Are you really using Todoist?
I thought I was, until I started using labels.
But before we talk about labels…
Why do you use a To-do list?
To remember tasks? To decide on the day’s agenda? To prioritize?
Perhaps even to delegate?
How can you take it a step further?
How can a To-do list can help you actually get more done with less effort?
That’s where Todoist labels come in.
What are Labels?
If you are familiar with GTD, you know that labels are about ‘contexts’ that you assign to tasks.
According to the GTD method, the key to productivity is to capture your tasks in a system that you can trust, and get it out of your mind. The fewer operational decisions you have take and the more you ‘automate’ your day, the more productive you will be – in terms of speed, number of tasks done, analytical output or creative output.
You assign labels by typing ‘@’ before any label in the task box. You can do this in the free version too.
Here’s are 5 ways that Todoist labels will boost your productivity…
1. Make the most of your Energy
According to Tony Schwartz, the key to peak performance lies in managing your energy. Your energy rises and falls throughout the day, based on your body’s ultradian rhythms, as well as the time of the day.
Doing tasks that require high energy when you actually have high energy is far more productive than doing them when your energy is low.
- High energy tasks should typically be analytical or creative work.
- Medium energy tasks would be more routine and process driven work
- Low energy tasks – tasks that don’t require too much concentration
What’s the easiest way to apply this principle?
To really start applying this concept, you will have to be aware of what your energy levels are. This might appear obvious, but based on what I have observed as a productivity coach, most of us aren’t fully aware of our own energy levels.
Here are 3 steps to put this in action…
Step 1 – Grade your own energy levels based on your activities as well as the time of the day
Step 2 – Make a list of your common tasks and the ideal energy levels for each task
Step 3 – Whenever you assign yourself a task on Todoist, assign a label according to the energy requirement of the task
How does this help?
You know what energy levels you need for each task.
You plan your schedule according to your energy levels. You don’t make the mistake of assigning yourself (or anyone else) a complex task for a time when you will feel like you need 4 cups of coffee to stay awake!
The most important way that Todoist helps is by creating a greater sense of awareness and self-accountability in you.
You know that you need to manage your energy. With labels, you actually start doing it.
2. Use your Creative or Analytical Peak
When are you the most creative?
Usually not when you are in an analytical mood, right?
You might find it difficult to do analytical work right after lunch. However, brainstorming with a couple of co-workers might work really well over coffee and dessert.
If you know what triggers work best for your creativity to flourish, you will be able to set aside specific blocks during your day or week. Accordingly assign labels like @creative or @analytical.
How do you know when your creative or analytical peak is?
Simply be more self-aware – of your emotions and your moods, and understand what kind of work suits you better in those moods.
3. Work Faster
What resources do you need to make those client calls?
A presentation open on your screen, a particular printout, the right frame of mind?
Each time you make a call, you would need some common resources.
Therefore, if you made these calls consecutively, you eliminate the repetition of gathering those resources each time. That’s how working in batches helps.
You knew that, so what’s the big deal?
The trouble is, most people will have a task list a mile long and it’s difficult to find ‘batch tasks’ at a single glance.
The next time you add a task for making a call, just assign the label @phone.
Simply searching for @phone in the search bar will display all the calls that you need to make during the day.
No more forgetting tasks!
4. Beat Procrastination
Do you tend to procrastinate on the smaller or ‘unimportant’ tasks?
Join the club!
A simple way to beat it is to set aside a specific time every day to deal with those tasks.
If you have a number of tasks each of which take less than 5 minutes, a label like @5 will help you tackle those tasks in a batch.
Goodbye procrastination backlog!
By the way, how do you use 2 labels together?
Chances are that these small tasks will not be high energy tasks, therefore you should assign @mid or @low to these tasks and choose an appropriate time of the day to address them.
5. Refer to tasks from different projects
Think about your weekly meeting.
You will be discussing different matters from different projects, right?
Will you take the trouble of creating another project called ‘meeting’? Something to refer to during your next meeting?
Just assign @meeting label to all the action items on a meeting. A search will reveal all the items you can refer to during the meeting itself.
What else can you do?
Plenty. You can have Todoist labels for specific colleagues, tasks assigned, locations, resources and more.
Todoist has all the features necessary to be that system that GTD speaks of. Labels are a crucial element in that system. Use it as an extension of yourself – your emotions, your strengths and your weaknesses.
What other ideas do you have for labels on Todoist?
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