Congratulations to Desi and John–the two winners of the Behance Action Pad giveaway. I’ll be shipping them out be the end of the week.
Thanks to everyone who entered by suggesting different ways to manage todo lists. You can read all the comments here.
Here are a few random suggestions that I found interesting along with my comments:
I’ve been doing this for years and I still fall back on it when I have
something that MUST be done an I feel like I might forget it. I write a
a couple letters on the back of my hand– like "CA" for Call Amy or "P"
for pick up prescription. That’s a last resort but one that always
This is a version of tying a string around your finger, but I thought
it was an interesting idea. I use to use a similar method to help me
memorize long passages of text.
One to-do item on one 3×5 card tacked to the wall behind my computer.
So if I have 15 important to-dos then I see 15 cards staring me down.
This bold visual approach really gets things moving for me.
I thought this was intriguing because it is one of the ways software
engineers manage features in agile development. Having everything on
its own card makes it easy to switch things around and literally
One fairly simple item that helps me quite a bit is a calendar. If I
can see my "hard landscape" for a day (the commitments I’ve made with
myself and others) it’s easier for me to tackle the items on my to do
list. I try not to schedule work on projects (unless it’s something
that absolutely HAS to get done) but I will record meetings, meals, and
free time. For example, instead of putting "exercise" on my list I’ll
schedule it on my calendar because I know that there are only a few
times during my day that are good for that — so I pick a time,
schedule it and stick with it. Having these firm commitments on the
calendar also helps me see how many quality hours I’ll have during a
day to actually work on my todo items, and it helps me pace myself
through the day.
This was an interesting suggestion. I think there is a lot of truth in the idea that scheduling when things get done is just as important as deciding what
needs to be done. The nice thing about this approach is that it gives
you a plan to follow. Simply prioritizing a list of items, doesn’t
always tell you the order then need to be executed because of
dependencies or scheduling requirements.
The trick I love is to cross out done items with a highlighter. (I
didn’t invent this, but i love it). You can still read what you’ve
done, and the unhighlighted tasks pop off the page, making a more
I use yellow for items that have had some progress made, or waiting
for items, and then I can use a darker color later if I finish it off.
When I make a new list, I can see the half-done items and reword them
to reflect their current status (follow up, etc)
I thought this was a neat tip. In the Franklin Covey training
seminar, they make the point that you shouldn’t scratch out an item
once it is done. That is why they have a column for you to put a check
in to denote completed items. The idea is that you may need to
reference when a particular task was completed, so you need to be able
to read it. Another advantage of this approach is that it keeps things
neat and tidy. The highlighter idea seems like a good way to keep
Lou Sartori says
I am a new subscriber to Productivity 501. I am a high school teacher. I think that I’m fairly well-organized and efficient. Teachers need to do a lot of multi-tasking. Some times I feel that I’m not as efficient as I could be.Any tips/suggestions/etc. would be helpful and greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time.