How I’m Using Todoist to Organize My Days and (Travel) Goals

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I wrote last week about 5 new apps that are revolutionizing my workflow, the way I approach my days, and overall helping me kick ass with goals and productivity.

I mentioned a to-do app called Swipes that has great reviews.

Come to find out, there are about a zillion apps that all attempt to accomplish the same thing (I know, duh, right?).

To that end, I explored a few more, and for whatever reason, Todoist grabbed me and swept me away.

todoist review


Not only is it a great place to store to-do lists, but it’s also helping me organize my personal and travel goals.

What’s Todoist?

Todoist, like its name implies, is an app and website where you can store your to-do lists.

At the expense of having too many apps (and just more crap) to manage, I was leery about adding another one.

I tried:

At their core, they’re all the same thing. It’s hard to say why a certain setup or layout appeals to you more than another, but Todoist, for me, was simply “the one.”

I liked the minimal layout, the ability to tinker with colors, nested subtasks, and their labeling system. 

Karma karma karma

I’m also a fan of their Karma points system (yes, another points program to think about!).


When will I reach enlightenment?

Of course, it’s completely meaningless. Or is it?

Todoist Karma gives you “points” for adding and completing tasks, using advanced features like labels, and meeting your daily goals.

Not only that, but you’ll lose points for not completing tasks or letting them become overdue!

For me personally, it’s a great motivator. I added a few things to my own to-do lists and found myself wanting to do them to earn more “Karma.”

Adding tasks couldn’t be simpler. And you can customize forever if you want to – or leave it as-is.

The reframe

I’ve written about how to use Evernote for travel goals and during trips.

Evernote lets you make checklists, and even add reminders – just like Todoist.

They both perform essential functions, but for me the kicker is the reframe.

I think of Evernote as a digital repository, a place to store information.

And I think of Todoist as a place for tasks.

So placing my travel goals in an action-oriented setting spurs my subconscious mind in a way Evernote doesn’t. Because if it’s in Todoist, I have to do it.

That said, I’ll still use Evernote to track my progress.

Because once a task is marked “done” in Todoist, it’s gone (which is great!).


Places to go in Todoist

But Evernote is all about reminding you how far you’ve come. (Which is also great!)


My travel goals in Evernote, with many marked as “done”

I’m heading to Barcelona in a few weeks, and plan on creating a “Barcy To-Do” for the trip.

I’ll research places to go, and add them. In the notes sections, I’ll add addresses, screenshots of maps, and any other info like ticket cost, opening hours, etc.

(Note: The ability to add notes is a premium feature. I paid $29 to unlock more functions, and this is one of them. That said, the free version is more than enough for most!)


Add helpful info to your tasks so you won’t have to look it up when you’re ready to do it

And I can even assign “due dates” although for that I prefer the free-floating “to-do,” with no due dates for lists like that.

Email to Todoist


Todoist also lets you forward emails directly to your projects, which are added to your to-do list

Todoist also has a handy email feature where you can add tasks with email forwarding (another premium feature, or just use IFTTT to have the same thing).

Making goals sets your subconscious mind to push you toward your goals. And, they’re SMART.

SMART goal criteria

SMART goal criteria

While Evernote can be smart too, I find Todoist accentuates the “time-bound” in a way Evernote doesn’t necessarily lack, but doesn’t frame as well.

Plan a trip

Say your goal is “Visit Japan.”  You can plan a brand new trip with Todoist.

Make a new project, with tasks being something like:

  • Fly to NRT with 67,500 American Airlines miles in Cathay Pacific First Class
  • Book 2 nights at Andaz Tokyo Toranomon Hills with 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Hyatt
  • Book 2 nights at Hilton Tokyo with 100,000 Hilton points
  • Buy bullet train ticket to Osaka
  • Book 2 nights in Osaka, etc.

