The last few weeks I’ve really gotten a lot done, so much more then I have in the past. I owe my increased productivity to a little iPhone app I downloaded called ToodleDo. I have always heard that the best way to get things accomplished is to create a To-Do List and I couldn’t agree more.
When my wife and I write down our weekend “things to get done” list, it’s amazing how quickly and easily we move through the list and get our errands done. Conversely, if we neglect to write the list out we squander the day thinking of what has to be done instead of doing what has to be done.
Over the past 6 months I’ve been experimenting with different ways to create my To-Do Lists. To me this is important as the list has to be…
- easily accessible from where ever I am,
- easy to update
- easy to organize
- be able to schedule tasks for future dates
- have reoccurring tasks
All of you work differently and your needs may vary, but the above is what works for me. Below I’m going to list the 6 ways that I’ve come up with to write my To-Do Lists and then I’ll give you the results I’ve had with each.
Pencil and Paper
Very simple, throw all technology aside and just use a simple notepad and pencil. Each morning (or night before) you write down the things you want to do that day.
My Results: I had some pretty good success with this method. I found it to be simple, easy and effective. My only gripe is that you have to carry this list with you every where and if you have a reoccurring task you must remember to write it down again.
For those people who use the iPhone 3G or iPhone 3GS (or other app capable phone), you have access to some great applications for keeping track of your ToDo lists. The feature set for each is a little different, but in the end I think this is a great options for many. There are features to categorize, prioritize and set reoccurring tasks as well as future tasks. You can get lost in all the features, so you have to pick the application that will best suite your needs.
My Results: I’ve currently only tested ToodleDo and am enjoying the results so far. You can sync it to their webpage which will then send you email and push notifications for upcoming tasks, overdue tasks and more. I am going to try out the other apps, but they all cost a few bucks. What I like best about the iPhone apps is that my phone is always with me and if I think of something I need to do I can quickly and easily enter it into my task lists.
This is a great idea by Joshua Dorkin, creator of BiggerPockets.com. If you are a member you have free access to the Task Application tool, otherwise join up for a free account and get going. The interface is a simple check list where you can add new tasks and thenark them when complete. This is a brand new feature for the site so I’m sure over time it will be expanded.
Here is the complete rundown of the BiggerPocket’s Task Application
My Results: I haven’t really given this a full test run because I don’t really like web based to-do lists because you have to physically log into the site and look at your list. It’s not always at your fingertips. This might be good for people who are on the computer all day, but as real estate investors we should be out and about. If Josh can create an iPhone app that ties into this page it would be a great thing.
Google Calendar has a feature called Google Tasks that lets you setup ToDo list items and when you’d like to have them accomplished. Those items would then show up on your Google Calendar. All the features of Google Calendar would then be available to you, such as notifications and syncing with your iPhone and Google based phones.
My Results: Before I found Toodledo, I was using this method. It’s pretty effective but I’d get a little put off by having to specifically go into tasks to mark an item as completed instead of doing so through the Google Calendar itself. I like things to be one or two clicks away or I get annoyed pretty quickly.
I got this idea from Pat Flynn over at SmartPassiveIncome.com. He writes out his todo lists on a white board in his office. He actually has just installed giant, wall sized whiteboards that he uses to brainstorm with.
My Results: I don’t have a whiteboard in my office just yet, but I really like this idea because it puts your ToDo list right in front of your face when you are in your office. To me this would be more effective then a paper and pencil, the only draw back is it’s not portable. Maybe if you combine paper and pencil and the whiteboard it could make for a killer combo.
They also have electronic Whiteboards that you hook up to your computer and can read what you are writing. Pretty slick!
If you are looking for more options for keeping track of your tasks have a look at this well put together blog post over at SolutionWatch.com.
In Part II of this series I will layout some techniques for writing affective todo lists.
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