Revising the process.

It was a great shock to me that my to-do list, calendar, email, and notes all failed this week as the semester ended. I had a system in place involving Toodledo, Google Calendar, Gmail with ActiveInbox, and Evernote. The combination was so cluttered that although I turned in all my schoolwork by the end of the semester, I missed a crucial personal to-do, a social engagement, and I am horribly behind on a few other important projects.

Today I am starting all over, nearly from scratch. Here is my new system:

  1. Stop using Toodledo. I love all of its bells and whistles, but bells and whistles just distract me from actually doing the tasks.
  2. Organize my tasks in a simple system that can be accessed via web, computer, and iPhone and keeps all of them synced. I have exported a text file of my tasks from Toodledo and dropped the ones without solid due-dates into TaskPaper. The ones with solid due-dates are going straight to …
  3. Hell. No, just Google Calendar. I must be more diligent about checking and managing my calendar. I still can’t believe I let some big things slide this week.
  4. Stop using Evernote. Again with the bells and whistles when all I really want are text files. PlainText is a great note-taking app for iPad and iPhone, plus it syncs with Dropbox, which I love. I have been organizing my notes with text files for years, so this part is more of a return to basics than starting over from scratch.
  5. Figure out what to do with ActiveInbox. It is an elegant solution for email-wrangling, but I don’t like having to check two to-do lists.

Writing it all out like that makes me long for the days with just a pen and a Moleskine, but I know I am romanticizing the analog once again.

long day

One thought on “Revising the process.

  1. Never be ashamed of romanticizing the analog–someone has to! Despite being the proud new owner of an iPod Touch, I'm never fully convinced that our new technologies are all they're cracked up to be. But then, I'm also not convinced that technologies are the problem, per se.

    I'm reminded of a story I heard when touring the Emerson home in Concord, MA: Nathaniel Hawthorne lived there for a few years, and in the bedroom, we're shown where his writing desk (i.e. a board attached to the wall) was originally placed, near the window, and where it ended up, on an interior wall, because he found it too distracting to be able to look out the window. How much more difficult in a world where the windows are on our desk, and some of them are the ones we're expecting to MAKE US productive! But then again, the story illustrates that it's a human problem, not necessarily a technical one.


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