EMS Tips

After Work To-Do List: Tips to Remember and Get Things Done

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?

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.