It’s embarrassing how many times I have moved from one task manager to the next over the last several years, but I now think I’ve found the almost perfect solution: ClickUp!
According to my time tracking app, Timing, I spent over 10 hours setting up and learning ClickUp, after importing all my tasks from Todoist. Ten hours is a lot of time, but it was worth it, because I can finally not only manage my daily tasks, projects, and goals much better, but I can also do better planning in ways I wasn’t able to do in Todoist and other task managers.
- ClickUp vs Other Task Managers
- Cost of ClickUp
- Linear and Spacial Task Managers
- Managing Tasks
- Getting Started with ClickUp
- Drawbacks and Wants
- Triggering ClickUp Shortcuts
- Your Feedback
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ClickUp vs Other Task Managers
I want to say upfront that the purpose of this article is not to bash other task managers. Programs like Todoist, 2Do, Asana, and Ominfocus are beautifully designed and practical for what they do. However, I think the developers of ClickUp took a look all the popular task managers and figured how to incorporate their best features, as well as adding features missing in those task managers. (By the way, here’s an article about how I used Todoist.)
ClickUp’s applications comparison page shows how their program has over 50 more features than most other programs. Their comparison of Todoist and Asana blew me away. I was thinking about moving to Asana because it includes Calendar and Kanban views, plus a few other really great features, but the annual $264 fee is too much for a solo freelancer like myself.
Cost of ClickUp
ClickUp has a Free Forever version, but for a modest $60 per year, you get unlimited storage, unlimited custom fields, recurring tasks, unlimited views of tasks, delegated reminders, a built-in notebook, Gantt and Box views, and 5 guests invitations to view specified task lists. Seriously, the ClickUp subscription includes dozens of features not found in most task management applications.
Much of ClickUp is geared toward people who work in teams, but it’s still very useful individuals.
Hint: after you sign up for ClickUp, and if the app ask you to watch three boarding videos, but sure to watch all of them, because you may receive a $20-off coupon for your first year subscription.
Linear and Spacial Task Managers
In most task managers, tasks are presented in a linear display. You scroll up and down the user interface to view tasks, and for the most part there’s no calendar view.
A vertical view of tasks makes it difficult to view all your tasks over a week or month’s time. This is why I had a difficult time organizing projects in Todoist. Todoist was great for reminding me of daily tasks, but when I wanted to manage projects and goals, I felt stuck and ended up looking for alternative solutions. It was these type of management problems that ultimately led me to ClickUp.
The following are some of the ClickUp features that stand out the most and are the main reasons I switched to ClickUp.
The structure of ClickUp is…
1. Top level Workspace, which essentially you or everyone in your team or company.
2. Spaces, sort like departments or larger top folders for different areas of work and projects.
3. Folders, folders within Spaces.
4. Lists, like sub-folders within Folders
5. Tasks, which inherit rules from the Spaces.
ClickUp contains the traditional list view of tasks. But it goes a lot further. You can create what are called Statuses for each stage of your task or project. For blog posts, my statuses are Idea, Started, Drafted, Revise, Proofread, Posted, and Promote. The statuses come in handy when I’m working on a project for over a several weeks time. I can review where I left with each task.
In your workspaces, you can use existing or custom fields to add as columns for your tasks. You can set up custom priorities, labels, and even numeric columns that can be used for calculations. ClickUp’s custom field features are very much similar to the custom fields Notions, which I no longer use since I started using ClickUp.
One of the features I hacked in Todoist is to create reusable tasks, using a IFTTT hack. But ClickUp includes a features for saving tasks and lists as templates, baked right in the application.
ClickUp provides various ways to sort tasks in columns to make it easier to filter and view them.
One of the most important features for me is the monthly calendar view, which allows for filtering scheduled tasks in spaces, folders, and lists. This way I can get a visual view of all the important tasks that I have assigned to myself. In the screenshot below, the month view shows my filtered tasks for blogging work. I also filter for my day job and client work.
As with most task management applications, ClickUp includes an Inbox this simply shows your current day scheduled tasks from everywhere in your account. You can also click to see upcoming and done tasks. You can also marks spaces and lists as favorites and access in the tab view. And finally you can select to have selected tasks sit in tray at the buttom-right of the user interface. This is convenient for tasks and projects you are currently working on.
ClickUp allows for a Start Date! Adding a Start Date is the one features I longed for in Todoist, and I never understood why it wasn’t there. In ClickUp, tasks scheduled with a start and due date remain current in your inbox, and the task only becomes overdue after the due date is passed.
Getting Started with ClickUp
Because ClickUpIs is so feature-rich and different from most task manager applications, it probably will take you some time to understand how best to use it. I confess that I spent about four days importing tasks from Todoist account, and then setting up spaces, folders, and lists, as well as learning how to use the custom columns, statuses, and filters.
My advice: do not let the application overwhelm you. The are tons of help docs and videos about every aspect of ClickUp. Take your time and read and view as much as you can.
Drawbacks and Wants
As much as I like ClickUp, I do want to point out a few problems with the program that you might need to know about.
- The iOS mobile version of ClickUp is not as well developed at the web and desktop versions. For me the font size is too small, there’s only a Day view in the calendar, and no month view.
- The iOS Share Extension only shares to the Inbox as a reminder. You can’t share to specific spaces or lists.
- There’s no Share Extension for Safari, but there is one for Chrome.
- The Mac desktop version doesn’t have enough menu items, though the app can be navigated using special shortcuts, such as “T” for new task, “s” for search, and “k” for quick switch between spaces, folders, and lists.
Triggering ClickUp Shortcuts
As with all my most used applications, I eventually created BetterTouchTool finger gestures to trigger shortcuts while my hand is on my trackpad. The video below shows how I use BetterTouchTool to trigger ClickUp shortcuts.
What challenges do you face with your current task manager? Click the blue triangle if your task manager has the feature, and red if it doesn't.
What do you think about ClickUp or the current task manager you use? Do you think you’ll try the program? I would love to hear your feedback.