Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tips and Tools: To do list

The to do list is one of the most elementary organizing tools. My family and friends will tell you that I’ve been making them practically since I learned how to write! My brain loves that if I can write something down that I need or want to do or think about later, then that means I don’t have to use up valuable brain power remembering it.

The content of my to do lists has evolved over the years, but I still use the same system: take a piece of scrap paper, get a pen, write stuff down, cross it off when I’m done.

I now also use the Stickies program on my iMac. Stickies are great because they automatically save, so you can’t lose your work if the power goes out, and you don’t have to take the time to press command-s every five minutes or after something changes. I also like the program because you can keep it open all the time and visually see the notes you have on your desktop. You can choose different colors and minimize them or expand them at will.

I keep a revolving list of medium- to long-term things at the top of my Stickies note, then a daily list below. Often I’ll have two or three days on there, so I can plan ahead to do smaller tasks. The electronic to do list makes it easy for me to add repetitive tasks with a simple copy and paste, it also makes it easy to add more information, such as a link to a map I might need to get to an appointment, that I can simply delete later.

When I’m not at my computer, though, I stick to the old standby, a piece of scratch paper or an index card that I can slip in my purse and take with me. 

The to do list is free, simple and works. 

Creative Commons to do list photo posted to flickr by tracitodd

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