Inspired by a post by Cassidy Williams, here's what I use.
I tried out a few to do lists in the browser and picked Todoist. The reason I chose a browser based one is because I always have one open, so then it's just another tab, rather than yet another window on the taskbar.
In Todoist you can organise your to do lists by what it calls project. But I use each 'project' as a time period. So anything I have to do today, tomorrow, this week, next week etc.
In each project you can have tasks, each tasks can have sub-tasks, sub-tasks can have sub-tasks. I'm not sure how deep you can go with the sub-tasks - if there is a limit I haven't found it yet. Each one can have comments, which is useful if you want to add additional information that doesn't need ticking off.
I like ticking things off, so I add a lot. I'll add the tickets that I need to do, and within them the elements I need to do. If I've found a bug, I'll add that. I'm still getting used to the amount of organisation required when you start or finish something, so I'll add all those too.
I'll also add non-project things, so if I need to ask someone about something, but it's not so urgent I need to do it now, then that goes on the list. Basically, anything I have to do gets downloaded from Jira/Slack/my brain into Todoist.
At home it's a bit different. On my phone I use Google Keep. It allows you to have to do lists with different colours. I have three lists in it:
- To do sooner
- To do later
- To buy
If there's anything I need a reminder for, I give it its own list - you can only have reminders for a whole list, not one item.
To do sooner is things that I need to get done sooner rather than later. So for example, at the moment I have on there that I need to post my Mother's Day card, which I need to do so it arrives by Saturday.
To do later are things that I want to do, but it doesn't matter how far in the future they get done. So for example I have on there that I need to sort out my (browser) bookmarks. I know it's there, but I can fit it in when I have some time.
To buy list is to remind me to buy things I don't need that often. So if I've just finished a bag of hamster food I'll add on there that I need to buy another bag (I always have one as a spare).
And then I use a notebook. Google Keep is useful for being able to note things down when I'm out and about. But I like writing things down and crossing things off. It feels more like I'm getting things done then just pressing a button on the computer.
In my notebook I have a to do list per day and I check Google Keep and write down anything I need to do that day, plus anything else that's not in there. For example I know I want to post a blog post every weekend, so I don't need to remind myself in Google Keep. It just goes straight into my notebook. Once I've done it I'll cross it off in my notebook and in Google Keep, if it's in there too.
It's all about downloading this from my brain so I don't have to remember anything, I just have to look at a list.
Here, I use Notion. I have a few lists in here:
- Things to blog
- Things to learn
- Side projects to write
I also used it to track my job hunting (I found a template for it which I modified). It also comes with a to do list, which I did use to organise myself for the job hunt.
There's a theme here, of downloading this from my brain so I don't have it think about it, I just have to look at a list.
The side-effect of all this organisation is that it feels like I don't have as good a memory as I used to. I used to remember all this stuff. Now once I've written it down it tends to leave my memory and I have to check the list.
But actually that's a good thing because it gives me more space to remember other things instead.