Dawn Montgomery

Lists and Things

In Software on July 10, 2013 at 10:13 am

No excusesMy paper calendar is an explosion of ink, random notes, passwords, odd details (like the facebook header is 851×315 px). It would be okay, I suppose, if it made sense, but the fact is I can’t tell which “Thunder and Roses is done” refers to when I typed the last word or when I sent it to my writing partner for her to do her final touches on the ms. Or when I found out I’d missed filling in part of a chapter. The reason for this is simple…I had too much other stuff written in the box. My memory is faulty about random things. Since I’m not sure when I’ll lose a bit, I write down everything. And I do mean everything. As a chronically disorganized person, this was a hard thing to train into my brain.

Kait Nolan sent out a post earlier in the week about software something called Todoist. It’s a free app for just about every OS, browser, and mobile device out there. What does it do? It lets you create the “To Do” list you’d always dreamed of. In about five minutes I had my week’s list laid out, some with due dates, others without. Recurring dates handled. You set up a project and enter tasks beneath it (moving the task to the right or left as needed if it becomes a sub task in the project). If you don’t like the order, you simply drag it where you want.

I have two active writing projects: “Thunder and Roses” and “Voodoo Carnival”. Both have open tasks. T&R’s say synopsis, blurb, formatting, and submission while Voodoo has the scenes I have to complete today. I’ll add what needs to be done tomorrow before I turn in this evening. More on that in a second.

I even have the project “New Release”. Under it I have four tasks: Coverart, Release Day, Digital/Promotional Items, and Excerpts. Under Coverart, I have a list of places to put it, the size of the cover image needed to each of my sites, etc. Release Day gives a list of places I go, what I do on that day, and some other misc things I tend to forget (like ensuring Goodreads shows the information, the links to all digital locations where available,e tc). Digital/Promotion Items contain the task list of things I do (once I receive the coverart) which includes making banners for facebook, my main site, ad banners if needed, promotional ads I use, etc. Next to each digital design item, I’ve listed the dimensions. Did you know, for instance, that the facebook cover is 851×315 px? Or that the profile picture is min 180×180? This way I don’t have to check out the back of my calendar for my hastily scribbled notes. When I have a new book, I can print out the project with all its tasks and check off the boxes as I go. It comes in handy. Trust me. lol.

What other ways have I used it?

Last night I was almost done with a scene when I had to get some rest (I’d been up almost 24 hours). It was the old toothpicks and eyelids kind of night. So, instead of opening my calendar or using a scratch piece of paper I won’t remember look at the next day, I put in Todoist, “Finish the Carnival Entrance scene”. This morning I got up, injected some caffeine and there it was on my list of things to do today. I knew exactly where I left off without having to search for the random place I may have written it.

People apparently use it for making grocery lists. You should be aware, however, that you can only have 150 active tasks open at one time. Since my New Release and Admin Day projects are ongoing, I would run out of room if I tried to use it for my grocery list. I suppose I could make a list of home staples, but it just doesn’t work for me there. Some used todoist to list their cleaning routine. Lawyers mentioned using it to keep track of lists on cases, tagging their clients last names instead of creating a new list for each person as a way to get around the 150 active tasks thing. One lady went on and on about how nice it is to have her workout list in one place. She tagged it by day of the week and main muscle group worked (abs, legs, etc). Check out the forums, man. There’s some amazing uses for this little listing dream.

Pros:

  • It was easy to navigate.
  • In thirty minutes I had my entire week laid out so I didn’t have to stress.
  • Every day I receive an email with a list of what needs to be done as well as a graph telling me how well I completed the projects.
  • Everything is easy to move and manipulate. Date entry is fantastic. Type in “ev day” and the list knows to set up a recurring task to send to you daily (tons of options there and the question box beside the date tells you exactly how to put down the dates you want).
  • It’s usable with Evernote, which I love.
  • No archive limit. Once a task is completed, it goes in the archives and doesn’t count toward your totals/lists needed.
  • My list is available as a browser icon (right next to my amazon icon). It shows the number of currently active items on my list (8 today LOL). When I click on the box, it shows me what’s left and gives me the option of checking it off as it’s done. I won’t forget where my list is anymore.

Cons:

  • The 150 active item limit will probably be an issue at some point. I’ll figure it out when/if I reach that stage.
  • My only issue with the date system is that you cannot create an end date for a task. For instance…I can set up a daily task under the project CampNaNoWriMo. Camp lasts from July 1-31st. I can’t end the task automatically on the 31st. So on that day, I’ll have to change the recurring date option.

Overall Todoist is a shining beacon for me. I don’t have to spend thirty minutes in the morning trying to remember exactly what needs to be done, where I left off the night before, what digital design things do I need to do when I get coverart for a new book, etc. All of my lists are combined in one little program which synchronizes everywhere.

If you want to add pictures and other file types (.pdf for instance), you’ll have to go pro. The list for Pro Membership ($29 a year) is pretty awesome. Receive email and text alerts within an allotted time of an appointment. You can track your productivity, create and use project templates, have the ability to use an email as a task list so you don’t lose it, back up and search your archives, etc. It can even synchronize with google calendar and outlook. You can also add notes to your tasks (to include an order in which to do it, greater detail, names of those helping, etc.). For right now free is good, but it’ll be worth it for the upgrade eventually.

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