To Do List Iterations

When I worked as a journalist, I loved my notebook. It didn’t just hold my notes and interviews for stories, but my to do list items for each day and week too.

Granted, that may have been a requirement given it was a major tool of the trade. But as digital equivalents became more popular, and I switched careers, I used real notebooks less. In the past few years, I’ve tried a bevy of different methods and apps for managing my to do list. Recently though, I’ve landed on something that works for me and might stick.

I use both a digital task list (Google Tasks) and a small notebook. Google Tasks holds everything I need to do. I turn to the notebook each day to plan out the most important things to do, plus any meetings and other small items that need attention. I plan out the entire week the same way in the notebook. I pull out major items I want to get done that week and note them on a page using the same formula. I never break down big items, because that happens naturally each day. This combination of digital and analog provides the perfect mix for me.

So a day might look something like this:

MIT (Most important task)
- Finish accessibility review for new interface.

- Check-in with Steve.
- Check-in with Carol.
- Check-in with Lauren.

- Reply to thread on theme work.
- Look over data on customer sites.
Handwritten to do list showing most important task, meetings and other items.

I think it’s the physical act of writing the day’s activities down rather than typing them that makes it work better. I’m a few weeks in, and this has helped me be and feel more productive than most anything else.

Managing Tasks, Web Projects and Remembering the Milk

Remember the Milk home page

I can’t remember the last time I forgot the milk, but I do remember the last time I neglected to attend to something on my to-do list.

Enter the web tool, Remember the Milk, an online task management system. Kevin Loker and Aram Zucker-Scharff, two people I follow on Twitter, recommended the tool after I asked. I needed something that would help manage both small and large scale web projects. I looked at Todoist, Google Tasks and Tasks within Microsoft Outlook. Remember the Milk seemed to be the most user friendly and flexible. It also helped that friends recommended it.

How I’m Using It

I created different to-do lists that correspond with folders in my email. The email folders contain the action items that I need to make web updates, like copy, photos and other information. So far, this has created a streamlined approach that works for me. Keep in mind, I’m not sharing my lists with anyone, and I have it set up as more of an individual task manager tool.

What I Like

  • Its interface is simple and easy to use.
  • The lists load quickly.
  • The keyboard shortcuts make many things within the program faster.
  • It’s free.

What About You?

How do you manage your task lists? Are there other free tools out there that enable collaboration, and are geared toward web projects?