To-Do Lists

Has anyone tried this system for to-do lists? And if so, how did it go?

I sort of have vague to-do lists in my bullet journal combined with a to-do list and daily routines in Habitica, but I wonder if handwriting everything and reviewing it frequently like this article suggests would work better.

I have a chalk board on my mall. When I realize there’s a number of things I need to accomplish (or finish) I’ll write them all down. The current list is about a week old and has 9/11 things crossed off. I wouldn’t say I use it consistently, but at times it’s useful. Maybe I’ll get better at it. But it is a good reminder system.

It’s a kind of fancy picture frame with a piece of wood painted in chalkboard paint as the ‘picture’ so it’s kind of artistic too. :smiley:

Reading the article I guess that’s my ‘long list’, and my short list is when I report in to my boss/team every morning and set out my work-goals for the day.

I also have the backs of 2 doors painted as chalk boards in my kitchen. One for writing down groceries as I run out and the other for other family stuff.


My work system is a bit like the long list and the short list. It’s in a computer file, but it would work really well on paper too and that’s an interesting idea to try. I do think that writing things on paper can have an extra ‘oomph’.

My overall to-do system is digital and on my phone. For recurring tasks and tasks in different locations the amount of effort that seems to go into the system would make me worry that I wouldn’t be able to consistently maintain it

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Tons. I have tons of to-do lists. I use apps, I coordinate one app with another app, I download to HTML or to CSS or what-not else, then upload from the what-not else into a new app, then make new lists of where the lists are. I have dependent tasks, and tasks that pre-position other tasks, and tasks that depend on post-positioned pre-positioning, and nested tasks, and super-grouped tasks, and tasks that are categorized and tagged according to the preferred time of day or according to the location where I would have to travel in order to complete the task. I have them prioritized, I compare my priorities to my life-goals, I change the priorities. I color-code everything, and it’s available in about seven different formats, on several different devices. I could spend hours just getting the lists all up to date on all the devices. I really make a lot of great tasks-lists.

Then I ignore them all.

The linked article at ADDitude …

… is very similar to the Bullet Journal system which Jessica did a video about on the How-To-ADHD YouTube channel …

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I use a bullet journal, but in terms of any kind of to-do list(s), some are in my journal, some are digital, some are both places. But this article has me contemplating keeping it all analog in one journal. Or at least trying.

lol. I think @cliftonprince has a list of steps for dealing with lists which is an ammendment to his list of lists. :smiley:


Recursive lists are the best lists.

I don’t actually know what a recursive list IS.

Seriously, despite my previous post’s intended jocularity, I do find that some task-manager software programs are helpful. Often the act of learning how a program works, will also be an act of finding out about a certain method of task-management. For example, I never knew what a Gantt Chart was until I noticed that one of my task-management programs offered the option of spitting all my outstanding tasks into Gantt Chart format. From there, I learned what the benefits (or problems?) of using the Gantt-charting system might be, so simply knowing Gantt’s recommendations and methods became a little helpful. But I don’t actually use the software to spit things into Gantt’s systems and, frankly, I can’t remember what the Gantt system is right now. So, it’s like, I love learning about new task-organizing methods, but I don’t ever benefit from that knowledge.

I think the strength of using a Bullet Journal for me comes down to one thing – I have to RE-WRITE the tasks on the next page. If you aren’t familiar with the “Bu-jo” I’d recommend you watch the video. Simply put, every new month, you “migrate” all of last month’s tasks onto the next month’s page. For me, the benefit is that, in so doing, I have to choose which tasks to REALLY think of as things I intend to do, as opposed to which things are just clutter on my task-list, put there more because I like the idea of pretty colors or of tagging the tasks by super-group or category. Thus, Bu-jo has a built in re-prioritization episode that is essentially forced on the user every thirty days or so. This I am using, and benefiting from. Also, Bu-jo allows me to be artsy-phartsy. I can get colored pens, I can draw pictures (seriously!), I can make arrows and circles and funny-hats and so on. I learned in Law School, that if my notes for a course are typed on a computer, I will have a very neat, very well-formatted outline, but I won’t know what’s in it; whereas, if I have a jumble of things I write down by hand in ink on (real; as in, hard-copy) paper, I may not be able to publish it for profit from a sale to undergrads, but I will do better in the class because I actually know the content of my notes, not just their typeface and indentation level.

For the Bu-jo migration, I am trying to notice what tasks seem to get forgotten or migrated regularly. For example, I have had on my to-do list for several months, the notion that I must find a new Primary Care doctor. (My previous doc got cancer and died in a rather quick surprise. Meanwhile, I have a doc for my ADHD meds, my prescribing psychiatrist, and I see him regularly no problem. But he doesn’t really want to do my asthma or the interaction necessary to recommend a physiotherapist for my runner’s knee. So I need a main doctor too.) I keep migrating this task, to get new primary care doc, from one month to the next, then the next, without ever starting it. We ADHDers have a word for this … PROCRASTINATION. At least now, thanks to the Bu-jo system, I’m being helped to notice that there is probably a WALL OF AWFUL that I am climbing on that particular subject. With the Bu-jo, I am kind of FORCED to notice that I’m climbing some sort of wall of awful (cf. video ) and therefore it’s possible (though not really required) that I will some day confront some of the emotional issues in that wall. Maybe.

