To to list or not to do list

2 Feb 2021

One of the main strategies we look at in our coping strategy coaching is making good use of the to do list. Most clients groan and roll their eyes at the mention of them as they have often tried them, found them useful and then never done them again. They are not alone! I am guilty of the same myself and am continuously trying to come up with new ways of keeping track of all the tasks I have to do. Unfortunately, our neurodiverse brains do not like to do things like, remember, organise or stick to one thing! As a result, I have tried many ways to get my brain to do these things. One way is by using a variety of to do apps.

What is a to do list?

For many people a to do list is a scrap of paper where they sporadically write down a list of the tasks that are buzzing round their heads overwhelming them to the point they can’t focus on anything. By emptying them onto paper we are able to clear our heads but seeing them on written down can still seem overwhelming and leave you unsure where to start. We recommend starting this way, but then looking at the list and breaking them down into their smallest components then prioritising them using the important/urgent quadrant We tell people to estimate how long each task will take them to do and add that to the list. This then makes a list of 12 tasks less intimidating when you realise many of them will take under 10min to do. Once this is done you are able to plan in when you are going to do each task.

The problem with doing this on paper is you can lose it, or when you think of new things to go on it you have to re prioritise them, or you might end up with several different lists for different projects or cases that you are working on. This is where Apps can come in handy, with most of them you can sort them into categories, have them with you all the time synched across devices, change the priority levels and also set due dates and reminders. As you can imagine from my statements above, I have tried a variety of apps over the years to sort my tasks and here are a few of them.

Any.Do - https://www.any.do

This is the first one I tried, and it really nags you! It gives you a prompt every morning to organise your day and other reminders throughout the day. This is really useful if you are the kind of person that regularly forgets what you need to do.

Microsoft to do - https://todo.microsoft.com/tasks

This one is my current preference. I find it good as it will synch to your outlook so you can have it in your tasks as well as on your phone. It allows you to create categories but also start the day by adding the tasks you plan to do to the “my day” list. Which clears each morning so you can start each day with a fresh list with that day’s priorities. This function also gives you suggestions to add to this list so that you don’t forget anything. It also has a very satisfying “ping” when you tick things off!

Ticktick -  https://ticktick.com/about/features

I haven’t used this one but think it might be the most useful for a dyslexic as you can dictate tasks into it, and in the premium version you can set duration of the task and set a pomodoro timer which is a time management tool we also recommend.

Todoist - https://todoist.com/features

This is one I haven’t tried but was highly recommended on lists of best to do list apps. It gives you rewards for completing tasks on time and has the option of giving you an overview of your productivity.

  Gives you rewards for completing tasks on time and has the option of   giving you an overview of your productivity.

  Gives you rewards for completing tasks on time and has the option of   giving you an overview of your productivity.