In order to be productive (there are different definitions of productivity for different people and different situations) it is very important to track what is being accomplished and what is being delayed, and if you need to perform multiple tasks, it is very difficult to manage without making lists and without being able to mark their completion or postponement. If nothing else, marking a task as completed gives you a sense of accomplishment and you don’t feel lost by the end of the day wondering what exactly you have been doing.
Another benefit of using a calendar or a tasks list is that during the day when you feel lost and your energies seem to have been sapped, you can revisit the things that you need to do and get the focus back.
For a couple of months I used Google Calendar. In terms of looks and features it’s a minimalistic application but I could access it on my PC as well as my tablet, so it was quite convenient. Everyday at night, before switching off my computer, I would quickly enter all the things that I needed to do the next day. My only problem with Google Calendar was that my schedule is not time-based. It is tasks-based. There is nothing wrong in assigning various activities to various time zones of the day, but if – call me obsessive-compulsive – I have marked an event for 10:30 AM and if I cannot work on that event at 10:30 AM it gets on my nerves. You can create tasks in Google Calendar but they look very ugly.
Wunderlist is something that I had tried I think, a year ago, but then got distracted to something else. These days I’m using it with great regularity and in fact I’m also encouraging my daughter to prepare her tasks lists using it on her new iPad Air – solving 3 estimation problems, practicing 5-digit subtractions sums, practice singing – and she’s quite excited when she marks the tasks as done. I tried my hand at Any.do, but something is missing or I’m not comfortable with the way the tasks are managed. Although I’m not fully satisfied with Wunderlist, and
maybe I require my own app, but for the time being I’m using it everyday to create the list of tasks that I need to achieve, and it is helping me a lot to remain focused or get re-focused.
Along with Wunderlist I’m also using ToDoist, not to manage my tasks, but to manage lists, or steps. For instance, I have to work on 15 blog posts of a client. I create a new project by the name of that client and add all the titles of the blog posts to that project. Then, while working on a blog post, I mark it as light blue. So even if I’m working multiple days on a single blog post, I know on which blog post I’m working, for which client. Once the blog post is finished, the client has reviewed it and accepted it, I mark it as dark blue (this feature is present in the interface). So I know which blog posts, webpages and articles are work-in-progress for which clients, and which ones are already completed. I could have used a single application for that, either Wunderlist or ToDoist but both these apps arrange information differently, visually, so I’m using them for different objectives.
Recently I have also switched over to Word Online (One Drive) from Google Docs. I have also started using online Outlook instead of Google’s default Gmail interface to manage my email although I don’t know whether it is a progress or regress. I like the new interface and maybe I was looking for some change. Also, formatting is a bit easier in the One Drive applications with almost the same number of functions available in Google Docs.
Basically, these are the tools that I’m using these days for writing and managing my tasks.