[A caveat, though - please do not feel that I am in any way implying that you should be doing what I do. That would be weird. Different people are different. I find, however, that this system works for me, and I love systems so I am going to write about it here as is my blog-given right. I would love to hear about the To-Do list systems you all use too!]
I have a number of To-Do lists around my home, my office, and my various internet accounts. I have project specific lists on binder paper in folders for those projects. I have lines piled up in the "all day" section of my google calendar. I have a post-it with prep activities for the night before a work day next to my coffeemaker. I have a list of goals for the year above my desk. I have a list of goals for the Summer nearby. All of these, however, feed into the daily To-Do list that I carry with me.
|Mostly fictitious example of how I handle To-Do lists.|
How I handle this daily list is based partly on:
1. my deep-seated love for physically crossing things off of lists. This means I carry an actual physical paper and pencil list because that allows me to <3 cross things off of it <3 even though it is, in some ways, less convenient than a digital/virtual list would be. An added benefit is that I find the act of writing the things down with a pencil helps reinforce my memory that you know, they should actually get done. Because I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this, but unfortunately
2. I will forget to do things if they are not on lists. I put "wash hair" on my to do list. I will literally forget when I washed my hair last if I do not see it crossed off on an earlier day's list.
So, those possibly shameful facts admitted, here's how I do it.
Twice a week, Wednesday evening and Sunday evening, generally, I sit down with my calendar up on my computer screen, my lists of projects and goals next to me, a picture or list of my farm share foods, and I create my plan for the next few days.
I use a lot of exclamation points.
I use a two-column stenographer's notebook (like this one, but not actually this one because I buy in bulk) that I divide into a "work" column and a "home" column for each weekday. I have a long commute, so I include what I want to get done on the train in my "work" column. As per my earlier post regarding meal planning, I write down what I plan to eat for dinner, and what I want to pack for the next day's lunch.
Weekends (theoretically) involve no separation of work and home life, so I use one column for each day.
When list items need to happen at a specific time, I put a star next to them. I like stars. I also work out travel time ahead. If I am meeting friends for a movie downtown, I use Hopstop or Google Maps to figure out how long it will take me to get there and then put my leaving time on the To-Do list. I program my phone alarms to remind me to be where I need to be when I need to be there.
1. I pair congenial tasks. That is, I don't just write "wash hair," but rather "wash hair and dishes" because I need to wash my hair about as often as I need to do dishes, so why not do them at the same time?
2. I don't like calculating percentages of how much of a given project is done. That's just math pretending to be efficiency. I instead make each To-Do list item something that can be completed. SO I might have an entry such as "sort 101 essays into batches of 10" and then a few entries that each read "Mark a batch of 101 essays."
3. I'm lying about some stuff for clarity. I NEVER write "sort 101 essays into batches of 10" or "Mark a batch of 101 essays." I write things like "SORT 101" and "MARK BATCH 101." Full disclosure; etc.
EDIT: A wonderful two-part to-do list has been recently posted on UfYH - the listmaker uses one list to set a schedule of tasks to be accomplished chronologically and then and makes another list of rewards for completing tasks! This means the listmakes GETS TO CROSS OFF TWICE AS MANY THINGS.
SO! What do YOU do to keep track of things? Or are you pleasantly superior because you don't need to keep track of things at all?