Posted By Christina M on December 31, 2010
I’ll admit it: I’m a time management and organization junkie. I can’t resist a nice, indulgent Lifehacker session. I’ve been known to do weird searches there for fun. Recently, for example, I did a search for “lists” and found an interesting looking piece of webware called Workflowy. Will I use it in the long run? Who’s to know? But it opens up all kinds of possibilities in my mind; and really, that’s where the adrenaline comes from, anyway. Unfortunately, it does not come from organizational success.
One thing that I found in the process of my latest session, though, was a slew of articles about how to manage to-do lists. And as I read the articles, I realized that at least there’s one thing I’m doing right in the time-management arena. I’m using TeuxDeux.
TeuxDeux is a simple, scrolling calendar-ish thingie. It shows five days at a time, and has another section always showing labeled “someday.” The simplicity may well be why it works so well for me. I have this tendency to over-complicate things, and TeuxDeux makes that impossible. You enter an item in the space above a day (the program always puts today in the center, as the default, but you can scroll left or right.) It puts it on that day as a list item. When you are finished doing the item, you can hover over the item until it highlights with a strikethrough, and cross it out. Everything you have on Monday’s list that isn’t complete will automatically move to Tuesday. You can also move items manually with a drag-and-drop interface that works smoothly and simply.
And no, in case you are wondering, I am not being paid to endorse this site.
What really works for me might work for you, if you also tend to over-complicate your efforts to get organized. I only put on a day the items I realistically think I can and will accomplish. Everything else gets moved to a future day. Even if I have 30 items on tomorrow, I only have 3 or 4 items on today. It makes me trim it down to the non-distracting essentials. And then, trimming the list that remains on tomorrow, which I will do tomorrow, makes me prioritize again. It keeps things in perspective. It also gives me the chance to see when an item has gotten shuffled for a week, and ask myself if it really is something essential, and whether I really intend to do it.
If you keep a to-do list, whether you use a program or website like this, or a piece of scratch paper, I recommend that you keep your daily list to a minimum. If you use a calendar or other dated list, don’t put too many items on any date. If you use a single piece of paper, keep a second page for your master list, so that you can keep your actual daily list trimmed. It feels great to see your list complete at the end of the day… and it is much easier to get started when you haven’t overwhelmed yourself before you even began.
Oh, and one more thing: if you read Lifehacker, save it for when you have lots and lots of time.