This App Makes Managing Self-Employment a Total Breeze

Almost six years ago, after years of working as a freelance writer on nights and weekends, I quit my salaried job and started working for myself full-time. As could be expected, it took a while for me to build my client base and fill my schedule with assignments (shoutout to The Everygirl for being the first publication to join my newly self-employed roster!). Keeping track of a handful of article assignments didn’t require an intricate organization system at the beginning of my entrepreneurial journey, but it wasn’t long before I started to lose track of my tasks as my workload increased.

Fortunately, things began to change quickly for me and my business as I expanded my client base and started offering a greater variety of content creation and digital marketing services, but unfortunately, that meant my to-do list was overflowing and became overwhelming and difficult to manage. Knowing my clients wouldn’t be impressed with missed details or deadlines, I turned to Todoist (a task management system) for help, and let me just say that I’ve been hooked ever since.

While you don’t have to be self-employed to get a lot out of Todoist, I’d be doing every other entrepreneur out there a disservice if I didn’t walk you through specifically how this task management system helps me stay on top of my self-employed game. I’m breaking down its features along with how I use it to be an efficient business owner ahead.

What is Todoist?

Todoist is a task manager and to-do list app that makes it easy to keep up with all of your tasks, no matter how big or small they are. Since it can be integrated with over 80 apps and is accessible across a variety of operating systems and devices—including desktops, smartphones, tablets, and smartwatches—its main job is to keep you organized. As a Mac user, I love that the app syncs on my phone, tablet, desktop, and laptop computer, so I can tackle my to-do list no matter where I am or what device I’m using.


Within the tool, you can create projects, priorities, labels, tasks, sub-tasks, reoccurring due dates, reminders, and more. Flexible views allow you to keep a bird’s eye view of upcoming work or focus on what you need to do on a certain day, depending on how you like to visualize your workload. Similarly, you can switch between list, calendar, or board views for easier planning and tracking. For example, if you are working on a project for a client, you can view where each task lies on a calendar view or just take a look at your to-do list for the day (or upcoming days) to see what tasks you need to tackle to keep your project on track.

One of my favorite (and most used) features is the ability to drop important notes and details into a task description that I don’t want to slip through the cracks. It’s incredibly useful to keep tasks open on my phone via the app when I’m on client calls, so when a client is throwing a bunch of small details and deadlines my way, I can jot them down in tasks that they apply to. No matter how you prefer to view and keep up with your work or how detail-oriented your work tasks are, features like this one, plus the features previously mentioned, make focusing on your most pressing to-dos a breeze.


For many entrepreneurs, the free version of this app offers enough features to seamlessly manage your work; however, there are two paid options if you want more capabilities. The Pro plan is $4 per month and gives you access to more projects, an AI assistant, a longer activity history, and some of the more helpful features like setting reminders. The Business plan is $6 per month and gives you access to all of those things, plus the ability to create a shared team workspace and collaborate with team members. I try to keep my business expenses nice and lean, but after using the free version of this tool and realizing it was the saving grace, I upgraded to the Pro plan, which, to me, is a small price to pay for how organized it keeps me.

How you can use Todoist to manage self-employment

Keeping up with deadlines

I love a good digital organization tool, but I am also a paper planner lover through and through. The physical and visual element helps me to stay clear-headed. However, if I tried to write down every to-do I had on the horizon, my planner would just overwhelm me.

This is where Todoist comes in. I don’t use it to track my biggest deadlines, like the final product of an article. Instead, I use it to tackle all the tiny deadlines that lead up to a big one. For example, let’s say I need to interview a dermatologist for an upcoming skincare story. I would write the article deadline down in my planner, but I would add mini deadlines about the interview to the app: a deadline for when I need to reach out to potential interview subjects, a deadline for following up with them, and a deadline for prepping for the interview. Adding all of those tiny deadlines to my planner would be overkill, but it’s quick and easy in Todoist.

It may seem a bit overkill to use a paper planner and a digital task-planning app, but I find having these two systems in place helps me avoid missing any deadlines. By putting the final project deadline in my paper calendar, I always know what big to-dos are on the horizon, but Todoist makes it so much easier to stay on top of the smaller tasks that make up those big projects. I like that I can easily shift around mini-due dates digitally, which would be a mess if I tried to constantly make changes in my physical planner. That being said, many people will find that Todoist is all they need to stay organized—especially since you can sync it with a digital calendar. I just can’t help my love of paper planners.

Managing admin work

On top of assignment deadlines, I also have a lot of admin-related deadlines that can be easy to let slip through the cracks. Working with a lot of different publications and brands (we’re talking around 30 every year) is very fun, but also requires staying on top of different admin deadlines—like remembering what day of the month each client likes to receive invoices. Any time an admin request comes through from a client (like signing up for new software or sending them a professional bio), I add it to the app ASAP so I don’t forget about it.

On top of client-related admin tasks, I keep track of all of my personal admin tasks in Todoist that keep my business running smoothly, such as:

  • Quarterly tax payment deadlines
  • Canceling free trials or subscriptions to software
  • Following up with clients on overdue invoices
  • Following up with prospective clients, interview subjects, etc.
  • Circling back with past clients to re-engage 
  • Cleaning up my inbox
  • Checking in with my accountant
  • Refreshing my business website

Organizing bigger projects

My favorite element of Todoist is how you can organize your tasks into a “project” instead of having one massive list of tasks. This feature doesn’t have to apply to a specific project you’re working on (although it can)—instead, it allows you to break your work into categories. For example, I create a project for each client I work with, a project specifically for my personal admin work, and a project that houses all of my invoices. I find breaking down my tasks by project (or category) helps me stay more organized. In fact, one of the reasons I pay for a subscription is because it gives me the ability to create even more projects.

Some of your assignments might be simple and won’t require you to build out a project, but let’s say you’re working on an ebook for a client, for example. You could name your project “[client name] ebook” and then create a series of tasks that could include creating an e-book outline, researching topics, submitting the first draft to the client, making necessary edits, and so on.

By keeping all of my like tasks together, I find that it’s easier to view the status of a project and see where I might be falling behind. Similarly, I can easily view a project and update a client on its progress. Whether you have a lot of project-based work or just simply like to organize your work into buckets, you’ll really love this feature.

Balancing responsibilities outside of work

When you work for yourself, it can be easy to let the hustle and bustle of running your business distract from your personal life. This is why I also use Todoist to stay on top of personal tasks. For example, I have tasks to set doctor appointments or buy birthday presents for loved ones. I even have tasks that remind me to pay my bills or cancel subscriptions.

Life gets busy, so having one clear place to stay organized and friendly reminders to nudge you along can be a big help. If you’re planning a wedding, overseeing a home renovation, or tackling any kind of big personal endeavor, creating a project within the app to house all of your to-dos will be a game changer.

It’s so easy to grab a Post-It note or random notebook, write down things you need to get to, and promptly forget about them. Having my responsibilities front and center (and in one place) has made managing both my professional and personal life more efficient. Plus, it saves me a lot of time and helps me achieve a better work-life balance, and who doesn’t want that?



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