Today I want to tell you about my to-do list. No, I’m not going to rant about how long it isâ€”though it is. I want to brag about how cool it is.
I have long been a devotee of Life Balance, which is a to-do list program that helps me to keep sight of those big, fuzzy goals that often get lost among the minutia of dry cleaning, email, and deadlines. It’s more than a to-do list, in fact, it’s a school of thought. Sure it helps me to remember to take out the trash, pay bills, and file my taxes. It also reminds me that I should spend time with my family, take care of my health, or take a minute to focus on the novel I’ve always wanted to write. I can’t say Life Balance is responsible for the happy fact that my life is going in a direction I like: I have a book due out in January and another (that novel) in search of an agent. Life Balance is just a bit of code. But the school of thought it represents every day when I look at it, is why I’m living the life I want instead of merely reacting to the life that comes at me.
The basic premise of this school of thought is you have to sit down and decide what you want. Then, like everything else you hope to get done, make it a task on your to-do list. So, for example, when I decided I wanted to write a book and get it published, I put on my to-do list: Write and Sell a Book. Of course, that’s too big a task to do in an afternoon. A million small tasks lead up to that. So, as I thought of them, I added them as sub-tasks under that big umbrella. I gave this task a realistic deadline (and was permissive about changing it). Then I told Life Balance this task was essential to my existence. So, despite my natural tendency to go weeks without taking action on this project, my to-do list pushed me toward taking small daily steps toward my goal. That is a gross oversimplification of how this works but it will suffice.
I have long wished, though, that Life Balance had an online component: Being able to use it from any computer would be sweet. Email reminders would be helpful. The ability to text-message (or Jott) ideas as they come to me would be even nicer. So I was thrilled to try out Toodledo.com last week. It operates on a similar idea but lives completely online. It also works closely with Jott so I can send ideas to it even if they come to me while I’m on a walk or driving. It also operates as a gadget inside my Google Calendar so that I can have a running to-do list there. It accepts to-do’s via email. And it allows me to tie my actions to my larger goals the way Life Balance does so that I can see where I’ve been and where I’m going.
I have not decided to leave Life Balance in favor of Toodledo.com but so far I see no reason to choose. I have two kids and too many projects. I need all the help I can get.