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  • Writer's pictureAdell Ryan

Nerd Out to These Unique Todoist Productivity Hacks

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Todoist Hacks

Todoist has been my go-to productivity task app since 2016. Of the many wonderful things Todoist offers (a clean platform, import/export options, and integrations, to name a few) I have stuck with them for so long mostly because of their constant vigilance in keeping the program progressive with the times. The Todoist team is always adding new features and fixing bugs (not that there are a ton!) They really seem to care, and as a prolific, hard-working businesswoman I have a lot of respect for that.

Since I tend to go through spurts where I just absolutely need to play and geek out to programs and platforms, however, it is not at all unusual for me to "cheat" on Todoist and tinker. I always come back, though. Need a Gantt chart? Hey, they have an integration for that. Want to time track directly in the program? There is an integration for that, too.

When there isn't a built-in feature or integration that perfectly fits a need, I have found that playing around enough can often result in some fun hacks for getting the platform to do what I want. Or at least close.

In this post, I want to share two such hacks that I have incorporated into my routine, just in case you want to nerd out to them, too!

**full disclosure, accomplishing these hacks does require familiarity with the program.


Basic Time Blocking Directly in the Todoist App

The method shown above is not to be mistaken for the time blocking tricks via their Google Calendar or HourStack integrations, among others. I wanted a clean time blocking organization method applied directly inside the app. To accomplish this, I used a combination of their available built-in features: headers, labels, filters, and priorities.

There is a fun little trick when you want a header "task" without creating an actual section. To do this, you simply add a * and space in front of the task name. In the image above, you will see this in effect for all my time blocks: 7 am - 10 am; 10 am - 1 pm; and 1 pm - 4 pm.

The max amount of blocks you can do coincides with the available priorities, which at the time of this post is four...

If you use priorities for the purpose they were designed for, this time blocking method may not work for you. Unless, of course, your top priorities need to be accomplished during your first time block of the day, because that is almost always where they will display! That is the beauty of it, though; with default sorting, top priorities populate at the top of your time block layout, and low priority items populate toward the bottom of your time block layout.

It takes a little playing with because Todoist has several settings in place that dictate how your tasks naturally sort. Like the order of your projects, for instance. A project toward the bottom of the list will naturally show up toward the bottom of your time block; unless, of course, you have a high priority assigned to it, in which case some of those priority rules will be applied.

Either way, getting your tasks to land within the time block you want might take a little tweaking. To do any of this, though, you will need labels and filters.

If you scroll back up to the image above, you will notice that I like to apply daily labels (and, therefore, correlating filters): dayMonday, dayTuesday, etc. However, that is a bit too deep for what we are working on today. Instead, to start more simply, I suggest first creating a "timeblock" label. From there you should start a "Time Block" project near the top of your project list and follow up by adding in your four time-block heading "tasks," being sure to apply the @timeblock label and #1 priority to each one. Like so:

The last basic step is to create a time block filter and save it as a "favorite." In the image above, you can see my "Time Blocking" filter on the left above my daily filters. Your filter query will look a little like this: (today | @timeblock) That way, all your "today" tasks will show up in your Time Blocking filter and you can prioritize them accordingly into the appropriate time blocks during your start-of-day review.

Done! Next on the agenda...


Manual Progress Bars

Gasp! Seriously, if Todoist could have interactive, self-updating progress bars for a project, how beautiful would that be? I very well might cry a little the day that feature rolls out (should it ever). In the meantime, I came up with my own way of doing it, of course.

Like with the time blocking hack, for progress bars you will need to understand and apply labels. Eleven, to be exact. Instead of letters/words, each label name consists of ten Unicode boxes in various colors according to your preferences. Here are the ones I used. Feel free to copy/paste them into your label name fields:












To properly apply these, all you need to do is add the label to whichever parent task you are looking to track progress on. Of course, you will need to be on top of keeping your own progress updated. Figure out the math and, perhaps, jot that down in the description box of your task so you only have to math once. Then, say, if you are writing a novel and it has thirty chapters, you will adjust your progress label every three chapters!

Wahlah, a fun progress bar!

There you have it! Two unique Todoist hacks. May your days be organized and productive!

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