Todoist sections are a game-changer in how I organise myself

Sections in Todoist help

For the last five or six years, I’ve been using a combination of Todoist and Trello to manage my various to do lists and projects but since Doist introduced Todoist Foundations last year, I’ve had to revise how I think about how I organise myself.

Broadly speaking, I used to consider using Todoist for my daily tasks and business as usual tasks and Trello for my larger projects (building a new website, writing a book, moving house, etc.).

But since Todoist Foundations introduced Sections, this has been a game changer in how I organise myself.

For longer, more complex projects, where I once created separate Trello columns I can now create a section within a Todoist project to group related items.

This is a huge benefit over the previous version of Todoist where you would end up with long lists or you had to create your own separators like ‘- - - - - SECTION NAME - - - - - ‘.

I still use Trello for projects where either a strict Kanban-style approach is needed (where work in progress limits are important) or I want a more visual approach to what I’m working on or tracking.

But for most of my larger projects, I find that the project / section options, coupled with due dates and the various tags and filters in Todoist are now enough to help me organise myself far more efficiently.

Example

A few weeks ago, I moved my work-related task list from Trello to Todoist and I now wish that I had done it sooner. I was struggling to keep on top of my various commitments either by creating separate Trello columns or labels. Even with the calendar power-up it was difficult to see what I needed to do today and quickly track my priorities.

I like to prefix my major project categories in Todoist with an emoji, so I created a 💼 WORK parent project.

I then set up separate sub-projects to reflect my major priorities and spent about an hour copying-and-pasting all my Trello cards into Todoist.

I ended up with something like this:

With a vertical list, I can now more easily see what are my major commitments.

I then set up three filters to give me a lot more intelligence about what I’m working on:

  • 7 days & ##💼 WORK
    This filter shows me all items scheduled for the next seven days that are within any of the sub-projects under 💼 WORK.
  • (P1 | P2 | P3) & ##💼 WORK
    This filter shows me all items that have been prioritised as P1 (red), P2 (yellow) or P3 (blue) that are within any of the sub-projects under 💼 WORK.
  • (##💼 WORK & @waiting-for) | (##💼 WORK & @blocked) | (##💼 WORK & @in-progress)
    This filter shows me anything within any of the sub-projects under 💼 WORK that are labelled as either waiting-for, blocked or in-progress.

This new workflow has really helped me really keep on top of my priorities in a way that I simply couldn’t manage in Trello. I love Trello, I still use it for many projects but for these day-to-day tasks and immediate projects Todoist gives me everything I need to be as productive and in control as I need to be.

Published by

Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 48 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert, I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, write, draw and laugh… a lot. Scrum master at Vision Ltd, Dundee. Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and former warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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