Single or multiple todo lists?

Hey All: I’ve been struggling a bit with using Checkvist to manage all my various todo’s/tasks/projects. I have three major areas of my life – personal, work (full time job) and business. I’ve tried one big list with sections, and I’ve tried 3 separate lists. Neither seems to really work great, and doesn’t seem to have a good flow where I feel like things aren’t slipping through the cracks. One big list is a bit overwhelming! :slight_smile: I guess I’m just reaching out to see if anyone has any ideas or suggestions for how you use Checkvist to manage daily tasks & projects. Thanks!

Maybe one big list where everything is tagged either #personal #work or #business?
Checkvist is super easy to filter on tags by clicking on the tag pill.
I keep the first item of my list as a tag-cloud so I can easily filter right from the top.
e.g. the first item would be something like:
Tag cloud #personal #work #business
New entries always go below that first item.


So why are they falling through? …

  1. Too many items on the list… where do you start?
  • Are you missing priorities?
  • Location tagging?
  1. Too many items on the list… but they aren’t actionable (aka, ToDo’s)?
  • I separate things I need to complete from things I need to look at some time
  1. Lack of [due] dates?
  • this one is easy to get trapped by. Too many dates, too few
  • I used to go with the 3 list approach but it was too much info. I moved to a bunch of lists and then use filter (e.g. dates, tagging:project, …) to find what I needed
  1. Lack of hierarchy?
  • are you using the focus mode?
  • each level deeper is more detailed

The real question is why do you think thinks are slipping through? What is the root cause?

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Hello !

I also have 3 Area in my life :slight_smile:

  • Full time job as Sales Manager
  • Husband / Dad / Family
  • Small business owner on the internet.

I have my personal life and personal business on one set of lists. And a other one for my Full time Job. I appel a prefix before the list names :

P for Personal

W for Work


Then it is easier to access the correct area and associated lists.

Also, it is easy to create permalink and Dashboard with the Set of personal lists or the set of Work lists.

I display 2 or more lists at the same time in my browser.

The only thing is that the Android Quick add Task option of Checkvist doesn’t allow to creat different shortcut to put into my Work Inbox or my Personnal Inbox.

It is a extra step to bring idea in the correct inbox.

But there are som walk-around with shortcut to send e-mail at the List e-mail ID.


Good point ! That’s why it is recommanded to have one TODO list / Projet List and a Someday/maybe list for “not actionnable” stuff.

Also, don’t forget to use a “waiting for” tag. You should not display your task on Hold or waiting for a feedback from a colleague along your Do-able tasks.

I only review my “waiting for” tagged Tasks once a day. And my Todo list is generated via a permalink that automatically filter the “Waiting for” tasks out.

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I mostly do One Big List, but I do find I need to separate immediate to-do items from projects. I have a set of about 10 major current projects, with lots of information in each one (links to files, emails, things to think about, etc). Then separately (at the top of the list) I have two categories of immediate to-dos: short and long. Those immediate todos link to items in the major projects.

The new cross-linking capability makes this much easier: I just copy the link from something in the major projects, and paste it into one of the immediate todo categories.

This new capability also makes it much easier to use separate lists for projects that are really complex and long; you can again copy links from there and put the into your immediate todo lists.

It’s sounds a little complicated but is actually quite easy to implement, and it really helps create an organized overview of the day’s tasks out of a complex mess of projects.

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Hello Charles, Why not just use a Tag “NOW” to filter out of your list the task you would do right now ? also then you have a hierarchical sorting, keeping your project Structure.

I addition to Checkvist I also use MLO which is an other powerful outliner. And yes, to be honest, I like the fact that MLO doesn’t have any lists AT ALL. You just set “Views” that “filter” you main Tree Structure in order to display what you would like to be displayed.

Checkvist could do exactly the same with the Permalink function. BUT, with Checkvist the reason why I still try to have 2 or 3 mains Lists instead of a big one, is to keep the loading time as high as possible.

Tag cloud? I didn’t realize you could do that. I will definitely play with that option. Thanks!

