News & Blog

To Do: The Analog Version

News & Blog

I work at Web Teks, so it’s safe to assume that I love technology. I do; it’s fun to solve problems with technology, and I enjoy trying out new apps and new capabilities. But sometimes old school works best for me.

As my career and software tools have evolved, I’ve learned that my practice for keeping track of what I need to do, what I need to follow up on, and when I’ll be able to work on things needs to evolve as well. I’ve tried a number of apps and methods over the last few years, and this has taught me important things about what will work for me and what won’t.

  • I prefer something that is visible to me throughout the day. This could be an app that lives to one side of my desktop, an app that stays on my phone’s homescreen all day, or a planner page that stays on on my desk
  • I have an Android phone, so I need something with a great mobile web experience or a great Android app.
  • My primary computer at work is on Windows, but I also have a MacBook, so I need something that works through the browser or has an app for both platforms.
  • In addition to my “to-do” list and calendar, I also keep track each day of food, activities, and symptoms, to manage a couple of chronic conditions.
  • Some form of positive feedback would be awesome. It may be Karma Points from ToDoIst, earning XP in Habitica, or simply checking off a task that I have written on a planner every day for a week.

Paying for premium access to ToDoIst and later to Habitica gave me some features I need, but not all. Eventually, both became awkward, and I kept looking for the perfect fit. And trust me: I tried many apps that didn’t make it past the 24-hour mark.

Passion Planner makes a beautiful calendar with thick pages and a very nice layout. While I love Passion Planner as a calendar, it is much less helpful for managing my to-do list.

These days, I use printable pages from Day Designer. In the morning, I review the page for the day. I check off the tasks that I’ve completed and jot down new items as they arise. At the end of each day, when I update and complete my time entries, I start the new page for the next day. I write down any meetings or other time-driven commitments, then fill in the to-do items, carrying over the ones that I didn’t quite finish. Once I’ve written down the same task a few times, you can bet I want to get it checked off! I use the back of the page to log my health stuff, and there’s lots of space to jot notes in the margins or doodle during long meetings.

What do you use to manage your to-do lists? Let us know in the comments – we’d love to hear your recommendations!

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