Home Forums Time Management and Productivity Scheduling Strategies To-Do List Hybrid Help!

This topic contains 16 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  lottielot 8 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #158783

    willowtree17
    Member

    Hello Unclutterers!

    I’m new on the organizing game.

    I recently read Getting Things Done and I love the idea of categorizing my to-do items, but I don’t think the actual GTD system is right for me.

    I broke my to-dos into about 15 different categories. I had a page in my planner for each of these categories, but I really need to see things in a big-picture view. I need to see everything I have to do at once; I can’t keep flipping pages. I am looking for another solution to keep my to-dos both separated and together.

    I would really like to keep using a paper planner, but I am open to electronic suggestions, too (I have an iPhone and I use tools like GCal).

    Should I:

    • 1.Fold a large piece of paper into my planner and used lined Post-Its for each to-do category?
    • 2. Have one paper un-organized master to-do list in my planner and then use something like Google Tasks to separate them by category? (The thing I don’t like about this one is the double-work…Inputting the to-do becomes a to-do itself.)
      3. Do something else entirely?

    I have a lot to manage at the moment and I’d love to set up a system that works for me soon, so I’d really appreciate your suggestions!

    Thanks in advance!

  • #170735

    willowtree17
    Member

    To-Do List Hybrid Help!

    I’m not really flexible on the 15 categories. I’m a college student, so each class is a separate category, plus my extracurriculars, job, applications I’m working, family, social, errands, computer work, dorm-centric tasks, etc. 15 might not be the exact number, I can’t really remember off the top of my head, but I did think a lot about which things actually merited their own categories and whether I actually need to think of them in those categories in order to do them.

    I also really need to write things down to schedule them. I would need to write something like “put a load of washing in” somewhere, or else I wouldn’t remember to go do it. (Maybe laundry is a bad example because that’s something that can be routinized, but -everything- is an important thing on my to-do list or else it doesn’t get done.)

  • #170738

    Rosa
    Member

    To-Do List Hybrid Help!

    If they’re all equally important, I’d break each one into concrete tasks (you have a syllabus for your classes, and presumably a schedule for extracurriculars) and put them on a calendar – I like to put, for instance, writing important email updates to clients in my Outlook, and the day before put something like “make sure X is finished for Client” so I know I’ll have something to write about 🙂

    You’ll have assignments, projects with phases, tests to study for, regularly scheduled classes, practices, and meetings; job shifts; laundry for your job (assuming it has a dress code); family events; regular cleaning and feeding yourself stuff; bills due every month. If they’re all equally important, just put them on the calendar and decide relative importance where two actually conflict.

    I like a computer-based calendar because I’m in front of the screen all day, but if you have a planner this is basically what it’s for, so it should be pretty easy to slot things into it and use the To-Do list for short-term unscheduled things like “have to call person X i just met.”

  • #170743

    HelofaMess
    Member

    To-Do List Hybrid Help!

    I like Klutzgirls point about @computer list etc. How to store the lists though? Having lots of post its or different bits of paper, to me, is a nightmare. Since you’re at school one way to do this would be to get a copy of your class schedule and expand it to a full day time table. Then slot in list times where you have space (ie… 9:00 Chem 101, 10:00 @computer list, 11:00 @dorm tasks 12:00 @errands etc). Maybe you could spend the first hour or so of each day on urgent todos?

    I also study (2 different degrees at once), run a home and live life. I have a moleskin diary/notebook that has 7 days on page and note paper on the other. I only write in pencil and as each task is completed it’s rubbed out. This also allows me to “brain dump” things quickly. I write in what uni stuff needs to be done and what needs to get done that week at the top of the note page (eg Eng 101 Reading, Chem 101 Notes for essay). I admit that this doesn’t give me a very regimented “Monday 11am Reading for English” schedule but that’s what works for me.

    I think the most important thing for a system is that it doesn’t take longer to implement and run than necessary. I also think you can over dose yourself on systems and schedules.

    Muji (and I’m sure lots of other companies) sell a sort of DIY filofax. You can get it in different sizes and make your own planner. So you could have a diary first and then follow with your 15 or so sections as todo lists. This would let you write due dates in the diary and keep lists at the back. No messy post its.

    Remember that if your system doesn’t work because you have the wrong frame work it is better to ditch the frame work and start from scratch over trying to make your system fit. ie… if you’re planner isn’t working, get a new planner.

    Hmmm… not sure what else to suggest!

  • #170745

    juliapenguin
    Member

    To-Do List Hybrid Help!

    Hi

    When I read this thread I remembered that Leo Babauta was a massive fan of GTD and then changed his view. I just thought you might be interested to read his perspective:
    http://zenhabits.net/kill-your-to-do-list/

    I’m not saying I necessarily agree with him – for a start, he’s now self-employed as a writer (I assume this is still the case), so presumably has a lot more freedom than most people, although he does have lots of kids who presumably have important events scheduled which he needs to deal with.