See my comment above. And my original post. :slight_smile:

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I use bullet journal, i started with great eagerness but it doesn’t work. I don’t complete anything on my to-do list and for this reason i feel guilty all the time.

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It might not be the right system for you. Not everything works for every person. I’ve tried other systems before to keep track of to-dos and utterly failed. Even with a bullet journal, I have to review how it’s working and tweak what I’m doing to make it suit me better. I still forget a lot of things. Sometimes I feel guilty about that and sometimes I just chalk it up to “I can’t remember everything and the fate of the world doesn’t rest on anything I do, so OH WELL.”

I’ve got a blog post I’ve been writing for work. I had the idea months ago but only started writing it about 1 month ago. I keep putting it on my weekly to-do list and I keep ignoring the post or writing a few words and then getting distracted by something else. And this is a blog post about something I’m VERY interested in. But at this point, I’m either going to have to abandon it and feel bad about it or wrap it up and go with what I have–and feel bad that it isn’t as good as it can be. :confused:

Have you tried working with another person to find a way for you to finish the things you want to finish and need to finish? A friend or a coach or someone?

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I’m currently experimenting with several kinds of to-do systems.

First, akin to what the article pointed out, I have a longlist and also a shortlist, but the shortlist isn’t so much a “do it now! Why are you still staring at the list” list, more a focus lense on the longlist. Shortlists also have a tendency to grow into longlists, so I’m not entirely sold on the concept but I’m working with versions of it.

There’s also a third kind of list that’s missing from the article but is the most important: the task breakdown. Which does just that: It breaks down a task into manageable steps. These lists need to be separate from the large-scope lists.

I also use calendars. Two, actually. Three if oyu count the Google one but I’m still getting used to that. One is a year-view sheet that comes with my newspaper once a year. I cut it to size and stick it to the front of my journal. That’s for rough scheduling and blocking out days for stuff. The other is a month overview I draw into my notebook at the beginning of each month, with enough room for notes and tasks that need to be focussed on that month on the side. It’s probably as close to bullet journalling as I got.

I recently started managing my tasks with Trello, which seemed to me the most easy-going and self-organizable of task apps. I have one column for urgent stuff that I can pull tasks to and from as well as several others, sorted by urgency, recurrence or long-term-ness. Also, each task card can contain as many checklists as I want, for the breakdowns.

Before that, I used this:

It’s a folder of post-its somebody gave me once. (I once tweeted that I’d started mapping out a story on post-its and I needed more post-its, and ever since, people have been giving me post-its. It’s actually really nice.) I originally tried to use it three-dimensionally - keep the less urgent tasks on the lower post-its -, but that didn’t work and then I got Trello and moved on. But recently, I started using it as a smaller, more focussed Trello board: I write the tasks for the day on the top center sheet, and anything I need to map out goes to the surrounding papers. And yes, I keep paper-clipped notes attached to the cover, though the calendar was only temporary. It’s not back in my notebook where it belongs.

These are all good systems, but there’s one thing none of them accounts for: I still need to look them up every now and then. It’s a work in progress…

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Oh, right. I also have a shopping list app. Well, it’s more of a task list app that I use for shopping lists. Before I leave, I browse the list and uncheck whatever is out. I hardly forget to buy stuff anymore. The downside is, shopping gets more expensive the less I forget.

Having an app is much better than pieces of paper, especially since I can just check what I bought and not overlook what I haven’t, and while I do forget to write down things I need due to the lack of visual reminders when they’re not there, it’s easy to remember when there’s an item to uncheck.

It’s also much easier to carry along while shopping than a … door?

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Yes, taking the door off it’s hinges every time is a pain but… :smiley:

The great thing about the chalk board is that everybody in the family can add to it. You want chocolate chips for making cookies, put it on the board. If you didn’t write it down, don’t be upset when you don’t get it. I then snap a picture of it on my phone when I’m headed out the door.

It’s funny, you say tracking what you need costs more. I find having a list saves me money. I tend to be less impulsive when shopping if I have a plan when I head out the door.

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I use wunderlist on my iPhone but i like old fashion ways too. I have a notebook that i write everything in.
My issue is since i like using 2 systems my information isn’t all in one place like i want it to be

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I used Trello for work for a bit (my manager asked me to give it a try as something other staff could possibly use). It kind of worked for me, but only if I remembered to actively use it, which I didn’t usually do. But it was good for creating to-dos with tasks broken down into steps, which like you say, that’s very important.

I’ve started using Google Keep for a shopping list that I can add to and tick things off as I get them. It works better for me than writing handwritten shopping lists. That’s definitely one thing I don’t need to do analog.

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I think having things in multiple places is becoming more of a hindrance to me, which is why this article intrigues me. I’m thinking tweaking my bullet journal to make it easier for me to have everything (or almost everything) in one place that doesn’t need to be plugged in to recharge or a wifi signal is a good way to go, or at least try.

thanks for your reply. :slight_smile: the problem is that I get tired of people too quickly and even if there was someone who could help me with that, I’d probably get bored of him when he told me to finish things. i have to help myself but unfortunately I’m not very good at it.

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