Sometimes old-school pen and paper does the job best. Sometimes technology really does do something better. Most of the time, it’s down to personal preference and how the tools fit with your workflow.
A “To Do” list can be a few scribbled notes on a Post-It, or a detailed project plan. It can be used just to help you with today, this week, or months and years. The key advantage of a “To Do” list is that you no longer have to spend mental energy keeping track of what you have to do, which David Allen of Getting Things Done notes will free you up to think and be creative.
There’s no single right way to keep a “To Do” list, and, to be honest, they’re not for everyone. If you think you’re a list person, there are hundreds of ways to do it, so you’re sure to find a way that works for you. If you’re already using something that works, great – please share it in the comments! If you’d like to try a new technique, here are some ideas…
- If it’s going to take less that 2 minutes, don’t add it to your list – just do it. Now.
- Keep a “master” list and a “daily” list (selected from the master list), the latter of which should be realistic and therefore be completed in the day. Never add new tasks to the daily list (unless there’s an emergency) – always put them on the master list. More on this.
- Restrict your “To Do” list to the 5 most important items. Add more only when you have completed at least 3 of the tasks. More on this.
- Keep a Bullet Journal. This might appeal to you if you like the idea of combining a planner with keeping a journal/diary. Buzzfeed has a good introduction to these.
- Use an app or online tool so you can access your list(s) from anywhere. There are lots available. Try: Google Keep (nice and simple), Trello (good for collaboration), Remember the Milk / Wunderlist / NirvanaHQ (create tasks via e-mail, among other features), or Omnifocus (great integration with Apple products). If your favourite isn’t listed here, tell us what it is and why you like it in the comments.
Do you keep a “To Do” list? Which method(s) and tool(s) do you use? What other task management techniques do you use? Share yours below.