I constantly make lists to organize my life. It’s how I get things done. Without them I would be lost – especially now while I’m expecting baby number two and am a little more forgetful than usual. I have lists for everything, from frequently used lists like running errands and gift giving, to work-in-progress lists like college scholarships for my 16-year old son and places I want to travel, to “living” lists like my ultimate music playlist, to archival lists like books I’ve read and other miscellany. Some folks may be able to keep this info in their heads, but I’m not one of them. So I rely on lists.
My personal lists used to live only on paper, but are now organized digitally via Evernote. It’s the simplest way to create and manage a list that is accessible via my iPhone, which is almost always with me, or via a web browser at work, home or while traveling. I’ve used Evernote for less than a year and am quite a novice, but it works well for lists. In the past I’ve used Backpack by 37signals, which is great via web but doesn’t come with an iPhone app that works well. However, I do use Backpack for lists that I don’t need to frequently access, such as books I’ve read and places I want to travel (including specific sites of interest). That said, nothing beats crossing something off a list, so I still use pen and paper for more immediate action items. At work, I use the “To Do” function within Apple’s Mac OSX X Mail to manage my bourgeoning task list, and it’s proven extremely useful. I almost always carry my laptop to meetings, so can easily add or amend tasks on-demand.
The purpose for all these lists is to give me goals to aspire to, whether they’re immediately attainable or more long-term. Some are carefully curated, while others simply help me remember what I need to do that day or week. I’ve used lists for over a decade to get things done, and more often than not, that’s just what happens.
Tell me, what do you do to stay organized?