I have, over the years, tried many, many ways to organize your things-to-do lists. I have tried things that you type into a little window on your desktop; I have tried apps that automatically sync to the cloud between your phone and your computer; I have tried things that do voice-recognition; I have tried programs where you tap a little picture and it intuits what you want to do.
And absolutely none of them have worked for me as well as a simple cheap notebook and a pen, and giving myself a couple times a week to sit down with a very nice cup of tea and review it all.
I wasn’t always this organized, either. My mother gave me a whole series of cute notepads as gifts when I was in junior high, all of them with the word “To Do!” printed on them in various cute fonts, in a futile effort to encourage me to get myself organized. But I was a bright student who found a lot of school easy, and was getting good grades even with last-minute scrambling, so I just left things be; letting most of my days go by in idle daydreaming, and scrambling to get homework done at the last minute. I would write for my own self, because that was fun – but to-do lists? Feh.
Then I started working as a stage manager and got a day job as a secretary, and suddenly getting organized was a matter of absolute life or death – I suddenly had to keep track of blocking notes, line readings, notes from designers, costume fitting schedules, actors’ availability conflicts, and running tallies of “how many frozen pancakes do we have left”. I resurrected the very biggest three-ring binder I had from school days and carried that around with me at all times – to work during the day, to rehearsal at night, and constantly made notes and transferred them to checklists and, gradually, became the kind of person who kept to-do lists.
Although I still sometimes slack off – responsibilities and duties are just still plain no-fun, and I sometimes still lapse into the dreamy go-with-the-flow state I was in when I was in school. And that is why I have a secret weapon, one which I picked up from another stage manager I met. At some point, I got a glimpse at one of her checklists, and saw that she did not title it a list of things to do – it was her list of things to smite.
I adopted that immediately. I can absolutely attest – if you are working from a list of things to “smite,” the most mundane task feels epic.