When comparing Asana vs Todoist, the Slant community recommends Todoist for most people. In the question“What are the best cross-platform task apps?” Todoist is ranked 2nd while Asana is ranked 17th. The most important reason people chose Todoist is:
Todoist's web and desktop interfaces have a 2-column layout. The right column has all tasks organized in nested lists with color codes and information such as what people are assigned to each task and which project the task is part of. The left column offers ways of accessing various groups of tasks – tasks that have to be completed within a certain timeframe, tasks that are a part of a certain project or have certain labels attached to them, etc. The left column also contains filters that allow even more advanced ways of finding a group of tasks. The mobile interface follows a similar design philosophy, but gives each column a separate view.
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Pro Powerful team collaboration features
Asana has fantastic mechanisms for dealing with team collaboration. Not only can tasks be assigned to team members, but Asana lets users follow tasks and use hyperlinks to refer to team members within a task.
Pro Simple workflow
The Asana task workflow within a project is broken down into "Today," "Upcoming," and "Later." The tasks themselves have the status of either done or not done. There is also a subtask feature to group tasks together. Tasks can be assigned to other team members and are stored in the "Inbox" view for processing. This replaces email for some team communication.
Pro Free for up to 15 users
Pro CSV export and print
Pro Very polished interface
Teams can have private (only visible to project members) and public (visible to anyone in the team) projects. Each member can also have their own personal projects.
Tasks can be viewed in list and calendar views. It's possible to display only the tasks assigned to the user or tasks organized by project or team. Single tasks can exist in multiple projects. Lists of tasks can be divided into sections and organized in many different ways – tasks that still have to be done, tasks that have been completed, by due date, by assignee, by popularity, etc.
Expanding a task will allow adding things like subtasks, tags, and attachments, as well as comments. Users can also subscribe to a task via RSS from this view. There's a separate view specifically for attachments.
Search lets you find what you’re looking for quickly.
Pro Tagging system allows easily filtering tasks
The tagging system enables project managers to easily filter tasks.
Pro Provides lots of help for getting started
There are many videos, tutorials, and reference documents to help you get up and running.
Pro Supports Kanban and list views
Asana provides a list view and a Kanban view which can be selected if a new project is created.
Pro Well thought out keyboard shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts all involve the Tab key, so it is unlikely that they will interfere with shortcuts that have already been established.
Pro Integrates with Slack
It's possible to have tasks appear in a Slack channel.
Pro Minimalist UI that's designed for efficient use
Todoist's web and desktop interfaces have a 2-column layout. The right column has all tasks organized in nested lists with color codes and information such as what people are assigned to each task and which project the task is part of. The left column offers ways of accessing various groups of tasks – tasks that have to be completed within a certain timeframe, tasks that are a part of a certain project or have certain labels attached to them, etc. The left column also contains filters that allow even more advanced ways of finding a group of tasks.
The mobile interface follows a similar design philosophy, but gives each column a separate view.
Pro Monitors productivity and rewards it with karma
Todoist monitors how many tasks are completed and gives karma points as rewards for accomplishing them. It can also display charts showing productivity trends, which are great for finding areas that need improvement and increasing your overall productivity. This feature is a great motivator and an effective way of tracking productivity.
Pro Supports natural language input
Todoist supports phrases like "tomorrow," "next month," "in 3 weeks," or for recurring tasks, "every week" or "every 3 days."
Pro Powerful search and filtering functionality
Todoist allows you to perform advanced queries to find tasks that are overdue, have a certain priority level or label, are within a certain project, are assigned to a certain person, or have a deadline set within a certain date range. It also allows combining different queries, removing certain results from the queries, and creating either/or statements.
These queries can be saved as filters for easy access. Filters can be color-coded.
Pro Allows sharing and collaborating on tasks
Anyone can be invited to collaborate on tasks and projects. Users can work alongside five people for free and 25 via the paid version. Collaboration includes the ability to assign tasks, comment on tasks, and receive instant updates.
Pro Multiple ways to organize tasks
Tasks can be structured in nested lists. They can be moved around by dragging and dropping them or via keyboard shortcuts. Tasks can be assigned labels, color codes, priorities, and can also be grouped into projects.
Pro No ads in free version
The unpaid version contains no ads or popups encouraging you to upgrade. The only time you will be asked to upgrade is if you attempt to use a premium feature.
Pro Visual scheduling
By clicking on a task and then selecting “schedule,” a dialog box will pop up with shortcuts like "today," "tomorrow," or "postpone until tomorrow." A date can still be entered manually.
Pro Allows creating task templates
Tasks can be saved as templates by going to "task actions" and selecting "export as a template." The template will be saved locally. Saved templates can then be imported by going to "task actions" button and clicking "import from template." This allows you to use past task items as a starting point for creating new tasks.
Pro Browser extension for "add website as task"
Bookmark any webpage as a to-do item.
Pro Extensive integration with a wide range of external apps
Todoist offers integration with a wide range of external apps, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Google Maps, Apple Maps, Zapier, Toggl Button, TaskClone, CloudMagic, IFTTT, Calendar Sync, Google Now, Dispatch, Mailplane, Airmail, Drafts, Workflow, PomoDone, 1Password, Powr of You, Mailbird, Yoke, Taco, Ginger Keyboard, Time Doctor, and Rindle.
Pro Can be set to send a daily digest email
You can easily program a digest email that will send you an up-do-date summary of your tasks and deadlines.
Pro Supports text formatting
You can make tasks stand out by setting them in bold and spice up your project names with emojis. Todoist also allows editing of hyperlinked text in the task comments. Hypertext, bold text, italic text, and emojis are supported in task names, project names, and task comments. Emojis are also supported in label names.
Hypertext, bold text, italic text, and emojis are supported in task names, project names, and task comments. Emojis are also supported in label names.
