Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Tips and Tools for Making Lists
As I type this, there's soup on the stove and I've checked things off my list, so I'm trying not to focus on the fact that this blog is being written much later in the day than I would like and that too many projects loom between now and midnight.

So, where was I? Ah, yes. Lists

Last week, I wrote about lists and the best laid plans, promising that this week, I'd share some of my favorite list-making tools. While I hope that some of them appeal to you, what's more important than trying new things is sticking to your styles and the solutions that work for them.
  • A calendar with room to make lists. Last week, the featured photo was my 2016 Page-A-Day calendar. Although this is the first year I've gone with the word-a-day option, I've been using one of these for at least five years. The best way to use it is to take time on Sunday evenings to transfer the schedule for each day of the coming week onto the page, leaving space in between appointments to show me (an I need to see it person) where I have space for errands and tasks. Then, I can fill in the things I need to do, assigning them time blocks so they're more likely to actually get done. Or, you might prefer something with a different set-up, like the Passion Planner, pictured at right -- something that keeps the appointments and the rest of the day separated.
  • Post-it Notes. If you're someone whose lists have lists, try making your supplemental lists (the ones you dash off when you can't get your hands on the original list) on sticky notes. That way, you can stick them together and keep them all in one place. Try keeping sticky note pads in the places where you tend to think of things you need to write down. And, if you find waterproof sticky notes that can be used in the shower, please let me know. That's where I get my best ideas.
  • Electronic lists. My husband the I know I put it somewhere organizer loves using his phone to keep track of his lists. I've tried this, but as an I need to see it person, I find that this method fails me as often as it helps me. There are all sorts of list apps out there, but I mostly use the notes app that comes with my iPhone. Or, more often, I email myself with the item that needs to be added to the list in the subject line. Electronic lists can also be great for the cram and jammer who can always manage to fit one more thing on a physical note, if not into a 24-hour period.
Finally, when I'm really overwhelmed, I try the backwards to-do list. In fact, now that I think of it, I could have used that today. The backwards to-do list is perfect for days when you're busy all day, yet it seems as though you've gotten nothing accomplished.

What are your favorite to-do list tools?

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