ToDo-lists are no more effective. Here what is.

I think, a lot of people mentioned, how useful ToDo-lists can be in our routine life. With no difference in their form (as we know, they can be presented either as app, or as just small pieces of paper), they can “construct” our day step by step. And i can proove their effectivness with my own experience.

But i realized, that there are a lot of tasks, which can’t be normally “regulated” with classical ToDos. So i want to present you a new form of self-organization. I can surely say, it’s much more effective, than ToDos, as we know them.

I don’t use a smartphone. Really, i have a simple Samsung E1202 cellphone, which i use because of its simplicity, battery longlife, stable work and resistance to any kind of influnce :). That’s why i can’t use apps, which would remind me, what kind of job i still have to complete for today.

That’s why i tried different apps for my tablet, which seemed not much convenient for me. You see, as i do my work with my notebook, i don’t get distracted by Facebook, email, VK notifications, what makes me more productive. As i open my tab to see, which task i’ve got next, in 7 of 10 cases i open FB or any other social app to look through something new. It can take several minutes (10–20). That makes ToDo-apps on any smart device not so much effective tool to make your day really productive.

best ToDos ever ;)

That’s why i used simple text sheets. Each one was for one day, and i could write any list of tasks for the next day. I tried to follow wide-spreaded idea, that i should do it on the evening, before going to bed. Such sheets didn’t distracted me, but they had another problem. They were not “connected”. And as i’m currently working under one big project, connected of different tasks, i felt really bad about this fact.

One simple example can show you, what i mean. Let’s imagine, you have not some defined, but “free” task, like “Try to combine the colors and make this stuff look more pretty”. That means, that this job needs not one simple action, but some set of affords. You can see, that you need to try Color1 and Color2; you need to remove Color3 and change Color4 with Color5 and so on. That’s why our simple, as we thought earlier, task had become more complex. So you can’t put it into just one tip in your ToDo.

Besides, having spotted that fact, i got another problem. Some tasks, which were “free”, but not so defined, needed more days to be solved. I could experiment with colors of background of my app for hours, and get no real solution. That’s why this task had to be moved to another day’s list. Working either with small paper sheets, which were everywhere on my table, or with app on my tablet, was not so effective, as i supposed it to be. So i found another solution, which i’d like to propose.

I started combining two different ways to control my work. First one is classical form of sheet papers, which could remind me of my short-time tasks (like for today, or even for “till-12 a.m.”), which included some simple tips, like “to call someone”, or “compose that letter”, or “download that price”, etc. Sometimes i use just Wordpad file, opened on the desktop, for this purpose. As i said, i call it “Short tasks”.

Second way to control myself, which i discovered to be much effective, is Google Docs file. It’s something like my diary, where i describe my goals and thoughts of that or this project briefly. I use colourful background to mark date of my notes and its one-or-two-words header. There i “connect” all of my thoughts, so that i understand, which “short-term” task i should complete as the next one. I explain, which steps should i make in future, what problems can appear, and what should i pay attention to. Obviously, i couldn’t do it with my paper sheets). But i also couldn’t keep them all in mind. Besides, while composing such a doc-file, some interesting thoughts can occur in your mind. Try it, it really works!

Such combined method of self-organization is, as i noticed, a highly effective solution. Having completed your “short” tasks from ToDo, you can open your Google Doc-diary file and make notes with some tips for yourself to be “in touch” with your projects. And as you’ll see all of these notes alltogether, you’ll see clear vision of your projects, of the phase of their construction and of steps, you should probably do in the future. As i noticed, that really made me easier to work under different vectors at the same time, being able easily to follow as my short-, or my long-term tasks.

Actually, there are a lot of articles, devoted to advantages of having a dairy for your career. But, frankly speaking, i was too procrastinated of the idea of having such stuff for myself. It seemed to strange for me; besides, i had no idea, which things should i describe there. But, as i realized, combining the form of ToDo-notes and your projects-diary, can be very effective.

If you like this idea — please, try it and describe your thoughts about it in the comments section.

P.S.it’s my first article on Medium, so, please, tell me, if you like it and if there are any moments, which i should pay attention to. Thanks for your attention!) I’d be glad to create more articles here ;)

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