When it comes to time management, using the right app to assist you is crucial. Without it, you’re almost guaranteed to lose track of your personal timeline, tasks, and projects. As much as productivity apps have become essential, it’s interesting to note that they didn’t exist 15 or 20 years ago, yet at least some people were doing just fine setting up companies, keeping track of their life, and making good money to provide for their family. So why do we need those apps now?
The biggest difference is that in 2021, technology is absolutely everywhere. Back 20 years ago, you could choose not to have a smartphone, or even forgo the email address, because they were not part of the inner workings of our society yet. Nowadays, you can’t afford to skip them anymore. Our life is filled with a ton of different communication channels, notifications… There’s not an hour in your day without an email, a calendar reminder, a missed call, a dozen texts in 3 different messaging apps…
Technology has become both a curse and a blessing, and unless we make a conscious decision to use it to our advantage, it will end up being a curse in 99% of cases. That’s where one good productivity app will help. I insist on one, and not more. You already have 50 apps on your phone, and you don’t need any more. You should find the one that works for you, suits your needs, and stick to it.
I’ve tried many different productivity apps and frameworks. Todoist, Teuxdeux, Trello, Notion… I tried so many because I wanted to find the one best option for me, and I found it after a few weeks of research. It’s called Ticktick, and it’s awesome.
The closest thing I’ve tried that I found to be almost as good as Ticktick was Todoist, which is a very popular app. But there is one major feature Ticktick has that makes all the difference, and that I haven’t seen anywhere else: the calendar and its “arrange tasks” option.
It seems pretty obvious to implement an efficient calendar functionality in a todo app, yet 90% of the solutions out there fail to do so. That’s because users usually like to have all their tasks synced in their main Google Calendar, which almost everybody uses. Google Calendar is convenient because it’s synced with the rest of your Google Services, it’s reliable, and you can access it from anywhere. But it’s not very easy to pair with external solutions tech-wise, and that’s why a lot of apps still struggle to offer a descent solution to calendar syncing.
Ticktick fixed that issue by doing one simple thing: ignoring Google Calendar altogether. They made their own, proprietary calendar feature. You can only access your Ticktick calendar from the Ticktick app, and that’s totally okay. It makes things easier, and once you’ve gotten used to the switch, it’s not that big of a deal.
It works just like Google Calendar, or even better. For each event, you can add tasks, sub-tasks, start a pomodoro timer, upload an attachment, save the task as a template…
You even have access to a habit tracker implemented in the calendar, with a timeline and success rate for each habit:
I use mostly tasks in Ticktick at the top of the calendar, with no set time or duration. It’s easier for me to get an overview, because I need to do the tasks on a given day, the time doesn’t matter as much.
I consider myself an “ok productive” person. But I’m only human, and like everyone else, I’m sometimes behind on things I said I would finish earlier. When I’m done with a task in Ticktick, I check it off, and I forget about it.
But when I didn’t do a task on its given day, it stays in the calendar. Because I just go through my week by looking at the tasks for today and not yesterday or tomorrow, the tasks I don’t do in time are likely to get postponed to next week.
In an app like Todoist, where overdue tasks automatically get bumped up to the top of your overall list, things can get messy very quickly:
You’re reminded that you’re late everyday, there’s a whole list of irrelevant stuff you have to scroll through before getting to what matters, it’s just not optimal.
In Ticktick, you don’t get any of that. Overdue tasks stay in place, and the “Arrange tasks” functionality makes it super easy to reorganise everything. It’s been an absolute game changer for me.
This amazing option lies at the top right corner of the calendar. It opens up an extra column on the right side of your week, where you can choose what tasks to display based on different filtering options: list, tag, or priority.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could see our overdue tasks in one simple list in this column, and just drag and drop them back to the calendar whenever we feel like it? Yes it would, and you can do just that with a bit of (very simple) tweaking.
Arrange tasks gives you the option to display any list of tasks, including custom ones. All we have to do then, is to create a custom “Overdue” list that only shows overdue tasks. From there, we’ll be able to select the Overdue list from the list menu of the Arrange tasks column.
To create this list, we just have to go to the Custom tab in the left panel of the Ticktick window, and click on “Add Smart List”
Here, we give the list a name, and we only have to change the “Date” option to Overdue. This tells Ticktick to only show overdue tasks in that list. Click Save, and you’re ready to do. Head back to the calendar, open up the Arrange tasks side panel, and choose your Overdue list in the dropdown:
From there, you can rearrange all your overdue tasks in a clear, visual timeline. Once you drag an item from the Overdue list back to your current day/week, its new due date will update across all lists, calendars and boards you have set up.
When you combine together the ease of use of the Arrange tasks feature and the power of custom lists, you can really upgrade your productivity game. A lot of people like Kanban boards to organize their tasks, and Ticktick offers that option too. It’s also possible to combine Kanban boards with custom lists.
I’ve written a bunch of times about Ticktick. I’m not getting paid by them, I’m just a huge fan of their tool. It’s the only solution I’ve stuck too consistently, after having tried dozens of them.
I use Ticktick everyday to check my daily tasks, and on the weekends to plan my week. If you haven’t yet, I highly encourage you to try it!
For even more productivity apps, hacks and tricks, check out my 50 People Who Do guide. It’s a 150+ page guide full of road-tested advice from real people who get things done! Get it for free here.