Getting started with Todoist

Getting started with Todoist: Settings, karma, projects, labels and filters

Getting started with Todoist is easy, just read this blog post. Here, you will find an overview of the most important settings, as well as in-depth instructions on how to set up projects and using filters.


Getting started with Todoist

Here is how to get started with Todoist:

  1. Go to
  2. Sign up
  3. Check your email
  4. Next up: Make it yours


Adjust your settings

You will find the Settings icon in the top right corner. Here is what to do:


Check that everything is correct. Add your social accounts if you want to.




  1. Change your language if needed.
  2. Set your Start page to Today.
  3. Make sure Smart Date recognition is on.

Date & time

  1. Select your Time zone.
  2. Set your Date format.
  3. Set your Time format.
  4. Select your Start of the week. (Usually, Monday.)
  5. Make sure that Next week is the same as Start of the week.
    This ensures that tasks postponed to Next Week will be postponed to the first day of the week.


There are three types of emails you can opt in to:

  • The daily digest is a daily email listing your tasks for that day.
  • Newsletter
  • Tips and Tricks



Here you can change the colors in Todoist. The free Todoist plan includes four colors. If you have a Premium plan, you get six more colors.




Pay attention! This can help you to stay productive if you use it correctly. With the karma function, Todoist has gamified productivity. However, don’t write this off as nonsense. This really works. The karma function lets you earn points for completing tasks, reaching your daily and weekly goals, and using advanced features like recurring due dates.

When you are getting started with Todoist, it is relatively quick to get to a new karma-level. This will get increasingly more difficult over time. Be aware: You will lose karma if you have tasks that are four or more days overdue. For more information about the Karma function, see Your productivity (Karma), below.


Due to the risk of losing karma, you should only turn this on when you start to use Todoist on a daily basis.


Put some thought into this. Adjust quickly if needed.

Days off

You may also need to tweak this. Personally, I have only Sunday off. This is to force myself to check Todoist on the weekends to get my personal stuff done.

Vacation Mode

Again, pay attention! This can ruin your Karma if you are taking a real vacation – as in away from Todoist, and forget to enable Vacation Mode. Equally important is to turn this off at the beginning of your first day back at work. Tip: Make a task with a reminder in Todoist.



With the exception of location-based reminders, reminders for a task are generally to be avoided.

Text message reminders

Remember to include a country code in the format +00 in front of your mobile phone number.



This is what is going on under that little bell on the left side of the Settings icon in Todoist.

Shared project notifications

Note that this is useful only if you collaborate with other people using the same projects in Todoist. The level of notifications all depends on how informed you want to be. Personally, I have all notifications on my mobile phone, except for the tasks assigned to me. Here I will also get an email.



Billing information

Add your address and VAT number, if applicable.


Here you will find a list of your payments if you have Todoist Premium.

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Here, you will find a list of your recent backups.
Just out of paranoia, I like to download a backup every week.
Tip: Make downloading a backup file a part of your GTD weekly review.



This is what makes Todoist so powerful.


Personally, I use Newton for email on the go.
Se the full list of integrations at

API token

Depending on how you choose to integrate Todoist, you may need this in the future.

Todoist GTD setup


The activity log

You will find this below the Settings in the menu. Here you can see all activities. These can be sorted on projects, users, or type of actions.


Your productivity (Karma)

Your productivity score is visible in the top right corner in Todoist. Note that the diagram shows your progress towards your daily goal. By clicking on the diagram or number, you can see your progress over the last seven days as well as a list of all completed tasks. You can also go to your Karma settings from here.

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Adding tasks in Todoist

There are many ways to do this. If you are just getting started with Todoist, the quick add function is the first you will have to learn. Personally, I find that this is the function I use the most when adding new tasks.


Quick Add Task

You can add a task by clicking on the plus icon (+). The keyboard shortcut for this is Q.
This brings you to the Quick Add Task window.

Getting started with Todoist
When you are just getting started with Todoist, the quick add window is the easiest way to add tasks. (Picture: Todoist)

The icons in the lower right corner of the Quick Add Task window are for Project, Labels, Reminders, Priority, and Comments.


Adding tasks by email

You can add tasks to any project in Todoist simply by using the email address that is unique to every project as well as your inbox. You can find the address for each project by clicking on the grey tool symbol to the right of the project name.

This is the top of the Todoist web application. Note the three grey icons in the top right corner. (Picture: Todoist)


Set due dates

Include <date tomorrow> in either the subject or the body of the email. You can use all supported date formats such as <date every day>.
Read more about dates in Todoist here:

Label your email tasks easily

Label your email tasks by including labels (e.g. @shopping) in either the subject field or in the body of the email.

Set priorities

Set priorities on your email tasks by including !!1 or !!3 in either subject or body of the email. !!1 will be the top priority.


Searching in Todoist

Searching is done by typing in the Search field. By default, this search will list only open tasks. By hitting Enter, you will get a complete list of findings. At the bottom of this list, there is an option to include results from completed tasks as well.


The left menu in Todoist

This is pretty self-explanatory.


Any tasks that are not connected to a project will end up here.



This view shows the task that is overdue or due today.


Next 7 days

This view shows the task that is overdue, due today, and due in the next six days.


Projects in Todoist

This is where the rubber meets the road. There are many ways of setting up projects. If you are doing GTD, you should take a look at the below blog post.

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If you are not doing GTD, you can still learn a lot about projects and labels by reading this post.


In the below blog post, you can find another way to use projects and labels in Todoist.

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Labels in Todoist

This is a powerful feature that lets you group tasks across different projects. See the above blog post. Be aware that labels require a premium account.


Filters in Todoist

Below you will find the most comprehensive guide to filters in Todoist. If you are just getting started with Todoist, you should bookmark this for later reference.

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Setting up Todoist for GTD

I have a 2-part series on how to set up Todoist for Getting Things Done.


Keyboard shortcuts for Todoist

It doses mot matter if you are just getting started with Todoist, or are a seasoned user. I think everyone can pick up a new trick or two here.

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More reading

If this was not enough to help you getting started with Todoist, you can keep on reading below.

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Want to sign up for Todoist Premium?
In that case, I would appreciate if you use the below link. If you do that, I get two months Todoist Premium added to my account – with no extra cost for you. Thanks!

Sign up for Todoist Premium here

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