Normally my day is set out for me before I get to the office by one of our project managers. All of my tasks are put into a ticketing system, called Active Collab, which is what I follow through the day (mostly). However, this doesn't stop the "Could you just" requests from making their way into my day. If you're like me, though, you will have forgotten the request by the time you make your next cuppa. Change is possible, and that’s exactly what I did.
So I set out into doing some research into good tools to combat my forgetfulness. I tried using my outlook calendar and while this may work for my event colleagues, I feel that the whole process is clunky and messy. I also think that allocating a specific time slot is a nuisance as I'd prefer to just pick a task at random when I have a spare 5 minutes. This narrows down the search down tremendously. I just need a simple to do list. A couple of minor other requirements included syncing across devices and at no cost (initially anyway). There are plenty to choose from, but here are the top 3 that I have tried.
On and off I have worked with Trello since its inception. It's only this year that I have really tried out the software properly and it's still going strong. I have even started organising my personal life using Trello. I also don't appear to be the only person at Corporate Innovations that does this either.
My board has a simple layout, just the days of the week. Whenever I am asked to do something not already in Active Collab I just add it to a day that I think is feasible to achieve by. When I have completed a task I just archive the tile.
While it is working for me right now I do have a couple of pet peeves. I don't have a practical way of scheduling something to complete for a week in the future, I can only archive a tile, I can't actually mark it as complete and a recent acquisition by Jira of Trello makes me skeptical of its future. I find Jira's software overly complicated and confusing!
Wunderlist has a step up on Trello thanks to the fact that it has a native desktop and mobile app. When a task is due it pings me a reminder across all my devices so I have no excuses not to get something done. I can also create multiple to-do lists. I, for example, have a work list, a personal to-do list and a list to remind me to pay my bills.
Whilst I feel that Wunderlist has the upper hand on Trello, I still find myself using Trello more. The layout is just simpler for me with the five days in separate columns.
A couple of years ago, Todoist would have been my go to choice for a solution. It has the similar features as Wunderlist and then some. One particular feature I like is the fact that I can write commands. I can write my to-do item with the frequency keyword in and it will remind me indefinitely at the end of each period. For example, if I wrote "weekly food shop" as my task it would create a task that reminds me once a week to do a food shop.
Todoist also has a nifty feature that allows me to track my productivity and even gives a score out of 100. While I like the idea of this I actually found it a little distracting especially when I didn't complete tasks by the due date and my score went down! I ended up turning off this feature.
Many people could spend more time creating their lists rather then getting the jobs done. I needed something simple, quick and flexible. If like me that’s what you’re looking for, if I was to choose one over the rest, I'd probably go for Todoist. However, I just can't get over how simplistic my Trello layout is. I currently, and probably will continue to, use Trello on a daily basis. If Jira ruins Trello and I can not find another alternative I would resign myself to Todoist.
Now I guess I ought to get on with my lists.