One of my projects I'm working on right now is a new productivity/accountability system. I have modeled it after my own method of getting things done and have been using it for forty five days as I built it.
Roughly two weeks ago I invited some friends and members of my forum to use it. None of them use it in the same way I do. Many of them stopped using it because it was too different from how they get things done.
So, I'm curious. How do you get things done? Do you schedule your whole day in Outlook? Do you keep a running Todo list and do what you can? Do you write down three things that MUST get done that day? Do you just meander through the day and do things as you think of them? Something else?
I'd love to read about your system and the rationale for using it. I'll be giving out a new round of invites soon, and anyone who shares their method/system in the comments will get an invite during that round.
I print out the daily calander in Outlook and have that by my computer each day with my tasks for the day populated. I then write down anything that comes up each day that I need to complete. At the start of the next day I print it again and do the same thing.
I use the outlook calender. I type in my tasks and then print out the calender view for that day. I hand write anything I need to do for the day that isn't in my tasks. I keep that printout near my computer all day to review and add anything I need. I finish each task before I go home for the day. The next day I start all over again and print out the day in my calander witn any tasks that show up on
oh, just found your site Tynan, very cool and hope I'm not too late to add my bit. I am a natural do-er, and I bounce out of bed in action, but I never rush, so I stay busy all the time. If it's a priority then I do any little thing to help it along every day, especially those long term daunting projects.Usually once you get started you're okay. I have a small thick spiral bound book. the back pages have kids b'days, odd addresses etc. I have no rules for how I use the book other than that a pen must be clipped inside the spiral. I use it for everything (diary,interests,shopping,diagrams,lists). When it's full I pop it in the shoe box with the others. The other thing I do is choose a focus area of my life for the chinese year (begins after the silly season so time to get my head screwed on)this year is about creativity which is probably why I'm here.
I make todo lists at the start of every page in my journal. I use a software for Mac called Chronories, which is actually pretty awesome, and documents my activities pretty well. It kind of gives me a better sense of time, and my progress through it... I'd like to build a stronger system of getting things done rather than todo lists that I don't look at enough. Always so distracted...
Thanks for making such an awesome site and sharing your experiences with the world.
For me, remembering is the big issue - I've learned by now that if something needs to be done, I just get up off my booty and do it.
For remembering, I'm very good with numbers (I've got about 40 digits of Pi down right now), so if I remember the number of things I have to do, I can usually remember them all.
I do a little preplanning in my head ("Okay, another thirty minutes of checking email before I shut down the computer, then I'll go do job A, it'll probably take about an hour..."), but I don't think I've ever had a day scheduled to perfection.
I'm actually developing a single page application that can modify and save itself (locally) to keep track of my todo list. I can carry it with me on a usb drive and/or sync it with Dropbox.
I've found a paper todo list is most convenient because it's so portable. Thus one of the features of the web page will make it easy to print out a todo list, mark it up, and manually enter changes back into the web page. (For when a browser is not handy. Another idea would be to make it an iPhone app, but I don't have an iPhone...)
So I'm building this self-contained web page in order to fix a few of the shortcomings of paper todo lists:
- can't dynamically sort tasks by due date/priority/status
- no text search
- difficult to keep/analyze history of (completed) tasks
- constant copying of unfinished tasks to next week's todo list
- cannot hide certain tasks
In general, I think a todo list really helps me because I can see an overview of what I need to do and I don't worry or waste time trying to recall things I need to do.
Also the act of marking a task complete and looking at your completed tasks gives me a great feeling.
Due date is important for selecting which task to work on next, but just starting a task is half the battle.
elai, I wrote a native app GeeTasks for syncing Google Tasks to iPhone and it does exactly what you ask - it's quick to access on the phone, but it keeps a copy of the data in the google's cloud in case something happens to the phone, or maybe you just happen to be near computer - then you can use Google's web site as well and have all changes sync and merge later on.
At work, I use Onenote and Outlook together. I take notes and write detailed stuff, add pics etc. on Onenote. Then I assign tasks straight from Onenote pages to Outlook and follow them up on Outlook's to-do list.
In my private life I just add important things as reminders/meetings to my cellphone calendar. If I don't get them done, I just move them to a later time.
When I was a kid, my parents would tell me to do something reasonable like clean my room. I'd probably do it, or at least make a token effort. Sometimes I wouldn't do it, and my mom would do it for me. Or maybe I'd be out at school and she'd be sick of me having a messy room, so she'd just clean it without asking me to do it first. In school I'd be assigned stuff to do. Usually I'd do it, but when I didn't, there weren't really any consequences. I'd get worse grades, but the impact of one assignment on a grade always seemed so tiny, and I never really cared about grades beyond not getting in trouble with my parents.
I got used to the idea that if I was supposed to do something, but didn't do it, it didn't really matter. Maybe someone else would just do it for me, or maybe the problem would just go away. There are probably a million different reasons that people procrastinate, but this was probably the biggest one for me. It wasn't that I thought that I would prefer to do something later-- it's that I sort of subconsciously thought that if I didn't do it now, maybe I'd never have to do it.
In real life, though, this isn't how things work. If I don't do something right now that needs to get done, then I'm going to need to do it later.
I remember the first time I came face to face with this. Two thousand three was the first year I made a significant amount of money gambling online. I think it may have also been the first year my parents stopped filing taxes for me. They told me to take care of my taxes and even told me how to take care of them. April fifteenth came around, and I kept thinking about how I should realy get to those taxes, knowing I wasn't actually going to do them. On the sixteenth, taxes felt just like a missed assignment. Too late to do anything about it now!
I've written about my attempts to use Evernote as a to do list but mostly failed because my to do's often didn't get done when they needed to. The biggest problem for me was keeping them organized without another dedicated app - since I've learned how I really use my iPhone.
I've tried many options - my iPhone bottom row being a revolving door - for the to-do list. Lifehacker has suggestions, Workflowy is great for lists but didn't fit me quite right. Then, I started combining different Evernote searches and found this search combination tag:todo, todo:false.
This returns any notes tagged 'todo' and that have check boxes unchecked. This combination works for me because I like using the check boxes for steps in a series like goals for a day or party planning. So to only search for the unchecked boxes - todo:false - would be unhelpful as 46 of my 439 notes are like this. Some of those notes I use as templates to copy over like using Evernote to create trip plans or party preparation.
What I've done is add the tag todo to the notes with check boxes for things that I really need to get done. Then created a saved search that looks for the todo tag as well as the unchecked box.