All the focus in the world won’t help you if you don’t know what you’re supposed to be focused on, right? That’s where the old to-do list comes in.
When I first started my blog / business, I had lists on scraps of paper everywhere. It was nuts. There was little method to my madness- if I made a list, who knew if I’d ever find it again.
Since then, my to-do list has gone through a few distinct iterations- each good for different needs. I thought it would be fun to look back on different set ups I used and share why I went to the method I use now.
Stage 1: Teux Deux
This site / app was all the rage when I signed up in 2012, and it was the first step towards getting all of my tasks in one place.
The app is super simple, featuring a single list for each day. The interface is really beautifully designed, and you can get the app for your phone to be able to see everything in one place. It’s great if you don’t need to categorize you to-do items.
Why I moved on:
As my business grew and I started to take on more client projects, I needed a way to list out the steps for the different projects and keep them separated, yet all in the same place.
Stage 2: Todoist
I moved to this system because the features were much more in depth. It’s really pretty awesome- you can set up different projects, set due dates, and there’s all sorts of color-coding options. It’s pretty to look at and there’s an app that syncs with all of your devices. What’s not to like? (My friend Lisa introduced me to this app- she describes it really well on her blog!)
Why I moved on:
Honestly, this tool was really hard to give up. It just happened that I incorporated two other tools into my system for other reasons, making this one obsolete for me.
Stage 3: Basecamp and The Day Designer
I’ve settled into a routine for almost a year now with my current set up, and I’m really happy with it. I got Basecamp because my email was busting at the seams and the idea of a platform that could contain all of my client communication really appealed to me. I know that now there are a ton of different platforms out there that do the same thing and are probably even designed better or are less expensive. But at the time, I just needed a solution, and this is the one I kept hearing about over and over and I have to say that it has delivered for me.
I use Basecamp for all my client communication and all my client project to-do items. I use the private to-do lists and the calendar to organize all my client work. I know where work lives, and it doesn’t get entangled with my personal stuff or any other business / blogging related tasks. Basecamp also has awesome iPad and iPhone apps now, which makes accessing work on the go super easy- way better than it used to be when my client communication was buried in my inbox.
For everything else, I use my Day Designer. I love how there’s a long to-do list to dump all the tasks into, and then a place to pick the top 3 things that need to be accomplished that day. Since all the individual work tasks are on Basecamp, all I do is list the client names that need to be addressed that day, and check them off when all the tasks are complete. I recently wrote about how I even use my Day Designer to track my time. But my favorite thing about it? For me, there’s something invaluable about putting pencil to paper. It makes a huge difference.
Okay, fine- I guess that was really 4 tools. So now you know how I balance work, personal, and blogging to-dos, and the pull from synced electronic systems with pencil & paper. What system do you use for your to-do lists?
P.S. Want to go behind the scenes of how I run my business and learn more about how I manage my client projects? Sign up for In Retrospect, this is the last week to register!
(And finally, just so we’re all on the same page- I was in no way compensated to write this, all my opinions are straight from my personal experience.)