Starting a New Job? 10 Steps Toward First-Week Success

How to use Todoist to stay sane and hit the ground running

Illustration by Yin Weihung

Beginning a new job can be one of two things: a glorious reset or an unpredictable shakeup. When I accepted a position here at Doist earlier this year, I decided to shoot for the former. The challenge was to stay organized and exceed expectations when starting a new chapter of my work life.

That’s where Todoist helped me navigate the transition. I set up new job projects, arranged my onboarding tasks, and scheduled my workload. Plus, I decorated it all with a wide spectrum of colors and smile-inducing emoji to help me keep calm and carrying on as I made the (mostly graceful) transition from old position to new.

If you’re looking for a way to use Todoist to stay organized during a job change, here are my tips:

Reflect on what worked and what didn’t

As one chapter ends and another begins, it’s a perfect time to pause and evaluate. What worked well in your last job? How can you build on your strengths? What specific actions will you take?

I started with a project called “🤩Dream Job” and broke it into three sections to match my three questions above:

  • Reflection — where I add tasks like daily journaling sessions
  • Research — where I saved articles like this one about productivity rituals
  • Action — where I challenge myself to put what I learned into motion

Tackling large projects is easier when broken down into sections. Simply hover your mouse above or below existing sections to add more.

Prep your personal elevator pitch

The first day of a new job is one of those rare opportunities to reinvent yourself (cue makeover scene from Clueless). I wanted to make sure I could express myself clearly, so I set out to write an elevator pitch — for myself.

I started with three overarching tasks: meet with mentors for tips, write the pitch, and practice saying it out loud. I then broke those further into sub-tasks.

You can easily add a sub-task using task view, like I’m doing here.

With smaller tasks, it became easy to schedule coffee dates with work mentors, repackage their suggestions into a single paragraph, and practice until perfection. In the end, I gained some valuable insights about myself and felt comfortable introducing myself (even though remote teams don’t have elevators).

Note

💡Tip: Add reminders to your tasks so you remember to check in with ex-coworkers and people in your network at regular intervals, so you can continue to stay in touch.

Learn more about the company and your new coworkers

Hitting “like” on a three-year-old Instagram post isn’t awkward if you’re researching your new company’s social media profiles. To get a sense of what and who I’d be working with at Doist, I did a bit of snooping around.

To keep track of my research, I scheduled daily tasks to read different types of blog posts and to browse at the social media profiles of the other writers on the team. Once I started, I set a recurring task to meet one coworker every week.

To create a recurring task, you can just type “every Friday” or something similar into the task field using natural language, and Todoist does the rest!

Keep track of your onboarding materials and pre-work

Before a new job's start date there can be so many emails with forms to fill and pre-reads to, well, read. So how do you keep track of it all?

I simply forwarded important emails to my Todoist account. Each email became its own task with any attachments saved in the comments. I added additional notes and questions underneath.


You can connect your Todoist with your Gmail account to turn emails into tasks in a click.

Start living your new life now

Getting comfortable with a new schedule, commute, and job all at once can be stressful. That’s why I started practicing my new routine before my start date.

I set non-negotiable recurring tasks, like designated meal planning days and virtual workout dates with friends. Adding reminders helped me stay on track and get into my new rhythm.

Setting a reminder is as easy as clicking the alarm clock icon in a task.

Enjoy the onboarding process

Getting up and running at a new job can be a hustle and a half. To make it easier for yourself, organize your important documents and deadlines into an onboarding project in Todoist.

If you’re lucky, your new company will do it for you. At Doist, Andrew in HR creates beautifully emojied onboarding projects that include fun mini-challenges, housekeeping tasks, and the all-important reference section. Here’s Andrew:

When I joined Doist, it was clear that our onboarding project could be more organized, engaging, and supportive for our new hires as they acclimate to our culture and processes. I make a Todoist onboarding project highly effective by:

  • Establishing a structure for the project (like time- or category-based),

  • Using recurring tasks to create new routines (like posting weekly updates) and,

  • Sharing the project with others who can provide guidance (like the new hire’s manager).

Note

💡Tip: If your company has an organized communication tool like Twist, onboarding becomes much easier as you can read through previous team conversations and decisions that happened well before your time — a perfect way to understand the ‘why’ behind the work. Here are even more onboarding hints.

Stay on top of your new to-dos

In a new job, it’s necessary to keep track of assignments and figure out how to get them all done. That’s where Todoist’s priority levels can help.

Before signing off each night, I mark the next day’s most important tasks priority level one. Since those tasks automatically float to the top of the Today view, I know exactly where to start every morning.

Note

💡Tip: To add a task priority even faster, you can type p1, p2, or p3 right into the task field in Quick Add.

Communicate your accomplishments

It’s crucial to keep track of your new responsibilities, but it’s equally important to share your early wins with your new team. Todoist’s activity log makes it easy to do just that.

I look at my log every Monday to see what tasks I completed the week before. Then I post a report in Twist (Doist's own communication tool) so my team can see last week’s accomplishments, this week’s plans, and any roadblocks I’ve encountered along the way. It’s also a great time to ask for feedback.

Premium and Business users can find completed tasks in the activity log. Ready to report? Here’s how to promote your value at work.

Schedule me time

As you get used to your new job and start picking up the pace, you can easily get overwhelmed with the new workload. There’s no better antidote than a few well-timed breaks throughout the day.

I linked my Todoist account with my Google Calendar to visualize my day and schedule mandatory pauses. Best yet, I’ve actually kept (most) of these appointments with myself!

Set your big picture intentions

You’ve already reflected on the work you want to do and how you want to get it done, so why stop there? It’s time to set life goals.

My life goals project is full of tasks to help me achieve a healthier work-life balance. In it, I’ve used many of the tricks I mentioned above — well-defined sections, comprehensive comments with important hyperlinks and documents, and heaps of recurring tasks and emoji (plus reminders to check in on my progress).

Not sure where to start? We have over 50 Todoist templates to help you begin — including one for your yearly goals.

It can be overwhelming to start a new job. But setting realistic goals, breaking them down into bite-sized tasks, and keeping it organized in Todoist can make times of change easier, more productive, and more attainable. I hope these tips help you as you turn the page!


How do you use Todoist to organize job or life transitions? Let us know in the comments below or on social @Todoist.

Aer Parris

Aer Parris is a product marketer at Doist.

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