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Frustrated with recurring tasks and reminders


I love so many things about Todoist, but the free entry box for recurrence drives me nuts. Entering them in the Priorities to 2Do app are so much easier. Let me click on the day I want the task to start, then I can choose exactly how I want the repeat to work and if I want it to repeat from completion date or on a certain date no matter what. (I hate guessing what language to use that the program will understand, I always forget and have to look back at the help page. I know it sounds cool to use real language to put in the box, but in reality it raises my blood pressure, seems unnecessarily complicated).

Here is a simple example. I went to put in a reminder for the kids to take out the trash. Every other week the recycle goes out also. So in my old app, I had a task that would start this week and repeat every two weeks, and then I had a separate task that would start next week and repeat every two weeks. When I tried that tonight with Todoist, I type in every second Monday, but they both turn out the same because I don't know how to get one to start today and the other one to start next week.

Also with the recurrent tasks, is there a way to set the recurrence from completion? For instance, if we set certain household tasks such as giving the dog their medications every month and we are late in getting it done, I don't want the task to come up until it has been a month since it was last given.

If I can't get simple things like that to work, it makes me nervous to switch over all my work stuff.

All responses

Brendon Wadey  staff
Replied on Oct 08, 2013 - 00:55 UTC

Hi Valerie,

We are sorry you feel this way. We do try to keep things as simple and intuitive as possible.

You can create a task as "every 2 weeks starting October 10" and that would give you what you want. If you click on the date box, then Recurring Tasks & More you can learn about the options available.

As for recurring overdue tasks, this is not possible. That task would show as overdue until complete, and then the next occurrence would happen.


David Trey  staff
Replied on Oct 08, 2013 - 11:10 UTC

Hello Valerie,

Also, regarding setting recurrence from the task completion - this is also possible. To do so, instead of "every 14 days", use the date "after 14 days" and such task will repeat 14 days after the completion.

Best regards,

Jay  premium
Replied on Oct 29, 2013 - 16:14 UTC

I too am frustrated with this. In addition to getting the syntax right, the entry box is two small to see the entire phrase on the longer ones when trying to get it right.

"every 2 weeks starting October 30"
I've been trying to use this and it doesn't work. Keeps telling me Invalid Date.

Jay  premium
Replied on Oct 29, 2013 - 16:16 UTC

Got it to work using "14 days" instead of "two weeks". Still not happy with it.

Replied on Dec 02, 2013 - 19:54 UTC

How can I do "every 2 years on Dec 1"?

Robert Bendett
Replied on Dec 02, 2013 - 19:58 UTC

I use every 730 days instead of 2 years.

Brendon Wadey  staff
Replied on Dec 02, 2013 - 21:21 UTC


Yes Robert if correct. We will of course continue to try to improve the options for dates.


Rick Cogley
Replied on Dec 22, 2013 - 09:08 UTC

New premium user, adding my voice to this. The "natural language" date adding is rigid and as such, not at all superior where it could be. At this point, I feel it is pretty poor, actually.

For example, I cannot simply say "Every Jan 14" to have it figure out I mean "Every 12 months starting on Jan 14". Also, why couldn't I simply say "Every year starting..." or "Annually starting...". It is not difficult to add this kind of string parsing.

Further, when I enter dates, for whatever reason it won't accept "Jan 14th" but rather expects "14 Jan". Is it linked to the way I have my date display formatting set? If so, why? It should accept whatever I choose to write, not be hard coded in any way.

David Trey  staff
Replied on Dec 22, 2013 - 14:28 UTC

Hello Rick,

That's not entirely correct. You can set a task to "every 14 jan", you don't have to use "every 12 months starting 14 jan" (in fact, this would be less accurate than "ev 14 Jan").

As for "14 Jan" it should work as well as "Jan 14" depending on your date format settings.

Please let us know what browsers were you using in which you've experienced these issues.

Best regards,

Rick Cogley
Replied on Dec 23, 2013 - 01:09 UTC

David, hi - I'm on OS X Mavericks, latest Chrome.

I just tried a test task, and entered -

every jan 14

It gives the dreaded "invalid date help" red-message-of-death.

every 14 jan

...though, does indeed work. Which is sort of my point. Why would it force you to use one of the other? The date format setting should be about viewing, not about forcing me to remember what I set it to. It should flexibly accept "every 14th jan", "every jan 14th", or, those with ev or just the number 14.

I think I see the subtle difference now that you point it out, between putting simply ev 14 jan, and every 12 months starting 14 jan. It's logically not quite the same, correct?

