Unsplash image Photo by Keegan Houser on Unsplash

This is a personal story on how I got back on track after a turbulent year by reorganising all aspects of my life and using Todoist as a new productivitytool.

At the beginning of the year I was already personal stagnated at the company I worked for. And my journey looking for or a new challenge started. I have a Bachelor degree in Embedded Systems Engineering and skills in a superset of IT technologies which includes designing and implementing firmware, (IoT) backend systems and contributing to open-source. Because i’m very stubborn to buy a car I use the public transport to commute to work. So it was time to start working closer to home. During my critical search for the ongoing career I had a very nice business trip to Belarus — Minsk which I highly recommend if you like architecture and friendly people. This trip “cracked open my mental nut”.

Victory square image Victory Square — Minsk

Fast forwarding to May, I was contacted by a recruiter which finally found a interesting job closer to home. Heliox a small international company which develops and maintains electrical superchargers for heavy duty vehicles (like electric buses). The company was growing significantly during this year. I loved to be part of “the chaos of growth” and meeting new people and learning unknown technologies. I started on the first of august and had a six week long in-between job summer vacation. This sounds like an insane amount of free time. But in reality unwinding from a job, chillin out and preparing for the next job took more mental power than I expected. Last minute I decided to take a week long yoga retreat to one of the most nice islands of The Netherlands — Terschelling. I really needed a break from my apartment, computer, stuff and friends.

Victory square image Very early summer sunrise at Terschelling — The Netherlands

Thankfully I was fully charged when I came back unwinded and had a fresh start to get to know my new colleagues and dive into my new function.

Still I was feeling anxious and chaotic, time was passing by. I needed a plan and strategy to order the most valuable resource we have as humans: “Time”. I got aware of this precious resource while reading the book “The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer’s Block” by Hillary Rettig. Now was the moment to start writing my feelings down in a personal diary and having my things organized into ToDo lists. I ditched Wunderlist, which was obtained by Microsoft and recently announced to be unplugged. For Todoist, which its premium features are friendly priced.

Todo list spongebob

Todoist is just a tool and it will only be as good as its user. I took a skillshare productivity class which got me started.

Todoist is a simple but featureful (mobile) web-application where you can organize your things in your own way. I use theme days to have well defined time boxes. In those “boxes” I can put things I want to achieve, which can include single time tasks or recurring routines.

The productivity class suggests the following projects structure:

  • Recurring routines
  • Monthly breakdown
  • Brain dump

Recurring routines project is used to organize recurring tasks which can be subdivided into the following projects:

  • Theme days
  • Maintenance, e.g watering plants every week
  • Emotional
  • Intellectual, e.g reading or (online) classes
  • Vocational
  • Financial
  • Spiritual, e.g daily morning meditation

Todoist recurring routines My personal Todoist Recurring routines — Theme days

Monthly breakdown project contains a long-term view of the things be done in at specific months and can be organized long before the actual events. I like to add a sub project per month “Social” which is used for filling in the social events like meeting friends, going out and having dinner.

Todoist monthly breakdown My personal Todoist Monthly breakdown project

The nice thing with the monthly breakdown is you don’t need to put a due date on the items so they are there ready to be planned. It also gives a nice overview how full certain “time buckets” are so you don’t overfill yourself beforehand.

I just scratched the surface and don’t want to write a whole tutorial on how you can use Todoist. Maybe you gained some insight from my personal story and methods and tool.

I wish you all a productive 2020!

NOTE: This article was also cross-posted to Medium.com