During the work day I often think of tasks that I need to get done after work. It might be paying bills, picking something up at the store, or making a phone call. When I was working 12 hour shifts and especially overnight shifts I always had a hard time remembering to actually do the things I had put on my mental to-do list. Developing my own to-do list system has helped me get things done and get distracting to-do items out of my head so I can focus on tasks at hand.
These tips are working for me to get things done:
1. Create a weekly paper to-do list. I have tried all sorts of electronic calendars, but at the end of the day I still find it most effective to have a paper schedule that I use for both planning and listing daily to-do items. I get great satisfaction from black lining a to-do item done. My paper to-do list is an 8.5×11 piece of paper folded in half and then into fourths. Monday through Thursday above the fold and Friday through Sunday below the fold. The final eighth I use for listing extra details.
2. Long term scheduling. I use the MS Outlook calendar for long term scheduling and appointment planning. Every Sunday I look at my schedule for the week and transfer appointments to the weekly paper to-do list.
3. Nudge emails. Nudge email is a free email reminder service. I send an email to Nudge with time, date, and details and later an email is sent to me. For example, if mid-day I think, “pick up milk on the way home.” I could send a Nudge email at the time of the thought to send me a reminder email just before I leave work. Check out Nudgemail.
Finally, a to-do list for me is most useful when I prioritize my to-do items.
How do you remember to get things on your to-do list done?