The company behind productivity app Todoist, which lets you manage your personal and work lives with powerful to-do lists, is adding a new feature today: an artificial intelligence-powered scheduler. Now, when you need to set a due date for the completion of a task, Todoist will analyze a number of different factors to pick the optimal date for you. The goal is to wrestle away control of due dates from human users, who are prone to setting unrealistic deadlines and failing to follow through.
Todoist’s mobile and desktop apps are free to download, but parent company Doist charges $29 a year to unlock premium features like reminder notifications, custom filters, and file attachments. Smart Schedule, as the company is calling its new AI feature, will be free for anyone to use, regardless of whether they pay for the premium tier of the service.
To help Smart Schedule learn and adapt to you, Todoist will now analyze things like your past habits, your future workload, and what types of tasks you reserve for the weekdays and the weekends. It will also do large-scale data analysis to determine the urgency of a task based on information collected across all users. That way, something longer-term like “read book” won’t carry as much priority as, say, “schedule appointment.”
The company says it came up with the idea after observing users, dubbed “snowballers,” who would push off dozens upon dozens of tasks every week until they had as many as 50 items stacked on their to-do list on any given day. “Once you have 50-plus tasks due in one day, your to-do list becomes a much less effective tool prioritizing your time,” wrote Oleg Shidlowsky, a Doist data scientist who led development on Smart Schedulein in a blog post. So for those feel comfortable letting software do the heavy lifting when it comes to due dates, Smart Schedule could be the key to preventing an overly ambitious to-do list that never actually gets done.