Keeping It All Together

Today I was thinking back to those first days at home after my latest downsizing, I remember a feeling of exhilaration at the possibilities of moving forward on my back-burner projects. I knew I’d have to balance job search activities with getting to the backlog of things that had been building while I’d been employed. The tempest of ideas swirling upstairs was nearly overwhelming. I needed a plan. I sat down with a sheet of paper and started listing my ideas.

At last, the mess of ideas was there: Documented, saved, I wouldn’t forget those things. The next step was organizing and ordering. I knew I’d need to bounce between different tasks and not try to concentrate on doing each thing one at a time. The idea was to incrementally move along on several fronts. I came up with a few top level categories to bounce between:

  • Job Search Activities
  • New Skill Training
  • Tech Projects
  • Home Chores / Maintenance
  • Yard Chores / Maintenance
  • Computer Tasks
  • Car Maintenance
  • Shopping
  • Errands
  • Appointments
  • Creative Projects
  • Scouts
  • Fun
  • Books/Music/Movies to check out

Then I started prioritizing the sub-tasks. At that point I realized I’d benefit from some kind of organizational productivity software.

I’d previously used Excel for this kind of list, but that seemed cumbersome. Especially with prioritization. I was concerned with losing tasks during cut/paste or blendering columns during sorts. I wanted to be able to check off the list items on my cell phone while shopping, or look at the list while away from home. Google documents was a possibility in that sense, but still cumbersome.

I eventually found out about Todoist. I’m using their free version to keep and organize my lists. I like the Google cloud storage for the lists, the easy way to check off what’s been completed, and the intuitive reordering.

[5/26/19 Edit: I’ve now heard of Trello (through the comments below) and have started using it. It’s a little more complicated, but seems to handle teamwork a little better.]

Composition Book

I still use a good old composition notebook for working out my daily list of tasks and priorities, but Todoist holds the master list. The notebook also gives me a place to quickly work out some ideas before they get put into Todoist.

Today, I’m getting ready to start a new job adventure. Checking to see if I have anything to finish before I start next week. I’m also working out how to re-organize our family day and meal plans. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed at having not finished everything I carefully jotted down in those early days of the “break”, but I’m also realizing that through that organization, I’ve accomplished a lot along the way.

Have you found any super-useful list management software? Please share it with us.

3 thoughts on “Keeping It All Together

      1. I’m not really sure how I missed Trello, but I think I’m going to switch to it. It has it’s quirks, but there’s more functionality. I still like the simplicity of Todoist, but my “Not-So-Evil Plan” is more complicated now. Again, I am grateful for your hint!

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