Todoist Filters for Government Officers – Practical ways to integrate into Office work

Todoist Filters are very powerful tools in Todoist Application which helps in effective management of tasks and projects. The usual Today, Overdue, Next 7 Days category in Todoist simply is not enough for Government Officers. There are a plethora of tasks in any Officers work environment.Today in TodoistMany of them are wrongly set with unrealistic due dates and many of them are not even accomplished. All major and many minor decisions to go through some sort of formal approval process. Most of the time the reasons for non-accomplishment is the dependency on others. Once a task is assigned to others, the completion of the task becomes dependent on the performance of others.

Adages about lazy government workers exist for a reason. Some government employees just do what is asked of them and no more, but there are far more employees who are driven to achieve more than just the bare minimum. Unfortunately, poor performers are rarely coached to better performance or fired for cause. Till we do not have effective management of both types, we rarely succeed as a team.

Therefore, most of the time, the list of ‘Overdue’ task grows to an extent you end up not opening the task list at all. Similarly, repeated readjustment of due dates make sure the time sense gets lost, the sub-ordinates losses the momentum and we lose trust in task management application.

Instead of using the task management application with due dates, it is best to use the system by using multiple tags, priority, users assignment and Projects. And once these are effectively used, the filters take over the rest of it. Remember, No matter what you want to do, chances are you can do it within the government. All you just need to make sure you are willing to put up with the negative aspects in exchange for the positive ones by utilising the tools mentioned below.

In this article, I am only going to cover the way a Government Officer can use filters to accomplish the task in work environment collaboratively. Filters can be created in the Todoist in multiple ways. But first some basics for those who are new to Todoist. You can download its free version from iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, and many other integration plugins. For full potential of the Todoist, you will need it’s paid subscription plan. Here are the few basics about filters:

Todoist Filters

Android / iOS: In the navigation menu, tap Filters and then Manage filters. You will then find the Add filter option.

You can change the color of the filter symbol by clicking on it.

Name: This is where you type the name of your filter.
Query: This is where you type in the query giving you the filtered result.

Elements in Todoist filters

For Todoist filters, use the same symbols as when typing in the Add task text box.

# = Project

@ = Label (context in GTD)

p = Priority (note that this is case-sensitive)

Filtering on projects

Query Shows
#Roadshow All tasks in the project “Roadshow”
 ##Roadshow All tasks in the project “Roadshow” and its sub-projects

Filtering on Labels (Contexts)

Query Shows
@office All tasks in with label “office”
no labels All tasks without labels

Filtering on Priority

Query Shows
p1 All tasks in with priority level 1
p2 All tasks in with priority level 2
p3 All tasks in with priority level 3
p4 All tasks in with priority level 4 (no priority)
no priority Same as above

Assigned tasks and shared projects in

Todoist filters

Filters are a good way of keeping track of assigned (delegated) tasks. You can see tasks assigned to a specific person or to yourself. You can also see all assigned or not assigned tasks.

Assigned tasks

  • assigned to:
  • assigned by:
  • assigned
The above details have been taken from the blog post from here. 
Kindly visit the link to get more detailed information.

Todoist Filters for Government Officers

Assigned Todays Task

Assigned today workThis is the most used filter for me. What it does is

  1. ##Day Job & (Today | Overdue): This pulls out the tasks from my office projects which are overdue and due today and are not on my shared projects
  2. ##Day Job & (Today | Overdue) & assigned to: others: This pulls up all the task assigned to others ( assigned to: others), in my office projects (##Day Job), which are overdue and due today.
  3. ##Day Job & (Today | Overdue) & !Assigned: This portion of the code help in pulling out tasks from my shared projects which are overdue and due today but have not yet been assigned to anybody (!Assigned)

focus in todoistFocus

Here is the filter code @Focus & All. This filter is used for tasks which generally do not have due dues, it’s not overruled by any other priority and assignment but are the one which just needs to be done in the first instance. These are the type of tasks I assign to my team and keep on following day in and day out. Whenever I see my team, it is one of the things which is discussed and reminded of every time. It is set up by using the label called ‘Focus’ and then using it as a filter @focus & All. This specifies all the tasks tagged with label ‘focus’ and assigned to all including myself.

