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You're Going to Be the One Doing it Anyway

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!

How to use Evernote: The search that makes it a great to do list.

On Mike Dariano

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.

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