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4 ways to use automation for better task management with Todoist

By Kaylee Moser · November 3, 2021
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Using a task manager application like Todoist is a smart idea. It can help you organize your to-do list, prioritize your work, collaborate with others, and overall just get a clear look at what you need to do for the day.

While Todoist is an awesome way to manage your to-do lists, it's hardly the only app you ever use. Some of your tasks will end up in your email or calendar app. If you can manage to remember, maybe you'll use Todoist's Quick Entry option a few times a day to add these tasks to the appropriate project—but wouldn't it be easier if you could automate the process? That's where integrating Todoist and Zapier comes in. Buckle up, this post will help you with your Todoist automation.

Here's what we'll cover:

Integrate Todoist with almost any app using Zapier

By pairing Todoist with Zapier, you can automatically add scattered tasks from other tools and productivity apps to your Todoist, all without lifting a finger. Zapier helps streamline your task management process by automatically passing data between Todoist and the other apps you use, such as Google Calendar, Evernote, Slack, Gmail, and more. Once you begin sharing data between Todoist and whatever other platforms you use, you'll get a clear picture of your tasks for the day, without the added nuisance of toggling between a dozen different apps.

If you're already familiar with Zapier, feel free to skip ahead to the section on managing your schedule section.

To get started automating Todoist with Zapier, you'll need:

  • A Todoist account

  • A Zapier account

  • An account for any app want to integrate with Todoist through Zapier

Zapier works by combining triggers and actions. For instance, a new task in Todoist could be a trigger that would initiate an action in Google Calendar to create a new event for that task. Some commonly used triggers for Todoist include new incomplete task, new completed task, and new project. Some frequently used actions for Todoist include mark task as completed, add comment to task, and create task. Click here for a full list of Todoist triggers and actions in Zapier.

And remember: don't sweat the technical details too much—Zapier will handle all the communication between the apps. All you have to do is connect your accounts, decide on what info you want shared between them, and watch as your to-do list becomes an automated hub.

Manage your schedule

Todoist helps you get a clear picture of your day and prioritize what needs to get done. The unfortunate reality is that commitments outside of our task lists (like meetings and appointments) can take up a lot of time some days and leave us feeling like we got nothing done. You can use Zapier to automatically add your scheduled meetings to Todoist, helping you get a realistic picture of your day ahead of time. Plus, you can see how much time you have left for tasks outside of your appointments, without having to switch between platforms to do so.

Integrating Todoist with calendar applications

One of the most popular Zaps for Todoist involves establishing a connection between your Todoist and your calendar application. Whether you use Google Calendar, Microsoft Outlook, or some other calendar app, automatically adding calendar events to Todoist as tasks can save you a lot of time while also giving you a bird's eye view of your day—including tasks and meetings—from one application.

Add new Google Calendar events to Todoist as tasks

Add new Google Calendar events to Todoist as tasks
  • Google Calendar logo
  • Todoist logo
Google Calendar + Todoist

On the flip side, it can also be useful to block off time on your calendar to allow yourself to complete Todoist tasks. You can set this up to work automatically by using the New incomplete Todoist task trigger with a New calendar event action.

Automatically schedule tasks

One of the best things about using Todoist is that it helps you focus on the most important tasks first. This can be really beneficial when tasks are time-sensitive and you need to focus only on the immediate tasks at hand.

For example, Ben Lawson, a practice manager at Veeva Systems, a cloud computing company, uses this method to keep administrative tasks from cluttering his inbox. "Each Friday afternoon I'm prompted to check that everyone in my team has submitted their billable hours and each morning I'm prompted to check any assigned issues in JIRA. This means recurring admin tasks don't clutter up Todoist and don't pull focus away from what I actually want to get done next.

To set up automation for this, you can use Zapier to auto-add tasks at a scheduled time. This helps keep your Todoist list clear of tasks until you're able to focus on them.

You can also use this method to automatically create Todoist projects at certain times:

Pro Tip: Todoist can also auto-create tasks for you based on your location; for example, every morning that you arrive in the office, it could remind you to prepare notes for your team's daily stand-up meeting.

Turn conversations into action items

Many times, meetings and conversations with teammates or customers can result in new items for your to-do list. Todoist can help you track those items and get them done, but you have to make sure the tasks make it into Todoist in the first place. One of the most effective ways to do this is to pair Todoist with the communication tools you use every day.

Integrate Todoist with email applications

When you're using an email application, it can be time-consuming and frustrating to manually switch applications in order to add a new task. Plus, you run the risk of forgetting to copy important information from the email to your task manager. By using Zapier, there are a few different convenient ways to automatically add emails to Todoist as a task.

One trick you can use is to forward yourself any email that should be a task, then set up conditions that need to be met in order to add an email to your task list—in this case if the same email address is found in the sender and receiver fields. The first Zap below can be set up like this. Other options include creating tasks from starred emails or ones with a specific label added.

To take things a step further, consider this scenario: You've received an email that you added to Todoist as a task, but after completing that task, you need to follow up with that contact a few days later. With Zapier, you can create a Zap to help you do that.

First, you add a label to the new email called "Follow up." This label is then added to the Todoist task that is created with your Zap. Next, create a second Zap that is triggered by tasks with that particular label being completed. The action of this Zap will be to create a new task, due in a few days, that is titled "Follow up on [original task name]."

Integrating Todoist with messaging platforms

If your organization uses other communication tools—such as a team chat app like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Discord—make sure action items from those virtual conversations are pushed to Todoist, too.

