Tuesday, July 12, 2011

How are you Toodledoing?

If you’re human, chances are you’ve made a list at one point or another. Or perhaps you are simply a “list person” to begin with, dying to make a list and check it twice for every aspect of your home or work life. Maybe you made a packing list for that upcoming trip to Hawaii, a list of people to call back from your voice mail, a list of errands, or a list of home projects for that weekend that never seems to be free? If you’re a professional, you probably have many different kinds of lists: lead lists, call lists, to-do lists, meeting lists, projects lists…the “list” goes on and on!

For me, writing stuff down is step one to accomplishing things. However, the key to getting everything done lies in how you use your lists.

The best piece of advice I give my clients is to have one place to keep all of their lists. This may seem like a no-brainer, but for most people, having one place to capture all your to-dos is not as easy as it seems. Most of us are running on coffee and bad habits we formed somewhere around junior year in high school when we realized that maybe writing a few homework assignment details down wouldn’t be that dorkie after all. However, most of us are still using these unrefined systems to remember all of our “things” and now, in our adult life, we are living somewhere between overwhelmed and overloaded. Some of us may not have any tools at all in place to capture all the things we want to be accountable for completing. We’re fooling ourselves, thinking that we can keep all of our to-dos in our head or occasionally writing one down on a Post-it note or the corner of an envelope if we deem it REALLY important or urgent.

Some of us have even gotten clever and figured out how to abuse our Outlook calendars, setting up reminders and appointments with ourselves that we never keep. Our day becomes a series of distracting dings every fifteen minutes, which we snooze as we deal with the latest “work emergency”. And what happens? Come mid-day, we look at our clock and have the sensation that we haven’t gotten a damn thing done and furthermore, can’t remember what we were just working on before we clicked out of our email in-box and into our Facebook account!

Sound familiar? Wishing for a breakthrough instead of a breakdown? Well look no further! Toodledo is here to save you!

My earlier point about getting everything done is tied to how you use your lists… having one place to keep all your lists is the key and www.toodledo.com is the solution, allowing you one repository for all of your lists and one convenient form to maximize the usefulness of your lists.

I promise you, if you can commit to getting thought the rest of this blog you too can come out the other side with a simple tool to manage all follow-up and follow through. My clients are even using Toodledo for delegating and tracking tasks assigned to their inter-office teams.

Step One - Create an Account (Total Time: 31 seconds)

  • Sign-up for a new account at www.toodledo.com
  • Click “Register” on the far right
  • Create a username from your email address and a sign-in password

Step Two: Setting up Account Settings (Total Time: 1 minute)

  • Click “Account Settings” in the purple menu on the left
  • Click “edit” next to “Default View”
  • Select “Folder” at the top of the page in the drop down menu
  • Click “Save Changes”
  • Click “edit” next to “fields/functions used”
  • Make sure only the following are checked: Trashcan, Star, Due Date, Due Time, Context and Folder
  • Un-check all other “fields/functions used” boxes
  • Click “Save Changes”
  • Click “To-Do List” in the purple menu on the left to take you back to the home screen

Step Three: Creating Folders (Total Time: 3 minutes)

  • Click “Folders” in the purple menu on the left side of screen
  • Place cursor in the box that says, “Add a Folder”
    Now take a moment to think of all the areas of your life that need to-dos. Some examples of folder titles are: Follow-up (calls and emails), Clients (everything you need to do for your clients), School (homework assignments), Work Projects (longer team work related projects that must get done), Personal, Errands, Home Improvement, etc. You get the idea! Essentially a folder will be a list category with action items within it called “tasks”, which are your to-dos.
  • Click “Save” after each folder name that you create
  • Once you have created all of your folder names click “save changes”
    Tip: try to keep the number of your folders to eight or fewer

Step Four: Creating Contexts (Total Time-2 minutes)

Now that you have created what you think will be useful folders, you are ready to create an additional method to better organize your to-dos. Most productivity coaches urge clients to think in terms of Contexts – where you will be when performing any giving task. You can do the same thing with Toodledo, and the goal here is to allow you to search within your Toodledo account for all the items that you can do while you are at your computer for instance, or on the phone, at the house, the store, etc. This works great for some people, but I find that if you simply think of Context as an additional opportunity to categorize your lists, the possibilities become nearly endless and much more customizable. For instance, I made my top five clients into Contexts, so that when I am adding a to-do for them into my Client folder, I can also select the client’s name that the task is associated with. Now, when I return to my Client folder, Toodledo will automatically sort my tasks within “Clients” by Context and Due Date.

  • Click “Contexts” in the purple menu on the left side of screen
  • Place cursor in the box that says “Add a Context”
    Now take a moment to think of all the ways you would like to sort your Folder tasks for maximum productivity. Some examples of context titles might be: Top client names (Keller
  • Williams, Sarah or Max), Computer (everything you need to do at your computer), Waiting-For (things that you have done all that you can with for the moment but are waiting for someone to get back to you on), Discuss (a task that involves talking to someone to complete), Plane (projects that you can do while on a plane), Brainstorming (tasks that need to be thought about to complete). You get the idea!
  • Click “Save” after each Context name that you create
  • Once you have created all your Context names click “save changes”
    Tip: As with your Folders, try to keep the number of your Contexts to eight or fewer

Step Five: Adding Tasks

Now you are all set up to start adding things into your Toodledo account. The first time you add tasks will be a brain dump of all the little things that are keeping your brain from relaxing... all those to-dos!

To add a task, click the upper right hand corner of the screen that says “Add a Task”. Now you are ready to rock and roll because all of your Contexts and Folders have been saved and will be available to choose from in the drop down fields when adding your tasks.

Happy Toodledoing!

P.S.: There is a Toodledo app that syncs with your online account.

P.P.S.: I host regular Toodledo webinars, so email me if you’d like to join in - katrina@operationorganization.com

Operation Organization © 2011

1 comment:

  1. great resource! nice article, too. you really pinpoint a lot of those all-to-common bad habits.