To do list overload
I find it interesting that there are so many different apps that help people manage their time and tasks, and people just keep trying to reinvent the wheel. This shows me that there is a serious problem, which I don’t think is in design. I think it’s in the way we use to-do lists.
Keeping up with your daily life
Srinivas Rao, host of the Unmistakeable Creative podcast, believes calendars are more effective than to-do lists, and I’m inclined to agree. On some days, I do make a to-do list, but it ends up being on paper almost every time. Try as hard as I want, I just can’t keep all my projects in an app. Sometimes, I work on more than 40 articles in a week between three different companies. It takes me longer to enter the projects into my phone than it does to list what’s due each day.
But I couldn’t live without my calendar.
I track assignments by what day they’re due. You probably track your life by the calendar too, without even realizing it. You don’t have a to-do list that tells you when you have to take kids to practice or games. Students aren’t told what to do each day, rather, they’re given a syllabus with dates of tests and when papers need to be turned in. Your boss gives you a deadline for a project. Sure, it’s up to you to break it down and get each task done, but you’re always aware that of that due date. Doctor’s appointments are based on time and date.
You’re the only one who can make time in your schedule
Last year, Google acquired Timeful, which was supposed to help people fit more things into their life by actually “representing” these items on their calendar. For some things you want to do, I can see how putting it on your calendar makes you more likely to follow through. On the other hand, one of the items suggested was “calling your parents.”
I’d like to suggest that if you forget to call your family, it’s not because your life is out of control. I firmly believe that we make time for what’s important to us. Even when I was working fulltime and carrying 12 hours in college, I made time to talk to my daughter in the Army. And I didn’t need a to-do list to remind me, but I couldn’t live without my calendar.