You can create Todoist tasks messages, just like you can with emails:

Pro Tip: Want to ensure you don't create duplicate tasks? Tell your Zaps to search for an existing Todoist task before it creates a new task. That way, you won't accidentally end up with duplicates.

Even if you have in-person conversations with customers or teammates, you can turn the tasks coming out of those conversations into Todoist tasks by voice with your smartwatch or by taking a photo of the handwritten meeting notes using, then using a Zap to send the new note to Todoist. Or to save a little time, instead of taking notes on paper or a whiteboard, you can use a note-taking app that supports handwritten notes.

Enhance your sales and marketing strategies

When it comes to sales and marketing work, there's no shortage of tasks to be done. There's leads to follow up on, CRMs to be populated, and so much more. By using Zapier with Todoist, a lot of the headaches of these administrative tasks can be eliminated.

Follow up with new potential customers

Getting the attention of potential customers is one of the keys to your business' success. Facebook Lead Ads helps interested Facebook users share their information with you easily—that way, you can make contact and tell them more about your business. Once you've attracted a list of prospective new customers, you can have Todoist remind you to make initial contact with them.

This app is a time-saver in particular because it removes the work of having to download a .csv full of customer information, parse it, and turn it into tasks. Instead, each new customer contact will appear as a task in your inbox, almost like magic.

Keep track of customer actions

Once your leads turn into customers and they buy your product, there's a new place to focus your team's efforts: Get those users set up with your offering and make sure they are happy with it. You can set up Zaps such as this one to help you manage that process too.

For example, Morgan Oberg, tutor at adult education company Sensus, relies on Todoist to help him fulfill customer orders. Whenever a customer places an order via a Wufoo form, a Zap creates a Todoist task that reminds him to package and send the order. Plus, the Zap prints the shipping label via and updates the customer's information in email marketing tool Mailchimp.

"When somebody makes an order, I have Zapier send the info to Todoist so I can remember what to do," Oberg says. "In order not to market things to my customers that they have already ordered, I send the order info to Mailchimp."

Once the order is sent, Oberg marks the Todoist task as complete, which kicks off another Zap:

You can also try integrating Todoist directly with a CRM or contact management tool to organize client-related tasks. Perhaps your sales team tracks those tasks directly in a CRM, but you prefer to organize them in Todoist. This will help you get a clear picture of your tasks all in one spot.

Streamline your project management

In an ideal world, you'd only ever have to use a single productivity or task management app. Sadly, that's rarely the case. If you work with different teams, or even people with different processes and preferences, you're likely to find that some of your important tasks end up being coordinated in Slack, Trello, GitHub, or some other productivity app.

Zapier can make your world a little better by connecting any other productivity apps you have to use to your Todoist account and automating the process of adding tasks. It can also help you communicate with teammates across platforms, gather data about completed tasks across platforms into one centralized location, help increase team transparency, and track project progress.

Collaborate across project management tools

Your teammates may not all use the same project and task management tools. That's okay—there's more than a handful of different options for task management and planning, and people have their own preferences. Eliminate the headaches by setting up Zaps to get all of your team members' tasks into one place.

Ian Willis, director at home care agency Abney and Baker, says "This has saved me a lot of time and removed the need for manual data entry. It also means that nothing gets missed: having confidence that we're on top of everything that needs doing is by far the greatest value we derive from using Zapier."

Eliminate Roadblocks

Delegation and collaboration are a big part of working on a team. This also means that others rely on you to complete your tasks before they can start on theirs. Eliminate those roadblocks quickly by letting your teammates know exactly when you're done with your tasks.

Todoist's activity log ensures you won't have to ask around to find out who's doing what and when it will be done.

You can also automatically notify your team (or only certain teammates) when tasks are done, so that everyone's on the same page:

If a teammate needs to take action once your task is complete—perhaps reviewing or approving your work, or starting a whole new task or project—you can automate the process by sending them a Todoist project invitation using Zapier.

If you want to tell your teammate exactly what step to take next (aka "Please review this"), you can also have the Zap create a task and assign it to your teammate at the same time.

If your team follows a certain project management workflow, you can automate it with Todoist Zaps. For example, when you finish your task, you know your teammate has to review it. You can create the task for your teammate, but you're not sure if they already created that task for themselves. Use this Zap to search for an existing task or, if the task doesn't already exist, create it.

If your completed task enables your teammate to start a whole new project, then you can have the Zap create the project for the teammate and invite your teammate to the newly created project. To make sure you don't create duplicate projects, tell the Zap to search for an existing project first. If the Zap doesn't find the project, it will create it.

Track what you get done

If you're having a slow day where it feels like you're getting nowhere, one of the best ways to make yourself feel better is to look over all the tasks you've accomplished in the last few days or weeks. Often, it's all you need to realize that you're actually achieving a lot. When you're working as a team, getting these insights as a group is even more critical.

With these Zaps, you can automatically create a record of what you get done, for yourself, or to share with your manager or clients:

Todoist + Zapier, better together

Using Todoist to manage your tasks is smart. Integrating Todoist and Zapier is even smarter because it will help you automate your to-do list.

And don't forget, Zapier integrates with thousands of apps, many of which didn't make it into this post. Get creative and customize how you use these apps together with Todoist and Zapier.

Related reading: 

This piece was updated by Kaylee Moser in November 2021, using information from previously published Zapier posts by Carlin Sack and Harry Guinness.

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'