If you are not new to this blog, you know, that I am an organization and planning junkie. I have a planner, I have a bullet journal and I would get 10 other planners if I could keep up with them. I feel so motivated and accomplished when I plan things and then do them, as if I had control over my life.
Even though I had all of these planners and calendars and a bullet journal, I felt like I don’t have a system in place as to when to do specific things. Something like a routine that I can go through every day and know that when I am finished, I really did everything I needed to do for the day. Kind of like a – ‘not even thinking about it but still perfectly planned everything’ system.
Because I didn’t want to think about it and create the system from scratch every day, I knew, I needed something digital this time. Even though I am a pen-and-paper girl through and through, there are just some things that make your life easier once you switch to digital. So I wanted a program that I can feed my tasks into and it would remind me to do it – or just show me what I have to do on any given day.
I found Todoist.
I fell in love so hard that I even bought the premium version on day 2. Yes, I know, it must be a ‘I would die for you and/or burn my favourite planner for you’ type of love, if I bought the premium version so quickly.
And it was. In this blog post (and the next part) I want to show you how I use this app, what my system looks like and how I maintain my system.
I also created a video, where you can see Todoist in action with my system, if you are more a visual type, you can check it out here:
So in this first blog post I want to talk about my system and how it works. In the next blog post next week I will talk about how I maintain my system.
I use my Inbox as a brain dump kind of thing. If I have a lot of things in my mind, a lot of tasks that I need to do, I just open my inbox and create tasks for them. I don’t schedule them whatsoever, I just dump everything in my inbox. Once I am finished and I have time, I would schedule them and put the tasks into the right projects, etc. I also use the inbox to write down tasks when I don’t have the time to properly put them away in the system. This way I won’t forget and later on I can categorize.
So this is where most of my system lives. I created different categories for different areas of my life, where I put away all my tasks. My categories are:
- waiting on
Most of these categories have subcategories, except someday/maybe and waiting on. The subcategories are as followed for the category personal:
- [Personal To-do]
- Movies to watch
- Book 1
- Book 2
The category [Personal To-do] is like a master to do list, where I put everything, most of the time the small things that occour, like go to the post office or grab groceries.
The category work is pretty small at the moment:
- [General To-do]
Since I am not responsible for any projects at the moment, I only have my master task list listed under work. Most of my categories have a master task list, and only bigger projects get a whole subcategory.
The category Study:
- [General To-do]
Ecodemy is the name of my online studies. I was hoping to get into a different university this fall, hence the general to-do list, but I couldn’t get in – so I guess I could delete the general to do, but I don’t feel ready yet, haha.
The category Home:
- [Home To-do]
Pretty self-explanatory, I guess. Under home to-do I have a lot of tasks, that repeat themselves, like vacuum and such. I moved this month so I made a whole category for that.
The category Business (and by business I mean my blog and my social media):
- [Biz To-do]
- [Social media]
- Blog branding
Here I have two master to-do lists (I mark master to-do lists by putting the name into , if you haven’t noticed yet), one for general to-do, and one for my social media schedule. Under Admin I have things like backup blog, or clean out images on my blog, things like that.
The someday/maybe category contains projects that I would love to do, but don’t have the time or the means to do it now. For example, I would love to go to the hairdressers and get my hair colored, but right now I don’t have the money to do it. So I put it in here and review this list frequently, as to check if there is anything that got relevant.
The waiting on list is for tasks, that I can’t continue at this moment, because I am waiting on something from somebody. For example, I had to create a design for a mug for work. I had that as a task – once I created the design I moved the task into the waiting on category because I had to get the approval of my boss. Then I could move on with the project.
The only category I left out is the maintenance one. I am going to talk about that in the next part of this blog post.
I use labels to mark how much time something would take. Every time I add a new task I would estimate how much time it would take, so when I open my to-do list I can see that for every task. My labels are:
- Under 5 minutes
- Under 15 minutes
- Under 30 minutes
- Under 1 hour
- Over 1 hour
- On phone
- In town
- On Laptop
- Bullet journal
I also have some labels for specific places or things, like when I am in town or on the phone.
I added to custom filters to the existing filters in Todoist. These are
- Quick wins
- Today under 15
Quick wins actually means tasks under 5 minutes. When I don’t feel like doing much but still don’t want to waste time, I just click this filter and it shows me all of the tasks today that take less than 5 minutes (this is where the labels come in!).
The query for that is: today & @Under_5_minutes (if you created a label for tasks under 5 minutes and named it Under_5_minutes)
Similarly, the query for today under 15 is: today & @under_15_minutes
How I use the system
So how I would use this system is fairly easy and I believe you can already guess it.
First, I create a task, name it, schedule it, label it and categorize it. For example:
Clean bath (name) tomorrow (schedule) @under_30_minutes (label) #[Home To-do] (category)
Of course the things I put in brackets are only for you to understand the system, I don’t really put that in there when I create tasks. So Todoist recognises all of that and schedules this task for tomorrow.
The actual process I go through is only opening the ‘Today’ window and there I have it – all of my tasks. Tasks I maybe scheduled for that day 2 weeks ago, or tasks that occur every day, and so on.
I would also check the ‘Next 7 days’ tab once in a while, just to know, what are the upcoming tasks this week. But more about that in part 2.
How to create tasks that occur more than once
So you maybe want to create tasks that should repeat themselves after they are done, for example yoga every thursday. How do you do that? As everything, this is also very simple with Todoist: you just type in yoga every thursday and it will show this task every thursday.
I hope this blog post wasn’t to all over the place and you could understand how I use this system. If not, please go ahead and check out the video I created, where you can actually see most of it in work. Also, feel free to ask questions in the comments, if you have some!