Thanks for the perspective. I think in general, just too many things on my list(s). I need to do some culling. I’m still learning all the Checkvist features that can help me with this. I posted my question in the hopes of learning about some features I wasn’t aware of. So far, it seems to be working. :slight_smile:

I like the idea of a dashboard, especially now with the new linking feature.

Hello Michael, very interresting Hack ! Very simple but effective, good idea !

but also, don’t forget you can create a permalink from a pre-filtered List ! Like you have a permalink that always show you list sortered with the “#Personal” Tag. So hiting this Permalink URL, or adding it as a browser bookmark automatically “create” a “Personnal” list… within your main list (@MaudMan probably usefull for you too !)

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Hi folks,

First, thanks everyone sharing your experience :slight_smile:

Answering the initial question - I use several dozen of lists, but not many active at the same time. Using ‘ll’ popup to quickly switch between them (basically, ll, then type the part of list name with is interesting to me). I don’t use lists which are large (i.e. > 3000 items)

For time-bounded tasks, Due page and repeating tasks with e-mail notifications work fine for me.

Oh, and lists are tagged as well, for extra organization. Checkvist related lists are tagged #checkvist, too.

Just wanted to let you know that in this year, we hope to

  • bring a better bookmark feature
  • improve global cross-list search
  • improve performance for large lists (not a trivial issue, but let’s see)

But first, we’d like to enhance working with links even further.

All the best,

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Why not just use a Tag “NOW” to filter out of your list the task you would do right now

Because I want to organize my “Immediate” list in the order I need right now. If I just filter with a tag, items are displayed in the order they fall in the master list, which is not the same.

Yes, thank you Thomas (and Michael)! I’m really loving these ideas of a tag cloud and/or permalinks to a pre-sorted list. I see how I can create a nice dashboard or index that would serve me nicely. I haven’t started to leverage tags yet, but I see I really need to.

Thank you Maxkir! Too many lists would make my OCD start acting up. :smile: I use “ll” all the time to access my lists, but I really wish there was a shortcut from there to open a list in a new tab and leave the current list open.

You can press Shift when opening the list from the ll popup to open the list in the new tab/window.
It opens a new tab in the FireFox, and the new window in Chrome. Might be helpful.


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That is a decent alternative. I mainly use a Chromium based browser, so it opens in a whole new browser window. I wish CTRL would work to open a new tab, but I can deal with a new window. Otherwise, maybe I will switch to Firefox. :slight_smile:

Thanks for all the great replies and suggestions everyone! After reading all these ideas, I’m finding great value in using tags (and a tag cloud list item), as well as breaking up my tasks into even MORE lists. I’ve moved all recurring tasks & reminders to a separate list organized into 3 sections, and I’m breaking up my work & business lists into separate lists that make more sense for how I work. Then I’m going to create a dashboard of sorts with links to the various lists and pre-filtered lists using permalinks. It does take some time to really start to realize the full power of Checkvist and all the keyboard shortcuts.


Just wanted to share that I’ve managed to fix opening new tabs in the Chrome as well. So now you can use Shift + Enter both in FF and Chrome.

All the best,


I can see that this has already been well answered. However my approach is slightly different.

I have a list called GTD (from David Allen’s Getting Things Done). Within that I have a few sublists “Calendar”, “Next Actions” and “SomeDayMayBe”. The Calendar is for date specific things like meetings or dentist appointments. The NextActions might have a due date but can be be a long list. So between Calendar and NextAction, I have have a “Six most important actions”. I tag the current month calendar and the SixMostImportant with the tag #Today. As the month progresses I mark calendar events as complete (and hide them). So #Today is where I focus. If I make progress, I move items from NextActions into SixMostImportant.

I do not distinguish between business and personal for two reasons. If I have an action to chose a present for Fred, I know whether Fred is a friend or colleague. And my life is not really partitioned into work and home. During my working day I might think of a present for a relative and during my home-life I might plan for a meeting. But I might not do either if it is not on my #today tag (i.e. outstanding current month calendar and six most important actions).

Depending on the action I might move it up into the calendar when done so I can recall it. But I would immediately mark it as complete.