How I’m Using ToDo Lists

I’ve never been good at keeping things in my head. I’ve also never been good at following up on things I write down on a to-do list. It’s quite the hassle if I’m being honest. Towards the end of 2021, I started using my iPhone’s to-do list app and just dumped everything I do, or want to do, in there. Over time I’ve added smart lists based on tags and added more and more tasks. I have Morning, Evening, Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly, and a One-Off list with ~25 tasks. Some of them are super easy like “Wake up”, “Take Vitamin” which I would (most likely) remember to do without the list but having simple stuff like that makes me feel good when I can check it off the list for the day. I think that kind of positive reinforcement is critical to establishing new habits.

I highly recommend the reminder app if you’re using an iPhone. It has the ability to create “smart” lists which are based on tags. Currently I have 7 lists that filter ~20 tags. The main “buckets” I use are:

  • Morning
  • Evening
  • Daily
  • Weekly
  • Monthly
  • Yearly
  • One-Offs
  • Urgent
  • Unsorted/Untagged

I think those are pretty self-explanatory and I’m trying to keep them as simple (and as few) as possible. I’ve had a tendency in the past to try and break things down too far and then I just end up getting overwhelmed by the amount and trying to “properly” categorize everything. My tagging system gets pretty specific so I can search for things quickly. One thing I wish the reminder app did better was to make searching for previously completed tasks easier. Right now I can set each list to show completed tasks but it just dumps them in there and doesn’t really sort them well. It’s a small thing but something I would find useful.

As with all things using reminders and todos consistently has really made an impact on my life. I feel more in control and I definitely don’t forget tasks as much anymore. I do have a rule that if I feel like I need to set a reminder for something I do it RIGHT THEN! I don’t wait until I get to the car or later in the day, I do it right when it comes to mind because if I don’t I will forget about it! Making this rule for myself has made me much more consistent about using the app as well. It also helps to be fully in the Apple ecosystem since my reminders are available across all my devices.






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