Losing My To-Do List
I’m a recovering loser….I used to lose everything. Now I only lose some things. For those of you out there that don’t lose things, this post is not for you….unless you want to marvel at how us “losers” live. If you want to learn how I became a productivity hacker with my to do list app and a guru at not losing things then read on.
I have lost so many things that I had to make a list of things that I had lost and when I had extra time in my schedule I would look for those items. The list was impressive and embarrassing. Losing things and then hunting for them is an incredible waste of time! What a loss of productivity!
The final straw was the day that I lost ALL of the keys to the van. I was 38 years old and made a promise to myself that day – No more losing things.
I immediately made a list of the items I was no longer going to lose:
- Cell phone
- Credit card
- To-do list
I talked big about it to everyone and for the most part, I did a good job of keeping track of those items.
However, I am a crazy list maker. This means that I have lists and sub-lists to my lists. Keeping track of these lists became a pretty big job. I used one notebook, then different colored notebooks, different colored paper, notecards, etc. Each time I still was overwhelmed, but I at least knew where it was.
In 2013, I converted to having my entire to-do list on my phone and it has saved my life and my sanity. Now, my list of things not to lose is down to four!
The inspiration came from Chalene Johnson (http://www.chalenejohnson.com). She has so many great productivity ideas! Although I don’t use her exact method, you may want to check her out to see if her ideas will help you.
I use an iPhone, but at this point you should be able to easily convert the method to any smartphone. Here is my method based on Chalene’s method:
- Using Reminders in iPhone, I set up folders. Some folders are Exchange folders that sync with Outlook 365 (business account) and some are iCloud folders that we can share as a family.
- My folders include names like:
- This week
- Soon (these three come from Chalene and I love them!)
- Employee (this folder is for items that are delegated to our employees)
- Atlas CFO (items to do for our web business)
It looks something like this:
These folders all sync with Exchange so I can also manage them from my computer through Outlook Tasks
Here are a few rules that I use:
- As soon as I think of something I need to do, it goes on the list. I’m not overly worried about where I put it. Just get it down.
- Every day I review all the folders. I move items into their appropriate folders.
- I put the items that HAVE TO BE DONE TODAY in the Today folder. This is a critical step. I put ONLY the stuff that has to be done today in that folder. If it doesn’t have to be done, it goes in a different folder.
- If I am reminding myself of something, I leave it in Today. For example, “Gratitude” can stay on the list as I will look at it all day, every day and remember.
- Review the list multiple times per day to make sure I’m on track.
- The same rules follow for This Week.
- Everything else goes into a different folder.
My to do list goes everywhere I go and I’m getting more done with less stress than I have in years. I don’t forget things (as much) and I feel like I’m in better control.
How do you keep your to-do list?
What tricks can you share?