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Add task management to Google Apps with Todoist Premium

Will Kelly reviews Todoist, a task management application available in the Google Apps Marketplace.

Google Apps really lacks a full featured task management application with Google Tasks being so barebones. I recently heard from the developers of Todoist Premium ($29.00 USD/year) and took them up on their offer to check out their SaaS-based and Google Apps friendly task management application. It's available in the Google Apps Marketplace.

Inside Todoist

When I consider a task management application, I am the first to say the application shouldn't be too complex because, if it is, in the long run, it will be easier to quit using it and the application will become another discarded productivity tool statistic. Todoist Premium hits this mark for me as a user. It includes the following features:

  • Automatic syncing across multiple platforms and devices
  • Email reminders via email or mobile text message
  • Task filtering over your active and completed tasks
  • Task notes for adding notes to your tasks
  • Label system for labeling tasks
  • SSL security
  • Task search
  • Add emails as tasks
  • Project templates for repetitive tasks
  • Automatic backups

Because Todoist integrates with Google Apps, it includes Read/Write access to the following Google Apps:

  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Docs

Managing tasks with Todoist Premium

I added Todoist through the Google Apps Marketplace, and upon first login I found a very minimalist yet responsive to do list and task management application that should appeal to a wide range of users.

Managing tasks in Todoist starts with creating a project. There is no central inbox. Once you create a project, adding tasks is quick and easy through the web interface; so easy you can bang out tasks all day. You also have the option of designating that completed tasks remain at the bottom of the page or you can delete them entirely. You can also archive completed projects for later reference. Figure A shows a project I setup for this blog post.

Figure A

A Todoist Project
Click on Add Task and then enter in a task. You can then set a due date, no date, or a recurring date. If you click on recurring dates and more, there is a nice cheat sheet of how you can insert dates and times in Todoist. Figure B shows Add Task in action.

Figure B

Adding a Task

When adding a task, you can place it in any of your available projects and also move tasks between open projects. There is a also a labels feature where you can tag tasks with a label and then use labels as a viewing and organization tool. Click on the @symbol to show all labels. You can also add new labels from the Your Labels page.

You can sort tasks by date, priority, and name. Depending on the details you like to tack onto your tasks, you have the option to set task priorities. You can also view tasks by due dates, and looking forward by seven days. You access these features from the top left corner of Todoist. Figure C shows some of the sorting and priority setting options.

Figure C

Todoist view and priority setting options

If you are like me and reminders via email and text have saved you from missing more than one conference call, you'll be happy to know that Todoist includes reminders via email or push notification that you can set when creating or editing a task.

You also have the option to create tasks from your Gmail inbox through the Add Email as Tasks feature. However, be forewarned that this option doesn't work with the Gmail Labs Preview Pane.

Todoist Premium also includes a project template feature that is an import/export option that saves a text file template locally. The template export process does save additional information such as task priorities and task notes. However, the current Todoist method creating templates makes me uncomfortable in an enterprise situation because I could see users misplacing templates on their local drive.

Integrate Todoist with Google Apps

Since you are using Todoist with Google Apps, you have the option of pasting a URL from the iCalendar feed into Google Calendar. It took two tries for me to get a Todoist calendar to import successfully into the Google Calendar in my Google Apps for Business account. In fact, I received a feed processing error on one of the tries that just screams help desk call if a user comes across such an error. In a corporate Google Apps for Business scenario, I would really like to see some sort of Google Apps Administrator tool to run this import versus the end user.

Todoist settings

The Todoist settings dialog box follows the same minimalist theme as the rest of the application with access to general settings, account information, reminders, backups, and authorizations. Figure D shows an example of the Todoist Premium General Settings:

Figure D

Todoist general settings

While the settings dialog box has the standard features, I'd expect to see, I was left wanting these settings to be only available to the Google Apps Administrator, especially control over the backups.

Much to do about Todoist

Todoist Premium is definitely a task management application to consider if you are standardized on Google Apps for Business despite some rough edges in the Google Apps integration. While I'd like to see some more backend management tools at the domain level for the Google Apps Administrator, it's not enough to prevent me from recommending this very responsive and usable task management application for Google Apps for Business users.

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About

Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management ap...

5 comments
Moctu
Moctu

I love Todoist and use it every day. Their focus on an individuals task list is fantastic, especially in a market dominated by apps encouraging you to share tasks to all and sundry. Unfortunately their Google Apps integration falls far short. In fact, other than a link added in the Google drop down menu, I can't see any features that are added. Everything else is available via the browser plugins for Firefox and Chrome. The one major problem I have is their "feature" to add any Gmail email as a task. This function adds a link to the email into your task list. BUT you can only access this link from a desktop machine that is logged in to Gmail. The task is not available on an Android device (don't know about iDevices). This instantly makes the whole system useless. I am an avid user of the add task by email function. This replaces the need for the above but Todoist could do so much better. Just take a look at Producteev's integration with Apps. Todoist could learn a lot! Having said that, there is a lot to like. Just the Apps integration isn't really on that list.

wardripley
wardripley

Before our migration to Google, we had Lotus Notes email, calendar and To Do capabilities - I became dependent on being able to receive via email actions that required gathering input or pieces of the work from others, and being able to delegate the tasks of preparing those pieces to others, for action and tracking them thru to completion. Does Todoist include that kind of capability? If not, what app that works with Google mail will enable me to do that?

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

How do you manage your To Do Lists in Google Apps? I'm still using Outlook because I find Google Apps to be lacking in the task management department - have you found an integrated solution that your peers might benefit knowing about?

NoisyTrain
NoisyTrain

What did you end up using if you don't mind me asking? -b

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