Google Calendar Reminders vs Todoist

If you’re looking for a software tool to organize your day and keep you on track to completing your goals, both of these tools are great. But here I’ll quickly show you why I ended up switching back to Google Calendar reminders from the free version of Todoist after a year of using the latter.

Pen and paper, or software?

For me, setting routines is more important than setting goals. I’ve learned that if I want to complete a goal, I have to build a goal-related task into my daily routine. A daily checklist helps me organize this. It also motivates me to complete the task and ultimately complete the goal.

Before using online tools to organize my tasks and daily routine, I used pen and paper. Each morning I’d write down my tasks for the day with a circle next to each. As I completed them, I’d strike a checkmark through the circle. It felt really good.

I understand why many of my successful friends track daily tasks like this, but for me the time investment is too big and the reward too small. I want a task list that generates each day automatically and doesn’t require me to carry anything extra around. So I choose software…

For the past year I’ve been using the free version of Todoist but recently switched back to using the “reminders” feature in Google Calendar. I think both are great tools, but I recently switched over from Todoist Free to Google Calendar and it has simplified my life.

Why I prefer Google Calendar reminders

Todoist has more features than Google Calendar could over hope to imagine in terms of task management. After all, task management is Todoist’s sole product focus. Google has hundreds of other products they focus on. But if you’re looking for something stupid simple and already use Google Calendars for events, the lack of features might not be a problem.

Here are the two main reasons I prefer using the “reminders” feature in Google Calendar…

  • Bird’s eye view. I like seeing my tasks that are a week or month out in a calendar view. To my knowledge, Todoist doesn’t offer this option. However, you can integrate Todoist with Google Calendar so you see everything in one view. This is something to consider doing if you already use Todoist and love it. (I chose not to because of tool fatigue — see below.)

    Here’s what reminders in Google Calendar look like…

    List of reminders in Google Calendar

    And here’s what they look like in Todoist

    List of tasks in Todoist

    As you can see, the ability to see future tasks in Todoist is very limited compared to Google Calendar (unless you integrate Todoist with Google Calendar).

  • Tool burnout. Marc Andreesen said in 2011 that software is eating the world. If you don’t want it to eat you, I recommend consolidating activities in as few tools as possible. In other words, I’d rather manage one tool for two activities (event scheduling and task management) than two tools for two activities.

Quick comparison

Google Calendar Todoist
Get a clear weekly/monthly view of tasks Yes No
Use different color tasks for different projects Yes Yes
Create sub-tasks and sub-projects No Yes
Prioritize tasks on a scale of 1-4 No Yes

How do you organize your day? Do you use one of these tools or something else? Let me know in the comments.

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