Trello vs Todoist is a battle of task management apps in a world where there are many, many such apps.
A task management app will allow you to organise your tasks and prioritise what needs to be done, setting deadlines along the way.
The aim is to boost your productivity because you are on top of your workload. This is a crucial tool in today’s world of work – where the ability to juggle tasks is a vital skill.
However, even in the home, it could be useful. It can help you remember to buy the ingredients for your evening meal or to buy flowers for your mother.
Task management is particularly useful today if available on your smartphone or your tablet. You can set reminders and lists, and this can then synchronise with other platforms.
You would be able to tick off one of the tasks and then have this show up on your partners or your colleagues’ device too.
Therefore, a task management app is not just about managing personal workload or tasks but can also be used to control the workload of a team.
What Makes a Successful Task Management App?
There are millions of software applications and websites designed to help you with your to-do list.
Therefore, knowing which one to choose means understanding what makes a successful task management app.
Here are some essential questions that need to be answered:
- Does the app allow you to list all you need to achieve clearly?
- Does it give you the space to write details about the task for you or another to work from?
- Is there a way to group the tasks in a way that allows for prioritisation?
- Are there a clear means of indicating that the task is complete?
- Are the tasks displayed in such a way that allows visualisation of the workload for more than one person?
- Are there a means of tracking the changes to the task and keeping a record of progress?
Each of these questions will allow you to judge the success of the app and whether it meets your needs. Your needs will be different to others – so it might not be true that a single app is superior.
Let’s explore Trello and Todoist using these criteria.
Trello works using a system of boards, cards and lists. This is a little more than just a to-do list and something more akin to a project management system.
This Kanban System is popular in Agile project management, which breaks large projects down into short periods of activity marked by things to do, things being done and things are done. With the lists, you create cards, or tasks, which move along the workflow.
Well, it can be, but it doesn’t need to be. You can use the layout to organise work activities, social activities from operations in the home.
You can create a list for each member of the team or your family, or you can create a list for each step in the workflow that different items move through.
In short, the layout of boards, lists and cards is highly flexible and can be adapted to your needs.
The cards are also useful for providing all the information about the task, including a checklist, a calendar, the option to upload files and photos and a comments box.
The checklist gives a percentage progression through the activities laid out on that card – which helps to visualise what has been done and what needs to be done.
If you create lists in a traditional to do, doing, done, then you can quickly move the cards along the workflow – creating a record of all activity for all members of a team or just for yourself.
There are some added benefits in Trello, as it is meant to be a project management software as opposed to merely a task management app. You can use the power-ups to make each card in the software into its app.
In its basic form, Trello is free and is an active personal organiser. When you start adding power-ups, you begin to be charged, and the platform becomes sophisticated and capable of dealing with enterprise-level activity.
Trello is best used on a computer screen, but there is an app for a tabloid and a smartphone.
This means your activity can be updated as you go and this will automatically sync so that people viewing the board on other devices sees tasks set up, updated and completed as it happens.
Read more in Trello vs Basecamp.
The main selling points of Todoist is that you can access tasks everywhere, collaborate on shared responsibilities and the design of the user interface does not allow for distraction.
The design is a simple list of projects, which can then be broken down into tasks and subtasks. If the project is particularly complex, you can break it into subprojects.
Then, these projects, subprojects, tasks and sub-tasks can be colour coded to offer a simple prioritisation system.
As the app is available on pretty every platform you can imagine – including attached to an email and through Safari – you can share projects and delegate tasks.
You can also organise for notifications for yourself or team members using emails or push notifications.
There is real-time data synchronisation which means people will see tasks and updates as they happen – across all devices.
There is the option to set dates easily, just by typing in the time and date. Equally easily is the option to set up recurring dates, to save time in the app typing in tasks that need to be done every day, week or month.
All the features mentioned so far are free.
It is possible to get a more sophisticated app by upgrading to the premium package.
In this package, you can get reminders via email, push notifications or text message. You can also receive location-based alerts when you are on the go.
There is also the option to add comments to tasks, attach pdfs, spreadsheets or photos. This then allows for the details of the task to be available to all, rather than just a bullet pointed task with sub-task.
Finally, the premium app allows for labels and filters. This helps you to put tasks into context and help with the organisation and filtering of activities.
This helps for a visualisation of the project in a way that can be understood by all.
Todoist Business can also handle multi-phase projects. This allows a manager to create a project, add tasks, set due dates and assign responsibilities.
This syncs in real-time across all platforms and users. You can increase the level of collaboration with the sharing of files and comments on details and progress related to the project.
The added bonus of Todoist Business is that you can see your team’s activity stream by project or by the team member – so you can see what needs to be done or has been done in a way that suits you.
You can save your custom views – including views of upcoming or overdue tasks.
The power of Todoist is its simplicity, which means an individual can use it or a team can start collaborating immediately.
Trello vs Todoist
Both Trello and Todoist fair well when moving through the questions for evaluation work productivity apps.
Indeed, both applications are worth considering as project management tools – though here Trello arguably has more features and more flexibility.
Both Trello and Todoist have a simple but effective way of displaying tasks. A list in Todoist is simple and avoids the potential distraction of an over complicated Trello board.
However, you could argue that Trello is more adaptive to the needs of the individual, as you can set up activity in a way that suits you. The click and drag of activity across a workflow is also an effective visualisation of the progress of the project.
However, the activity stream in Todoist is a great counter argument here – especially considering you can customise views.
Both apps allow for synchronisation across platforms. Todoist works better on smartphones than Trello – where is was clearly envisioned it would be used.
The push notifications in Todoist also give it a distinct advantage – especially as you can get reminders via text message as well as email.
Trello will email reminders of upcoming dates and will link to Slack, which allows for instant message reminders.
However, the simple push notification is straightforward and effective.
What is worth remembering however is that all the really great features in Todoist are only available once you subscribe to the premium package.
As a free app Todoist is most suited to an individual looking to organise life and work.
Trello’s best features are available for free – with price kicking in for some of the more extensive features needed by enterprises.
When balancing Trello Vs Todoist, it is a close call.
Todoist wins out as a task management app to use on the phone.
However, if you want your task management app to grow up to be a project management app, you would want to commit to using Trello from the start.
Read more about Project Management Software.