2:54 pm PHT

Markku once talked about false productivity and asked for suggestions. I commented by explaining my organizational system consisting of scattered to-do lists and organizing mechanisms.

For tasks outside of work, I mentioned that I kept a “huge text file on my home PC containing to-dos.” That text file was a sophisticated list that is divided into projects and each task contains subtasks with priorities and optional deadlines. Unfortunately, managing that to-do text file was quite a work in itself.

 Sample contents of the to-do text file containing tasks for a Vista Pinas project and a Wikipedia project.

When we finally subscribed for a broadband connection, I decided to scout out for a nice web-based to-do list application so that I can work on stuff anywhere where there’s an Internet connection. I initially checked out the web apps provided by 37signals because I’ve heard lots of praise for their many products and services—Ruby on Rails arguably being their best one. They are also known for creating really slick and thoughtful user interfaces so I expected quite a lot from them.

Well, Backpack and Ta-da List, two of their free products that provide to-do lists, fell vastly short of my expectations. Suffice it to say that they weren’t slick enough and they didn’t have the features that I needed.

I was sure that there are a lot of online to-do list web apps out there and one of the sites I scouted around for such apps is Lifehacker, a productivity blog. There, I read about a web app called called Todoist. While I was initially put off by the independence of the project and the lack of “name” of the developers, I still checked it out and I was pleasantly surprised!

 Screenshot of a Todoist tasks page showing project hierarchy, tasks with subtasks, tags, dates, and priorities.

Like any good to-do list app, Todoist enables you to place dates (deadlines or recurring) on to-do items, add tags to them, set their priorities, and group them under projects. Unlike 37signals’ products and other well-known to-do list apps, however, Todoist has hierarchical projects and to-do items! But the best feature of Todoist is its full AJAX interface coupled with really, really powerful keyboard shortcuts. (Really.) Never since Google Maps was introduced had I had my socks knocked off of me by an AJAX web application.

Todoist really hits the sweet spot for my to-do list needs. It has all the features that I need (and more are being added thoughtfully) and it’s UI makes it quite a joy to use. Ever since I’ve used it, my blogging has been more productive. (Really.)  :)

Everyone has his or her particular tastes when it comes to organizing his or her life so Todoist may not be for you. But, if like me you prefer organizing via to-do lists instead of a calendar, I’d definitely recommend that you try Todoist.

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