MIT in TodoistMIT

MIT stands for Most Important Tasks and is represented by the code priority1& !recurring & Assigned. These are the tasks which are marked as top priority and are been assigned to somebody in the team like Under Secretary. If you see closely, a task with priority1 means really a high priority and therefore must be assigned to somebody.

Therefore, these tasks which are required to be done. However, notice that these are tasks which are not time dependent meaning thereby that there are no deadlines to it. They are the one which is done by forgetting everything and focussing on them. These are the tasks which really moves your subordinates.

office work in todoistOffice Work

Here is the filter code: ##🏝Day Job & All These are all the tasks which are in my project head called ##Day Job and which are assigned to all including me (All). This filter is very good when holding a review meeting with subordinates.

All the tasks in office at one place, nice and comprehensive. This filter does not limit the tasks with due dates, categories, projects, or tags. This is frequently used by me during Monday’s meeting to review all the pending tasks.

Assigned by Me in TodoistAssigned by Me

This filter is very useful to ensure that work gets done by the team. The code of the filter is assigned by: me. This is especially useful when I am reviewing the performance of my subordinates and to softly poke them that I do remember that I have assigned certain tasks to them. It will be useful for many as the majority of the tasks are like that in Government office, especially for Senior Government Officers.

Waiting in TodoistWaiting

This is another interesting filter frequently used in Government. The code of the same is @🕰Waiting & Assigned. This is helpful in tracking the work which has been explicitly assigned to the subordinates with directions to put up the file or perform certain things.

The difference between Assigned by Me and Waiting is that in the former you have assigned the work but has not specified if that is required to be submitted back to me, whereas, in latter, you are demanding that the work assigned to the others be put up.

not assigned in todoistNot Assigned

This filter is useful for those forgetful of us who have not yet assigned it to anybody or erroneously the task has been put on the project without assigning. The code for Not Assigned is ##work & !assigned.  All the tasks in my work environment (##work) and not assigned (!assigned). Many a time, there are tasks which have no due dates, are on low priority and have not yet been assigned a user to deliver.

These tasks generally go and get dumped in the application and in course of time, these create an overwhelming feeling. Once you have the filter for Not assigned, once in a week time they can be reviewed and put in the front seat.

boss in todoistBoss Project

This is yet another filter frequently used. The code for it is @🥇Boss & all. Now, this is another of my favourite. The filter uses tags to define a task. By the way, Tags are helpful as one can use multiple tags and then super-impose them with various other parameters like projects in the Filter. Here I am using a task which is tagged as @Boss and are assigned to all.

This is also very helpful in saving yourself at the critical time. Most often, the boss will ask for the task which has been assigned by him. Chances are we might forget one or the other, putting our credentials at risk. Once a task is tagged with @boss, I just pull it out before entering the chambers of my boss, which in the corridors, especially in Mantralayas / North / South block having a wide gallery keeps me engaged which I am going to my boss room.

Secondly, there is nothing which comes as a surprise to me. Sometimes, I even call up my subordinate while in the gallery itself, to get the current status before facing my boss. Thanks for the effective use of the Filter Boss Project.

new created in todoistNew Created

This filter just lists out the tasks which I have created in the last one week. The code for the filter is created after: -7 days & !recurring. This one pulls out the data from past 7 days (created after: -7 days) which are non-recurring. This is helpful in finding out recent tasks in the big task list.

Most of the time, the only thing that is remembered is that the task was recently created, rest of the parameters may get lost. Finding such tasks which are created in the last 7 days is very easy this way. If you see, generally most of the tasks are created gets done in 7-15 days and this keeping a tab on the recently created tasks is very important.

