Q&A: Do you have a method for keeping track of tasks?

First of all, I must admit that I have a tendency to see those shiny posts about productivity methods and bullet journals and my brain will always say, “try it, try it, try it – this might be the one that will work!” I lasted exactly a month with a semblance of a bullet journal before realising that those people who post pretty photos of bullet journals are very gifted in colour-coding stuff and drawing (I am good in neither) and probably spend more time on that than on actual work.

My three main task-tracking tools are an A5 diary I bought at Tiger for about 4€, my work calendar (standard Outlook stuff) and a Workflowy list (used exclusively for my shopping list).

My A5 diary works as follows: I don’t actually write down appointments/meetings there but rather write out the tasks for the week on the Monday page. I mark that week’s Monday page with a yellow page-marker thingy-thing (scientific term) and I also mark the next three Mondays in case I need to quickly mark a task for a week in the future. I cross out tasks as I get them done and every Monday I look at what I didn’t get done the week before and either decide it doesn’t need doing or I add it to the current week (I guess this is partially bullet journal stuff). Since this approach leaves 6 pages free, I use those for notes on different subjects, with the most important ones marked with other brightly coloured page-marker thingy-things. This diary goes everywhere with me and is always open on that week’s Monday page – mainly in the hope of shaming me into actually getting on with tasks I should get done. It works more or less well.

My work calendar is mainly for meetings and reminders. It’s pretty straightforward stuff.

The Workflowy list is remenant of when I thought I could work with a purely digital to-do list. Turns out I need to stare at my to-do list to get anything done and having a tab open with said to-do list is not effective, I need paper, I need to cross out things manually. These days the workflowy list is for shopping – I tried writing stuff I need to buy on a post-it not kept in my A5 diary but I would inevitably forget it in the A5 diary and feel too lazy to take it out in the shop (I wear a backpack and one should not underestimate my laziness). I do usually have my phone in my pocket at the shop so I can easily look up what needs to be bought… and workflowy is so streamlined that it makes for a great multi-platform shopping list tool.


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