And then add things to do once you’re there, like:

  • Try the best sushi in Tokyo
  • Have a Sapporo draft beer
  • Visit National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (add hours, ticket price, closest metro stop, directions, and a screenshot of the area in the notes)

Make each item a to-do. Then mark them as done when you’re in Japan.

(Tip: Before your trip, forward over all your confirmation emails to Evernote to have them all in 1 place!)

Other helpful ways to utilize Todoist

Todoist is also kicking my other personal goals into high gear, which I love.


Goals on fleek

I remind myself to meditate, use apple cider vinegar and coconut oil, and I’m also limiting myself to 3 drinks per day on the weekends.

Then set up reminders to clear out a small pile of clutter, and wrote down things I’m thankful for. Gratitude is a huge part of goal-setting, so I make sure to focus on those.

I also added post ideas for Out and Out, monthly bills with reminders, and personal goals for 2016.

The idea is keeping your goals in front of you will keep you on track.  To that end, Todoist shows you the things you need to get done TODAY, and if you want, you can see the next 7 days. So it’s very close and fast.

I made a list of books I’d like to read next year, movies to watch, and things I need to do for my Airbnbs. Some tasks are less urgent than others, of course, so for those things, I simply don’t add a due date.

Todoist + IFTTT = YASSSS

IFTTT + Todoist is awesome

IFTTT + Todoist is awesome

IFTTT also works very well with Todoist.

I set up reminders to bring an umbrella when it rains, bundle up on cold days, and add the weather to my inbox every morning at 8am – all of this happens automatically.

Daily weather

Daily weather


Weather reminders

There are lots of other integrations, so browse the recipes to see what all you can set up. IFTTT can also replicate a few of the premium functions if you don’t want to pay for the app (like forwarding emails to your inbox).

And, you can integrate it with your calendar (like Sunrise).

But I don’t see it as a calendar replacement because on your calendar you might mark “Meeting at 11am with ____.”

But on Todoist, you’d put the list of action items like, “Follow-up on email, print meeting agenda, set up conference room, etc.” – things to set up leading up to the event.

Bottom line

Goal-setting is extremely powerful, especially when you give yourself a timeframe, or reframe your goals as things you actually need to do.

I’ve been using Todoist as a tool to get things done day-to-day, and keep me focused on my long-term goals.

There are many apps like it, but I liked the setup of this one the most. Especially the Karma points, which is in line with my goals of gratitude and everyday affirmations.

I still use Evernote to store vast amounts of information. But I’m also enjoying Todoist for its bite-sized chunks of actionable info.

Adding another app to your phone, or another website to think about, might not sound like the most appealing thing, but I’ve found Todoist has efficiently replaced a few of them (like checking the weather).

Most of all, I’m excited about having a new place to store my travel goals. And it’s a nice kick in the arse to get stuff done every day, like clear away a small pile of clutter, or take a few minutes to feel thankful.

Combined with the other apps I found to streamline my workflow, I’m spending more time away from the computer, which has been transformative in its positive effects.

Give it a spin!

This is all new and fun, so let me know if there’s a cool way you’re already using Todoist (or any other to-do app)!

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About Harlan

Just a dude living in Dallas.

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  1. Great, thanks for your post!

    I’ve tried many todo-apps, too, but Todoist is the best! I love it!

    Since a few days, I own an iPad Mini 4. So now I’m using Windows 10 on my Surface Pro 3 (for work), Android-Smartphone and the iPad. A great mix and on all platforms Todoist and Evernote are working fine!

    On iOS there’s an app called “Workflow” ( which is similar to IFTTT. Now I’m trying it in combination with Siri (“Hey Siri, remind me to…”). Siri takes the notes in apple’s own reminders, but with “Workflow” you could transfer it autmomatically to Todoist (or other apps).

    (I’m sorry for bad english, I’m German 🙂 )

    • Interesting idea. TaskClone looks like a paid service too though?

      I don’t have that many lists to import/export and a little copy & paste never hurt anyone 😉

      Thanks for the tip!

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