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

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