Tasks on Email in TodoistTasks on Email

This capitalises the important feature available on Todoist. Capturing emails and making them as tasks. This is one of the very often used features. I use it in combination with Newton email application. You may be interested how I create an ecosystem of 10 applications for office productivity here. The code here is search: email.

Now, this simple filter will fetch all tasks which are pushed from email and made as a task. I swear this integration of Newton (Email client) with that of Todoist is a killer feature. Either I make email as a task directly from Newton or I forward the email to a designated project in my todoist. The example is 👐 Office support <add.task.000290.134513105.2079849a16eb09a8 @>. I had saved this email in my contacts directory, and as and when an email is to be made as a task to ‘Office Support’ Project of todoist, I simply forward it to this email ID.

This filter helps in segregating the tasks which I have captured from email. Usually, email Tasks caries instructions & details as part of the email body. It is useful while interacting with subordinates, as it contains all most all details of the task.

All Shared

This filter is similar to Office work filter. But it again helps to see in a bird’s-eye view, all the tasks which are in the shared folder. This shared folder may contain tasks which are not assigned, low priority, or no due dates.

But having to know what all tasks are in the shared environment. The code for this filter is shared. Not only does this bring out all the tasks from deep under, but it throws open an opportunity to see if inadvertently some task has been put in a shared folder.

For example, I had booked an appointment with the plumber and I erroneously placed that task in the ‘Office Support’ project which is a shared project with my PPS and PA. When I came late to the office that day, my PPS was aware of the reasons.

1 Year Old

This is yet another interesting filter. The code of it is created before: -365 days & !recurring. I always get the goose bumps on reading this filter. As most of the tasks are pretty old, once I open them, all of them appears new to me (even though they are old). Once in a while, they help to remind that you are still in control of the life at work.

Once long forgotten tasks can be refreshed with new vigour. I see most of my tasks are like sell the washing machine etc but often there are some wishful projects waiting for our attention. Reviving old tasks is always refreshing and brings in confidence that any old stale tasks can be executed and taken to logical conclusions.

No Dates – Review

This filter helps to draw tasks from the list which are not yet given dates. The code for the filter is No Date.

If you see the other filters listed above, there was no emphasis on deadlines or calendar. This was primarily because, in Government work, there are very fewer chances of getting things on time. What I mean is that tasks are dependent on others and many times the deadlines slip. But there are occasions when a task becomes red hot. This happens primarily when the top boss in the hierarchy decides to get it on a particular date and time. This filter will help in listing out all tasks which do not have a date yet.

Simply scrolling through the task one gets to know if any task needs to be given timeline and deadline.

No Priority – Review

This filter is used similarly to display tasks which are there but without any priority. The code for the same is !priority1& !recurring & Assigned. This filter only gives output for tasks which does not have the priority (!priority) and are not recurring (!recurring) and have been assigned (assigned).

Many a time, there are tasks which are reminded to us by colleagues and friends. You may want to take up that tasks provided you are able to. So if for instance, you are reminded by your colleague to help him/her in the office assignment, you might just want to shift the priority from nil to say Priority 4.

I also use the Priority filter to adjust the work which I need to do in a day. Thus high priority tasks are obviously taken up well in the morning, than the one which is of low priority. This filters just draws up the tasks without the filter so that on a happy Sunday evening, once can just push them up to a higher priority.


Practical ways to integrate into Office work

This filtering mechanism is presumed that you have set up your projects, tags, priorities appropriately in Todoist. Here is the way the projects in my work environment are set up. See carefully the indent level for Professional > Day Job. Inside the Day Job Project environment, I have my various projects of office. I will cover my Project assignments and how they are nested in another blog.

Here is my categorisation of Tags

Many of the filters used here are not used in the filtering mechanism. At least you will get to know how the tags can be used to denote ‘Context‘. You can read how to create filters in todoist from their official blog post here and here. You can also visit a blog post which explains all about the Todoist filters in an exhaustive way.

Let me know your favourite Todoist Filter in the comments below.

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Also published on Medium.

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