I’ve found that to-do lists are different for everyone. Some people are creative, others are analytical, and a few fall right in the middle using either physical or digital checklists during different seasons of life.
For me, having a to-do list at my fingertips is an essential part of each day. If it’s not attached to me so I can scribble down a task I just remembered, my mind will race to remember each item and detail. Even worse, it could keep me awake at night. 😳
I created my own weekly project sheet a few years ago, but it’s the highlighting and color coding that helps my eye pinpoint what’s vital for today and stay on target.
Often times I’ll even add those to-do’s to my calendar on production days to remind myself what I’m focused on and must accomplish.
How do you keep your to-do’s straight?
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I use the Stephen Covey First Things First method – not on paper but in Microsoft OneNote. Covey prioritizes each task with an A for things that need to be done today. Tasks that need to be done soon get a B. Tasks of lower priority get a C. To prioritize all of the A (or B or C) tasks, add a digit 1 thru 9. Tasks are prioritized A1 thru A9 and so on for the B and C tasks.
Since I have 30+ clients I use the clients’ initials to identify each task. For clients DEF, GHI, JKL, and YCG for me, my list looks like this:
A1:YCG: Get your head on straight, family needs, proper rest, proper diet
A2:YCG: Check priorities, adjust as needed
A3:YCG: Check all clients network security status
A4:YCG: Invoicing to do?
B1:DEF: Answer Email questions
B2:GHI: Prepare for meeting re: upgrade
C9:JKL: Ask what they are thinking about Project XYZ.
Of course, the nice thing about using OneNote, Evernote, or some other electronic method, is the ability to move things around. If a task jumps from B9 to A5, just cut, paste, edit. Lists on paper or notebooks just don’t work for me. And of course, I keep my OneNote in my OneDrive so it is available on three different laptops, an Android phone, an iPhone, and an Android tablet – anywhere I make a change, gets sync’d to the other devices.
Of course, different strokes for different folks. Cheers!
Good for you Tim! Love this insight and I hope it provides good inspiration for others, too! Thank you for sharing.
As a technical project/program manager, I use a variety of tools to manage and track work. However, for me nothing beats pen and paper for my to-do lists. There is something about physically writing and crossing things off that works better for my brain. I am more likely to refer to it when it’s not competing with other applications on my laptop and it stays in my working memory for longer. Plus, it’s satisfying to physically draw a line through a task when it’s complete!
I love this and totally agree Brandon! I also find that if I keep a notepad by the bed, I don’t get sucked into my cell phone when I remember something I need to do before I fall asleep, or God-forbid in the middle of the night. 😳