How I do organize my ToDos or task lists

May 3, 2010

I have read extensively about how to organise yourself.

One of my favourite authors for this is David Allen and his “Getting Things Done” book and now philosophy. It does not fit my needs 100% but you can get a lot of good ideas. It is a read I recommend to anybody who would like to take a step back and see how to improve his/her workflow on executing stuff, not just at work but in your personal life.

I will write one day on which are my workflows but in the post I just wanted to briefly explain how I organise my todos.

First to clarify that I am heavy user of my iPhone and I could not live without Evernote. I take photos of everything, and I classify it all in evernote: from photos of all (yeap, all) incoming mail, to receipts (yeap…) to all my books, visiting cards, wines, etc… even when browsing it I constantly click shift and the evernote button to get a pdf of what I want to save.

For tasks and priorities I used to use things (a mac and iPhone program) but since I migrated my email to google apps, I use google tasks (as I mentioned in my previous post).

I have the following “lists” that I rather call “projects”.

@action (the @ is to bring it to the top) where I put most of the stuff I have to do and does not fall under a more complex task. Before I used to have an @inbox with the idea to drop everything there in a previous step and then put it in the right list in a second step, but I found out I could be disciplined enough to classify staff as it was arriving. In my Evernote and at home for my paper stuff, I do use an @inbox though.

Then I have a @wating for list. Here I put stuff like, waiting for an ebay thing I bought, or if someone is supposed to take some action on something that should come back to me, if you delegate a job for instance.

lent and borrowed lists. Don’t you hate when you lend a book to someone and it never comes back? Then you don’t remember who was it or which book. Well I keep track of everything I lend and I borrow, of course.

someday list. Here stuff that I have to do eventually but does not fall into the action list. Stuff like make a copy of the keys for the neighbours, upload latest holiday photos, etc…

scheduled list. Even if some of the stuff above can have a deadline or a day they should move to the action or you should execute them, the scheduled list is more for stuff that can be recurrent or that is far in time to be in the action folder but not as vage as someday. Examples: date that the subscription to a paper expires, an annual summer jazz concert…

wish list. Here I put all that I want to do, but that I am not necessarily do: buy a nikon d3s, go to x restaurant, buy x wine, visit japan, etc…

The specific project lists. One that it is always there is shopping where I write all the stuff I have to buy in the short term (salt, shoes, pasta, pesto…), you could add all this in the @action list but the idea of clustering similar stuff into projects is very convenient.  You could have lists such as: job hunting (and all the places you want to apply for), house works (and all the stuff you want to fix at home), etc…

This is in a nutshell how I organise my ToDo’s.

Another day I will explain how I organise my email, and Evernote.

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