About a year or so ago, I first signed up for a free account with ToDoist. It fast became one of my favorite task management apps. With that said, it has been a rocky relationship. I eventually found it difficult to reschedule tasks that I hadn’t completed on time, and instead of taking the time to figure out how to make ToDoist meet my needs, I kept switching back and forth between it and Google Tasks. Once, when I bounced back to using ToDoist, I even tried using the WeDoist project collaboration app to bolster the work that I was doing with it.
That isn’t to say that it’s been a fairy tale since then. I still bounced around among other task management apps. I’ve tried the Big Picture, Todo.ly, and I’ve even tried to use OneNote as a task management solution. So, what happened? You guessed it. I went back to ToDoist once again.
This last time, I really tried to make the best of it. I noticed that ToDoist started using a bit of gamification, in the form of what it calls “Karma”. Every time you accomplish a task, create a project, or finish a list of other actions, you get more karma points. It’s kind of fun to see your points go up – sort of an affirmation of what you’ve accomplished. However, when I started digging deeper into some of the cool reporting tools ToDoist offered, I hit a brick wall. Those are ToDoist premium features only offered to Premium members.
So, I kept using ToDoist for free for a while. But kept coming up against things I wanted to do and couldn’t. Email reminders. Adding notes to task. Things that would really add a whole lot to the value of ToDoist as a time management and task management solution. So, one day this year, I just decided to bite the bullet and pay the really inexpensive annual fee of $29 so that I could finally access those features.
In this article, I want to describe those ToDoist premium features, and share whether or not the features are worth the price.
A Review of ToDoist Premium Features
Honestly, I wasn’t really certain that forking over my hard-earned $29 would be worth it, but the price was low enough to take a gamble. Not sure what I’d gain in the process, I took the plunge and then started exploring things at ToDoist a little more. This is not by any means a paid review – I am a full-fledged paying customer, and so you can be 100% sure the opinions offered below are of my own volition.
Adding Reminders to Tasks
The first thing I wanted to check out was the reminder feature. This is something I’ve wanted to use since I first started using the service, and was really frustrated that it wasn’t accessible. You can find the Reminders tool by right clicking on any task and clicking on “Reminders” in the dropdown menu.
It simply lets you issue an email or SMS reminder about that task at any date and time of your choosing. Of course, the beauty of ToDoist is that you don’t have to remember the exact date. If you know that you absolutely need to finish a task at 5pm on Tuesday, you can type in the reminder date as something like “tuesday at 16:00″.
ToDoist automatically figures out you mean the approaching Tuesday at 4pm, locates the correct date and sets up the reminder that you requested.
Attaching Notes to Tasks
Another premium luxury – task notes. This is nothing minor, as it’s the core reason I wanted to upgrade to premium in the first place, and it didn’t let me down. The ability to jot down notes alongside a task is such a simple thing, but for me it’s critical because this is where I prefer to keep notes as I’m working on a particular task – right inside of the to-do list where I manage the task itself.
Bonus – you also get to attach pictures or other files to the notes as well. Need to use a diagram as part of the task? No problem – upload the file and save it with the task notes.
It may seem silly when you have 10 or fewer projects going on and a short list of tasks for each, but just imagine that you’re managing 20 or 30 projects, each with their own subcategories of tasks and associated notes, files, reminders, and everything else. The last thing you want to have to do is rebuild all of that from scratch. So, ToDoist Premium also includes a daily backup of all of your active projects.
Backups are stored as text files, which you can download and check out at any time, or save on your own secure device if it makes you feel better. You can also force ToDoist to take a full backup of your tasks at any time, by clicking “Create a new backup”.
Exporting Your Calendar and Templates
Another nice perk of having a Premium account is the ability to extend your task management projects to your calendar applications. Specifically, ToDoist gives you the ability to export out your tasks as an iCalendar feed, which – according to ToDoist – works with Google Calendar and Outlook, among other applications.
All you have to do is copy the iCalendar feed URL from your account and use that link to access your data from the other applications.
You can also export particular projects that you might have set up especially well, as a “project template”. This saves the formatting, task configurations, and more about each project in a text-based “template” that you can later import when you are creating new projects.
This can save a lot of time, especially if you tend to do the same sort of projects over and over. Instead of starting from scratch every time, just launch the new project, import the project template, and most of the work is already done for you. Just start working on completing tasks. Now that’s a time saver.
Email Tasks to Your Projects
One pleasant surprise that I just stumbled upon as I was researching Premium features for this article is the fact that you can set up a project with the ability to “Email tasks to this project”. You can find this feature by clicking on the settings for any project.
This allows you to assign specific email addresses that have the ability to send new tasks to be added to the project. ToDoist will give you a special email address for that particular project, so that every time you email a new task to that email address, ToDoist automatically adds the task. It’s one of the fastest and easiest ways to update your to-do list without ever having to lay your fingers on a keyboard or even go anywhere near a computer.
Just send the task email from your phone, and you’re done. You can also add multiple emails that are authorized to issue new tasks to the project.
Trends and Reports
One of the most important ways that you can improve your productivity, is by tracking your current productivity levels and trends. ToDoist tracks your productivity for you, so that you don’t have to think about it. The free version of ToDoist lets you see a basic overview of your productivity, but to really start digging into the trends and reports, you’ll need Premium.
It’s actually pretty surprising how these trends can help you to identify any patterns in your behavior. Maybe you didn’t realize that you’re far more productive in the middle of the week than at the beginning or end. Maybe you have better months than others. Maybe you’re applying far too much effort on one project, to the detriment of your other responsibilities.
All of the productivity trends, accessible by clicking on your Karma score, can help you find those inefficiencies or personal behavior patterns that you just didn’t realize were there. Data never lies, and when you see your own behavior – or procrastination and laziness – right in front of your very eyes, it’s very hard to ignore.
So the bottom line is this – ToDoist Premium features and services are well worth the annual fee, at least in my case. I can’t say that would be true if the cost was much higher, but I can say that the ability to issue email task additions remotely, getting productivity reports, and task notes are the three features that I really love the most. The fact that there are other additional features available with Premium is just gravy to me, and proof that it was money well spent. So, if you’re considering upgrading to ToDoist Premium, I hope that this review told you whether or not Premium has what you want. If it doesn’t – why bother paying? But if it does – you can have those features for less than 8 cents a day.
Do you use ToDoist Premium? What’s your take on the ToDoist Premium features? What do you like or not like about ToDoist? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!