With so many things packed into each and every day, it’s easy for to-dos to slip through the cracks. Well, not anymore. We’ve created a fool-proof, 5-step system that will help busy professionals like you stay on top of tasks and make sure their ONE Thing doesn’t get buried underneath a pile of other responsibilities.
Make It a Habit to Make Notes Immediately
Any meetings or time blocks that are established should be noted immediately. Even the little things should be noted right away because there’s a greater chance they’ll slip through the cracks if you don’t have some sort of record.
Immediately making a note of events and tasks is a great habit that can help you stay organized and on top of things. Unfortunately, habits aren’t created overnight. It takes a fair amount of dedication to make a new habit stick as well as your sticky notes. Try a 66-Day Challenge to jumpstart the habit of making notes immediately and in a few months it should become automatic.
Where should you make a note of your tasks and to-dos? Your calendar is a great place to start.
Color Code Tasks in Your Calendar
Color-coding is so simple that the first time you try it you’ll immediately realize how ingeniously effective it is. Our brains associate color with different emotions and meanings. You can leverage this brain behavior in your calendar so it’s easy to decipher your daily tasks at a glance.
Most electronic calendars provide you with an option to color code different types of tasks. (And if you’re using an offline calendar, you’ve probably known about this tactic for years.) When adding color to your calendar, reserve certain colors for certain types of tasks based on their level of priority. For instance, most people associate red with urgency, so consider highlighting urgent tasks with red and highlight important tasks that don’t need to be addressed immediately another color like orange or yellow.
Download These Two Note Taking Apps
After eight years there are still few organizational apps that can compete with Evernote. With a slogan like ‘Remember Everything’ it certainly belongs in this system for keeping track of things. Evernote is designed to make it easier to remember tidbits of information, get reminders and make lists. Basically anything can be turned into a note that’s then automatically added to all your devices. For example, you can take a picture, add a caption and create the note for a specific project in seconds and have access to it on the go through your phone or at home on your desktop.
Most of the time it’s easier to say something rather than write it down. That’s the theory behind Jott. Call Jott to leave a message that automatically becomes a note in your email. Even better – Evernote can be set up as a Jott contact so the message is added to the app and becomes searchable.
Sync Your Apps With Your Calendar
Both Evernote and Jott are able to sync with Google Calendar. When you make a note in one place it will show up in the other and nothing will get by you. This is an ideal system if you have a number of meetings that are set up in Google Calendar but you make notes for projects in another app. It’s also perfect for busy professionals that are creating time blocks to make the day more productive.
Set Up Reminders
Now that you have a system for making to-dos it’s time to tweak the settings so that you don’t have to constantly look at your calendar and apps. Reminders allow you to get an alert from your phone, calendar or app that an event or task deadline is right around the corner. Many apps will allow you to set up auto-alerts that will go off at a designated time to remind you that a to-do is happening the next day, in an hour, etc.
Almost all of today’s phones and calendars offer a “reminder” feature, but too often these functions go unused. Busy people take a second to write a note down or add a task to their project and think it’s enough to remind them of what needs to be done. That is, until they forget they made the note. Getting in the habit of adding an alert for each task will save you time in the long run. If something is extremely important it never hurts to set up a couple of reminders so it isn’t forgotten in a sea of lists and to-dos.
What system do you use to remember everything on your to-do list? Share your system with us on Facebook or in the comments section.