I think I have finally found the best productivity app to organize my life and it’s called TickTick.
I’ve tried my fair share (I used to be a big fan of Google’s Keep) and I almost always end up giving up, but TickTick has managed to make an impression on me.
Getting straight to the point, TickTick wins me because of how effortlessly simple it is and how easily it works on both my laptop and mobile.
TickTick is worth it for anyone who wants to get their work and personal life more organized. While it can be used in a manner of ways, its simplicity is what makes it king.
How Does TickTick Work?
TickTick turns that pen and paper list on your notebook into an application to help you manage it all better.
The bones of TickTick are relatively simple, but it can be as complex as you need it to be.
Creating Tasks in TickTick
To create a task in TickTick, type your task in the “+Add task” field, press enter, and the tasks will start piling up.
The name of the task can be as long or as complicated as you’d like, though, it is perhaps a better practice to enter greater details in the task’s description.
You can also add subtasks and tags and set a priority and a time (it’ll then remind you about the task).
Tasks that you don’t assign for a specific day go in your ‘Inbox,’ a kind of master list of all your tasks so you don’t forget them.
You can later return to the inbox and assign certain tasks you have been putting off for a date.
This has helped me with many minor things that I forget about, like remembering to buy a lightbulb or mow the lawn.
When a task is completed, just tick it and it’s marked as complete.
Organizing Tasks in TickTick
There’s a wide variety of ways you can organize your tasks in TickTick.
If you write a date or time while creating the task, it will automatically add it to the task (though occasionally it fails to recognize it).
Tags are quite cool for categorizing things, for example, different projects you are working on. You can even click on a tag at the side to see all related tasks.
These days, I’m less inclined to add tags—I know for myself what the task is for.
You can also create different lists separate from your primary list.
Lists work similarly to tags in that they can be used to organize different types of tasks for different purposes, like personal projects.
You might not want to mix your work tasks with your daily tasks, like getting groceries, for example.
Tasks can also be organized based on priority. There are four types of priority—High, Medium, Low, and None.
I don’t use this feature too much, though sometimes I may mark something as a high priority.
Marking other tasks as medium or low priority feels a bit like a waste of time. (Could you imagine doing that for every task every day?)
The tasks themselves have a rich text editor, meaning you can add a good deal of information
- Bold and italics.
- Bullet points and numbered lists.
- Code snippets.
There is even an option for immersive writing which centers only on the text you are writing for the task.
You can also attach files to tasks, such as images, though there is a size limit of 100MB. Premium is needed for larger files.
Completing or Dismissing Tasks
If you miss a task, it will appear in an ‘Overdue’ section the next day. The funny thing is that it feels like you are not judged for missing a task—there is no warning.
Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like other apps will make you feel bad for not completing a task. To pressure you to do more. I don’t feel that with TickTick.
You can also delete tasks or mark them as ‘Won’t Do’—tasks that you have decided to cancel. Completed and Won’t Do tasks appear at the bottom, grayed out.
The primary three ways to see your lists are ‘Today,’ ‘Next 7 Days,’ and the ‘Inbox.’ Generally speaking, I prefer the ‘Next 7 Days’ view.
If I don’t have enough time for a task, I rearrange it to another day in the week, plus I can see today’s tasks in context with the week.
In the settings, you can choose if you’d like new tasks to appear at the bottom or top of lists. High-priority tasks and tasks with set times usually appear at the top of lists.
You can rearrange tasks however you’d like.
Usually, I put them in the order that I’ll do them. It can be a little frustrating sometimes when you accidentally place a task under the other as a subtask, but you can easily resolve that.
Another way around this is to just pin certain tasks at the top.
There is also a habit section. Tasks set up as habits will appear at the top of your Today list. If you can’t do them, there is an option to ‘Skip.’
Habits are good for picking up something new, but not good at stopping something, for example, smoking.
I do feel that the wording around how you set up a habit could be easier to understand—a quick walkthrough would have been appreciated.
TickTick App (Mobile)
Available for both Android and iOS, what I love the most about the TickTick app is that if something I need to do pops into my head, I can quickly jot it down on the app for later.
There is also a handy widget that comes with the app that allows you to see your tasks for today, tomorrow, the next seven days, or your entire inbox.
Via the widget, you can complete a task or create a new one which opens a new window.
