Making a to do over to-do lists

By | 2018-06-30T02:14:26+00:00 December 10th, 2013|Categories: Creative, Workflow|

My name is Andy and I’m a To-Do-List-aholic.

I love to-do lists. GTD, FranklinCovey, the 4-Hour Work Week; apps like Any.do, Nozbe, RememberTheMilk. You name it, I’ve likely either tried it out or I’m trying it out right now.

To Do ListI saw this article on Lifehacker.com and devoured it with enthusiasm. This is not unusual, as I’m always looking for ways to be more productive, to use my time more efficiently and, well, get more things done.

It’s not uncommon for people to ask me how I do so much. I find this amusing because I feel I’m leaving undone tasks on the table every night when I go to bed. But to those living outside my brain, I can see how it looks: Running a 12-employee business, paying proper attention to my wife and daughters, keeping track of (and driving) carpools for four kids in three different schools and assorted extra-curriculars, managing social-media marketing for two non-profits, grocery shopping, cooking and – can’t forget this one – making time for my own personal growth and development. Ok, that made my head hurt.

As you might imagine, a well organized to-do list is indispensable for me. The best one I’ve tried so far, the one with which I was most successful, was an old-school, pen-and-paper folio. On facing pages I would write out my tasks for the week, personal stuff on one side, business stuff on the other. But it became tedious to write out the recurring tasks, re-arranging tasks by priority was a chore, and monthly and annual tasks got lost. Finally, smartphones and tablets sent that system to its grave.

I’m currently using a website-and-app combination with a useful and friendly interface, but after working with it for more than a year, it’s just not getting the job done for me. I need something more powerful, with deeper functionality to track my tasks across different categories.

So it’s time to cut bait and try something else, and today is moving day. What I’m going to try next is really irrelevant to the discussion. The point is to keep trying different things until I figure out a system that works for me. Each of us is unique and each imagining of the perfect to-do list app or system is different. That means you have to be willing to try many options over a significant time period to really get a feel for each one. Be patient, as it could take a year or more to perfect a system that is right for you.

I look forward to your suggestions and ideas for future tests.

For now, I know where I’m going (at least temporarily), and I’ve got my boxes, bubble wrap and tape gun at the ready. Time to get packing.