Written To-Do Lists, Digital To-Do Lists, & The Technically Savvy

The term "tech savvy" has taken on various meanings for people of varying technical acuity. Walk into one of today's classrooms and you'll find the teacher who stayed up late to prepare his lecture only to find that students are reluctant to pull out pencil and paper to take notes (because you're not putting this information in PowerPoint form on Blackboard).

No, your students have graduated from that school--the phone, iPad, and laptop have made it much easier to bypass the likelihood of getting writer's cramp and trying to keep up with the notes that disappear on the board in like five minutes. And here enters our smartphones which can easily take a snapshot of those notes and be reviewed at a later time.

Just like that.

Now don't misunderstand me, I have no problem whatsoever with the use of smartphones for capturing notes because I've been there - just wanting to paint a comical picture with this scenario. If you take this example and compare it to the choice of keeping a written to-do list versus a digital or even online schedule, you'll find many similarities.

The to-do list might not be the best option for everyone though, as it is true that they tend to grow with time rather than shrink as we add sequential tasks or matters that come up. When I came across Shane Parrish's article "To-Do Lists Are Not the Answer to Getting Things Done" I found it interesting yet true in the sense that we might tend to continue adding things to our to-do lists rather than focusing on subtracting things from it. Additionally, at times I think we can be more susceptible to say "yes" to most things but not really factor in how those things can affect our schedules in the long-run. 

If you check out his article, he also has a great representation of how he uses Google Calendar and online scheduling to keep track of his responsibilities. In today's post I'd like to look at another Google App, Google Keep, and how I make it work for scheduling my plans for the day.

As you might already know, Google Keep does have the option to create a checklist which works for me, therefore, I'm one of those people who can use a to-do list, I'd just prefer to checking it off digitally.

Creating My Digital To-Do List

How I created my digital to-do list

How I created my digital to-do list

So as you've probably heard, preparing the night before the next morning is a great way to make sure that you're able to jump right into things without having to think about what you need to do.

You can easily install Google Keep for Android or iOS and simply open the application and choose your poison - take a note, create a checklist, jot down something, vocally record a reminder, or take a photo. For my organizing my tasks, I generally choose the checklist option.

Choosing the checklist option

Choosing the checklist option

Also, if you're one of those people who prefer organizing your lists or notes by color (which can be very helpful when you're searching for a specific type of list), you can easily choose a different color by tapping the square in the lower right-hand corner that shows additional colors and options for your note.

Options for changing the color of the list

Options for changing the color of the list

After I've created my title, I begin organizing my list by time rather than category as this helps me to see a hierarchy of my responsibilities and where they're more likely to fall during the day.

After organizing my list

After organizing my list

From here, create your list according to the structure that works for you, and once you completed that, then it's time to set a reminder.

Setting a Reminder

The importance of creating a reminder

The importance of creating a reminder

One of the biggest mistakes that I think someone can make when creating digital to-do lists is not setting a reminder. It's like grabbing your bags out of the car from a grocery trip and forgetting to lock the door - anyone can jump right in and the same goes with your schedule - anything can join your list when you're not actively managing it.

To set a reminder, tap the button that resembles a hand in the upper right-hand corner. From here you'll be able to choose whether or not you'd like to set a reminder for a certain time or for a certain place. For this example, I'll be setting a reminder for 7:00 a.m. on August 24th, and once you've chosen your date, time, and whether or not you'd like for the reminder to be repeated, you can can tap "Save".

Setting a reminder for a specific time

Setting a reminder for a specific time

And then you're all-set for checking off your to-do list via Google Keep. If you're a more visual person, you can easily take a photo, add a photo, or create a drawing by taping the plus button in the bottom left corner.

I'm not prone to use these options for my day-to-day schedule, but this could be handy when needing to view documents, remembering a certain item to purchase, or if your work is creative and you find images that you'd like to view later for a project.

But there's one feautre that I think is a true bonus for individuals who are likely to view a timed reminder, check off several items, and forget the rest of the items on their to-do list because of changes in location. That's why the location-specific reminder is an awesome feature to use when you find yourself needing to handle several tasks, but at different locations.

*Bonus Feature: Setting a Location-Specific Reminder

Set a location-specific reminder with Google Keep

Set a location-specific reminder with Google Keep

If you want to set a location specific reminder for your to-do list, all that you'd have to do is to choose "Place" after tapping on the hand in the upper right-hand corner. When you prepare to type in the location, you're allowed to search for it and then choose the correct address. 

Setting a location-specific reminder

Setting a location-specific reminder

This feature would be most handy for creating multiple lists that are created for different locations because you're only allowed to set 1 location reminder per list. You might also find this feature helpful for grocery visits so that you're not struggling to remember each item on your list when you make it to the store - a reminder will pop up nicely on your phone when you reach the store.

And that's how I schedule my day using Google Keep which allows me to create digital to-do lists that I don't have to keep up with by hand. In case you missed last week's post, we also looked at the versatility of another new app, Google Duo, and how to use it for appointments. 

But which organization method do you prefer? Are handwritten lists your go-to or do you have a favorite app that helps you to cover daily tasks? Share it with us in the comments box below. and until next time, happy scheduling!