    When I was overwhelmed by the amount of work I had to do, I did try something similar, and it helped me keep sane for a while.

  • #170749

    lottielot
    Member

    To-Do List Hybrid Help!

    trillie, that autofocus site is good, there’s a link to an excellent article on procrastination there too (my nemesis!)
    I study from home so don’t have classes to schedule in, but I have a Filofax week to view which fits in my handbag perfectly. All my deadlines go in there, plus my dh’s movements (he’s always out or away), my kids’ afterschool stuff and term dates, appointments, places I need to be etc. I also have a pull out year calendar where all my deadlines and tutorials (about once a month) go at the start of the year. My to do list is pretty minimalistic but lives in the front of my Filofax, I just list everything out which needs doing and go through it crossing stuff off, things which don’t get tackled and still need doing get transferred to the new list when the old list is mostly done or I feel a need to get organised. I also have a list of jobs which need doing like things round the house to be fixed. If I have a lot of errands to run I’ll pop them on a separate piece of paper and tick them off when I go into town (I hate going into town). Ditto if I have a lot of phone calls to make, I may put them on a separate list and tackle them when I have a block of time and am waiting round for the kids or whatever. I am far from organised, but I used to have a Palm Pilot with lots of different categories on it and it was just too overwhelming. A Filofax keeps it simple. In fact, my dh bought it for me because it’s what he uses in his extremely full-on job with lots of meetings and stuff to do, he keeps a paper diary and an electronic one which his staff have access to so they can schedule meetings etc, but his paper one is the one he relies on. I’m thinking of getting a family calendar too so that the kids know what they’re doing and my dh can let us know what he’s doing, right now I have to nag him to tell me periodically and it’s annoying. However, I wouldn’t put all my stuff on there, just stuff which affects other people.

  • #170764

    bandicoot
    Member

    To-Do List Hybrid Help!

    ok, i just got teux deux for my iphone.
    i love making to do lists…thanks for the recommendation trillie!

    on the whole though….i’ve gone the leo babauta way and simplified my obligations and killed as much of my to do list as possible.
    that post of his that juliapenguin linked to resonated deeply with me.
    it has taken me years to realise how highly i value peace and calm and quiet and large chunks of time alone to reflect on things. (i sound like a monk, no?).

  • #170767

    Rosa
    Member

    To-Do List Hybrid Help!

    I do think it’s worth putting in real deadlines and subdeadlines, for school work – especially if you do group work, or work that’s otherwise dependent on another person/entity.

    For instance, the school i work at now used to have a problem where only a certain number of people could access the online library at once. Of course every week, more people than that tried to all access the library just before the deadline for turning things in, and a lot of them ended up with late work “because of the library problem.” But people who set their own deadline, six or 12 hours before the “real” deadline, never ran into the library problem – or if they did, they just went and did something else for a while and came back when the library wasn’t busy, and were still not late.

  • #170773

    HelofaMess
    Member

    To-Do List Hybrid Help!

    Interesting link Trillie. I suspect my method is basically the same as yours or autofocus. I’m also pretty good at glancing through and knowing what needs doing urgently. I do make sure if something big is coming up I put warnings on previous pages.

    I couldn’t cope with the kill your todo list though! If I don’t have a todo list I lie in bed thinking of all the things I need to do and I don’t sleep.

  • #170813

    chacha1
    Member

    To-Do List Hybrid Help!

    HelofaMess – me too. Sometimes rewriting my to-do list is the only way to shut down my monkey brain.

  • #170823

    pkilmain
    Member

    To-Do List Hybrid Help!

    I also use a Moleskine notebook in the same way Anita describes. I also use it to record cash I spend during the day (not obsessively, and rounded) just so I have an idea what happens to the $$ I take out of the ATM…. I’m really good at tracking my checkbook and credit card, but that $100 in cash every few weeks, not so much. This helps. Funny thing about lists. I find if I actually write a grocery list, I don’t really need to take it to the store, the act of writing it helps me remember. Also I can mentally scan my cupboards fairly well, and know what regular things I need. It’s the once every few months things that I need to write down, or I forget, or worse, buy duplicates.

  • #170832

    lottielot
    Member

    To-Do List Hybrid Help!

    yeah, zen man is crazy, either that or he has zenned his life so much he has nothing to remember… Not writing stuff down when I’m stressed, overwhelmed or just have something really important to remember to do (like renew a passport or pay the car tax) is a recipe for even more stress, that’s not living a simple life!! Sure, automate as much as you can, but sometimes you just need to write a list. I just found out I got accepted onto a course at a brick uni, so a lot less flexibility and running around for me, I may need to update my organisation systems…

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