It always starts the same way: You read or hear about a promising, “new and improved” to-do list application … you get excited … you register and try it for few days – only to find that it has the same inherent challenges that every to-do list has. The app that you thought would be the answer to all your productivity problems becomes just one more incompatible task-related database you need to maintain manually. Sure enough, the first time you get really busy, you are unable to maintain it, ending up with just one more to-do list, frozen in time, that is tedious – and time-consuming – to bring up-to date.
Wouldn’t it be nice to finally have a to-do list that is always up to date – allowing you to be in full control of your work, with the peace of mind knowing there are no hidden tasks that you are forgetting? Imagine being able to manage your workflow with such efficiency that you finish all of your tasks with time to relax at the end of the day? What a great feeling it would be to shed the stress of “overwhelm” and to look at your productivity system with sense of accomplishment and peace of mind.
Technology can do a better job integrating your to-do list into your workflow than any manual tool. The secret lies in a completely new approach to the to-do list: true integration with all your task-related information, so that you wind up with a consolidated to-do list that gets updated as you work.
What’s Wrong with a Manual To-Do List?
If you need your to-do list to be comprehensive and include everything you need to do, a manual to-do list can be high maintenance. Following are some of the inherent challenges of a manual to-do list that can lead to its ineffectivness:
- A manual to-do list is tedious to maintain. It requires constant attention to switch back and forth to manually update, making sure you add and cross off each and every thing that comes up (e.g., “send email to Bob”) throughout the day. This method requires high levels of both energy and motivation – not to mention time!
- Defeating its own purpose, a manual to-do list often becomes outdated. Just when you’re busy and need it the most, you are less likely to maintain a current list. When you get through the busy patch, the list needs so much manual updating that it’s often easier to start a new list altogether.
- A manual to-do list is not scalable. As your workload increases, so do the number of items on your to-do list. Accordingly, it takes more time and effort to maintain. Your to-do list is supposed to help you stay in control of your work – not create another large database to manage!
- Out of sight … out of mind. If your to-do list app is separate from your other task-related items, such as emails, files and contacts, you are more likely to spend most of your time in your email inbox or working on a document. As a result, you forget to update it.
- Because a manual to-do list is incompatible with other task-related apps such as email, Google Docs and Evernote, it is tedious to reflect such actionable items into the list itself.
- Yet a manual to-do list, by its nature, creates redundancies. Not only do you have to create the file, for example, but you then also need to add “work on file” to your to-do list. This is an extremely inefficient and difficult way to manually attempt to keep this duplicate database in sync with your current commitments.
Fear Not: Technology to the Rescue
These are not unsolvable problems. Imagine the convenience of having a to-do list that can interact with – and even morph into – all other digital items, from emails to documents, contacts, tasks and commitments. Instead of duplication emails content into your stand-alone to-do list, with Centask, the email itself is already in your to-do list. Redundancy eliminated.
It’s a lot like watching your favorite TV program while running on the treadmill at home. You can do both at the same time without compromising either. Now that’s increased efficiency!
Old habits die hard, but once you mentally shift to this new paradigm, you will be amazed at the increased power and of your productivity system. Don’t put it on another soon-to-be-outdated manual to-do list … Start using Centask today.