Everyone knows nothing gets done without a To Do list. Groceries, work, packing, shopping – everything needs a To Do list. There’s nothing more satisfying than scratching things off your To Do list. Sometimes, when I do stuff that’s not on my list, I go back and add it to the list, just so that I can cross it off. I recently came across this poster on Facebook (see image below). 9,552 people liked it, so I know I’m not the only one.
Lists are fabulous. Unless you’re trying to kick the paper crutch. Then they’re just endless sheets of wasted paper and dead trees weighing on your conscience. Unless you’re willing to make a compromise. I’ve tried all these options below, 1 and 4 are the ones I stay with now. They’re not perfect. And none of them are as satisfying. But, hey, they get the job done.
1. The White Board: For me the biggest problem with a virtual To Do list is ‘out of sight – out of mind’. A few months ago, I bought myself a white board from IKEA. I wanted something big and blank, but wasn’t keen on drilling something on to the wall. We bought the white/back board from the kinderen section (14 euros) and while it probably looks silly (we don’t have kids!) it works perfectly. For starters I can move it around whenever I decide to change the location of home office and secondly, it doubles up as an idea board and a perfectly scratch-able To Do list. Icing on the cake, I use multi-coloured water makers and doodle and decorate around my list without feeling guilty about wasting paper.
2. Stylus-friendly Apps: If you have a tablet, then you probably don’t even need a white board. If I am working on one project with a number of tasks and need a more immediate list, I use Paper or some similar apps on my iPad. It’s exactly like writing down a list on a blank sheet of paper. The only hitch is that a lot depends on how comfortable you are with using a stylus. Some days my stylus writing is so terrible, that I feel like writing an apology letter to the nuns who painstakingly taught us cursive in Class V. But, if you can get the hang of it, it’s a great way to cut out paper. Keep in mind though, if you have tasks on your list that you need to get back to off and on, or long term projects, then it may not be a great idea because once you shut the app, it’s totally out of mind.
3. 802,345 professionally made apps: There’s a world of apps out there to meet your To Do needs. Websites such as PC World and Lifehacker have detailed reviews to help you choose, for eg: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2027216/master-your-tasks-the-10-best-to-do-list-apps.html. I have tried some of them. I really like the simple interface of the Evernote app, especially if all your notes are on Evernote, it makes sense to use the same app. Some of the others need too much information for my liking – a deadline, a completion report, which project the task belongs to, the name of an unborn unicorn… you get the picture. I like my lists neat and scratch-able, and as much as possible, in my face.
4. Google Task List (and my phone): A proud owner of the Samsung S3, I can write pages (I mean posts) on how the phone has contributed towards my saving paper. For now, let me tell you about GTasks. The app syncs with the Google Task list, which can now be viewed within the Google Calendar and is part of your parent Gmail account. As I slot for my meetings for the week, I jot down all my related tasks in the list on the right hand side. The list automatically syncs with the app on my phone. Out of sight is not a problem here, because the app comes with homescreen widgets. Placed prominently on the homescreen of my phone, the task list stares me in the face till I buckle down and get some work done!
ps: I am on the lookout for an app that will help me stop procrastinating. Suggestions more than welcome!