How to Organize Your Family’s Tasks and Projects With Todoist

Families who to-do list together, stay together.

Illustration by Yin Weihung

Swimming lessons, brand new school supplies, mowing the lawn, whipping up bake sale cupcakes, study group, cleaning out the garage…it never ends! A week in the life of a family is full of stressful moments, mundane work, and incredible memories all in one. But when all these to-dos collide, overwhelm can get the best of us.

A family productivity system is just what you need to get organized. Instead of scattered post-it notes on the fridge, use Todoist to unify everything you need to get done, together. We asked our users if they use Todoist with their families and were amazed by the answers. Around 32% of you already use Todoist with your family.

If you belong to the 68% of users who may not use Todoist with your family just yet, this post will share a host of ideas on working with your family in Todoist and the ins and outs of getting started on your very own get-things-done system for you, your partner, your kids, and everyone else you consider kin!

Add Order to Everyday Life

Life gets busy. Add calm to your-day-to-day with projects and tasks that keep everyone moving in the same direction. Adding everything to Todoist ensures that everyday tasks, activities, and appointments are accounted for.

Homework

For the students in your life, have them use Todoist to keep track of their school work and exams. As a parent, you’ll know what they’re working on, visualize when you can lend a hand, and keep up to date with what they’re learning at school. For students, setting up a productivity system is a powerful skill that will set them up for success.

Groceries

Keep a shared and running list of groceries in a Todoist project. A collaborative list lets everyone contribute. It also ensures that your food list comes with your everywhere, across devices. No more hitting the aisles in the grocery story only to realize your paper list is on your fridge.

If you own an Amazon Echo, use it with Todoist to dictate food and household items and have them sync in your Todoist grocery list.

Bills

Internet, utilities, car payments, and tuition fees…it’s a lot to remember on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. Having a system in place to remember what and when you have to pay can save you the headache of overdue payments and late fees.

For monthly payments like for your heating bill, set up a recurring task so you never forget. For one-off bills and invoices, like a bathroom remodel, remember to add them to Todoist with a due date. You can add photos or pdf files of your bills directly as an attachment in the task comments.

Appointments

Never forget about another important appointment again, whether it’s your son’s dentist appointment or your wife’s work party. Set up Todoist’s 2-way sync with Google Calendar to see your calendar items right in Todoist.

Make Life’s Big Events Less Stressful

The day to day is one thing…big highly-anticipated events are another thing entirely! One moment, you’ve settled into a weekly rhythm you’ve established for you and your family. The next thing you know, a massive renovation, upcoming wedding, or trip throws everything off. Keep the order no matter what’s happening. Use Todoist projects to organize even the most hectic life events your family will come across.

Packing Checklist

Nothing throws off a vacation like standing at the airport realizing you’ve forgotten your passport or noticing your child’s favorite toy is nowhere to be found, right before boarding a transatlantic flight.

Prevent last-minute panic and hours-long temper tantrums with a Todoist packing list that itemizes all the things you’ll need for your next trip. Use section headers like “Toiletries” with subtasks like “toothpaste”, “deodorant”, and “contact lens solution”. If you’re looking for a ready made list, we’ve helped with that! Download our Vacation Planning template so you can get started on tasks like “organize pet care” and can keep a running list of plans on “Where to eat and drink” to get the most out of your next destination.

Before you leave, don’t forget setting tasks for making sure everything at home is in order when you come back.

Our Head of Marketing, Brenna, uses a “House on vacation” checklist before leaving town.

Home Renovations

Sometimes what starts as a “quick kitchen remodel” spawns into months of back-and-forth and living in chaos…heated conversations with your contractor, tired trips to the lumber yard, visits to your local hardware store, and cereal for dinner in the absence of a functioning cooking space.

Get on the same page with your contractor and expedite the renovation process with a dedicated project. Add a section for “inspiration” so you never forget your original vision (no matter how fed up with the process you get). Set reminders for following-up with your contractor if they go radio silent. When you boil down what feels like a never-ending project into a finite number of tasks, it’s easier to see the end in sight.

Back to School Lists

For many households, September is a hectic time of the year. A lazy summer comes to an end, and things kick back into high-gear as we head into a new school year or semester. Add order to back to school with checklists that include everything your kid needs to make the grade. Let them add anything that might be missing from the list (within reason!) Don’t forget items like “whiteout”, “pens”, “5-subject notebooks”, “new backpack”, “textbooks”, or “colored markers”. Make the list your own and add important items to get done before the first day of school arrives. This could be anything from fixing the zipper on a fall jacket or goal setting with your daughter or son for the semester ahead.

