I have a bad memory. Actually, I have a good memory but a poor ability to recall it at the appropriate time.
When left uncontrolled, things I have to do haunt me. Generally when I’m driving or trying to sleep so can’t do anything about them. Stuff I should have done, stuff I should do, stuff I shouldn’t be worrying about yet. It keeps me up at night. Then I’m tired the next day and I forget what I was supposed to do as a result.
As such, anything which registers as remotely important has to get written down somewhere. Somewhere I’m going to see it again within an appropriate time. Turns out, nowadays there’s quite a lot of these places as I’ve realised whilst preparing for the week ahead…
First up, I checked the Calendar (List #1) to see where I’m going to be this week, fortunately not too much running around (so far) but a few calls I need to prep for. Also some points I want to raise in an internal meeting I just reminded myself about so I added these to the notes field for that meeting (List #2).
Next up, inboxes (List #3). I try to keep ontop of my email and strive for “inbox zero” at least once a week. I clear out what I can and am left with a few things I still need to reply to. BUT, these also need some discussion in advance so, without realising, I make a mental note to do so (List #4 – and almost certainly going to be forgotten).
I use a nifty lead tracking tool for all my salesy type work called Pipedrive. Pipedrive is a great tool that forces you to always have a “next action” for each of your leads. Collectively, these make your Actions list (List #5).
For all of our development projects at Moov2, we use Pivotal Tracker. Another great online tool for collaborating on agile software development projects. Pivotal encourages the use of user stories for scheduling and managing tasks (List #6).
Remember the milk is an actual to-do list tool I use for all other tasks I think of that don’t surface through any of the above. It’s a pretty good tool that I’ve used for a long time, although I haven’t noticed any updates lately so I’m not sure if it’s still being actively developed (list #7).
Finally, when I don’t have a specific task but a random thought I want to note down and remember, I extensively use Evernote as a kind of infinite black hole of semi-considered thoughts and “things I ought to do” (List #8). Paul Boag has an excellent video on how he keeps organised with Evernote (I’m nowhere near that disciplined with it but I will try now).
Err, is it me or is this post starting to look a little bit like a list?
It’s all getting a bit much and I feel I need to consolidate a little. I don’t know exactly how yet but I definitely feel like there is a better way. I’ve tried loads of different to-do list apps, but if I’m honest with myself, this is generally to check out the new shiney toy more so than solve the problem of actually getting stuff done.
Talking of getting things done, a few years ago I read and adopted GTD which worked well for a while. But then after a few days out of the office I kept falling behind and ultimately left it to rot. GTD may be the answer I’m looking for and I might give it another try but I’m open to other suggestions.