Freshening Up Your To-Do List

I have recently been exploring the concept of the to-do list in more depth and detail and have decided to show all of my readers how to make theirs more efficient.  I hope this post is helpful, and have a very merry Christmas if I don’t see you again before that!

The Fine Line

A to-do list must be detailed enough and sufficiently inclusive for you to be able to clearly see the tasks at hand and what steps must be taken to get them done.  However, an overly-filled and complex to-do list can leave you overwhelmed.  You might end up spending more time adjusting and tweaking your to-do list than you actually spend completing those tasks.

So, there is once again a fine line between an overly-complex list and one lacking in complexity.  Here are a few checkpoints and little pieces of advice that I have for your to-do list creation:

  • How long do you spend at a given time on your to-do list?  It should be a maximum of 5-8 seconds at a time, in my opinion.
  • Don’t assign priorities to your tasks.  This makes execution too difficult and items to be done can obviously be decided when you get the chance to pick one to complete.  Prioritizing is often not necessary and can be time consuming.
  • Don’t put tasks into categories or tags in which you cannot see them all at once in an app.  This may be difficult depending on the to-do list app you use, but in my opinion it is important to see all of your tasks laid out in front of you without categorization.  If you tag them, some tasks get hidden and forgotten about.  Keep them all out right in front of you in a big group (although color-coding is alright).
  • Is your to-do list accessible and can it be done when you are mobile?  Make sure you have your tasks available at your fingertips and in a location where you would usually complete most of these tasks.  For me, I do most of my tasks on the computer, but my location changes around.  So, I keep an application on my computer that also syncs with my iPhone that contains my entire to-do list.


Establishing a Worthwhile System

In my opinion, the functionality of a great to-do list is highly dependent on the system, application or program that you choose to use.  There are a few different methods.

The first way of action is to simply use the pen and paper system.  Just write a checklist and cross off tasks as you go.  It’s easy to categorize the tasks and physically complete them without having to worry about extra steps. You will write them down chronologically as they appear.  However, I find that this method isn’t very portable and it can be quite inconvenient at times.

My favorite system is online.  It’s called Google Keep.  You can download it as a Google Chrome app, which you can then use as an application program on your MacBook, download an app for iOS and Android, use it online and also use the Extension in Google Chrome.

Google Keep uses “sticky note”-like areas in which you place your tasks.  All of the tasks are viewed at once, although they can be color-coded and put into separate lists.  You can add photos, use plain text, checkboxes and many other features.  It allows you to set reminders for tasks, but this is not a requirement and they do not get in the way of the simple setup of the program.

The extension for Google Chrome allows you to save websites, webpages, videos and other Web-based information to your Google Keep to use later.  As a Google app, it is also compatible with many other Google applications and products.

I hope this post is helpful to you, and I highly recommend you start using Google Keep to organize your tasks over this holiday break.  Thank you for reading, and enjoy this festive time of year!

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