If you are a list maker, you’ve probably try dozens of systems over the years. Your current system likely involves Post-It notes, backs of envelopes, one or two apps in your phone you don’t use, and random scraps of paper, emails to yourself,etc. Sound familiar? It does to me because I’ve been there, too! But since I’ve started using Toodledo, my task list has become much more manageable.
Why a Task Manager?
- There are several reasons for using task management system.
- Keep everything in one place
- No pieces of paper to lose
- Accessibility from anywhere
A good task management system is one that you always have access to. If you are at the store and remember something you need to do at home, you need to be able to record that thought right then so it doesn’t escape by the time you get home. We have such an enormous amount of information to keep track of in our heads, that not only does it make it hard to remember everything we need to do, but it causes undo stress and fatigue.
Once you write something down, you unconsciously give your brain permission to not worry about it any longer. You would be amazed the amount of stress caused by not having a firm grip on all of the things you need to get done. Once you develop a reliable system for recording these things, you no longer have to worry about forgetting something!
So How Is It Different From my To Do List?
For decades I have kept a to do list of some sort. My lists were not short, but rather could take up an entire page. What made this less effective was the lack of easily prioritizing tasks. You seldom think of things you need to do in order of importance. I would end up writing out my list then trying to rank the tasks in order of 1 to a bunch. Inevitably I would mis something and have to work it into the list where it should go. It became more work that it was worth.
I use Toodledo along with many of the principles in David Allen’s book, Getting Things Done (affiliate). I assign each task to a folder according to where I can work on it. This includes Home, Work, Anywhere, Out, etc. Things I can only do at home (or prefer to do at home) go on that list. My work tasks go in the Work folder, etc, etc, etc.
Some of my home tasks involve writing, but so do some of my work tasks. An article that I need to write for my website goes in the Anywhere folder, and the training document I am creating at work goes in my Work folder. But if I am in the mood to write, I don’t HAVE to be in either of those places to do so. This is where I assign a context to the task. Both of these tasks get the writing context.
With Toodledo I can sort by context and see everything I need to write. Likewise, if I am at work I can open my Work folder, then sort by context. For example, there are a LOT of things I need to get done at home. Right now I am focusing on my writing, but we are also getting our house ready to sell. I can open my Home folder to see everything I need to work on at home, but I can further sort by context so I can see everything related to my remodel and all tasks related to my writing projects.
But How Does That Benefit Me?
With Toodledo you have a great web interface. I leave this up in a browser tab at work. I can keep track of everything I need to be doing at the office, but I can also immediately add something I need to do at home or while out running errands. When I leave the office, I grab my phone, open the Toodledo app and go to the Out folder to see if there are any errands I can run on my way home. If I am in a meeting, I have my iPad and can add tasks as they come up. These devices all sync with one another, so any change made on one shows up on the others.
For each task you can assign a date, a priority level, a due time, an alarm, and a repeat if you need to. There is also the option to add notes to a task.You can also set reminders. If there is something I need to do specifically at 9:30, I can set an alarm and Toodledo will remind me.
There is also a notebook section, but I find it to be lacking in features, so I have continued to stick with Evernote for my project planning and tracking. As I review and make notes in my project files, I add specific action items to Toodledo.
You may not always have a pen and a piece of paper to write something down as you think of it, but how often are you without your phone? Exactly.
What kind of task management system are you using?
Are you still a sticky not fanatic, or have you made the switch to digital?