How to keep track of stuff you have to do

What systems, procedures, ticklers, etc. do you use to keep track of appointments, tasks, follow-ups, recurring things, reminders? I’m talking about globally across your whole life- personal and work both. For myself, I take it as a given that most people can’t remember all the stuff they need to remember without some kind of documentary support.

Do you use paper calendars/lists or electronic? A master to-do list? Any apps or software you find particularly useful? What level of detail do you write down, and do you mark things done after you do them so you don’t have to wonder later?

I wish I could remember all of what I have to do! There is the imaginary list in my head (which has the impossible but should do’s) … and then there is the reality of how I plan my life which I use an app called Asana to do. I have “projects” for home, study, life, fun etc which I can track and add to. It still is a rather overwhelming list of things I SHOULD do!

I am old school. On my desk I have two 5x7 index cards.

One is for every day minor stuff that has to be done that day. Phone calls, bank deposit, whatever. At things get done they are crossed off, new things to do they get added as they come up. If something is not done that day it is the top item on the next days card which I will do last thing at work. Therefore that is waiting for me each morning right on my keyboard.

The 2nd card is for longer range issues. Things I have to deal with from a week to a month or 2 in advance.

Works for me.

I use the calendar and reminder apps on my Macs and iPhone.

Usually I don’t.

Wunderlist if things start getting a bit silly.

I have a calendar app on my phone and tablet. I just need to devise a reminder system to make me use them. Mainly, I just forget.

I made an appointment in July with my PCP to question whether my meds (Lipitor and several anti hypertensives) may be affecting my memory. I missed the appointment.

I have carried around a series of pocket sized Moleskine cahier journals for about 40 years. At one end I start a to do list that I just keep adding to and deleting from as tasks come and go. Turned up the other way I record things I am likely to forget - stuff I want to look up, odd thoughts I have had, ideas about any old thing; just all the stuff that you kick yourself for forgetting. When one fills up I start another.

A few years ago I tried out an Aussie application, Remember the Milk, which was very simple to use and much like writing all your to do tasks on one sheet of paper. At the time I didn’t have a smart phone so it’s use was limited but I may look in to trying it now, although my notebook habit is very ingrained. The software seems more complicated but I’ll see.

I had a motorcycle accident a few years ago and am often bewildered these days.

I have a notebook which comes with me (unless I forget it - which happens) and write down names. dates, appointments, and stuff I need to do. I’ve tried electronic memos on my phone but often sleep or ignore them.

If I know I must remember to do something the following day, a Post-It on the bathroom mirror works for me. Otherwise, I put appointments in my phone calendar and set reminders that way.

Outlook (work & home) for appointments & meetings.

Things like “remember to call <Y> to ask about <X> tomorrow afternoon” gets told to Siri (aka iPhone voice-recognition app) and she reminds me.

Google calendar for work and home and a productivity/to-do tracker website our team uses for work projects.

To do list on a chalkboard in the kitchen for everyday stuff like do laundry, change fish water, make cookies - not urgent, not scheduled, but I still need to remind myself to do them or I’ll procrastinate endlessly.

Scraps of paper at my desk at work for that day’s to do - go to the bank, buy milk, pick up dog treats.

Outlook Tasks with pop up reminders at work and at home both for stuff I need to do for work and for personal longer range things like appointments or events I want to attend.

I haven’t found a fool-proof method for across-the-board life stuff for me, although my husband swears by his Outlook Calendar.

For household chores, I love my Tody app.

I don’t know if it’s my goal-oriented personality or what, but I’ve found that if I do one BIG to-do list, I end up feeling defeated and depressed when stuff persists on it for too long. :frowning: So breaking things up into smaller lists works better for my personality, b/c if I am making zero progress on the home repair front (as is typically the case), I can at least look at my Tody app and know the place is clean, if falling down around my ears!

I use Google Calendar to keep track of events. Some of it is life events (“Concert”) and some is mundane work stuff (“Pay taxes today”). It’s my homepage so every morning I get up and see what is on the plate for the day. I made good use of “recurring events” too.

I write a “Things to Do” list every day. I also have a schedule calendar which I consult before writing the list. The rule in our house is, “If it’s not on the schedule calendar, it’s not going to happen” unless it’s something like grocery shopping that I do every week.

Paper “Day at a glance” 14 month planner calendar. Its almost always the last thing I look at at night and the first thing I check when I get up.

I have a wife. Makes a great alarm clock, too. Everybody should have one.

I was indoctrinated into the wonderful world of the Franklin Planner, back when that was le dernier cri in office productivity and I still use mine every day. Yes, it’s ungainly and yes, I do have a smart phone that can do everything but dance a jig (and I’m not entirely sure it can’t do that either), but my comfort zone is with my Frankie. I do keep a running errand and grocery list on my Galaxy, but for keeping my life and business affairs cranking along tidily, nothing can take the place of my Frankie.

Events with specific times go into my Outlook / calendar that syncs between all my devices and all my wife’s devices. Her events go in her Outlook calendar which syncs the same.

Recurrent tasks that don’t have fixed appointment times (e.g. clean the HVAC filters every month-ish) go into our respective Outlook tasks which also sync across all our devices.

Both the above fire off reminders as appropriate so stuff isn’t forgotten.

I use OneNote (which also syncs between …) for a vast array of general knowledge & records management. Specific to the OP, I/we maintain two pages called “Shopping List” and “Things to Do”.

Any intended purchase from groceries to clothes to hardware store to … goes on Shopping List, grouped by the likely store category to get them from. Items are deleted as they’re loaded into the shopping basket or put away at home.

If it’s not a purchase, it goes on TTD, with the more urgent stuff on top and the round tuits on the bottom.

Since I always have my phone with me I can add an item of whatever sort to the appropriate app whenever the requirement emerges. And I can always cross them off whenever they get done. And we each always have a complete picture of what’s upcoming, impending, due, and overdue. Naturally a few barnacles settle into the bilge and sit there for months. Those are eventually deleted as irrelevant.

My wife makes weekly lists on scrap paper. She’s remarkably organized, and rarely loses a list. It’s the only thing that keeps us from wandering around aimlessly, bumping into random objects. I use Outlook’s calendar for certain things like changing the furnace filter, running the RV generator, bi-weekly trash pickup, etc.