Still using a paper to-do list? Here’s why it may be holding you back.

"To Do List" by By MrPessimist on Flickr

If you’re still using a paper to-do list, the first task on your to-do list should be to switch to an electronic version.

Why? Consider the advantages an electronic tool has vs. paper:

  • It’s sortable. You can glance at the list by priority, due date, project name, or another category that you customize.
  • It’s searchable. A few keystrokes, and you’re done looking, which allows you to get working.
  • You can copy and paste data which eliminates the senseless repetition that may make updating your to-do list seem so tedious.
  • It’s portable, especially when you store it on the cloud. You have one version that you can access from anywhere, as long as you have Internet access or a smartphone.*
The same holds true for paper calendars, notes and contact lists (like a Rolodex). Converting to an electronic productivity system may take a little time at first, but it will save you hours–HOURS–over time. Isn’t that the whole idea in the first place?

*One of the common arguments in favor of paper is that it’s always available even when you don’t have Internet access. The thinking seems to be that you’ll be protected in case of major Internet blackout. Well, how many times have you experienced a major Internet blackout? And isn’t it more likely that you’ll forget/lose/spill coffee on your paper to-do list?
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2 Responses to Still using a paper to-do list? Here’s why it may be holding you back.

  1. Andy Welfle says:

    Y’know, it’s funny that for as digital as I am, I always seem to resort back to paper to-do lists. I am a big fan of Things for Mac and iOS, and it works great. But when I write, prioritize and brainstorm with a pencil, I at least feel better organized.

    I’m just entering Month 3 at the new job, and I’m still using Things, so maybe I’m a convert.

    What do you use, Anthony?

  2. ajjuliano says:

    After 15 years of trying to find the perfect to-do list, I ended up creating my own. It’s pretty simple, actually: just a Google Docs spreadsheet with a few columns: priority this week, project name, due date, due date note, and notes. I’ll write a post later this week with an explanation of what these columns are, which each is important, and show a sample of what that to-do list looks like.

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