To do lists are the way I focus, stay on track, and move forward on my goals and projects. I use a mix of digital and paper – here’s how I do it:
Digital task list
I use a digital app/website to keep track of all the non-time specific items I want to remember and do, like things I want to buy (nice to have my phone with me and have that list at all times), phone calls I need make, and other stuff for work, this blog, etc.
I’ve tried a dozen different to do list apps, and always come back to Any.do because it’s just beautiful and super functional (lists, drag and drop between dates, the option for “someday”, sub check lists, recurring items, plus it’s free):
I won’t get into a ton of detail here, since my workflow for blogging and web design is a whole subject of its own, but for my website work, I have very specific, repeating task lists that are best served by a project management tool that allows for note taking, deadlines, and the ability to have list templates. I sometimes use them for collaboration with clients, as well.
For a detailed writeup of how I use Redbooth, check out Tools I Love: Redbooth for Project & Task Management.
Weekly and daily lists
For the tangible weekly and daily lists of what I need and want to do, I use paper. At this stage in my life, it’s easier to have something I can refer to without having to open a computer or spend more time looking at my phone. (Also, easier to not get distracted by the shiny things found in both those places).
- Weekly list: On Sunday night or Monday morning, I look at my apps (Any.DO and Redbooth and Google Calendar) to see what needs to get done that week and any appointments I have. I make my weekly to do list after consulting those.
- Scheduling out list: I divvy up the task list and jot down when I want to do each item, especially for work tasks and my work times. I don’t usually have time-specific items, but something like: Monday morning I’ll work on developing a website, Wednesday afternoon I’ll finish writing my newsletters, Friday morning I’ll respond to all design inquiries, and so on. It’s all very estimate-y and I switch things around later if I need to.
- Daily to do list: Each morning (or the night before), I write out what I need to do for the day on a lined 4″x6″ sticky note. I have no idea why this size is the perfect size, but it seems to be the key for my daily to do lists – not too long, not too short. I also LOVE using a thick black marker to cross through the item when it’s accomplished. It eliminates the visual clutter for me and helps me see what I have left to do.