Pro Great home screen and lock screen widgets
The native widget is fully functional and editable without needing to open the app. A premium feature allows you to add and edit the task list on your mobile device’s lock screen.
Pro Business strategy doesn't hinge on being acquired
Doist publicly declared their opposition to exit strategies like acquisition that regularly leave users high and dry (https://blog.doist.com/why-we-don-t-have-an-exit-strategy-d3256107d958).
Pro Allows creating location-based reminders
Location-specific tasks can utilize the GPS in your mobile device to offer reminders when you are in the appropriate vicinity. For example, grocery lists that are linked to the location of your regular grocery store.
Pro Integration with any app supporting web-calendar link
Pro Super quick syncing
You can shift between devices without having to worry about if tasks have been synced or not. Todoist sync will always be quicker than you.
Pro Quickly browse your list through smartwatch devices
The Todoist app supports Apple Watch and Android Wear for instant action and task viewing through smartwatches.
Pro Smart Schedule (Let AI schedule your tasks)
Todoist Smart Schedule adapts to your habits over time, analyzing your workload and determining how urgent a task is. By using both your past todos and future todos (as well as the data from millions of other users), it can sort your tasks in most important/ most urgent order, if you want.
Pro Infinite list depth
All subtasks are full featured tasks. This means that at a glance you can see subtasks, unlike other applications that require you to open the task.
Pro On mobile apps, swipe left/right performs fast reschedule/done
Swipe right to mark a task as done, swipe left brings up several rescheduling options (tomorrow, next week, specific date, etc.).
Pro Quickly assign a task to a project as you type with #
Typing # while entering a new task brings up the list of projects (and sub-projects) to assign the task to. Type in any letters of the project name to filter the list to a subset of projects that have those letters in them.
Con Mobile version lacks calendar
Asana's calendar is present in the web version but is conspicuously missing in the mobile app.
Con Unable to manage multiple workspaces
Each "workspace" or "team" in Asana is strictly isolated. You cannot see your personal tasks versus work tasks or collaborations together, you need to log in to a different profile.
Con No task dependencies in free version
Dependencies is only available only to Teams and Organizations on Asana Premium.
Con Can not use list view and board view for a same project
Asana can only choose one, either a list view or a board view.
Con Strange UX with strange workflow
Similar to task the manager in Todoist or Wunderlist, but not too complex for under four members.
Con UX Design is overly opinionated
The workflow is not very customizable, which forces you to use a flow that may not be your preferred or best option.
Con Annual subscription required for notifications and attachments
A yearly subscription costs $29.
Con Does not listen to user suggestions
Todoist has been shown to be fairly unresponsive to requests from their user community. An example can be seen here.
Con Awkward data entry
Several aspects of data entry are far more awkward than they should be: Adding notes, moving subtasks within the outline, and scheduling repeating tasks are all handled better by other apps. Adding notes cannot be done while creating the task, but must be done after. Moving items within the outline hierarchy is very clumsy and the use of keyboard shortcuts (such as holding down 2 or 3) requires knowledge of your current level in the hierarchy (which is not always clear). Finally, there is a natural language syntax for repeating tasks but it is very finicky and there is no good feedback mechanism to tell you whether or not it’s working.
Con Heavy premium advertisement
There is a screaming red "Upgrade and get more done" badge fixed in the bottom of the view, and additional features free users cannot access.
Con Free version has limited functionality
Without a subscription you won’t have access to reminders, comments, or labels and filters. These are features that many users find essential, but aren't included without a subscription.
Con Not much independence of customising the layout
This has been a consistent "con" with Todoist. You cannot decide what should be the size of the fonts. You cannot switch between one-column layout and 2-column layout. You cannot view completed tasks. It is a brilliant application of course, but the development team is stuck on its basic idea of the app and after that they just haven't been developing further.
Con No support for dependencies
Cannot hide tasks until prerequisite tasks are completed
Con No way to add additional info to a task
There is no metadata for the task itself, like a description. While a paid feature allows you to write comments and attach files, info could be lost in the conversation.
Con Makes it too hard to see all tasks assigned to you across the app
There is no default or easy-to-access view to simply see all your tasks from all your different projects. You have to use the filter (to:me) which seems like too much effort for something that should really be a default view.
Con Labels (@contexts, etc.) only available with premium subscription
Con Using "next" actions requires a messy workaround
Todoist was not designed for "next" actions. You can use a workaround by manually setting certain items as priority and then filtering them, but that process requires a lot more management than other tools.
Con Lacks advanced task repeating options
For example: second Saturday of every 2 months.
Con No start dates, only due dates available
Con Cannot import data
Con Very basic compared to alternatives
Compared to some other options, this is not a feature-rich app. The free version is not much better than keeping a text file of your to-dos.
Con Missed daily reminders complete for the wrong day
Miss a daily reminder for yesterday? If you complete it today, it completes today's reminder, too and won't remind you again until tomorrow.
Con Todoist Foundations is detrimental to the app
Completed tasks disappear and project/section structures are messed up.
Con Mac Mail not supported
Even in the Pro version, Mac Mail is not supported for sending tasks as email attachments. There are some workarounds to send mail, but those attachments will still be impossible to forward.
Con Inbox is limited to 200 tasks
Con Can't mark all completed tasks uncompleted
It's possible to select multiple uncompleted tasks, but there's no way to select completed tasks.
Con Recurring tasks are hard to set because the app only supports "natural language"
Con Naming convention for labels is very limited
No spaces or special chars are allowed.
Con Latest iPhone app only available for iOS 8 and above
The latest iPhone app is only available for iOS 8 and above, which excludes users with iPhone 4 or older models. Older versions of the app that can be used with previous iOS versions can be found here.