Wedding Planning

Congratulations! You and your spouse-to-be have decided to get married. Before marital bliss kicks in, you might have a few months (or even years!) to plan your wedding.

Whether you’re opting for a small gathering of friends and family or planning a 500-person extravaganza, using Todoist for the road ahead will turn headaches into smooth sailing for you and your partner.

If you’re opting for a wedding planner, ask them to use Todoist so that everyone is aligned with the vision for your big day. By the way, we have a pre-made Wedding Planning template you can use!

Add Accountability

At the end of the day, things need to get done and someone has to do them! Nothing builds aggravation and annoyance quite like uneven workloads. If someone’s not shouting “that’s not fair”, someone’s silently stewing about unloading the dishwasher for the 4th day in a row. Use assigned tasks in Todoist to split responsibilities evenly and keep track of who is did what last. Alternately, keep track of who asked who to do what!

https://twitter.com/Shafable/status/1053011708892119040?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1053011708892119040&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fblog.doist.com%2Fmedia%2Fc89fde38cb80df5d94410a1352faad22%3FpostId%3De94862dce94

Chores

Set up a shared project for tasks like “mowing the lawn”, “walking the dog”, or “doing the laundry”. Whether you rotate tasks or have specific areas of responsibility, making that explicit in Todoist with an assigned task can take the conflict out of household chores and help create balance and fairness while distributing household work. To truly tackle equity, try duplicating the same tasks for each person and assign them on a rotating schedule!

Our memories conveniently get a bit foggy when it’s time to remember who last cleaned the tub. Within a project select “Show completed tasks” to always know who did what last and bring clarity back to cleaning.

Extra Responsibilities

Random tasks, that aren’t a part of our daily routines, crop up all the time. Whether it’s buying a gift for an upcoming baby shower, grabbing extra lawn chairs for a weekend barbecue, or dealing with an unexpected tax issue, having someone assigned always makes sure it gets done.

Add Excitement to Life

Whether you’re watching a travel flick and murmur “we need to go there” or spot something inspiration and think, “we should do that”…add it to Todoist! Your task manager isn’t just a spot for all the things you and your family need to trudge through in a given week. It’s also a space for adding exciting ideas and the everything you’d like to try…and not forget about! Add your family goals and future plans and keep coming back to them.

Trip Ideas

Generate vacation ideas on the fly with a dedicated Project for trip ideas. Instead of leaning on your go-to spots, year after year, have your family contribute to adding new destinations, local or international, to the list. When it comes time to decide on the spot for your next trip, you’ll have a list of locations to choose from. Sure, it’s less exciting than spinning a globe, but you’ll probably have a better time if your travel pick is planned instead of random.

Date Night Ideas

Add fun to your week, with date night ideas for you and your partner. Whether that’s having a romantic dinner at home or heading out for dancing in the city, a dedicate project for “couple plans” stops you from falling back on the same old meal at your go-to restaurant.

https://twitter.com/PerrynAndrews/status/1053014668552204288?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1053014668552204288&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fblog.doist.com%2Fmedia%2Fccdeaa231058b98cb39ca4cc520a9cd7%3FpostId%3De94862dce94

Recipes to Try

Ditch the grilled chicken breasts and bring on the chicken tortilla casserole! Get out of your usual dinner rut, and save quick, tasty, and easy recipes you come across in a “Meal Ideas” project in Todoist. Use a shared project and encourage others to add their ideas, especially the picky eaters in your life!

Gift Lists

“So, what do you want for your Birthday?” There are two types of people in the world — those that respond “surprise me!” and the others who bring out a detailed list of options, inclusive of the size, color, and model number of the item they have in mind. For both, you can use a Todoist project to keep a running list of gift ideas. If you know what someone wants, add it to your list so you don’t forget! If they won’t provide any hints, keeping a list of ideas of items they might enjoy. For the surprise lovers, remember to their keep gift ideas in a private list if they’re in Todoist so you don’t wreck the reveal.

Goal Setting

Use Todoist to keep track of both your family and couple goals as well as your individual goals. Set a project up for “Goals” where you can add collective goals like saving for a big trip, getting more involved in the community through volunteerism, or communicating better for less blowouts. Adding your personal goals, for your family to see, may help with added accountability. If your spouse sets a goal of bringing a packed lunch to work 3 days of the week, root them on when they succeed and gently remind them when they’re off track.

