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So, you entered all your tasks into Todoist, but the process of working through them is somewhat haphazard. That’s because you probably don’t have great filters.
That’s going to change. Today.
Todoist is a powerful to-do list system which runs on most operating systems and browsers, making it extremely versatile for everyone.
Many people find Todoist is greatly enhanced by upgrading to Todoist Pro (which is a pretty cheap upgrade of around $30 per year), as it lets you do all sorts of extra things that make life better. You can even combine Todoist superbly with IFTTT.
Many of the following tips will rely on having pro access, but there will be concepts and tricks that apply to everyone. In fact, these ideas could be useful to anyone using any to-do list system, if that system supports the same filtering functions.
Filter With Projects
A very recent addition to the Todoist features is the ability to include projects in your filters. This means you can now search for all the overdue items in one specific project, which is a truly excellent filter to make. Use the p:keyword notation in your filter, which will catch any project with that keyword in the name, plus all the sub-projects too.
So, to make sure all your important freelancing work gets done, create a filter for:
(over due, today) & (p1,p2) & p:Freelancing
Todoist‘s Labelling & GTD
The GTD system is fantastic if it works for you, but many others half-implement it alongside their other systems. Todoist‘s labels are an easy way to keep track of contexts, such as tasks that need to be done using Email, Phone, Computer, at the Office, or in some other location.
You can also use Todoist labels to note “Next Actions”, “Someday/Maybe” items, and items where you are “Waiting” for someone else. For your different projects, just use ToDoist’s projects. They’re perfect, especially now they can be filtered.
Filter for daytime-only tasks by using this filter:
@Post | @Phone | @Town
To catch all overdue tasks in important projects, filter for:
(over due, today) & (p:Bureaucracy | p:Errands | p:Freelancing )
Or to catch anything of importance in one hit, filter for:
p:Bureaucracy | p:Errands | p:Freelancing | @Post | @Phone | @Town | @Legal | p1
Obviously, this involves your labeling tasks in a similar fashion as mine, but I’m sure you get the idea. The concept behind the search is the most important bit, here.
Stephen Covey’s Quadrant System
By default, Todoist lets you see tasks by priority, but that’s not as useful as Stephen Covey’s quadrant system, which lets you focus on relevant tasks according to their importance and urgency.
Try setting up these four searches.
Quadrant 1 – Important & Urgent:
(over due, today) & (p1,p2)
Quadrant 2 – Important & Not Urgent:
(no date) & (p1,p2)
Quadrant 3 – Not Important & Urgent:
(over due, today) & (p3,p4)
Quadrant 4 – Not Important & Not Urgent:
(no date) & (p3,p4)
Energy Level Labels
Another neat way of labeling your tasks is to note how much energy it will require to do them.
Personally, I like to tackle the mentally exhausting tasks early in the day and move on to easier tasks later in the day. So I label the ones I can do with low energy levels as Afternoon and Evening tasks accordingly. Everything else is presumed to be high energy, but let’s say I label them with Morning. I’m sure you’ll choose relevant labels to suit your energy levels. This system works really well for recurring tasks.
The filters you’d use with this system are as follows.
(over due, 4 days) & @Morning
(over due, 4 days) & @Afternoon
(over due, 4 days) & @Evening
I’m sure you could add in priorities and projects in there, but it could get a bit too much. When it comes to filters, having a handful of powerful ones is actually far better than too many.
Colour-Coding Your Filters
You can easily change the colour of your filters by clicking “Edit” and then the drip icon to the left. It makes sense to change the colours to match the projects they most relate to, and to keep some colours for separate organisation systems or VIP filters.
Bookmark Your Best Todoist Filter
Bookmark your most useful filter, as there’s not much point clicking through to your filters each and every time you access Todoist. Have your default bookmark take you straight to the right one.
Search Todoist From Your Omnibar
Sometimes it makes sense to just use search for the tasks you need. Most browsers will let you set up custom searches for certain sites, so it makes sense to set up one for Todoist. Here’s how to do it in Chrome.
Go to Settings > Search > Manage Search Engines and add the following URL with a name and a keyword to initiate your searches. I’ve used “todo” so I can type “todo email” and instantly get all of my tasks with the word “email” in them. Handy!
How Do You Manage Your Tasks?
Are you a GTD fan or do you use Stephen Covey’s quadrant system? Do you mix and match or use an alternate organising system entirely for your tasks? Tell us about your best task filters!