren’t an IFTTT user, you need to check it out. It’s not fore everyone, but it’s certainly for many of us. It allows the user to connect various programs and services across the web. It plays perfectly with ToDoist. I have recipes (that’s what they call the workflows) set up to add an event to my to do list if I set up a calendar event. I have a recipe to put a task on my list when the weather gets cold so I can get the house ready for the cold night. You can have lists that sync automatically with reminders as well using this. It’s great and it’s wide open with ToDoist.

Email to ToDoist

This one seems like it should be standard now, but it’s not. Have an email you need to act on later? Forward it to the project email address in ToDoist. I do understand that this feature isn’t as useful as it was say 2 years ago, but it still definitely come in handy regularly.

Variety of Platforms

One of the biggest ways ToDoist tries to sell itself is on the variety of platforms it cooperates with. Seriously, just about every one I can think of. I am an all apple and mac guy, but ToDoist works everywhere… including a great web interface and a Chrome extension.

Notes and Attachments

Believe it or not, my recent search left me disappointed with the way a lot of to-do apps handle notes and attachments. Before I move on, I should say that this was one of the things that had me doubting ToDoist in the first place. Not that you can’t make notes on a task in ToDoist, but you can’t when you first add the task from an iOS device. You have to add the task and then go back and add the note. It really is an interestingly frustrating part of an otherwise great app.

todoistiosadd

When it comes to attachments, however, ToDoist nails it. It will let the user attach from Dropbox, Drive or straight from their phone, tablet, or computer. It stores those attachments and lets you access them anywhere. It’s a great feature that I use often and is extremely useful if you’re collaborating on a project.

Templates

This isn’t a feature that I use often, but it’s really handy when I do. ToDoist allows the user to download a project as a template. This way, if you have a project that you often run through, you can upload the template, add due dates, and you’re all set. If you have a list that you use every Christmas, it’s easy to download them template, and upload it when you need it. It also has a way to share these templates so others can add them with one click. Seriously, there’s so much here I could never cover it. It’s unique, though, and very useful.

*I’m using ToDoist premium. All features won’t be available on free version.

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