Nowadays, everybody uses a “to do” list to make sure that they do not forget anything they need to do. Is this list always exhaustive? Have you ever missed something? Are you sure you’re creating the list as efficiently as possible?
In this article, I will explain the 4 tools I use to note daily tasks and events. Please note that this article is supplementary to my previous article, 5 Minutes to Perfectly Manage Your Time, explaining my methodology to efficiently organise your calendar in 5 minutes.
1. A Sheet of Paper, a Pen and a post-it
There is no need to reinvent the wheel, a sheet of paper is still a strong tool to help you stay organised. I suggest to put this sheet at the very same location every day so that you are able to always find it.
Try to note keywords together with their related deadlines.
You may want to create your own template to structure the tasks based, for example, on the Eisenhower Matrix explained in my other article.
Although the space available on a post-it is limited, this application is useful for listing important things in a location that you will be sure to see everywhere. Write down some keywords and stick the post-it on your computer or screen.
Remove your notes, do not get accustomed to them.
Do not forget to remove the note once the task over and avoid having the post-its remain on your desk or computer for a long duration of time; otherwise, you will be too accustomed to have the note there. Digital version of post-it is available on your computer if you are more comfortable with a digitalized format.
2. Smartphones and Voice Assistance
I am neither a geek nor a huge fan of digital assistants such as Siri. However, when I am driving, walking or just on the go without the possibility to write down an idea, I use Siri.
Just ask “Siri, remind me on xx/xx/xx at yy:yy to do …” and this information will be recorded on your phone. Now you can add a review and add details to this note at your convenience.
3. Microsoft OneNote
Most of us use a computer with Windows and its Microsoft Suite or have applications with equivalent functions. OneNote contains an interesting way to record a digital “to do” list that you can update easily on your different devices. Note that you can find plenty of interactions between OneNote and Outlook to link your “to do” list with emails, meeting, notes, …
Have a look at some tutorials
There are numerous explanations on Google on the functions of OneNote, including Microsoft’s tutorial and an example listed below:
4. Microsoft Outlook
For me, Microsoft Outlook is a powerful tool that helps me organise my day-to-day. I always set up meetings and task reminders with an alarm 15 minutes before the designated time in order to remind myself of a specific event or task. I also set up specific reminders (like a full-day event) for deadlines. I categorize my tasks by applying different colours based on the nature of the tasks. In addition, I use the “to do” feature together with the “flag” button to organise my urgent items.
Take 5 minutes every day to organise your time
I share below an example of my favourite reminder: my 5 minutes “to do” process each morning. I fully explain this in my article 5 Minutes to Perfectly Manage Your Time.
Similarly to OneNote, there are many tutorials online, including Microsoft’s tutorial listed below:
Create tasks and to-do items
Many people keep a list of things to do - on paper, in a spreadsheet, or by using a combination of paper and electronic…
Do you really use the full potential of each tool?
Overall this list may seem basic, but do you really use the full functionality of each application? This article provides you with reminders of easy things you can do every day to better organize your life. I would be more than happy to hear about how you organise your “to do” list. Let me know in the comments below so that we can share more tips to help others organise and be more efficient!
I am a full-time MBA candidate at Imperial College London with experience in consulting and partnership acquisitions. Passionate about innovation and urban mobility, I dedicate my extra-curriculum time in making an impact that matters for the future of transportation through a project called The AviaryProject. I also share my personal tips and tricks for students and young professionals hoping it will help them to move forward in their career path.