The mobile app is sometimes a little behind the desktop version.
For example, if I tick a task on the Chrome extension it may not appear ticked on the app for a while, even after refreshing.
But this is a minor inconvenience and I prefer the app to the other versions primarily because it makes it easier to distribute tasks over several days.
The TickTick Chrome extension is the version of TickTick that I use the most and I almost always have it open when I work.
Not only is it useful to tick off tasks as I complete them, but I can also easily add a task if I remember something I need to do.
When you click on the extension, a window pops out. It still impresses me how in-depth this extension is while remaining deceptively simple.
All you have to do is dig around and you’ll uncover a handsome range of features and customizable options which you won’t find on less sophisticated to-do list apps.
One advantage of the TickTick extension over the other ways of using TickTick is that you can right-click on things in the browser and turn them into a task.
I also quite like that if I close Chrome the TickTick extension stays open, and I can continue using it.
Plus, it’s very responsive to how you resize the window—you can stretch it however you like.
TickTick Desktop App
TickTick’s desktop app and extension are almost exactly the same. The only differences are cosmetic.
Having both TickTick’s desktop app and extension would be a bit pointless. Perhaps if you work more in Chrome, the extension makes more sense.
You could also just sign in and work from a tab in your browser too. It’s all about preference and what works for you.
However, if you don’t use a browser so much or don’t always need an internet connection, you may prefer the desktop version.
You won’t be missing any major features, though, reminders on the desktop version are better as they appear in the corner of the screen.
TickTick’s desktop app for Windows can be found here.
TickTick Free vs Premium
TickTick is free to use, but they have a wide range of more complex technical features that are only available to premium users.
Some people greatly enjoy these features and pay for the service, but as much as I love TickTick, I am a cheapskate and I’ll need a lot more convincing.
In all honestly, I feel that the free version is enough, and don’t know why someone would need more.
I just need a place to handle day-to-day tasks, it doesn’t have to be mind-blowing.
One of the key features TickTick Premium offers is access to the calendar, but the thing is, you can already plan and set items for several months in advance.
The week view is pretty handy as it is, and I already have a calendar from Google that I don’t pay for.
TickTick Premium may make it easier to set multiple tasks on a calendar, but this still doesn’t feel like a major leap.
If you already use the TickTick mobile app, you technically already have a calendar view. You can slide through days and set tasks.
The premium calendar allows you to block times with tasks in a comparable way to how Outlook works which may feel unnecessary for any Outlook users.
I understand planning several tasks for a date three days away, but multiple tasks for a day long into the future doesn’t seem wise—if it doesn’t work out, you may start to hate TickTick.
There are also smart lists, but I feel I could live without them. Again, this is overplanning that I don’t feel is realistic.
For me, the primary reason to use TickTick is not to lose track of things I need to do, I don’t need it to manage my entire life.
TickTick vs Todoist
TickTick and Todoist are suspiciously similar—suspiciously similar. It makes you wonder if there’s a secret court battle taking place somewhere around the world.
Both have an ‘Inbox,’ a section for ‘Today,’ and the ‘Next 7 Days’ or ‘Upcoming’—the gist of it is virtually the same.
If you ignore the minor aesthetic differences, it’s only when you dig a bit deeper to you see how they differentiate from each other.
Todoist can integrate with Google Calendar which is one of the top features I would like to see for TickTick.
So far, the only way TickTick can integrate with Google Calendar is with a third-party, Zapier which looks like it could be too complicated (I can imagine this breaks often).
For the time being, I’ll stick with TickTick as I’m used to its layout, and I find it a little easier on the eyes.
If for whatever reason you dislike TickTick, Todoist is probably the best alternative.
Conclusion: TickTick Is Worth It
TickTick is worth getting. Though I don’t make frequent use of all its functionalities, at its core, it is very useful, and I use it almost every day to organize the things I need to do.
Your opinion on TickTick will ultimately depend on how you like to organize your work and chores—some features will appeal to you, others you may simply disregard.
There is so much more I could say about TickTick (I didn’t even get around to integrations and collaborating with others).
But in the end, the paid version of TickTick goes against why I like the free version in the first place—it’s simple to use.
TickTick is a digital version of the checklist I would make on a notepad that works across multiple devices.