Well, it would help if there were a couple more examples in your help section on this, and, if the rule was not linked to view format settings. (which it seems to be)

Kind regards,

Rick Cogley
Replied on Dec 23, 2013 - 03:37 UTC

One additional observation - when I want to set a reminder, I need to set another specific date. This would be much better if I could simply write -

due date -7 days

Or something like that, relative to the due date I already set on the task. This is useful for things that need a little prep time, like finding that perfect gift before a birthday.

Rick Cogley
Replied on Dec 23, 2013 - 03:45 UTC

Ok, oddly, I have to set a time to get reminders to be set, and I can pick several options.

If I set a date, why can't it just assume a certain time, like, 0:00:00, and allow a reminder to be set? I have no idea what time people were born, and it's odd to have to set a time when I don't know it.

David Trey  staff
Replied on Dec 23, 2013 - 12:43 UTC


We will consider adding more accepted due date formats in the future.

You don't need to set a date for a reminder if instead of absolute reminders, you'll use relative reminders in which case, you can pick the delay from the drop-down menu and set it to "30 minutes before", "1 day before" etc.

As for your last suggestion - we can't do this as we think most our customers would not want to receive multiple reminders for all tasks with no times on midnight and without a time in either the task or the reminder, this would have to be the default assumption.

Best regards,

Rick Cogley
Replied on Dec 23, 2013 - 22:45 UTC

Hmm, ok, I can understand that.

I am not sure, but it might be useful to have a way of at least setting defaults.

Paula Stewart
Replied on Mar 20, 2014 - 17:58 UTC

I agree with the earlier contributor - You need an option to show repeated tasks that are daily on the to do list. If I'm looking at my workload for tomorrow (or a week out) and a task doesn't show up because I haven't done it yet today, that's going to cause me to overbook. On the other hand, the current method is valuable for other purposes, so don't eliminate that one.

Keep up the good work!

Joey  premium
Replied on Mar 21, 2014 - 08:52 UTC

Tasks that are set up for "every" (as opposed to "after") should show on every day being displayed that meets the repeat criteria.

Also, for reasons given elsewhere, not separating the repeat criteria from the due date is, in my mind, a huge design flaw.

紫雨老师  premium
Replied on Oct 01, 2014 - 01:03 UTC

Hi David, you said:
"Also, regarding setting recurrence from the task completion - this is also possible. To do so, instead of "every 14 days", use the date "after 14 days" and such task will repeat 14 days after the completion. "

Let's say I have a task dated 1 Oct, but I completed on 2 Oct. So the syntax above will autorepeat every 14 days after completion, meaning 16 Oct, 30 Oct and so on?

David Trey  staff
Replied on Oct 01, 2014 - 14:54 UTC


Yes. so for example, if you use "every 14 days", the task is due on 1 Oct and you complete it on 10 Oct, it will go to 15 Oct as it will refer to its initial 14 day fixed interval.

However, in case of "after 14 days", completing it on 10 Oct would move it to 24 Oct - 14 days after the time of completion, not after its last due date.


Sylvain Lanthier
Replied on Oct 03, 2014 - 13:22 UTC


Is there a repository somewhere I can find all keys sentence/wording to help me set complex reccurent tasks?


David Trey  staff
Replied on Oct 03, 2014 - 13:47 UTC

Hello Sylvain,

Yes, we've listed all supported date structures on this help page: https://todoist.com/Help/DatesTimes :-)


Arun  premium
Replied on Oct 25, 2014 - 15:22 UTC

This is pretty confusing. need an easy way :-(

Thijs  premium
Replied on Oct 25, 2014 - 21:28 UTC

@staff: you keep explaining the syntax while a lot of people just want a little dialog box to have a more structured and foolproof way of entering recurring tasks (just like calendar apps), instead of having to guess and learn yet another dialect and means of interfacing with an app. Please give people a choice. Thank you for listening to your users.

Nathan Brimmer  premium
Replied on Nov 11, 2014 - 17:57 UTC


Every time I want a recurring date I have to search the help, which is totally not productive. You folks love productivity, right, so why not fix this?

Natural language input seems cool, but your syntax is so rigid, it is not natural language. A "recur every XYZ" button on the calendar would fix this, and you would not have to even take out the natural language feature.

Imagine that, making life easier for your customers, rather than forcing them to work the way you want them to work.

I am here today because "every six months starting 07/07/2015" is not valid. No suggestions, no indication why it is not valid, just a big red bar that means I need to waste 15 minutes figuring out how to get the recurrence to work the way I need it to.

