Sign up for our biweekly newsletter and we’ll send you our Greatest Hits.
A to-do list is the simplest way to keep track of your everyday tasks from grocery shopping to chores to responding to emails. But life isn’t always simple. When you’re faced with a more ambitious goal like launching a new business, preparing a final report, or planning a wedding, you’ll need more than a to-do list — you’ll need a project.
The good news is projects don’t have to be complicated. After 10 years and over 100 million projects created, we’ve collected our insights into this step-by-step guide to completing any project in Todoist. So pick out a big goal you’ve been hoping to make progress on and let’s get started.
Step 1: Create a new project
The first step is to create a new Todoist project — a clean slate where you can add, organize, and complete tasks for just this one goal.
To start out, it’s easiest to add your first project tasks using Todoist for Web, Mac or Windows. The bigger screen size makes it easier to see the big picture and rearrange tasks as you go.
To keep your project top of mind, drag-and-drop it to the first spot in your project list. Just click on the handle to the left of the project name and drag it upwards. You can make your project stand out even more by changing its color or adding a descriptive emoji or two.
When scheduling a project, a good rule of thumb is to take your first estimate and double it. It may seem like overkill, but research shows that we underestimate the time it takes to do a task even when we know we’re likely to underestimate. You’ll give yourself ample time to deal with unforeseen issues, and if you do end up finishing ahead of schedule all the better.
Step 3: Get it all down
Scriptwriters often call their first draft the “vomit draft”. It’s where they turn off their inner filter and write down everything they can think of — smart, stupid, and otherwise. Take the same approach when starting your project — get every task you can imagine out of your head and into Todoist. No wrong answers, no bad ideas, no need to organize. Just spit it out.
You can quickly enter your tasks one after another by hitting enter to save and automatically start the next one. On the web, you can also paste multiple lines of text from any document into the task input field from the project view to automatically create a whole series of tasks — one for each line.
Step 4: Organize your tasks
Now that you’ve wracked your brain for every task you can imagine, it’s time to put them in order. Start by grouping related tasks into sections.
For instance, if you’re working on a video project, you could organize it into four sections:
To create a section, add a colon at the end of any task to turn it into a section header. You can then drag and drop your tasks under the section header so they become sub-tasks. It’ll look something like this: