To Do List Apps: Tricks to Getting Digitally Organized

To Do List Apps: Tricks to Getting Digitally Organized


You know this! There is an app for everything these days.  Lately, more and more people are relying on To-Do List apps. Big productivity gurus like David Allen of ‘Getting Things Done’ say we can get more out of them than traditional methods.  As someone who needs all the organizational help I can get, I’m intrigued so lets get more information.

Organizing is stressful for many people. Just that first step of getting organized can be tough. I can relate so I’m wondering, has digitizing some age old methods of list making and organization really proven to come through with some advanced new tricks?

So, a lot of people are kind of embracing To-do list because they are getting these mobile apps. So, To-do guru David Allen is saying that the ability to try out all of these mobile apps is exposing people to many organizational methods they have never been exposed to before.  So in that sense, I think it is.

In keeping with the theme here, you broke it down, in a list,  and so lets talk about it. We are going to get digitally organized here.  So, the first thing on your list you have here is to ’empty your human brain into your digital brain’.  How do we do that? What do you mean by that?

The idea here is whether you have created a To-do list on a notebook or your putting it into an mobile app, you need to make sure is complete and through. Don’t just say “ok, I’m going to just put some stuff done for now”, because the experts are saying you are not going to trust your brain or your not going to trust your list.

The idea being, when your thinking of something that needs to be done now so that later you can see it and take care of it. So, for example, earlier today, I’m working on a masters project for university on mobile education. And so, I needed to write the project up but I also needed to convert it into a video presentation along with making a website resource for it too. So, I put down all of the different things I had to do to complete this activity not just finish project. Like the old saying goes “the devil is in the details” sometimes.

So, by putting down all of the details of the project, you get a sense of accomplishment when you can tick is item off.  This provides further motivation and it does not then feel so overwhelming. So making lists with manageable tasks is critical when using any to-do list.  And so, the nice thing about a lot of these mobile apps, is you can create to-do list of to-do lists. So, many of theses new apps allow you to breaking each to-do list down into smaller to-do lists and then provide reminders in case you miss or forget.

OK, so next on your To-Do list , on how to get digitally organized, is to DELETE the whole task item when you finish it. Tell  us a little about why that is so important?

I know it sounds silly, but everyone likes to be able to cross off every little thing they do to feel a sense of accomplishment.  Many of the To-Do apps now allow have a ‘strike out’ feature that visually shows you what you have done. For anyone in the business world, you can now share these tasks and others can then see what you have done as well. Some will even let you post it on social media.

And there are apps that will let you do that?

Many of these apps will now let you do that. One in particular called “Dropbox Paper”, which will allow you to share tasks with others and give the ability to send out a notice to everyone connected to a particular task that is is done or finished.  In the business world, it is not uncommon for companies to spend months , if not, years one a To-Do item making it feel like your not getting anything done and for employees to see a task get completed it can really help boost morale.

You mentioned on your list that I have here that these new mobile to-do apps have location awareness. What does that mean and how does it help up get things done?

Many of these new to-do apps can not only remind you by time to do things but they can also remind you based on your location. Maybe there are things you need to get done at work that are different than what you need to do at home or while at the store. Many reminder or to-do apps will run in the background and can access your GPS. Take the stock reminders app on the iPhone for instance.  You can ask Siri to remind you of a task at a specific location and it will notify you of that task when you get there. You could have a to-do reminder set for Costco and one for Wal-Mart, Sobeys, or work or home. For instance, Hey Siri, remind me to email Brian when I get home. As you heard, that reminder to-do item is now set based on my location. Another good location-based app that will do it is Google Keep; which is available on both Android and iOS.



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