So far the most efficient task tracking, and scheduling tool I have found is a notebook. This is the truth. The thing about online calendars and todo lists is that I can’t get into habit of using them… Ever. I tried various forms of electronic to-do lists but they are all the same. They add a data entry, and data maintenance steps to a relatively straightforward process.
Perhaps if your work is structured and organized you can do these things. But I usually play the jack of all trades at my job, trying to balance my time between end user support, server maintenance, desktop maintenance, hardware repairs, web design, and work on 3-4 coding projects with shifting priority. So when I get a new task to add to my todo list I usually just write it down – on a sticky note, piece of paper, napkin, back of an old printout – whatever. At the time I might be at a different desk, in someone’s office, underneath the table untangling cables, or got knows where else. I’ll usually stick that piece of paper in my pocket, and then I throw it on my desk for future reference.
Half of the stuff like that gets inadvertently lost even before I manage to find time to sit down and type up my todo list for a given day. So I bought myself a notebook and instead of scrounging for written material I just grab it from my desk when I need to write stuff down.
Once I do something from my list, I cross it out. And if I’m really being good then I only have too look at the last 2-3 pages because the rest should be all resolved or dead.
I tried different electronic means of doing just that, but I can’t find anything that would make me comfortable. And what’s worse, I can’t imagine how would such a piece of software look. I would write one, but I just can’t think of anything that would compete with simplicity of pen and paper.
Of course the downside of this method is a lack of an efficient search feature. You can’t grep your notebook, and you can’t run awk and sed scripts on it to extract the info you need. But what can you do…
[tags]notes, note taking, todo, todo lists, scheduling, tracking, notebook[/tags]