A Collection of Successful To-Do List Approaches


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I recently bought the eBook of Ryan Holiday's "The Obstacle is the Way", which I can highly recommend. It condenses some of the lessons of Stoicism, and from inspiring individuals in history, and applies them to ...

Index Card To-Do List

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We're a big fan of to-do systems that use email, since most of your tasks will arrive, and be completed, within email anyway. Previously we posted a method of using Gmail's Starred emails, and Gmail Tabs, to set up a ...

Minimal Gmail Star Method

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  One thing we like to do is to interview people who have successfully used their To-Do systems for years. Who better to interview than an expert in managing human behaviour - a psychologist? We asked an ...

A Psychologist’s System

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    When we are making up our own, often hacked together, to-do systems, one of the problems can be: how do we get certain parts of our workflow to "speak" to each other? For instance, how to we get ...

A Screenshot To-Do System

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To-do lists that use your email are great, as email is where most of your new tasks will come from. Keeping jobs there can potentially be the ultimate frictionless to-do list. Unfortunately, we are still in the very ...

Starred Emails in a Separate Tab

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This week I thought I'd write a slightly different post than the usual ones focusing on one, new system. I thought it might be interesting to cut to the chase (years after people's chase, in some cases), and survey ...

Pictures of To-Do Lists That Work!

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Productivity junkies will know the very unproductive habit of forever passing tasks from one app into another. If you think about it, this should be no surprise. App makers (like drug companies) operate under a ...

Using Plain Text Files as To Do Lists

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We all know that we are told to make our to-do lists as detailed, 'actionable', and broken down into manageable chunks, as possible. So we all write down well thought out next actions into our lists. Or do we? Think ...

Deliberately Vague Lists

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It's a fair question to ask a productivity junkie what systems they use themselves. And while I love my system like a friend (it has taken years of research to find one that has stuck), I was cautious in posting it here, ...

Paper + Mind Map + Smartphone

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Timer-based to-do lists have been around for a long time. If you are interested in personal efficiency you will no doubt have heard of the Pomodoro technique, which uses an egg timer to encourage working in focused, 25 ...

Burning Money

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We all keep many types of lists, even if in our heads: our life priorities, our current objectives, our lifelong goals. More than likely we also neglect just as many of these lists! This is a method which can help keep ...

The All-In One System

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Here's a possible paradigm-shifting idea: what if the very idea of a to-do list is flawed? Think about it... a to-do list can never be complete. New things are coming at us every second. And the very idea of a list ...

Keeping a ‘Not To Do’ List

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We all have to-do lists. And we have our emails. Unfortunately, keeping two separate lists is a simple way to make your to-do lists almost immediately out of date. And swapping information from one to the other also adds ...

Gmail as a To-Do System

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The answer for true To-Do productivity came for me from the Fluid app (http://fluidapp.com). It's a mac only app that turns web pages into individual programs, that can then sit in your dock. The reason it works so ...

Fluid App for Mac

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This to-do system uses basic psychology to succeed where other systems fail. It is worth trying, even if just to gain a better understanding of how your mind resists and accepts different things to do. This system ...

Easy Bribe System

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For many the introduction of the iPhone seemed to herald our new era of productivity. Suddenly (and for a low price) everybody could carry around the world's best to do assistants. With choice came information overload, ...

Best iPhone To-Do Apps

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This is one of my favorite to-do systems. It combines the neatness of digital systems, to the intuitiveness and immediacy of paper based to-do lists. This system uses erasable ink pens - I recommend these ones, that ...

Erasable Pen System

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This is perhaps the best to-do system for those who want a very simple technique - that nevertheless keeps your priorities in order. This system uses pen and paper optional word processor, or other digital writing ...

Michael Linenberger’s ‘Total Workday Control’

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This is a system I developed in 2011, to bring a sense of fun and flexibility to my work day. This system uses regular playing cards a black marker. Instructions 1. Buy a nice set of playing cards, that have ...

Playing Card System