Rock, paper, scissor
It is probably a long shot to keep all of your actions on a stone. Paper however, that is a totally different story. Paper has the power to make me very happy. Beautiful paper, pens that write comfortably and a cup filled with neatly sharpened pencils: everything to make working easier and more attractive. If you love gold and pink, just like I do, I can recommend you the planner of Paper Time. Currently only available in Dutch, but do not let that stop you.
It is a diary, planner and project file in one. All sheets can be ordered separately, in case you run out of pages. And there are to-do lists available, that you can also add to your planner. You keep all of your information in one place, and it helps you to keep an overview: of your planning and your actions. There are also note pads, meeting pads and other items available that simplify your work. The site explains exactly how to use the products in the most effective way. Lovely! For those of you who are not into pinks, your local or online office supply store has many different coloured notepads and planners available.
Do you prefer standing in front of a board to keep track of your action items? Then a white board is your thing! It can easily be turned into a Kanban board, by drawing multiple columns. A pin board would be another option. Once you have named your columns, you write down your action items on post-its or something of a comparable size. After this, you maintain your to-do list by moving them through the columns on your board. That is how you created instant progress tracking!
Go digital and use an online app
When you like to be able to view your list on both your phone and laptop, Google Keep is a fitting solution. The app allows you to add check boxes to your list items. When an item is checked, it is moved to the bottom of the list, keeping it up to date and clean. The lists are easily shared with other people. In order for you to keep a clear overview of multiple lists, you can give them different colors. Upon opening the app, it is easier to find the list you are looking for.
The Microsoft solution is OneNote. Just like Google Keep, you can view, update and share your lists with multiple users online. It contains way more possibilities than Google Keep: create sections within a list, add information like pictures or other files. You can even draw in OneNote. You can find videos with explanations on the use of the app on YouTube. It would be a waste of the app not to use all of its features to the fullest extend, just because you do not know about them.
Trello and Any.do
A similar online tool is Trello. It works with boards, lists and can also be easily shared with others. You can add colors, you can appoint actions to a person, and add additional information. When you just start using it, it can be a little overwhelming, but the more you use it, the easier it gets. Trello is an excellent solution for creating online Kanban boards. The lists are your columns and the cards your actions. There are a lot of tutorials available about Trello, to help you to get most out of using the tool.
Finally, there is the Any.do app. This app can be opened on both your laptop and phone as well. You can create an account with your email address, or you can connect it with your Google or Facebook account. The app has a clear overview, containing a couple of standard lists that are already made for you. In case you would like to use all of the options, you need to pay a monthly fee to upgrade your account.
A couple of tips
Finally, a couple of tips for how to work on your to-do list:
- Your action items should really be actions, not a vague idea of your future. Especially when you share your actions with other people, they should know what to do exactly.
- When you write down your actions, see if you can cut them into smaller actions. It creates clarity and they are easier to complete. You can check off your action faster, which results in you feeling like you have completed a lot in a shorter period of time.
- Cluster your small action items as part of a large action item. You can improve and maintain your overview by giving them the same color. It supports you in keeping your overview per subject.
- Have somebody else take a look at your actions and your overview. It provides your with valuable feedback and tips, on what you could do differently, what you could add or what you should skip.