My current favorite to-do application

I’m not sure if I’ve talked about this on here, but I love playing with productivity apps. I’m always searching for the perfect solution–something that’s fast, flexible, and that can keep track of everything. It’s a huge time waster.

More than a year ago, I started using separate programs for writing stuff and non-writing stuff (Firetask and Things, respectively). This works well, except for one thing: the problem with putting *everything* into these apps is that…. *everything* is in these apps. It’s overwhelming. Even with filtering by category or due date or a “today” list, it’s a constant reminder of how much I have to do, and a constant distraction.

I also like the visual representation that a calendar gives me. This is one reason I’ve tried so many to do list apps–they’re all lists. Yes, I understand and agree with the whole philosophy about not putting tasks on your hard landscape, but putting tasks on my calendar helps remind me that tasks actually take up time and I cannot do infinite numbers of them every day.

So I gave up on finding the perfect app. Instead….


My weekly planner is clearly hand-drawn (at least I used a ruler). This is because I gave up trying to find one that is in the right format, with blocks for weekdays that are too small to cram too many things into, and bigger blocks for weekends (most weekly planners make the weekdays big and weekends small, like they’re all made for people to use at work or something), and space to write whatever deadlines and goals and notes I have.

The nice thing about drawing the planner every week (it takes a whole minute or so) is that I can change it. I’m actually going to make the weekdays even smaller (really, I can only do one thing a night other than writing, and having too much space there tempts me to try to add things) and get rid of the list of things to read (because I put that elsewhere). I’ll probably sub in a free-form notes section and subdivide the weekends into morning/afternoon/evening.

So each week I go through my to do list apps and my calendar and spend 15 minutes or so figuring out what I’m going to do when. Basically, having to copy things into the planner ensures that I do a weekly review.

Best of all, I can put everything into an app and keep it organized and scheduled, but not get overwhelmed with everything I want to get done. That’s definitely worth 15 minutes a week.

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