Finding the right way to manage your tasks can be a hard nut to crack. There are so many options out there- how do you know what to try? Watch this video to keep you from cracking up while filling the cracks in your to do list.
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Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today we’re going to talk about electronic vs. paper to-do lists. People ask me this all the time, “Which is better?” And the answer is, “It depends.” It depends on your brain type, your lifestyle, the kind of job you have. There is a lot of personal preference involved in how you set up your task list. There are literally an infinite number of ways to set up a task list. So there’s no wrong answer. You just need to do it the way it works for you.
So, let’s talk about the pros and cons of each. So with electronic task lists, you have a lot more pros than cons. There’s really a great set of advantages to doing it this way. But it might just not be how your brain works. So that might be enough for it to fail for you. But let’s go through why it’s such a great idea. If you have something like Outlook for example, you can integrate your e-mail, your calendar, your task list, and your contacts all together in one place and be able to go seamlessly between all of those functions. And that’s a big advantage. You can sort and filter and categorize to your heart’s content. You never have to re-copy anything on a blank, fresh sheet of paper. You don’t have any fear of losing the information because hopefully, you have backups of all of this, and it’s probably on multiple devices that you own. And also, it gives you audible reminders so it can pop up and make a noise and tell you what to do and when to do it.
Now, the cons of using electronic task lists are that mainly, it’s not as fast of a capturing method. So you’re trying to write something really quick, you’ve got to turn it on, put the pass code in, navigate to the app, and type it in with your finger. So, that’s certainly not as efficient as picking up a piece of paper and a pen and jotting something down really fast. Also, you have to have a device with you. If you happen to not have one, you still have to use a piece of paper anyway. And then you may have technical problems. So this does happen. Maybe you don’t have a backup. There are things that can go wrong obviously that way.
Now, with paper, you have a lot of pros and cons too. Mainly though, I want you to think about the way your brain works in terms of paper. So, if you think about two different ways of considering your brain type – like concrete vs. abstract is what I’m referring to in this regard – so if you are a concrete thinker, you’re more comfortable when you have a tangible thing that you can touch and feel and see and have right in front of you all the time, and you might not be so comfortable if things are out of sight and out of mind. If you put papers into a file drawer and shut the drawer, you might be kind of unsettled by not seeing those papers. And then if you are an abstract thinker, you’re the kind of person that easily is comfortable with the idea that the information is living out there in the cloud somewhere and that you’ve got your files in a drawer, and it’s shut, and you know that those files are in there, and your brain kind of adapts to that a little bit better. So, if that is a really strong preference for you, that you’re very concrete in your thinking, and you’re very kinesthetic and want to touch things and use ink and paper, then you really might be happier using a paper task list. So that reason alone might be what makes it successful for you, is that you like it and it feels good to you. It is a super fast capturing method, it is very accessible, it feels very satisfying to cross things off with a pen, but you can lose this. So you really want to put your name and phone number and offer a reward in the front cover in case you leave this in a coffee shop or something. Also, you have to look at it for it to remind you of something. So, you may have to supplement your queuing system for how you’re going to remind yourself by actually using your phone alarms or something.
So these are the pros and cons of each type. And I want to let you know that it’s okay for you to change your mind. I have gone back and forth over the years using paper and electronic versions of things for various reasons, but mainly your circumstances change, and it’s okay for your system to change with that. And it’s very healthy to re-evaluate and correct your system so that nothing falls through the cracks.
All right, well we’ll see you next time. Share in the comments what you like to do for your task list. And may you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.
You may have been searching for how to get though a to-do list or keeping track of projects and things that need to be finished.