Getting things done: My "To Do" list system

I have evolved a system to make sure I get everything done that I need to get done. I constantly have ideas and things I need to do and it became hard to keep track and on top of. I use my iPhone to help me stay on top of things so I can write down things as they come up. Once complete they get removed from the list.

I have 3 To Do lists that I manage:

  1. Must get done today
  2. Do this weekend
  3. Catch-all holding list
Between these 3 lists I have most everything covered. I update my daily list of high priority or time sensitive tasks. Most of the time they are simple quick tasks that just have to be done by a certain day or time. I also use the calendar feature of the phone to set reminders for critical items. I try to keep this list short so I don't overload myself.

The weekend list are items that take longer, not as time sensitive, or they don't take a defined amount of time to complete. A good example is flight and destination research for my vacations. It may take me 10 minutes or 2 hours to find a good flight. I also like to spend time learning about my destinations so I come equipped with loads of useful info on the place.

The third list is where I initially put a task 90% of the time. If I cannot get to it right away I add it there. This list tends to be long and I work it down and pile it back up on a constant basis. I find that I add to this list when I am traveling to and from work or in flight. If urgent I add the task to today's list. This is a good way to make sure you eventually get to do something you have been "meaning to do" for a while such as uploading all of my travel photos to the web or renewing my notary.

Overall this system works well for me. I find that it prevents frustration of forgetting to do something important and also gives me a nagging list of things I need to get done. It keeps me on track most of the time.  My personal productivity has certainly gone up since implementation. This is a good starting point if you are a bit disorganized. The lists will start out long but dwindle over time. Stick with it!