To Do: Revamp Your To-Do List

Your to-do list is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get and stay organized. There are several methods that we like, and we hope that you’ll find one that meets your needs in this list.

The Ivy Lee Method: The Ivy Lee Method asks you to focus on your priorities. At the end of the day, write down the six (and no more) tasks that you need to accomplish and prioritize these from most to least important. At the start of the next day, work on Priority #1 and don’t stop until it’s complete. Follow this process with the rest of the list. If you don’t get everything done in one day, simply transfer the incomplete tasks to the new list (their priority may change based on new priority tasks coming to the fore).

Bullet Journaling: At first glance, a bullet journal can seem overwhelming, but it’s really just the ultimate master to-do list.

  • With the intention of the journal lasting two months, get the journal of your choosing – anything from a spiral notebook to a Moleskine in a fashionable color – leave a few pages blank, then begin numbering and identifying them. Many people begin identifying pages with the first day of the month.
  • Next, you create your key. Ryder Carroll, the man behind the bullet journal recommends creating three keys: Tasks, Events, and Notes. Jot down your list in bullet points and then decide which key corresponds with each task.
  • The bullet for each Task is represented by a dot (.) and as you go down your list, Tasks are marked with an “X” for Complete, a “>” for Migrated (moved to another day), or a “<“ for Scheduled. Events follow the same pattern, but their designated bullet is an “O.” With tasks and events, remember to keep them short and simple!
  • Notes are indicated with a dash (-), and they’re just what you think – a place for ideas and other things that you want to remember.
  • Now it’s time for Signifiers:
    • An asterisk (*) indicates a priority;
    • An exclamation point (!) is generally used with Notes and represents inspiration;
    • If you need to look into something, draw a simple eye next to it.
  • Use those first few blank pages to create your Index (the topic and the pages on which you will find it listed), Future Log (things that aren’t in this journal, but need to be on your radar), and Month Log, which gives you an overview of the month.
  • Now you’re at Page One and can begin!

Check out Bullet Journal for more details, examples, and a helpful video! Visuals definitely help clarify the process, so we recommend visiting the website.

Apps: If you prefer a computer, tablet, or smartphone to keep track of your lists, you have a variety of applications at your disposal. Many computers and phones come with a calendar as part of their operating systems, and you can use this to keep track of your calendar and tasks and set reminders. Voice assistants such as Siri and Cortana are no longer strictly mobile, with desktop/laptop versions now available. Some of the most popular and highly-rated apps are:

Of course, you can also browse an app store to find the ones that are most appealing to you and give them a try, as many of them are free. There are also many simple versions – think checklist and grocery list – available.

Online Project Managers: If you have projects that include several tasks each, a project manager might be the way to go. You can set up your projects and add tasks to them, complete with descriptions, team members, and deadlines. Many techies find the sites are Asana*, Redbooth*, Basecamp, and Projecturf to be the best.

*These sites have free versions.

Now is the perfect time to get started with one of these methods, as the kids are back to school and their schedules are revving up, and the holiday season will be here before we know it!