23. August, 2004 - a better to-do list?

I haven’t gotten my schedule back to normal yet after the birthday weekend, so the links were late. But I survived the weekend.

One thing I’m thinking about this morning is the large number of items I have on my to-do list again. But I thought about the problem a little differently for a few minutes. The real problem I have is that I have too many different to-do lists, which need to be sorted differently based on the time of day. I have the “work” list. I have the “Dave’s Picks” list. I have a “around the house” list. Here’s an example:

Work (client 1)

  1. Get project file converted to work with XCode 1.5
  2. Finish hooking up performance-testing code

Work (client 2)

  1. Send quote on project before end of day

Work (admin)

  1. Take time-reports from employees and enter into QuickBooks
  2. Deposit checks and balance books
  3. Invoice client 3 for web hosting on 1st of month

Work (other)

  1. Update website to better reflect our current business

Dave’s Picks

  1. Fix RSS generating code so it can handle lists that aren’t Picks
  2. Make each posting an individual item on the server
  3. Add commenting software per individual item
  4. Deal with out-of-band things like this

Home Stuff

  1. Pay bills
  2. Do dishes
  3. Laundry
  4. Clean out small freezer and defrost it
  5. Donate Camaro to school that will fix it and sell it
  6. Contact sidewalk guy and get new sidewalk before the snow flies

And like that. Now based on the time of day, the various lists sort together differently. When I’m working on work stuff, those lists need to be weighted more heavily. But there are some things (like “Pay Bills” from the Home list) that need to be done by a certain time, but also depend on other things (like getting to the bank, from the admin list). And then there are things (like the “invoice client” entry) that suddenly go from low priority to top priority on a given day.

I’ve found no to-do list package that can actually handle this sort of thing. My solution for now is to use a bunch of post-its that I rearrange, cross-index and such, and then build a list for each day as I go. Each morning I spend a few minutes putting together the list for the day from the many longer-term lists I have stuck to my monitor, or in some cases, just rattling around in my head. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best I’ve come up with so far.

If I had commenting software working, I’d open this post up to comments so maybe someone out there could point me to the solution that would work for me. As it is, I’m asking you to send in ideas if you have them. Thanks.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 13:57:19.