Bonus Benefits

You’ll never know the unexpected bonuses that will arise from a family productivity system before you try it for yourselves! Unexpected acts of kindness, time saved, or a general feeling of calm are all in reach when everyone is in Todoist.

Friendly Competition

Emphasis on friendly. Seeing what your partner or family member is up to can be rather motivating. Add gamification to boring tasks by competing for Karma Points. That could mean being the first to soak the laundry or going out of your way to mow the lawn on your path to Grand Master status.

Lending a Helping Hand

Having a birds-eye view of your spouses tasks or your child’s workload can let you know when they might be overwhelmed and could use a load-off. If you’re day is clearer, help them by taking a task assigned to them and assigning it to yourself. While assigning is the goal, it’s often helpful to look at a list of chores and household tasks as “our items” vs “your items”.

Getting Your Family into Todoist

Hopefully, you’re sold on everything you can accomplish with your family with a productivity system in place! Now, it’s time to turn your family into Todoist enthusiasts. If your family likes the way they do things, suggest using Todoist as an “add-on” to reap the benefits of a unified technique for everyone. If you have teenage techies in your midst, their inner technologists will be excited by the chance to try a new solution they can use across all their devices.

Getting everyone out of the house and into the car be a challenge in itself, so we won’t pretend getting everyone on board in Todoist will be a breeze either. However, here are some approaches that may help convert your family into a team of task masters (the good kind).

Lead By Example

If you’re already using Todoist, let your organization and productivity guide the way. Casually mention how you use Todoist and let your significant other, siblings, or children know how it’s been impactful to the way you work and live. This alone might build excitement and nudge them in the direction to download the app and play around with it themselves.

Provide a Walkthrough

If your family members show even a passing interest in adopting Todoist, make sure to equip them with all the information they’ll need to get up and running. Guide them through the app, and show them all your different projects.

Once you’ve provided a guided tour of the app, share a few resources with them too:

Share a Project

Once you’ve invited your family member(s) to a Todoist project, it’s go time. Send them an invitation to a Project and assign them a task and add comments to start. Learn more about sharing projects

Remember, your family members will only be able to view the projects you invite one another to. Make sure that everyone is invited to all the shared projects you want to collaborate on like “chores”, “vacation ideas”, and “dinner recipes”.

Note: If you’d prefer a Shared Inbox with your family and centralized team billing, check out Todoist Business.
Invite your family members via email.

Regular Check-Ins

Perhaps your spouse or teenager were checking off tasks like no tomorrow…and then stopped. Check-in and troubleshoot why they might not be as keen on the app as when they first started. Give them a few reminders to get them back on track…

  • If they use plenty of other apps, let them know about Todoist Integrations
  • Play up the fun side of Todoist! Tell them about collecting karma points and reaching the next level of productivity. Don’t we all want to be Enlightened?

Unfortunately, not everyone will be sold on Todoist right away. Regardless, give it your best shot. The benefits of getting your family on the same page are worth it.

A Todoist Family in Action

For Benjamin Pollock and his family, Todoist has helped them get on the same page. “It’s been really helpful for organization and coordinating…it definitely keeps things going smoothly.”

They have a set of Todoist projects that are a constant in their day-to-day lives, like a list for “buying”.

Benjamin and his family use a ‘@shopping’ label across projects for easy access while they’re out.

“We have a variety of projects we share. The primary ones, which we never close, are the grocery list, the list of routine house errands, and the list of shared responsibilities (i.e., things we need to do for the kid or the cats, etc.).”

Their “Family” project includes household chores on a recurring basis.

On the flip side, there are projects that get set-up on an as-needed basis!

“We also at any given point have several one-off projects going. These can be anything from a packing list for a trip, to a list of stuff we’re doing for volunteer work, to thank-you cards around holidays, etc. We archive these projects once they’re done.”


Keep Your Family on The Same Page

In between play dates, spring cleaning, sports practice, and college applications, keeping it together is a whole lot easier with a family productivity system. Modern families require modern ways to stay connected and in sync.

Life will always through stressful situations our way. While a joint system won’t eliminate them, it will allow for more moments of calm and order that let you catch your breath and plan for what’s next.

We appreciated your insights on how you use Todoist with your family! We’d love to hear more on how you use the app to stay productive. Tweet us @todoist.

Ready to put some of these ideas into practice yourself? Set up your own Todoist and start sharing projects with your family for free!