I read the Getting Things Done book by David Allen in 2009. I’d heard about the book but never considered reading it. I thought I already had the best time management system in my Franklin Planner. But one day, as I was browsing the books in the English books section of the Kyobo Bookstore in Seoul, I came across Getting Things Done and thought, why not? That book changed everything for me. I saw possibilities of creating my own system and the chance to take advantage of the emerging mobile technology that was beginning to emerge.
Reading Getting Things Done, was the start of a journey of discovery. I tried many different kinds of productivity apps, from Franklin Covey’s Task app to Things for Macbefore finally going with the Rolls Royce of Mac productivity apps, OmniFocus. And there I stayed for a number of years.
But there was always a slight problem in the background. I loved OmniFocus, it got me in the habit of using digital tools to manage my daily tasks, I ate up every article and listened to every podcast I could find on using OmniFocus, I played and played around with the perspectives attempting to find that ‘perfect’ one that would meet all my needs, then I would read another article and change all my perspectives again. It was a cycle I repeated almost every week. I was continually searching for the ‘perfect setup’ and I loved it!
Then, one day, I came across Todoist. I was immediately drawn to its beauty and simplicity (I am quite an aesthetic person) and I downloaded it to test it out. For about one year I played around with Todoist. By then, I was a hardcore OmniFocus user and because of the financial investment, the start and due dates, the perspectives and different setups I could have in OmniFocus I was reluctant to switch completely.
What finally moved me over to Todoist was when I asked myself exactly what I wanted from a to-do list manager. OmniFocus is brilliant. It has every conceivable feature a productivity and time management geek like myself could ever wish for, and I took complete advantage of that. I was always tweaking my perspectives and playing around with start dates and due dates. It was procrastination heaven.
Then it hit me. OmniFocus is a procrastinator’s heaven. There was always an excuse for playing with the settings and set up, and I found I never needed much of an excuse to play around with it either. The amount of actual work I was doing was being limited by the amount of time I was playing around with the features in OmniFocus.
I should point out, this is not the fault of OmniFocus. This is my fault. I can’t help myself. That inner productivity geek is a strong voice and was always tempting me to try just another perspective or to switch to using only start dates, and then a few days later suggesting I switch back to due dates. Oh did I love it.
The trouble was, I wasn’t getting much real work done. I had a beautifully organised OmniFocus, but I didn’t have that much completed work to show for it. That’s when I decided to go all in with Todoist. Todoist’s feature set is much simpler. At its core, it is just lists for different projects or labels. But, for my inner geek, I have filters. I can play around with the filters as much as I like, but as there are fewer options than in OmniFocus I am not spending complete afternoons playing around. Just a few minutes instead.
At the core of my productivity system, today is GTD. So when I made the decision to move over to Todoist completely I re-read the GTD book and set up my Todoist as close to a pure GTD system as I could. Over a period of a few months, I came up with a system inside Todoist that worked far better than anything I created in OmniFocus and apart from a few minor tweaks, my system has remained pretty consistent over the last three years.
In those three years, I have written 4 books, created over 300 YouTube videos, 8 online courses and still maintain my communications consultancy. My productivity has increased ten times, and this was because I dropped an app that was feature rich and moved over to Todoist. Todoist has focussed me on the work and not the feature set and for that, I am so grateful to Todoist.
And that brings me to the point of this article. There are thousands of to-do list managers out there today with new ones appearing every week. Each one promises a better feature set than the others. But a great to-do list manager is not one with hundreds of features. A great to-do list manager is one that focuses you on the work. One that puts the work you need to do right in front of you from the moment you open it. In simple terms, a great to-do list manager is just an app with lists. If the app presents those lists in a beautiful way, then all the better, but really all we need is a list of the tasks we need to accomplish today and a way to check them off. For me, Todoist does this brilliantly.
So thank you to all the amazing people at Todoist. You’ve made an incredible product and I for one will not be changing apps anytime soon.
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My goal is to help show you how to live the life you desire. To help you find happiness and become better organised and more productive so you can do more of the important things in life.