Moving to project-based management: todoist and

Since my life/work balance, and my work/work balance, has become more and more fractured, I’ve felt the need to organise it more effectively. Last year I started using todoist, which I love because there’s nothing I quite enjoy as much as ticking off a to-do list, and todoist has a ‘karma’ counter built in that racks up meaningless numbers as you tick things off.

This week I’ve started trialing, and I’m now kind of using the two in tandem. It’s helped mentally organise the things I do, and includes time-tracking in it, which is really helpful for me.

So, this post is just kind of a run-down of how I’m organising things and using these tools. has a hierarchy of Clients > Projects > Tasks.

This isn’t ideal, but I’ve just adapted it as seems good. todoist has Projects and Tasks, but Projects are endlessly nestable (well, I’ve never gone past about 4). So this is aligning nicely.

My Clients list looks like this (And my top-tier todoist now mirrors it):

  • Internal
  • Self-Education
  • (College)
  • (2nd College)
  • (3rd College)
  • Academic Career
  • Church
  • Online Tutoring
  • (A Business)


Internal was a pre-existing client, I’ve repurposed it for ‘life management’, whereas Self-Education is more specific educationally/professionally directed projects. The 3 colleges are institutions I do work for. Academic career is here I place things specifically academic: research papers, phd to monograph, etc.. Online Tutoring is self explanatory; if I were using this as a billing platform I’d create each person as a separate client, but since I don’t, I prefer this breakdown.

One of the things the whole schematisiation process helped me with was sorting through ‘recurring open-ended projects’ and ‘defined, goal-oriented projects’. For example, under Self-Ed I have separate project for “Latin studies”, “Greek studies”, “Gaelic studies”. These are all very open ended ‘projects’. Previously I had just set them as recurring tasks in todoist. Now, I’ve created individual Tasks for each component in, e.g. reading Athenaze, working on a specific course, etc.. I can still set these as recurring tasks in todoist, (e.g. daily reading tasks), but it means I can log time on, and when I finish an individual task, I can complete it while keeping the open-ended project going. So all book reading is also set up in the same fashion. Truly open-ended ongoing tasks, I’ll set on a year-by-year basis. For example, “Online Tutoring > Student 1 (2018)”, and just log hours against the task and close it at the end of the year. But, complementing this in todoist, I might also have “OT > Student 1 > this week’s prep” as an individual task.

I’m hoping that the net effect of this will be to give me greater awareness, control, and discipline over the disparate projects and tasks on my plate. That, combined with tools to limit/block-off various distractions, and here’s to a productive 2018. (I’ll just set a reminder now to blog on this again in 6 months…)



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