It's taken me a while to realise that todo lists are useful. I knew they were useful for specific occassions (such as packing for a holiday) but I didn't realise how useful they could be for everyday life. I had assumed that everyone else just remembers stuff but it turns out that a lot of people keep lists. When I first started looking at keeping lists I did my usual thing of throwing my whole attention at it and got excited about designing a bullet journal, but I knew from experience a physical, paper solution will ultimately not be there when I need it
That's when I started researching todo apps. My criteria was that it had to be simple, be browser-based and have API access. This narrowed my search down to a small handful of solutions and so I looked at Todoist. I initially wanted to overengineer my setup but, in the spirit of iterative delivery, I thought I'd add what I needed and keep refining. Here's my current setup
Todoist gives you an Inbox for all incoming tasks. I use this as a holding pen for my thoughts where I read through and assign tasks to the right project or section. During a working day I tend to do this a couple of times a day. When assigning a task I also give it a due date (where relevant) and a priority if it's important. Assigning a due date means that I can see what needs to be done today
I have two main projects set up in Todoist - Personal and Work. I find most things fit into one of those two catagories. I use sections within each project to help further categorise tasks
- Family - Anything that I need to help organise the family
- DIY - This is for anything that involves maintenance or changes to the house or garden
- Housework - Recurring chores that need to be done around the house
- Health & Fitness
- Some day - Ideas for things I'd like to do one day but don't have any deadline or timeframe
- Web Platform - Work related to the platform I'm helping to build
- Line Management - Appraisals, mid-year reviews, etc
- Personal - Appraisals, mid-year reviews, etc
There are things that I need to remind myself to do each week (such as household chores) as well as new habits I'd like to form (such a piano practice). Repeat tasks in Todoist are very handy for this... it means that I have a reminder for frequent tasks such as cleaning the bathroom each week as well as monthly tasks such as descaling the kettle.
Sizing personal tasks
One thing I've found useful is to assign a size to each personal task. This is a rough estimate of how long I think it will take to complete. I use this to help me decide what to do when I have some free time. For example, if I have 30 minutes spare I can look at my list of tasks that are 30 minutes or less and pick one. This is useful when you have a free day but aren't sure where to start!