How do you to-do?

USE THIS TODO LISTI brought one of my Things To Do Today lists home from work. The tasks were some of my extracurricular things I’ve got going on in my life. Business-type tasks, but I don’t get paid for doing them.

Yes, I’m taking a break to blog before getting back to work on those tasks.

A little self-disclosure here: My predominant learning (me) style is kinesthetic—I do better when I can put my hands on things. (Actually, in most situations, it kicks into gear like this: kinesthetic, then visual, then auditory.) Call me on the phone and ask me a computer/keyboard question? I’ll ask you if I can come to your desk. When I get to your desk, I’ll ask you if I can stand over your shoulder to see your computer screen. (My visual side shifts into gear.) If we can’t figure out what you are trying to do, I will probably say something like, “Let me go back to my desk and sit at my keyboard. I should be able to figure it out.”

See, I do better if I can put my hands on things. And that’s why I prefer to use pen and paper when it comes to making a to-do list. Writing it down rather than clacking the keys. My current method works just fine for me. It’s big enough (letter-size paper), with lines for 12 items. And each of the numbered areas are at least 3/4-inch wide, large enough for my big handwriting (see photo; I added the redaction). An admin manager first turned me onto that particular type of to-do list when she gave me a “going away to work on another project” basket of office supply goodies. (What’s shown in the photo is Tops Form 2170, by the way.)

So having my to-do list here at home with me, it made me wonder about other administrators and how they stay on track with all the many, many things they have going on in their lives, whether it’s work, or personal, or a both.

Do you use to-do lists? How are you doing it?

  • Pen and paper?
  • Keyboard, then print it out?
  • Keyboard, then save and view on computer?
  • Is it all in your head?

And after you’ve checked off all of your to-do items, then what?

  • Do you recycle the hard copy?
  • Do you save the hard copy, or save the electronic file?

I have been using this form for my 1:1 weekly meetings with my manager. I keep the forms at my desk, where it’s handy for me to jot down things—as they come up—the things that I want to discuss with my manager that week. I use to only take a steno pad with me to those meetings, but then I’d find myself afterward re-writing any new tasks onto that Things To Do Today form, and I realized I was taking more time re-writing. (But I really, really like that form—it has pre-made check-off boxes!) So I started taking only the pad of forms into my meeting, and I use that form to also jot down new tasks. And then that form becomes a visual indicator for me (as in, look, I only have two more boxes to check off).

I’m a bit more productive, more focused, more not-so-forgetful, when I make a list of things I have to do.

Yes, I think that form is a keeper for my administrative toolbox.

Okay, Things To Do Today list; I’ll get back to you now.

Hey, if you’re into humorous sticky-notes and form pads—which may or may not be appropriate for the office—you might like some of these items.