My perfect daily schedule would be a glass of wine every night and an otherwise open calendar. But I’m pretty into my kids, and my husband, and my work, and my health too — and all of that requires some day-to-day maintenance.
I’m terrible at it.
One of my goals for this year was to get better at life maintenance by sticking to a routine 80 percent of the time. I’m already a list maker, but I finally figured out that I feel a greater sense of accomplishment, and am more willing to do repetitive tasks, if I break my lists up into categories. Otherwise my tasks never end, and neither does my work day.
For the last few months, I’ve tried dozens of habit and to-do apps, and hoooo-eee! Most of them are ugly and frustrating. Here are a handful I’ve found that are pretty and functional, and how I’m using them.
I start my day with my most crucial health habits, because those are the most likely to fall by the wayside. Streaks tracks how many days in a row you’ve done something, and how often you do it. It only lets you have six goals, and once you’ve checked all of them off for the day, the icons turn gold. So satisfying.
I’m ramping back up with work, so MinimaList is where I keep internal projects I want to check in with every day. It lets you schedule repeat tasks, and set a timer that blocks you from phone distractions while you’re working on one.
Teuxdeux is my priority list for non-habit tasks, stuff I need to finish in the next few days. I try to limit myself to five tasks here and work through them before I add more. I’ve been using Teux Deux for years, it’s a super simple, pretty to do list. I find it’s really flexible and can be hacked for whatever type of list I want to keep there.
BALANCED and PRODUCTIVE
I’ve mentioned Balanced before. This is where I put life-maintenance and repetitive tasks for personal goals, like learning French. You choose your icon and color, how often you’d like to complete a task, and list as many tasks as you like. It also tracks how often you complete things.
Productive looks and works exactly like Balanced, it’s pretty much a clone, but it lets me keep a second list that’s more oriented toward my life after work. This is where I put tasks that help me maintain relationships, like playing games with the boys, or making plans with friends, and reminders to do some of the things that make me happy, like reading or doing something on my Life List.
Things is a to do list based on the Getting Things Done methodology, which is a great organization system for all the ideas and work you want to record. You can use it on your phone or desktop, and it has all the list making functionality I’ve ever needed. It offers an Inbox for collecting tasks before you organize them, lists for Today, Next, Scheduled, and Someday, plus a Projects list that allows for sub-tasks that step you toward project completion.
I mostly love Things for the projects feature, but this app is where I do my thinking and planning, and how I save ideas for later. I don’t necessarily interact with it every day anymore.
If you use and love an app I didn’t mention, please let me know. I’m always tweaking, and I find that using a fresh app can keep me motivated to do things I was procrastinating over before.
Post to Mighty Girl. Check.