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You’re an organised person. You add upcoming events to your calendar, you plan your career in Trello, and you have a decent labeling system in Gmail to ensure you always respond to things. And yet, when you check your to-do list, there are certain tasks from these other places that haven’t yet made it to the list.
Yes, you could set up a system to manually add items from these places to your to-do list, but that wastes time. Ideally, it needs to be automatic. Then when you’re checking your to-do list with the ultimate Todoist filters you’ve created, you’ll have everything essential right there and you’ll never miss a thing.
Let’s demonstrate how not to forget a task by using Todoist as a memory capturing tool.
Be Prepared For Calendar Events
If your whole life is planned out in Google Calendar, it makes sense to trigger your to-do list from certain items in it. For instance, when a meeting comes up and you need to prepare things in advance. This takes some planning, and there are two ways to do it.
First, you need to set reminder notifications for your important calendars. Head to the calendar in your list of calendars, click the arrow on the right and then choose Edit Notifications. I’ve set mine to have an email sent a week in advance of the events, but you might prefer some other time frame. I also filter my emails like crazy so I never actually see these, but that’s not the point. The point is once that email hits my inbox I can get it to do cool things.
The second step is to set up a filter in Gmail to catch all of the events you’re focusing on. So, for instance you’d set a filter to catch emails from email@example.com with the word “meeting” in the subject. That will be the way to trigger a to-do list item a week before your meeting.
Now, there are two ways to get from this point to having a new to-do item in your Todoist to-do list.
The first way is to set the filter to forward the email to the private email address for a particular project. I would actually set up a new project for this, called something like “Meeting Preparation”. This option only works for Todoist premium, as only premium users can accept new tasks via email. It also involves adding firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com to your Todoist “Accept Email” list and verifying the setup.
The second option is available to anyone and very easy to set up, but it involves linking both Gmail and Todoist to IFTTT, which not everyone is happy to do. But the steps are simple.
- Set the Gmail filter to add a particular label to the meeting reminders.
- Choose a unique label to be used only for this purpose.
- Set up an IFTTT recipe to trigger whenever there is a new email in that label.
- Set it to trigger a new to-do item in your designated Meeting Preparation project.
- You can also prefix or append text to your subject line (sadly you can’t edit the subject).
I prefix the text “Prepare for”, which is enough for it to make sense to me. You can also set the task priority and due date, or even set a note which can contain the body of the email that triggered the task. If you want to add labels to your task you can append text with @Post or @Phone to set this.
Note: If you’re not using Todoist, you can actually use this same IFTTT idea to create tasks in iOS Reminders, Evernote or Toodledo. Or, you can use the first method to create tasks in any to-do list system that will accept emails, such as Remember The Milk.
What Other Triggers Can I Set From Google Calendar?
Get inspired — there are plenty of other things you can do with this system.
- If you have a calendar for birthdays, set a task that will remind you to buy a present.
- If you have guests staying often, trigger a task to prepare tourist activities and other things for their arrival.
- If you track your vaccination schedule for your kids, trigger a task to make a call for the appointment.
- If you like to be prepared for parties you’re attending, trigger a task to get gifts and shared food ready.
I get Google Calendar notifications to trigger new to-do items for concerts and gigs, reminding me to get my music and outfits in order (as it’s always different). Another idea is to get anything you label “To-Do” to go to Gmail, but I find it a bit over the top.
Consider the types of calendars you are subscribed to and how they can help you. If you are subscribed to your Last.fm calendar, which tells you whenever your favourite bands are playing locally, you could trigger tasks to buy tickets for gigs by your ultra-favourite bands. If you are subscribed to public holiday calendars or school holiday calendars, you can trigger tasks to prepare festivities or childcare. If you subscribe to competition calendars for poetry competitions or marathons, you can set a task to make sure you are entered in the competition.
Get Trello Cards or Basecamp Tasks Into Todoist
Do you use Trello for general brainstorming, blog planning, work tasks, or a different way of viewing your overall life plan? Get a calendar for your Trello board. Go to the sidebar, click the Menu dropdown, then choose Power Ups and you’ll see the calendar setup.
It’s also possible to get an iCal feed in Basecamp and many other to-do list services.
Subscribe to this iCal feed in Google Calendar; set a due date in Basecamp or Trello and have it displayed on your Google Calendar. This triggers the notification to send a task to Gmail and Todoist, so you won’t forget to complete the task.
This system is especially good if your colleagues like to plan collaboratively in Trello or Basecamp, but you don’t want to miss a deadline assigned to you. You can easily fine-tune the Gmail filter to only catch tasks assigned to yourself.
A Killer Student Hack
Students can use this system to trigger a set of tasks in advance for upcoming exams or assignment submission dates. You could set a notification from the calendar to be sent a month ahead, then trigger that to set a series of tasks. For instance, you could set one low priority task immediately to research the assignment, a higher priority task a couple of weeks later to prepare an outline, another high priority task a bit later to complete a draft, and the final high priority task a bit later to ensure the assignment is done and submitted.
Then to be certain nothing ever gets missed, you could trigger another notification a week before the due date to check it is done and submitted. This way, you won’t miss anything that gets added close to the due date.
What Else Can You Do With Todoist and IFTTT?
Since there are hundreds of other IFTTT integrations, there are many possibilities for Todoist. Even everyday reminders like setting a task to make sure there’s a winter survival kit in your car when the weather says it’s going to snow (or conversely, a surfboard on your car when it’s sunny).
But flipping things around, there are some cool things you can do when triggering IFTTT from Todoist, such as automatically emailing your boss a report.
How do you integrate Todoist with IFTTT, Gmail and Google Calendar? Are you stuck between a number of to-do lists for work and play? Tell us your best hacks!
Image Credits: Don’t forget Via Shutterstock