Using Todoist and Trello to beat Procrastination

A while ago I wrote a blog post titled Confessions of a Procrastinator. My goal was to do a follow up which I was going to attempt to post as YouTube video… but I found myself tripping up too much with the recording so it’s back to the written word. Besides, there are tons of good YT videos that exist already to showcase the features of both tools.

In this post I just want to cover off two free web-based tools which can really help to organise your day-to-day and more long term goals.

Todoist

Todoist is available on the web and on mobile and offers a very simple checklist with some powerful features. It’s a good place to start if you want to get better at organising the day-to-day things. I used to use Outlook folders and flags to manage everything and I have to say this is a crazy amount better with a more satisfying feeling to completing tasks.

Once you sign in, you can simply start adding tasks. You can schedule, reschedule, tag and assign to projects. There are some newer features I’ve seem some YT videos showcasing filters, but I don’t currently use them – for me the key is to keep it light and low pressure.

If you’re a serial procrastinator with a disorganised and messy mind like me, you want to keep it simple using the schedule and reschedule options. I can’t emphasise enough the importance, for me at least, of keeping it low-key, low pressure. The moment I start using too many features, and fall behind on one or more tasks, the more I’m going to drift away from the ‘rigidity’ of the platform.

The best thing about Todoist is the ability to reschedule – large checklists can become a massive demotivational driver. You actually want to use that reschedule feature in order to clear off the mundane non-urgent tasks… to prioritise the more urgent tasks.

If you’re trying use these apps to overcome procrastination and put some order in your life, keep it simple. Don’t pressure yourself, if you don’t get a task done, reschedule it for the next day, or even the next week. Of course, some stuff have hard deadlines- and for those, you can use the app as intended – to remind you of that deadline approaching and focus on getting it completed whilst rescheduling the others into the future.

The best thing about Todoist is the ability to reschedule – large checklists can become a massive demotivational driver. You actually want to use that reschedule feature in order to clear off the mundane non-urgent tasks (but still keeping them active somewhere) to prioritise the more urgent tasks. Using the “Today” view therefore allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day without the judgement of a list of stuff you didn’t get done.

But what about the larger tasks, or projects, that require multiple tasks to be completed?

Trello

When it comes to larger projects like writing and publishing a book, buying a car or setting up a website, you don’t want to add these to Todoist as a single task as it may likely take days to months to complete. If I find I have a task on Todoist which is sitting incomplete for a while, it’s usually because their are multiple steps associated, so I move it to Trello.

If you’ve been in business a long time you may have heard the question “How do you eat an elephant?” or the expression “boiling the ocean”. In both cases, trying to complete a monumentous task in one go is going to lead to failure and demotivation, particularly for the serial procrastinator.

As with Todoist, Trello offers a very simple, easy to use interface with some powerful features. It’s important not to get lost in those features and instead take a simple laid-back approach.

After saying I wasn’t going to create a YouTube video, I do think a demo says it best, so here’s how I have it setup. Having read some more professional blogs online, it seems I’m on the right track with the science and psychology of it.

After all that, I’m not perfect at this process by any means, but I’m a big believer in the advantages of technology to improve our lifestyles and standards of living, I just wish I could go back 10 years and introduce myself to this stuff earlier.

The next generation will never know the hardships of the Outlook To-Do list!

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