todoist long

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The next creation is a follow-on from the management video with things I like in Todoist.

Sections in Todoist

Sections are a good thing. They are like the sections in Ayoa which are circles and subsets in the canvas. But now Todoist has sections.

Add section names in Todoist
Add section names in Todoist

Originally, I thought that was a way to procrastinate. It can be, but now I’ve found a real advantage because you can put comments on everything. You can get down to the granularity of task leaf nodes. You can assign one person to each and break things down properly into a work breakdown structure.

You can also make a header by adding a colon to a task name.

Add a colon to a Todoist task to make it a heading
Add a colon to a Todoist task to make it a heading

Tasks in context

That level of detail has helped me make much more progress, because I’m doing the little things, the important things. Normally in a GTD review I might spend a lot of time just reviewing KPIs, but I put tasks under there like ‘improve the graph’ or ‘calculate the average of the performance measure’. All sorts of little modifications just get done, and they’re nicely in the context of GTD, in place, rather than just somewhere random.

The Inbox

The inbox is another big one now. Ayoa has an inbox but which still has a problem. (This is why say they haven’t done any development updates for ages, because you have to go in there and physically move the task. It’s not visual at all, nor drag and drop as it should have been when it was Droptask.

Todoist inbox
Todoist Inbox

Todoist has got that inbox, and you can just pick a new item with handles and visually drag it into the project that you want. And the final point on Ayoa is that it’s just not fast enough, especially on Android. Probably good on the iPhone, but I don’t have an iPhone. I must have forwarded to them 30 bugs.


Todoist is fast and that makes a big difference. Put something on the computer, on the tablet and when you come to the phone it’s all there. And that makes it a trusted system. Todoist is miles better than Toodledo or any of those others, Ayoa included. Although Ayoa’s strong points are elsewhere, in the link between mind maps and tasks. Unfortunately, they’re not exportable operationally for me.


One advantage of Ayoa is the dynamic links with Evernote – changing the Evernote title changes the Ayoa task title and vice versa.

But Evernote is too big for tasks. I use Evernote as a library, to keep the big stuff, the big objectives which I can just link easily to Todoist by copying the internal link.

Naming links in Todoist

And having found out that you can give a clear name to the great long link with brackets.

link to evernote
This link for an Evernote
label link evernote to todoist
Enclose the label in brackets
link displays like this
The link displays like this

Changing the name of links is a big one. But I was concerned, when moving over from Ayoa to Todoist, about losing that dynamic link with Evernote. The problem has gone away.

Ayoa and Todoist

I’m delighted that Ayoa integrated with i-mindmap and created the link between mind maps and tasks, but you can’t use the tasks on a day-to-day basis.

Mindmap in Ayoa which links nicely into tasks

It was great on the desktop until I tried to walk and work outside, and it’s just impossible with Ayoa.

Ayoa was great for me when I was organising content from Evernote. I was very positive about tagging things in Evernote and having them come up in Ayoa, arranging them into a grid and prioritising.

ayoa workflow
ayoa workflow

That beat Kanbanote and helped me to start getting content out, but it’s not quite a task manager, it’s more a project manager.

kanbanote helps to organise themes
kanbanote grid to organise Evernotes

I’m keeping Ayoa and the mindmap link to tasks, but I’ve stopped feeding Ayoa from Evernote. I’m putting things straight into Todoist and using Todoist much more than Evernote. Where Evernote seems to be about designing, talking theoretically, talking grand principles, but it doesn’t get you doing so well.

Todoist Starts With Doing

Todoist starts with the doing, but with the potential to build up tasks into objectives and break down objectives into tasks. Something that seems initially to be unconnected but then, with thought, comes under a hierarchy. And at the top of the hierarchy, at the top of the pyramid, is the objective. That’s bottom-up.

Example of a ‘low level’ task

Initially, the inbox item was just ‘Format trend line in decimals’. Then I realised it was in the context of GTD, so I put it down there and not only did it gain in meaning, it also changed priority. Instead of it being ‘I’ve got to do it now, otherwise, I’m never going to do it’, I parked the item.

Small and large tasks together in context in Todoist
Small and large tasks together in context in Todoist

So next time I came around to the GTD review in my PDCA cycle, I looked in there and saw I had to the averages. Instead of just automatically, robotically doing the measurements and the KPIs, the GTD session becomes a cyclic habit, and I pick up the development work in there as well.

That’s been successful because the translation database statistics have taken a leap – I now need data to confirm whether I’m really at 600 or 700 words per hour.

Bottom-up and Top-down

Anything can come into the inbox, either leaf nodes or objectives. Todoist can easily do the bottom-up and top-down, and it’s better to have both objectives and tasks in the same tool so that bottom-up and top-down can meet.

So Todoist is turning out to be the perfect tool, and I would love to say that Ayoa was there. The mind mapping link to tasks is great, but it’s not enough. You need speed and reliability to make it the trusted system.

I have written content on Ayoa, but I’m hesitating. I’m feeling negative towards Ayoa now, Todoist is out front.

Recording Voice Into Todoist

I was complaining at the beginning of the session that I had nothing to do. I found something to do to make my time productive: preparing content for the website – voice recording in context. If I can get productive on this, I can ramp up the volume of writing, even if I want to keep up the production volume. So I need to make that into a PDCA production cycle.

todoist record audio desktop
todoist record audio desktop
todoist record audio android
todoist record audio android

This new method is also a coming together of different things, this idea of voice recording, now straight into Todoist in a general comments section.

It means I can free think. And, like the mind mapping process, free think now and dispatch later with the mental. Voice dumping is non-mental, feelings and thoughts and a jumble of things that just come out.

Textual Mind Dumping in Todoist

Text dumping is a valuable extension of comments. It’s like a new way of mind mapping.

It started when we decided to do a mind map of our thoughts and desires, in the context of buying a house. What do we want?

Text mind dumping in Todoist

We did a mind dump in text, and I could have done a mindmap out of that. It came linearly, to sort later. So voice recording is going to help because I can record, transcribe and then classify and categorise later.

By marklewis

Mark Lewis is an Access developer, business analyst turned technical translator, fluent in French and English

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