Apparently, there are people who don’t keep “to-do lists.” They don’t even like them, I hear. I’ve never had the opportunity to meet one*. My guess is that trying to meet one of these anti-to-do listers is a bit like trying to find the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.
A couple of years ago, my “to-do lists” began growing and branching out into an unmanageable state, like a blackberry bramble that offers no fruit. There was no way I could accomplish everything on the list let alone figure out my priorities. Then came the Planner Pad. You’ve heard about it before, so I won’t gush about its life-changing attributes.
It lives on my desk and not online, which is where I (and several other science writers) would really like it. I started testing out online to-do lists to see if any of them could live up to the Planner Pad’s funnel system. So far, one stands out.
Those familiar with the Planner Pad, will find some overlap with TeuxDeux’s layout. TeuxDeux has a two-row, multi-column layout for organizing your stuff. The top row, called the Timeline, scrolls from one day to the next. In my browser, I see five days–yesterday, today, and the next three days. The bottom row, the Staging Area, is for custom lists, where you can organize your tasks by some self-defined category, such as Pitch, Contact, Write, Research, Home, Ideas, etc., or even Someday. You can have as many of these columns as you’d like.
TeuxDeux lacks the Planner Pad’s daily hour-by-hour agenda, but I don’t miss it. It also pushes you to be more ambitious than the Planner Pad–allowing you to pack as many as 15 tasks into a single day, which may be a bit much.
When you add your tasks to TeuxDeux, you can use bold and italics, and create clickable links. You can even designate a to-do as a recurring event. (Unfortunately, it isn’t capable of making a task repeat itself every weekday, as opposed to all seven days of the week.) Completed tasks get crossed out, and if you get overwhelmed or side-tracked you can move a task from one day to another, or even to the Staging Area.
Every morning TeuxDeux emails my to-do list to me. It’s like having my own assistant.
While TeuxDeux isn’t a digital version of the Planner Pad, it comes mighty close. I like the way the layout looks and that I can move things around without making a complete mess of my workspace. Also, if I don’t complete a task on one day, TeuxDeux automatically transfers it to the next day, forcing me to get it done, or move it to the “Someday” box in the Staging Area.
TeuxDeux has a 30-day trial subscription and costs $3/month or $24/year. There’s also an iPhone app.
Image via TeuxDeux website
* In the writing of this post, I met one of those Ivory Billed Woodpeckers who don’t keep to-do lists.