We’ve all been there, in search of that one app that is going to turn us from master procrastinators into the next Tim Ferris. I’ve tried my hand at different apps to get things done, but I’m always left wanting. My search has finally concluded. TickTick is my number 1 productivity app.
My app of choice over the past year has been Notion, which upped my productivity game. I use it for project management and general organisational things but I don’t think it handles task management well. I also tried my hand at Things 3 and Todoist, but didn’t take to them.
I want something that works across all my devices – iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch, and also something which showed my calendars. This led me to my new number 1 productivity app: TickTick.
What is TickTick?
On the face of it, TickTick is another to-do list app. But as you start to use it you realise it can do a lot more than just manage your daily tasks: to-do list, built-in calendar, pomo timer, and habit tracker. It’s not perfect (which app is?) but it does some things better than the other apps I’ve mentioned, and does some things they don’t – like show my calendars.
On the left is your main library. Your actual tasks are in the centre. And on the right is a section for more information. Your library has the following sections: Inbox, Today, Next 7 days, and Calendar. You can also create your own lists or folders, view tags, or create and see smart lists. I‘ve created folders for my projects to help organise my tasks and see what needs doing for each project.
Here’s a breakdown of what you can do in each view and how I use it.
Any ideas or tasks fresh in my mind go straight to the inbox. I don’t worry about setting a reminder or a due date at this point. I use it as a brain dump that I’ll review each morning and add a reminder and tag it if needed. I’ll also review the inbox when I carry out my weekly review (a post for another time).
This shows me today’s tasks in chronological order so I can see which tasks are due when. You can change this view and sort by things like tags or priority if you prefer. There’s also a small but handy feature called “Plan Your Day” (mobile only), which allows you to quickly schedule your Today/Overdue/Inbox tasks (See their tweet there).
Next 7 days
The next 7 days list is the same as the Today, but shows…you guessed it…tasks for the next 7 days. I don’t use this view much but can see how it might be helpful at the start of a new week.
Calendar lets me see all my tasks alongside my personal and work schedule. This view is great for seeing what I’ve got planned for the entire week or month ahead. I can add new tasks by double-clicking on the calendar or rearrange existing ones by dragging it. By tapping the ‘sand clock button’ on the top right, you’ll also be able to see all your tasks sorted by Priority, Tags or Lists. Then simply drag and drop tasks to any blocks.
A feature I’ve found useful – I can share a URL link for my TickTick tasks which I’ve connected to my iCloud account. I share this with my wife so she can see if I’m in ‘do not disturb’ mode working on certain projects.
As mentioned above, I’ve created lists for different projects I’m working on. But here’s where TickTick rises above being a simple to-do list app. I can view my projects on a Kanban board, letting me manage tasks in phases. For example, I have a project folder set up for this blog and a subfolder for blog posts. This is set up as a Kanban board split by various stages of the blog post journey, from idea stage to publishing. I can create tasks and drag these from one stage to another. I’m able to use TickTick to manage projects and I’m finding I spend less time in Notion as a result.
The small things
Natural language input recognition
TickTick will set the due date or reminder of a task itself through my input – whether by typing or speaking. For example, I can ask TickTick to remind me to write for my blog every two days, and it’ll set a recurring task. But it’s smarter than this. In the screenshot below, look how it recognises that I want the recurrence to start from tomorrow. This makes adding tasks a breeze.
On my Mac I can use the keyboard shortcut ⬆⌘A to add a task from anywhere.
TickTick works across Apple products, Android, Windows, web browsers. It also has extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Outlook.
Some tasks have smaller actions required to complete. TickTick lets you add sub-tasks to main ones. Each subtask is empowered with all the features a parent task has, including reminders, priority and tags.
TickTick uses stats to show me how productive I am.
A basic habit tracker built in with reminders.
A 25-minute timer to help you stay focused.
Things I dislike
Syncing between my calendars is slow
I often have to click refresh and even then there’s a delay.
I wish all calendar integration was two way
It’d be useful if I could add new calendar events into my iCloud calendar from TickTick. At the moment, I have to switch to the Apple calendar app to do this each time.
(Update – you can add new calendar events into your connected calendars but only on iPhone and iPad – it’s not in the Mac desktop or web browser versions. TickTick tells me the Gmail Integration is two way, and others are in development. Thanks reddit user u/mrmetronome1234 for pointing this out)
It’s not perfect, but it ticks a lot of my boxes (pardon the pun!). I find that TickTick simplifies things for me. I can store away random ideas and tasks and not deal with them until I’m ready to. It even lets me manage projects.
If you’re looking for a new productivity app to manage your tasks or even your projects, give TickTick a go. There’s a free version, but to get the most out of it you’ll want to subscribe, which costs $2.40 per month or $27.99 for a year.
(Disclaimer – this post is my own personal opinion. I have no affiliation with TickTick)