A common structure pitfall is that we try a new to-do-list tool for a while but then stop using it, whereupon we try another one, and another …
The consequence of jumping between tools will be that we spread notes on what we need to do in more places than we should, since we have a few tasks here, a few made note of there, and some in several old apps we tested. This was exactly what we wanted to get away from and find a solution to. It was to sort the mess out that we tried a new tool in the first place.
”Somewhere there is an app for us”, said Sondheim… well, almost
Every time we notice how we once again were unsuccessful in owning the tool we are trying out, and stop using it, we feel discouraged and think ”Is there no app that really suits me? Everybody else seems to have found something that works for them. Perhaps there is something wrong with me or how I work?”.
No need to go there. You might just be trying the tool in the wrong way. You see, it is easy to just add some smaller, unimportant tasks to the tool since we are just trying it out. We only add a few because we do not want to risk forgetting or missing tasks while trying something new. That would be devastating! So therefore we add tasks that we are not too worried about losing. These might be tasks we have had on our list for a while, that have been on our mind for a long time, and which we keep postponing, that have turned into real breeding grounds for a bad conscience.
All of your bad conscience in one place
And so the testing begins. The only thing we see when opening the tool is a list of all the things that are giving us a bad conscience, that we have left unattended for too long already. Now every time we open the tool we get a knot in our stomach, and we feel our stress levels rising. We start avoiding the app, and finally when we have had enough, we remove the tool or the shortcut. And we confirm another defeat.
So instead, when you are trying out something new, put your most important, most relevant and current tasks in the tool so that it becomes relevant too, instead of only containing of a bunch of heavy ”have-tos”.
If what I just described rings a bell and you honestly want to give a tool that you abandoned a new chance, then do the following:
- Open the tool or app again, which probably means re-install it, reactivate your account or simply open the list you once abandoned. (If you want to try another tool instead, I have compiled a list of a few good ones here)
- Now choose one of two ways to approach this:
- Either you add all your to-do-tasks to the revived tool so that it becomes your **only** list. Sure, it will take a while to enter all your tasks, but it will be worth it because you might have found a tool that will save you lots of time and trouble for a long while to come.
- Or, if you still just want to give it a light go, add the tasks that concern something that is of uttermost importance to you at the moment. It might be a project that is at a crucial stage, something you need to work hard on to finish soon, or an area in which you cannot allow yourself to fall behind right now.
- Put aside the other list (or lists) you have been working with somewhere where they are a bit hard to access, and put the new tool ”on top” somehow so that it naturally becomes your first choice when reaching for your to-do-list.
- When new things that you will not do right away land on your desk, enter them as new tasks in the new list and then you are off to a good start.
Wholeheartedly instead of halfhearted
If you try a new to-do-list tool wholeheartedly and with an honest intention of giving it a chance, rather than halfheartedly and as a graveyard for the things that give you a bad conscience, chances increase that you get used to it faster and enjoy working with it. Instead of missing out on valuable functions and features just because you did not utilize it the right way, you will take advantage of the opportunities the rapid development in technology presents, even in the area of to-do-list tools.
What have you found?
Have you tried some new tool or app recently, and if so, what is your opinion on it? Leave a comment to share your tip.