Using Todoist as a Freelancer – 5 Pros Share Their Tips

Keep track of client projects, billing, communications, and more

When taking on freelance work, one must be highly organized and able to meet strict deadlines while quite often working alone (and possibly from home). This high level of accountability is a reason why so much literature about freelancing focuses on time and task management, and resources to achieve both. As a result, many freelancers have discovered Todoist and have developed innovative ways to take advantage of our software and apps in a freelance setting.

Today, we gather the experiences and tips of five different freelancers who’ve relied on Todoist to stay organized and productive while at work and on-the-go. We hope they prove useful for you as well!

Get a complete overview of your week’s tasks.

In Todoist, there are various ways to see task overviews: per day, per week, and per project. The Seven Day view allows you to see all the tasks that must be completed in the following week, and comes in especially handy for freelancers. Victoria, a consultant and designer, shares her task overview tip: “On any given day (actually, everyday), I log-in to Todoist and look at my to do list in the 7 day view. This allows me to see how tasks are going to be spaced out, and make sure the quantity I’ve assigned to a day is realistic. Things I either didn’t tackle or didn’t quite finish are always at the top; today’s tasks right below.

Lisa, a writer and designer, has an especially unique way of ordering her tasks each week:

When I add a new task to my list, I always assign a due date for the Monday of the week I want to finish that task. Each Monday, I sort through the list in 7-day view and drag tasks that can be completed later in the week to other days. Then, each morning I sort my list according to priority. Anything that wasn’t completed the day before stays at the top of the list under a red heading, so I can drag it into place the next day.

Increase organization with projects and sub-projects.

One of Todoist’s most simple yet powerful features for freelancers is projects (and therefore sub-projects). Projects can be used to divide tasks by clients, or to separate different types of to-dos such as office, home and, in Anna’s case (see below), social or hobbies. By clearly and visually delineating which tasks go where, your organization will automatically increase.

Todoist projectsSub-projects are also a great way to break-down big items into smaller sections. Victoria from The B Bar, says that “within each project, I have additional nested ‘categories’ — for design work, I have current projects, as well as upcoming ones based on month, and within each of these, a folder for each clients name.” See her workflow here:

Todoist workflow projects

One of Anna’s projects, as you can see in the first image, is Work. This project “has a sub-project with my employer’s name and one for freelance projects. The one with my employer has 3 sub-sub-projects: Employed job 1, Employed job 2, and Meetings,” she says. Each of her sub-sub-projects house all the assignments she needs to complete, which has “massively improved my everyday productivity and sense of being in control of my life.

Color-code for mental clarity.

We already know that color coding is a relief for the brain, which is why so many freelancers rely on the various color options available in Todoist. With the free version of Todoist, you have 12 colors to color-code projects, and with Todoist Premium, you have 24 colors for projects and 13 colors for labels. Here’s how Victoria, for example, color-codes her projects: “Vivaleur (my design studio) is pink, vmac+cheese (my blog) is purple, and below this, The B Bar is yellow.

Todoist color coding

For all Todoist users, there are four colors with which one may assign task priorities: red for priority #1, dark blue for priority #2, light blue for priority #3, and white for priority #4. Lisa says: “I set a priority level for certain tasks… I usually just manually order my list, but it comes in handy when I have a task that absolutely must be finished that day — the red box is pretty hard to ignore!

Give your memory a break with recurring tasks.

So many freelancing tasks are repetitive which is why using Todoist’s recurring task feature is indispensable. You can schedule tasks to repeat every day, every Friday, every 3 days starting next Monday, and much more (see a full list of date and time options here). For freelancers, this will give your memory a serious break, allowing you to easily schedule monthly invoices, weekly client reviews, and daily to-dos like logging hours allotted to each client.

Automate your tasks with Todoist’s Zapier integration.

We love the Todoist and Zapier automation tips that Angie, a blogger and at-home-entrepreneur, has shared on her blog. Zapier is a service that lets you connect Todoist with over 250 other apps and services like Evernote, Twitter, and Podio. Some of Angie’s “zaps” include:

  • When you post to Instagram it creates a Task in Todoist so you can remember to promote it elsewhere later.
  • When a specific hashtag or search term is used on Twitter, a Task is added to Todoist.
  • If a specific brand you are targeting posts on social media, a Todoist Task is added so you can comment.
  • If you receive a PayPal payment for a direct ad spot, a Task is added so you can get them promoted as promised.
  • If a writer saves a post in WordPress, a Task is added so you can approve it. Same goes for comments.

Todoist zapier

Feeling unmotivated? Track your productivity.

A unique feature that freelancers enjoy in Todoist is Todoist Karma, a point system that increases when you complete tasks and decreases when you postpone tasks. With Todoist Karma (a Premium feature), you can see your productivity trends for the week, for the last month and over time, as well as per project and by weekday.

The colors of the horizontal bars, if you’re wondering, correspond to the assigned colors of projects and sub-projects, to give you an idea of what you’re spending the most time on,” says Nattily.

If you’re ever feeling unmotivated and are in need of encouragement, Anna suggests that the Todoist Karma graphs “are like a reward for doing the work: the work doesn’t just disappear, it leaves a pretty, colourful trail that reminds me what I have done so far. Evidence of achievement.

Todoist Karma

If you’re also a freelancer, please be sure to share your Todoist tips in the comments section!