Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Managing Your Tasks with TickTick

A person with way too much to do

Thanks to the evil influence of one Steven Ovadia, I’m spending 2016 using Remember the Milk as my task manager.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m not looking at other task management tools. I am, but not actively. One task manager that came across my gaze recently was TickTick. I was immediately intrigued by it. Let’s find out why.

Getting Started

First, you’ll have to sign up for an account. But you probably already figured that out by yourself … Accounts are free, but there are also paid options. More about that in a little while.

When you log in, you’ll notice TickTick’s simple, spartan layout.

TickTick's main window

The interface reminds me of Remember the Milk, but it’s a lot more stripped down. It’s pretty much a blank canvas that you can quickly and easily add your tasks to.

But I wouldn’t start by doing that. Instead, I suggest creating Lists. Lists are categories of tasks in single areas of your working or personal life. I advise people to use categories to help better maintain and focus their overall task lists.

In my case, I have five lists:

  • Personal
  • Coaching
  • Blogging
  • Writing
  • Newsletter

Click Create New List to do the deed. Give the list a name and, optionally, a colour. The colours appear in TickTick’s main tasks list, giving you at-a-glance recognition of what list a task belongs to. Once you’re done, click Save.

Creating a list

Adding Tasks

To do that, click the in Add Task box in the centre of the TickTick window and type a description of the task.

You can optionally use the three icons on the right of the Add Task field to add:

  • A due date and time
  • A reminder
  • A priority (one of: None, Low, Medium, or High)
  • The task to a list

Setting a task's due date and time

When you’re done, press Enter. Lather, rinse, and repeat for the tasks you want to add for a day or the week.

A set of task in TickTick

Adding Subtasks

Sometimes, what you’re working on consists of several smaller jobs. Instead of creating a new task for each of those smaller jobs, TickTick lets you add those jobs under your task.

To do that, click a task. Information about the task displays in the right side of the TickTick window. In that window, click the icon beside the name of the task and then click the second icon that appears. The first item in your list of subtasks displays

Creating a new subtask in TickTick

Type information about each subtask and press Enter to add a new one to the list.

A set of subtasks in TickTick

Organizing Your Task

As I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, you can organize your tasks using colour-coded lists. I find that’s the best way to do the deed. But TickTick also gives you a helping hand.

You’ll notice that it breaks your tasks into several buckets:

Task buckets in TickTick

Those buckets are:

  • All
  • Today
  • Next 7 Days
  • Inbox

In the main task area, there’s an additional bucket named Tomorrow.

Inbox is actually the default task list in TickTick. That’s where uncategorized tasks go.

The buckets can be useful — they give you an idea of how many tasks you have and also what’s coming up. But I find that sometimes they just clutter up the window. Your mileage (or whatever unit of distance you use) may vary.

Sharing Your Tasks

That’s something I don’t do much, if only because most of my projects are solo. When I do collaborate or work on a client project, I usually use the tools my collaborators or clients are using. In TickTick, you can share a List (though you can’t share individual tasks).

To do that, in the left pane click the name of the list that you want to share. Click the icon and then select Share.

Task buckets in TickTick

Enter the email address of the person you want to share the list with and then press Enter to send that person an email with a link to view the list.

If you need to include additional information about a task, you can:

  • Click the Comment icon and add a 140-character comment
  • Click the icon and then click Upload to attach a document or image to the task

Of course, these features are useful if you’re working alone, too. You can add a comment about who to contact or where to find information, and attach research to a task.

A Few Other Features

As I keep reminding people, I don’t need much in a task list. To be honest, TickTick has more features than I need. Some of them are interesting, though.

Click Settings to:

  • Add events to TickTick from an external calendar (like Google Calendar)
  • Incorporate TickTick into another calendar application
  • Add tasks via email
  • Back up your tasks
  • Import tasks from apps like Wunderlist, Astrid, or Toodledo
  • Enable the ability to add tags to your tasks

There are also a number of apps available for TickTick — including Android and iOS apps, apps for the Mac and for Chrome, a Firefox extension, and apps for Android Wear and the Apple Watch. I only tried the Chrome app (I’m trying to spend as much time away from my tablet and phone as possible), and it worked well.

Earlier in this post, I mentioned paid accounts. Those will set you back $1.99 (USD) a month (or $19.99 a year). A paid account offers a number of additional features, which you can learn more about here.

Final Thoughts

TickTick is very solid alternative to Remember the Milk (or any other task management tool). It’s easy to use and if I’d discovered it earlier in the year, I’d be spending this year using TickTick as my task manager.

Thoughts? Let's start a conversation on Twitter.

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