This seems like it is probably a common problem.

Replied on Nov 11, 2014 - 18:17 UTC

This a key example of what's wrong with Todoist. It's why I'm considering bailing after 10 months of Premium and buying back into my RememberTheMilk Pro account. There are just too many assumptions and restrictions on the user. It's a veneer of "simple" over the top of a product that grew too fast for it's own good.

Ben Levene
Replied on Nov 17, 2014 - 19:43 UTC

can anyone please tell me how to put in a task to recur on the 15th of every month. Took me 2 mins in omnifocus, wanderlust, 2do but have been trying for 25 mins on todoist and i just keep getting invalid. Not simple at all this needs fixing pronto as in its current state recurring tasks is simply a farce

thank you

Brendon Wadey  staff
Replied on Nov 17, 2014 - 19:45 UTC


"every 15"


Ben Levene
Replied on Nov 17, 2014 - 19:57 UTC

brill, thank you for the speedy response, I would have never guessed that though, I would have though every 15 would have meant every 15 days form the current date not every 15th of the month. The problem is with the current format is that it everyones language interpretation is different, everyone process dates, times differently and they system is asking everyone to learn and memorise todoists terminology of date and time which is just to complicated and time consuming. Surely there must me an option to be able to manually set recurring dates as in other apps. Is this something that Todoist are currently working on and when do you plan to release any re features as there are a number of areas like this where I am hoping for improvements. Thank you

Joey  premium
Replied on Nov 17, 2014 - 22:39 UTC

I hope Todoist is making note of this issue and is taking steps to remedy. I would also suggest that while a structured method of entering recurring tasks is implemented, so too would the due date get separated from the repeat criteria. These should be two separate data elements.

Finally, I also hope that a logical implementation of "after" and "every" is implemented where "every day" is *every day* regardless of when a task was marked complete. If I want it repeated after one day of the DUE DATE, not completion date, then that's what I expect my task manager to make happen.

Troy Brophy  premium
Replied on Nov 17, 2014 - 22:52 UTC

I agree that the natural language aspect of the due dates, especially reoccurrences, is confusing and requires extra time to look up how to do something simple.

There's a reason that every other tool created to handle dates has relied on calendar input controls, radio switches and checkboxes. People have learned how to use those controls over the past 20 years. We understand how reoccurrence works, and what is involved with setting it up in software.

I agree that "every 15" suggests "every 15 days" to me, and I would never assume it referred to a repeating event on the 15th of every month.

I also agree that natural language entry of time concepts is only useful if it accepts everyone's date entry preference. But even then, it seems to leave too much open to interpretation, requiring the user to experiment and/or look up usage information (which isn't too well documented). This is why every other tool uses fixed controls.

Sadiq Samani  premium
Replied on Feb 15, 2015 - 22:54 UTC

As a developer myself, I agree that Todoist needs a way to visually allow us to choose recurrence criteria. Practically every calendar/task app has this because it works. There is so much trial and error with the natural language, especially with Todoist, that it can be frustrating. Many times it's just easier to select the criteria.

It's great to have both options for users, but not have a selection based method is completely counter intuitive.

Replied on Apr 14, 2015 - 16:54 UTC

As a potential user that has tested Todoist, this thread represents my two reasons for taking my business elsewhere.

A more rigid option for setting recurring tasks is important until the "natural language" is more natural. And tasks marked as "every" should show and remind "every" even if previous "tasks" of the task haven't been marked completed. Todoist is already 90% there with this as it has both an "every" and "after."

Joey  premium
Replied on Apr 14, 2015 - 17:02 UTC

"And tasks marked as "every" should show and remind "every" even if previous "tasks" of the task haven't been marked completed."


Nathan Brimmer  premium
Replied on Apr 14, 2015 - 17:31 UTC

Hllz yes.

Now, if someone doesn't complete a task I have delegated, and the date for the next occurrence is coming up, I have to manually create a one-off task for the older occurrence (so I can keep tracking) and click the recurring task completed, so that the next occurrence will trigger correctly.

What a waste of time!

Joey  premium
Replied on Apr 17, 2015 - 18:00 UTC

I did another test to see if Todoist has fixed this bug yet. They haven't.

I added a task that was due yesterday and repeat *every* 1 day. Then I marked the task done -- which would mean that now that yesterday's task is done, today's is now due. But instead, after marking done, Todoist wrongly placed the next occurrence *tomorrow* -- thus skipping today's due date. This is WRONG WRONG WRONG and would only be correct if I set the task to repeat *after* 1 day.

Todoist please fix this error in your logic.