Managing Your Executive Assistant To Do List

A short time ago, I created a video about being reactive versus being proactive, and one of the things that can really make a difference in your work day is being proactive about your tasks and your email

Several of you have told me that you worry about dropping the ball. And I totally get that! That sinking feeling that results from forgetting to do something, or from letting something slip through the cracks is just completely awful, isn’t it? Which is precisely why you need to keep all your to-dos in just one place. No sticky notes. No little slips of paper. No spiral notebook that you spill water all over and the water-based ink gets washed away ruining pages and pages of notes, ideas, and to-dos. (Yeah, that happened to me!)

Enter Todoist. I heard my friend and fellow Executive Assistant Stephanie Brackett mention that she uses Todoist so I thought I would check it out.

This is an amazing tool that no matter what CRM you are using, you can implement Todoist, pair it with your Gmail account and your Google calendar to create a bullet-proof system for keeping track of everything you need to do. All you have to do is get into the habit of using it.

Obviously, this does not replace the checklists you use for your listing process or your contract to close process. Todoist is what you use to manage your projects and other tasks which are not on any of your existing checklists.

With Todoist:

  • You can schedule a task for any day at any time and it will put it on your calendar. You can also create recurring tasks, so if it’s your job to check for incoming reviews every day, you can add that as a task that automatically shows up in each day’s task list.
  • You can send an email to Todoist, archive the email, and when you’re ready to work on the items in that email, you can use Todoist to open the email in a new window. This allows you to empty your email inbox by sending those to-dos into Todoist rather than letting them sit in your inbox.
  • You can manage your personal and professional life right out of the same app using the Projects feature. Categorize and sub-categorize everything so that visually it makes sense to you.
  • You can drag and drop to rearrange tasks.
  • You can view everything you need to today, or you can view everything you need to do for a particular project. Being able to switch views is super important for being able to see an overview of everything you need to accomplish today versus being able to mark off everything you need to do for a particular project.
  • Share projects with anyone else who has a Todoist account.

Of course, there are bells and whistles that are pretty dang cool too! With the premium version (just $28.99 per year) you can now:

  • Add labels to your projects. This is especially helpful if you are following David Allen’s Getting Things Done book which asks you to categorize your to-dos based on where you are: on your phone, at your computer, at home, etc.
  • Create templates. Although I think you should have a strong CRM managing your listing and closing to-do’s, perhaps you have a simple checklist with several items on it that you use on occasion. Save and apply the template whenever you need to execute that checklist.
  • Set up filters to customize which tasks you look at.

The basic version of Todoist is free and once you add it to your Gmail, you won’t likely need to pay for the premium version if you have a strong CRM managing your listing and closing to-dos.

I thought about creating a video for you that would explain how I set up my Todoist, but I changed my mind after coming across Carl Pullein’s video series on Todoist. He has by far the most comprehensive video tutorials for Todoist. By watching the first ten videos, you will have a very good understanding of how to use Todoist. Carl’s video series is 120 videos long if you desire to get to mastery level!

Here’s a screenshot of my Todoist just to give you an idea of how I have mine set up:

You’ll notice that I have a project called Work and a sub-project called Listing Manager. Currently my role as COO involves managing the admin side of the business as well as managing the listings. Before too long I’ll be hiring someone to take over the Listing Manager part of my job which is why I have it separated out. I time block for that role specifically and I make sure I do the Listing Manager tasks only during that time block. It really helps me manage my day to create that separation.

If you are the sole Executive Assistant on your team, I would highly recommend you create Projects based on the roles you are filling such as Listing Manager, Transaction Coordinator, Marketing Manager, and Runner. That way you can group your to-do’s and time block specifically for those roles.

I also have my Goals as a project. It’s nice to be able to review my goals daily when they are right there in front of me!

I subscribe to several email lists and will often want to read the email or the article linked in the email at a later time. That’s why I have an Articles to Read project. I dump those emails into that project which gets them out of my inbox. Then I can block time on my calendar to go back and read those.

I deliberately keep my list of projects limited; I didn’t want to visually overwhelm myself every time I open the app.

Todoist isn’t the only to-do manager out there. I’ve heard good things about Wunderlist and Gqueues as well. The key is to find something that works for you and that you will consistently use.

To finish up, I found this quote by Peter Drucker: “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” SO GOOD! Manage your tasks. Display your leadership ability by doing the right things. Because, as we all know, not everything matters equally.

Give it a try and let me know in the comments how it works out for you. I’d really love to know what Projects you set up for yourself to keep yourself organized!


  1. Meagan Moulden

    I’ve been using TDI for a little over a month after a conversation with Stephanie. It has TRULY increased my efficiency and productivity. Some of my projects are Single Action, Multi-Step, Meeting, Phone Call, Waiting For, Books to Read, Future Task, Recurring Task, and one for each of my agents. Looking to add labels and more in the next few weeks as I ramp up to the next level of using TDI

  2. Cait

    Would love some updates on how you’re using the new Microsoft To Do!
    I just found your blog the other day, I do front desk reception for a Real estate brokerage, and social marketing & admin for a few realtors who asked for extra help. I’m not licensed (my background is construction admin) so I’m loving the realtor-specific admin stuff. Thank you!

  3. Antoinette

    I am an executive assist. I heaviliy utilise Microsoft outlook task and my Executive loves it also. To be super productive my Executive wants to manage/action task via his ipad. Is there anyone on here that has had the same challenge? The task I set have email attachments. Ideally we want to sync current outlook tasks with an add-on or app.

    1. Elizabeth (Post author)

      Sorry Antoinette, Outlook is unfamiliar to me. I’ve always used Google products. Wish I could help!


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