Cracking the Todoist Code

Since sharing my Todoist set up and how I get things done loads of people have given me some ideas and shared their experience. One of which I wanted to try to help out with, and that is the natural language input. This feels amazingly natural to me, but for some feels like a bit of a code — so let’s crack it together.

On Mac, you can use Control+Command+A to open quick add. Or to start your entry, regardless of platform, just tap or click on the Plus icon. Quick Add is the fastest way to:

Date And Time

If you can’t crack this bit then there might not be much help for you, as it’s that easy. Simply write out when you want to complete the task exactly how you would say it. For example, “tomorrow at 4pm” or “every other Tuesday starting March 3rd”.

Call mum next wednesday at 2pm

This can be as simple or as powerful as you need it to be. Most tasks you add will have a context date e.g. next Friday, or an actual date 2nd March, but some don’t fit into this pattern. Luckily, Todoist understands even complicated expressions and will interrupt what you need pretty much all the time.

Repeating Tasks

For things that crop up regularly, or just every so often, you will soon get to grips with typing ‘every’ to get these set up. Every is the start of all things repeating and is really helpful for even the most complex things.

Call mum every wednesday

But it doesn’t have to stop there, you can arrange tasks for whenever suits you.

Call mum every other week day

Call mum every wedneday june 2nd to july 1st

For those tasks that you want to happen a specific period after you complete it put in an !.

Call mum every! week

This will set up a task to call mum exactly a week after you complete the last item. You can of course use every! Day, month, year — depends on how often you want to do it.


Labels help me highlight something that I want to know at specific times. For example, I have a morning tag, and a someday tag, so I don’t need to give these due dates or times, but I can find these tasks easily when required.

To add a tag just put a @ before the name.

Call mum next wednesday @morning

You can make these as complex or as easy as you like. Some people like to have tags for tasks they need to do while driving, or when they have a spare 5 minutes.

Call mum next wednesday @driving

Screenshot 2020 05 20 at 14 12 45 1


I have never adopted priorities in either email flags or my tasks, but it helps hugely if you want to sift through all your tasks and really get down to how important things are. To assign a priority (flag) just type p1, p2 or p3.

Call mum next wednesday p1

So, when your tasks are listed in Today view or Upcoming view they will be sorted by priority so you can get the most important things done first.


Projects are the main sorting point for most users set up in Todoist. They can be used in a variety of ways to highlight long-term project or simply having an area to assign task to — such as home and work.

To move a task to a project you simply put a # before it. You can type all of it out or just the first few letters and then tap on the suggestion.

Call Mum next wednesday #home

Todoist Quick Add 1


If you need some help, or just want to allocate your task to someone else that you work with, you can do this by typing a + and then their name. Again type it all out, or just the first few letters and then tap their name in the popup suggestion.

Call Mum next wednesday +Jon

This is only possible in shared projects so make sure you have assigned the correct project first. The above example would not work, but the following will if you share a home project with Jon.

Call mum next wednesday #home +Jon

Linking it all

The real power of all these ‘codes’ is that you can link them all together and make powerful but quick entires into your task list. This rapidly becomes second nature and allows you to brain dump effortlessly with minimal sorting afterwards.

So setting a reminder to call mum at 7pm every 7 days for 8 weeks, adding it to your routines task and attaching a personal tag becomes

call mum every! week until 8th july #routines @personal

You’ll be using Todoist as power user in no time and setting it up to remind you of everything you need. Why not sign up and give it a shot as I’d love to see your setups or how you use Todoist to help you get things done.

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