The hallmarks of a good task list

22 May 2017

The hallmarks of a good task list

Do you keep a task list? I’m surprised by the number of people I meet who don’t. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my memory isn’t what it used to be, but I think I’d be lost without my task list. And certainly I’d be less productive.

What’s the best way to keep a task list? If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that my answer is that there’s no one right way to do it. The best way is the way that works for you. That said, I think there are some things that are common to all good task lists.

In my opinion, a good task list is:

  • Contained in some way. If it’s paper, it’s in a notebook or pad, not on scratch paper or Post-it® Notes. If it’s electronic, it’s in a single app, not scattered around your phone or computer.
  • Accessible. A good task list is kept handy so that you can add to it or consult it easily.
  • Doesn’t require constant copying. I like to write down a task once, not multiple times.
  • Can be checked off. Because who doesn’t enjoy the satisfaction of checking off a completed task? (Raise your hand if you’ve written down a task after the fact, just so you can check it off)
  • Isn’t overly complicated. If you try to get fancy with color coding or categorization, it may become unsustainable. (Of course, if you enjoy fancy, it might be great.)

For years I kept my task list in paper notebooks. Now I keep it in Evernote. I have a notebook called Next Week of My Life and one called Next Hour of my Life. (Those names are adapted from a system created by Mark Forster.) I create a weekly note that’s a master list for the week. And then each day I consult the weekly list as I create a daily note in the Next Hour of my Life notebook, with the notion that I will then plan just an hour’s worth of tasks at a time. I use Evenote’s checkbox bullet for each task so I get the satisfaction of checking off the completed task. This system is working well for me.

There’s no one right way to keep track of your tasks. That said, I believe that getting them out of your head and onto paper or a screen is best. I think our brains have better things to do than remember tasks!

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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