With thousands of tasks completed and having finally reached Grandmaster status, I figured I knew pretty much all there was to know about Todoist. I was wrong. When Becky asked me if I could dig deep and pull features from the depths of settings menus and help pages, I was surprised to find the following 10 helpful, but little-known features of Todoist.
Create a task that cannot be completed
One of the little-known features of Todoist I’ll admit was shared with me by the Todoist crew. It’s one I have already put into practice. To create a task that cannot be completed, simply begin the name of the task with an asterisk. When you hit enter, the checkbox simply will not be visible, making it impossible to complete the task without removing the asterisk.
I know, a task that cannot be completed on a list of to-dos sounds sort of … silly or counterproductive. But actually, it’s very useful in a handful of situations. For me, it’s great for creating different sections within a project and removing the chance of the entire task and all its subtasks being accidentally checked off.
With the new quick add features on mobile devices, it’s easier than ever to add a bunch of tasks at once. But nothing really beats the ability to import a batch of tasks from a template like you can from the desktop clients or browser.
You will first need to create a template, either by manually writing a text file with the proper formatting or by creating a new project with all the tasks you will need in the template and exporting it. Then, when you want to import all those tasks at the same time – rather than manually typing them all in again – simply open the project you wish to import to, click on the task actions button in to upper right corner, and select Import from template. Find the template on your computer (I keep them handy in a folder on my Mac’s dock), drag and drop. That’s it. A batch of tasks, however long you need, has been created in just a few clicks.
Text formatting and hyperlinks
Another among the little-known features of Todoist that is surprisingly helpful is the ability to make the text in task titles or notes bold or italicized simply by highlighting text and pressing Command+B or Command+I (alternatively, CTRL+B and CTRL+I for Windows users). You can also manually type the characters for bold (!!) or italics (__) on either side of the text you wish to alter. Further, you can even hyperlink the text in the name or note of a task. Simply paste a copied URL and put the desired text in parenthesis.
Recurring tasks based on completion date
I use recurring tasks a lot. I have one to remind me to brew cold brew coffee every few days, another for taking the trash to the street on Wednesday and Sunday nights, and many others. But you actually have a lot more control over how recurring tasks operate than you might think. Using the “starting” modifier, you can postpone the date for which a recurring task will begin. (Example: Every 2 months starting October 10.) You can also add an end date to a recurring task using something like “ending January 1.”
But that’s pretty much common knowledge now. What you may not know is that you can modify the next instance of the recurring task, simply by tagging an exclamation point onto the end of the word every. Normally, when you complete a task set to repeat “every 2 months starting October 10,” the next instance of that task would be December 10, regardless of when it is completed. However, if you use “every! 2 months starting October 10” instead, the due date of the next instance of that task depends on when it is completed. The next instance will be exactly two months from when the task is completed – such as December 8 if the task is completed on October 8 or January 12 if it is completed on November 12.
Disabling smart date recognition
When adding a task with the quick add feature, dates are parsed as you type. Recognized date inputs are automatically highlighted with an accent color, letting you know what the recognized due date will be before you hit enter. This is really helpful for quickly adding a bunch of tasks. But what if September is just part of the name of the task, not part of the due date? To keep the word September from disappearing from the title of the task and being mistaken as part of the due date, simply press “delete” or “backspace” on desktop or tap on the highlighted word on mobile to un-recognize it. You can also permanently disable smart date recognition permanently in Todoist settings.
Create tasks from wearable
For those who are have a wearable device, Todoist gives you the ability to quickly add tasks from Android Wear or Apple Watch. On Android Wear, when the watch face is on, speak “Ok, Google. Start to do list” and speak the name of the task. You can even speak the due dates using natural language, like “every Monday at 4:00 PM.” Within seconds, the new task will appear in your Todoist inbox.
View and complete tasks from wearable
Even better, you can actually view a summary of all your current and past due tasks for the day from your watch. If you’ve accidentally swiped them away or they simply are not appearing, open the application on your phone, tap the action overflow button in the upper right corner, and tap Send to wearable.
When scrolling through tasks from your watch, you can also complete, reschedule, or snooze a task. Simply tap it to separate it from the list, swipe it to the left, and select one of the options. And if someone adds a comment or note to a task, you can quickly and easily respond via dictation from the watch.
Integration with Google Drive and Dropbox (Premium)
If you’re a Todoist Premium user, you have the ability to add endless notes to your tasks. Simply click the Notes button to the right of the task title. From there, you can type text notes or drag and drop just about any file type to upload to the task. You can add as many files as you would like, but there is a file size limit of 20MB. You can get around this by linking your Dropbox and/or Google Drive accounts, which are integrated right into the Notes function. Click the paper clip icon within the Notes menu and connect your Dropbox and/or Google Drive account, and select the file you want, all without ever leaving the Todoist app.
Automatic and location reminders (Premium)
Another among the little-known features of Todoist reserved for Premium users is reminders. The options for how reminders are delivered is pretty robust, offering mobile push, email, or SMS delivery. You can also choose the default time for how long before a due date reminders are set. These reminders are automatic for tasks with due date times, but they can also be disabled very easily.
However, my favorite part is the ability to set reminders based on your location. Add a new reminder, select location instead of a date or time, type in the location you want the reminder set for, and select whether you want the reminder for when you arrive or leave that area.
Calendar sync (Premium)
Calendar sync is another little-known feature of Todoist. Within Todoist Settings, an iCal URL is provided. Simply paste this as a new calendar within Google Calendar (or your calendar of choice) and you can view your Todoist task list within your calendar, which can definitely come in handy.
If you know of other little-known features of Todoist not mentioned in this list, feel free to share it in the comments below!