I’ve never been much for New Year’s resolutions. But, the start of each year always compels me to evaluate my habits. Usually this means new organizers, the latest app which will revolutionize my life, introducing new strategies for keeping my pantry stocked or another such time-saving idea. The thing is, I’ve always struggled with staying on top of my to-do list and yet I’ve always been a little obsessed with organization. I think it has a lot to do with being a designer and how our brains work.
I recently read an article about this very topic (more specifically, about the app I ought to get that will change my life this year.) In it, Randy Hunt, Creative Director for Etsy, says he thinks lots of designers “oscillate between this chaos and organization thing.” I agree.
Not so sure I will buy the complex $20 app, but the article did get me thinking about my current to-do system and if it needs improvement. The rest of the Moonlight crew jokes about my ridiculous color coded tabbed notebook where I keep my list of projects (I love office supplies, what can I say?) But how do my colleagues manage their to-do lists? I discovered we all do things just a little differently, and all our methods reflect our different personalities.
Our fearless leader has a lot of details to keep straight. So, she uses several resources, both online and on paper. But since she is often on the go, her phone is her greatest tool. A weekly staff meeting keeps our projects on track and a shared calendar means we all know everyone’s schedule. The project management program Basecamp helps us manage our projects individually. But Dawn says she’s looking for a better system to keep track of her daily to-do list.
While her system may look the least steamlined, I would argue that Jesse is the most organized of us all. She is able to keep track of tons of minute details and stay on top of multiple large projects. Yet, she manages most of it in her head. Sure, she has some external strategies (she also uses several online tools, especially Basecamp ). But otherwise, she only relies on daily to-do lists written on scraps of paper.
In contrast to Jesse, I can’t keep any of my to-dos in my head so I must have lists. My spiral bound notebook contains a color coded master list of projects, I have a graph paper notebook containing specific notes for each project and a daily to-do list.
Her lists match her precise personality, topped off by her incredibly neat handwriting. She claims her lists are there to keep her on task each day, but her detailed notes for each project are thorough and lovely.
Know of any time-saving apps or sure-fire methods that have helped? Tell us about them!