Working with students on productivity I always come across of simple questions like ‘which to-do app should I use’. If you’ve been paying attention to all of the 150+ articles written on this blog you will notice there are very little suggestions on this site on which productivity system you should use.
Why? Because I haven’t found my perfect system. I switch every month from a system. I stick to a couple of things though: the weekly/daily goal system and a simple to-do list for the day. Long term to-do’s? Always somewhere else. I’ve tried Evernote, but the iPhone app was too slow, stopped using it.
Current go-to to-do app? ToDoist, which works very good for me. Why? I am looking for a simple app which contains projects (so for instance ‘StudySuccessful’, ‘Study’ and ‘Side projects’) and labels (or tags, like ’email’, ‘call’ and ‘write’) as I like to batch tasks (write all the emails at once, you will get into a state of flow).
How long I will keep using Todoist? No idea, it works very well right now, better than any other to-do app so far, maybe this one will actually stick around.
Changing to-do systems – a bad thing?
Now I had friends saying, of course, ‘Stefan! You are giving workshops and everything about goal setting, getting productive and reaching your goals, but how do you even work yourself with all these different apps all the time?’
I don’t! I don’t have one big system where I keep everything, and of course, not very productive.
Well, maybe it is not that bad to keep switching from app to app. Obviously you would do better using one system consistantly, but if your attention span is not that good and you like to jump from this ‘best thing’ to the next ‘best thing’, maybe you should do so.
This is for a very simple reason: If you like to test new things – you are doing at least something. Creating a new to-do list every month is actually very healthy compared to letting your to-do’s fade away in some sort of expensive ‘ultimate’ to-do application.
Changing your systems changes the context and can be a great motivator to push yourself to scratch off some of those to-do’s again!
Besides getting work done, you will think about how you are working in the best way as well, over and over again. This is a big win, because you will understand yourself a little bit better. You know what you need and in the end, you may actually find the best to-do manager for you.
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